Today’s post is an examination of my relationship with Seroquel (it’s a follow up/sequel to my last post). About six months after I was diagnosed with manic depressive illness, my new psychiatrist decided it was time to put me on a “miracle d\rug.” He was convinced that this particular medication was a cure-all for most mental disorders. In fact, he had a backroom filled with samples- he later told me that AstraZeneca would take him out to lunch once a month and provide him with an infinite amount of Seroquel samples.
It was my first visit to the new psychiatrist (My previous psychiatrist was horrible, he treated me like shit and he constantly put me on different meds to see how I would react, I felt like a lab rat) and I was nervous. The receptionist greeted me, took my credit card and told me to take a seat in the lobby. The office was a refurbished house- it was comfortable, with leather chairs and oil paintings hanging on the walls. This was not a typical doctor’s office. A few minutes later, a tall elderly man walked through the front door. He looked in pain; his neck was covered in a brace and hands were shaking. I thought he was another patient. Instead of sitting down in the lobby, he unlocked an office door, walked and slammed it shut. It was all very confusing…
…To save you from the boring details of my first psych visit, I’m going to fast forward a bit:
We talked for almost an hour, with Dr. M making various comments and observations about my life story. Unlike my previous psych, who prescribed me a med cocktail within the first five minutes of our session, Dr. M genuinely cared about my mental health. When it came time to change my meds, I was confident in Dr. M’s ability as a psych. At that time I was only taking 150mg of Zoloft, unfortunately I was extremely paranoid (I would later find out that one of the side-effects of Zoloft is increased mania and paranoia). Instead of taking me off Zoloft, D.r M decided to add a new drug: Tegretol. The sole purpose of the Tegretol was to combat the Zoloft created paranoia. We ended our session…
The next few days were hell. Although the paranoia decreased, I was unable to sleep and I had this feeling that a depressive episode was about to begin. I was scared. I called Dr. M’s office and demanded that I get an appointment.
At 1pm the next day, I found myself back in Dr. M’s office. He asked me how I was doing and I started to fall apart- I was frustrated, depressed, manic and scared (I suffer from mixed episodes). But more importantly I was vulnerable. Dr. M started telling me about this miracle drug that most of patients were on. It was called Seroquel. There was a caveat- patients who took Seroquel had the potential to develop various side-effects (according to Dr. M, Seroquel had not been on the market long enough to determine its side-effects. He furthered this by stated that it might be a few decades before we know the total impact Seroquel has on a patient’s life).
I was so desperate to improve my mental health, that I agreed to start taking Seroquel. Dr. M provided me with a brown bag of samples and instructed me to take 50mg each night before I go to bed. At first, I didn’t feel different. However, as the week progressed, the mania and the depression began to dissipate. In fact, I started enjoying life again. Dr. M was right.
A few weeks past and my mental health continued to improve. The only downside was that my weight started to increase…another month went by and I started to get depressed again. What was happening, I thought everything was finally working out? Oh man, I really don’t want to be depressed, I hate being depressed. Why does life have to fuck me over sometimes? I made a new appointment with Dr. M. Instead of taking me off Seroquel, Dr. M increased my dosage to 100mg…
I’m currently taking 900mg of Seroquel a night (when I was first put on Seroquel, Dr. M explained that dosage limit for Seroquel was around 1400mg. I’m really scared that one day I will be at that dosage level). It still is an amazing drug, as it’s the only thing keeping my mind stable. However, I’ve gained almost 70 pounds since starting Seroquel. On top of that I have a high risk of developing Tardive Dyskinesia, Diabetes as well as other unknown side-effects.
The question is why am I still taking Seroquel? Why would I willingly take a drug that has so many horrible side-effects? Because it’s the only thing keeping me sane at the moment. Although I still have manic/depressive episodes, they are not as severe as they were 3 years ago. I’m also able to sleep, as my thoughts have stopped racing.
You might think I’m crazy to do this; however, I want to try and enjoy my life…
I hope everyone is having a great Monday Evening.