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Antipsychotics and Loss of Brain Matter

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Giving thanks for Jerod Poore

Jerod Poore is the walking, talking, tweeting, posting wikipedia of all meds psychiatric and neurological. His manifesto: At Crazymeds[his original website] we make psychiatric and neurological conditions (AKA brain cooties) our bitches with evidence-based medicine and a healthy dose of gallows humor.

When I caught brain cooties fourteen years ago, Jerod was the first person I found who gave me genuine information. When the docs turned my brain into a chemistry experiment, Jerod told me what was happening to it.


That's the sketch I drew of my brain on drugs. Not the drugs they warn you about, but the drugs they scold you for refusing to take. Prozac, Celexa, Remeron, Cymbalta, Effexor.

Now, these are fine medications and do help people, notwithstanding the fact that they did not help me. It took years to figure out that my diagnosis was wrong, so these were the wrong medications for me anyway. If they help you, TAKE THEM.

But my mind was mush. The docs gave me precious little inf…

Giving Thanks for Ellen Frank

If you can manage one, just one self-care exercise for bipolar, make it a regular sleep schedule. This week I am thankful I found Ellen Frank and IPSRT, Interpersonal Social Rhythms Therapy.
IPSRT in a nutshell: people with bipolar have a wonky internal clock. The hormones that regulate everything from when we are alert to when we are hungry to when we are cold are governed by an internal clock. When that clock sproings a spring, so do we. Bipolar is like jet lag on a daily basis.
There are a number of events that set and reset the clock throughout the day. If you have a wonky clock, you can reduce the damage it does by making sure these events happen the same time every day. That is the Social Rhythms part. The Interpersonal part is plain old therapy, focussing on whatever issues prevent you from protecting your clock.
Keeping this clock set correctly is the single most effective strategy for maintaining good sleep patterns. And sleep patterns are almost the whole show. Disruptions …

Giving Thanks for John Moe

Is depression funny?

John Moe begins every broadcast of The Hilarious World of Depression with that question. Then he and the comedian/musician/celebrity of the week talk.


My therapist told me about Hilarious World. I was preparing to do a seminar, OK2Talk about Mental Illness, eight hours total, five segments.  The third would be on humor. It is, after all, part of the Prozac Monologues brand.

I discovered at Hilarious World a whole world of comedians, telling their stories of mental illness and often being funny in the process, Margaret Cho, Baron Vaughn, Aparla Nanchurla... Many were new to me. I do not have enough comedians in my life. Many episodes inspired me to search Youtube to watch these folk performing.

My own presentation did not go as well as John's invariably does. Well, I presume he edits. My group didn't give me enough material to edit. My career as a comedian was officially launched that weekend when I bombed. Boy, did I bomb.

I could have anticipated the com…

Giving Thanks for John McManamy

John McManamy was my introduction to the concept of expert patient, a mental illness educator with lived experience and serious chops, research-wise.

Our relationship began not long after Prozac Monologues, the blog began in 2009, with a skunk. How on earth did I find his tale of too-close-but-thankfully-not-the-worst-sort-of-too-close encounter with a skunk? Probably I googled amygdala. That tells who John is right there. You want to know about amygdala? John will tell you a story about a skunk.

So I began to follow his blog, Knowledge is NecessityOne bite at a time, he added to my growing knowledge of everything from God to neurons, especially the neurons. We developed first a conversation, back and forth in the comment sections of our respective blogs, and then a friendship.

When he included me as the New Kid on the Block in his post of August 2009, My Favorite Mental Health BlogsProzac Monologues took off. Thanks, John. You gave me the encouragement to persevere, a model to l…

Spiritual Practices for the Dark Night - Giving Thanks. Again.

This post transitions from a month dedicated to PsychiatricTimes.com  to a month dedicated to gratitude. In short, I am grateful for Psychiatric Times. When I needed to figure out what the hell happened to my brain and how do I fix it, this online magazine for psychiatrists and other mental health professionals began my slow, steady self-education with its research reports, book reviews, philosophical discussions and occasional rants.

Mmm, sort of like Prozac Monologues: information, provocation, entertainment, and an occasional rant. That's how Google describes this blog. What do you think?

In the month of November, I will write posts about other resources and people for whom I am grateful. Today I repeat a post from ten years ago, part of a series on Spiritual Practices for the Dark Night. Those were dark nights, indeed, for me. These days, I think they are dark nights for everybody. But I digress...

From December 30, 2009, Spiritual Practices for the Dark Night -- Giving Thanks:

I …

The Brain Science of Caffeine

It's Pumpkin Spice Latte Season -- what better time to pour a cup of Caffeine: Neurological and Psychiatric Implications? It's the next up in my PsychiatricTimes.com Appreciation Month.

Sergi Ferré, MD, PhD offers this continuing education course for doctors and other health care providers. The goal of this activity is to provide an understanding of the mechanisms involved in the innervating effects of caffeine and the impact that caffeine may have on psychiatric disorders.

So settle in to learn about your favorite beverage.

Disclaimer: Though I have read the thing many times and looked up many big words, I cannot honestly say that I have satisfied all of the learning goals. Specifically, I cannot:
Explain the adenosine-dependent modulation of striatal dopamine and glutamate neurotransmissionnor
Describe the adenosine-dependent modulation of glutamate neurotransmission in the amygdala.Good thing I don't need the grade.

Nevertheless, I gleaned a few fun facts which I will share w…