Those Little Multi-Colored Pills in the Hands of People With Schizophrenia, Bipolar, and Anxiety


Just about anyone who is reading this is going to know something about pills. There are just so many of them. Myself, the last time I got sick (read my book “Alert and Oriented x3) it actually wasn’t a problem with a pill, it was a problem with a new, fancy injection that would last longer, feel better, help me more, and cause me to lose weight. Problem? The thing didn’t work and I ended up losing a month of my life pacing the halls of a psychiatric ward, thinking there were spies everywhere and that people on the ward were plotting a horrible death for me. I even imagined that people I knew on the outside of the hospital were on the ward and were controlling me and laughing about it.

Then there is what I call the long hospital visit. This had happened almost 20 years ago in 2001. At this time, I had been taking a pill called Depekane, a mood stabilizer and somehow I thought that since I had been well for such a long time that I could lower the dose. I really wish sometimes that they would offer people with mental illnesses immediate, intensive training as to how pills work. Lowering my deplane was literally the worst mistake I have ever made. I slowly degraded into a person in an extremely poor mental state, and ended up walking out my door one day to find the main door to my building was jammed and all of a sudden I was convinced someone had rigged a bomb in the building and that they were sealing me and my neighbours in to get rid of me. It may seem funny but those are the kinds of things that go on in your mind when you experience psychosis. I have the unfortunate situation of also having anxiety and depression along with my psychosis and mood swings.

My depression and anxiety was very apparent when I was younger. As a child I would constantly walk looking down. It was so bad that I ended up with neck problems. I was very quiet and had few friends. Social situations terrified me. I can recall later on in junior high going to dances that I never danced at. Then I found alcohol and all of a sudden I could push through my anxiety and have a lot of fun. There was a problem though. I was a twelve-year-old dancing in a fifteen-year-old’s body and I never treated the girls I made advances on very well. There were some incredible times in high school though, there was a young woman named Patti who seemed to take a liking to me. She was beautiful and played piano and loved classical music as I did and even once made a comment in my presence that she thought I was good looking. All that really happened was that we went to a movie on a double date with my best friend and his girlfriend who was her best friend. It was nice but it never became a real relationship.

One of the big things about that time was alcohol. I didn’t see it as the poisonous, addictive and brain-cell eating drug that it was. I saw it as me being able to talk to girls and feel relaxed. The problem dogged me for a long time, when I was 20 some friends invited me camping and I hadn’t drank in 6 months. I thought that all at once I could just forget about my pills and go back to the party animal those friends once knew, but it ended in disaster so bad I don’t even want to continue. Simple lesson: Don’t mix medications or other drugs with alcohol.

To speak of another drug, there is of course pot. One time I went to a bar to see a band and got invited to a party that was going on after the show. I had been drinking a little but took a couple of hits on a joint and got excruciatingly paranoid and again made an ass of myself. My simple solution? I found 12-step meetings. I no longer go to them, but if you think you have a problem, even if you just drink a little and have a hard time not doing so and you are on medication, I endorse going to meetings fully. All the advice I would like to give is to try and get to one every day, look for a sponsor who has 5+ years of sobriety and to follow the literature you are given, read it until you have memorized it. I did that, and in the end of my meeting days shortly before my sponsor passed away, he said that we don’t have a cure for alcoholism or any addictions we are dealing with. We just have a daily reprieve based on the maintenance of our spiritual condition.

Now to get back to pills before I bore you too much, I just wanted to talk a little about over the counter pills. I want to mainly talk about sleep aids, but there are many more natural/herbal pills that have made a lot of claims. I am very unsure of a lot of them. One thing I take which I cleared with my Psychiatrist is Melatonin. It is a good sleep aid but often makes me sleep in late. I also have permission to take an occasional clonazepam/rivotril. This pill can help calm me down a lot, it is the newer version of valium that is supposed to be less addictive. Trouble is, the drug is still pretty addictive! At least once a week I stop taking it for a few days and the first day of that fast is usually spent sleeping. I really emphasize that any unnecessary pill should be considered very careful for interactions and such by you, on google, and by your doctor. The psychiatrists all pretty much know what they are doing and have the schooling and the vocabulary to look up pills in a CPS (compendium of pharmaceuticals and specialties). I should emphasize here something a lifeguard at my pool told me once (she was studying to be a doctor) She basically said to me that any kind of problem with any part of the human body is best deal with with exercise. I don’t exactly know how that works for every problem, but I do know that if you get a workout in each day you are definitely going to sleep better. Alcohol may get you to sleep but it blocks some of the sleep that renews and refreshes us. Well, that blog went on a lot longer than I thought! Thanks to everyone who has downloaded and read my new book!! Take care people, and as always if you would like to see a topic covered in this blog, please let me know.

Leif Gregersen


  1. You’re right Lief, alcohol and medication is a real no-no! I did it a few times and had no memory of the last part of the evening! Scary and luckily I was with my best friend/cousin, even tho’ she said I was fine, I’d eaten chips and walked home with her 😦

    Liked by 1 person

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