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Anosognosia Rears Its Ugly Head (Again) October 17, 2012

Posted by Crazy Mermaid in Hearing Voices, Insanity, mental illness.
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Anosognosia is the term for the most dangerous symptom of mental illness. It’s the belief that you’re not mentally ill and don’t need your meds.  I have been suffering  from this symptom a lot lately.  I have almost convinced myself that my diagnosis is a big mistake and that I don’t need my meds.  If I go off them, my memory and reasoning ability will return, as will my ability to get up at a reasonable hour. I will be employable once again, and because I’m so good at my job, I will easily find a position as a project manager and be back to my beloved profession, building buildings.  All of this is not possible while I’m on my meds.

I know consciously that going off my meds would be a bad idea, but because of this symptom, the concept seems perfectly reasonable.

Unlike many others, I have the sense to discuss my plan with my loved ones.

My sister, when confronted via phone with my idea, told me to open my copy of An Unquiet Mind by Kay Redfield Jamison. It’s a book where Jamison details out what it’s like to have a mental illness. My sister pointed out that Jamison, like me, convinced herself  that she’s the exception to the rule of needing her meds. In her book, she goes off them and repeats her cycle of mental illness, finally coming to terms with it and returning to her meds.  Reading that passage gave me doubts about going off my meds. Maybe that wasn’t the answer, but maybe it was.

If I stop taking my meds, the voice will probably- but not necessarily-return. But I’ve been hearing that voice for years, so it’s not a big deal. In my mind, it doesn’t mean I’m psychotic. I can manage to keep living in the “real” world without my medication as long as I can put up with a voice. My backup plan would be a return to the mental hospital if my psychotic state returned.

Bouncing this idea off my husband brought up a little problem.  If I went off my meds, and a voice returned, wouldn’t this mean I was psychotic again? he asked.  I disagreed. One voice doesn’t make you psychotic. But  if the definition of psychotic excludes hearing one voice, then how do I know when I’ve crossed the threshold into my definition of psychotic again?  How many voices and delusions does it take to be psychotic?  And would I recognize it if it was happening? Therein lies the problem.

Between my sister and my husband, I gave in to their logic and stayed on my meds.  But the battle never ceases.

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Comments»

1. larose7363 - October 22, 2012

Well, this blog really punched me in the stomach. Hello, a name for why I am delusional about medication and this mental illness. 38 years dealing with this illness and each year I figure out some unique aspect to this craziness!!!I finally through DBT radically accepted my diagnosis, to only be faced with the crazy delusions regarding taking medications for the illness.
I just had huge meltdown on the phone with my brother over the dying of my cousin who has brain tumor (blastoma). She is 47 and has a great husband, career, and two great sons 16 and 12. Why her…?
I am doing nothing, my kids are grown, my grandchildren don’t need me as their nanny anymore. All I ever do is humiliate them with my crazy bipolar Anosognosia. Stopping my medication to get “ME” back, focused, intelligent, organized and successful with relationships. (This person never really existed that is the delusion).

Wow, to put a name on something that has undermined my career, relationships, marriages, hopes, dreams the possibility of a life worth living.

Wow…just now this blog posts, right in the middle of me finishing another session of DBT (Dialectal Behavioral Therapy). Now going to county mental health facility every two weeks to understand my personality disorder, another aspect of the complexity of being mentally ill.

I can add this to my list…Bipolar, S.A.D.;Personality Disorder (narcissistic), insomniac/delusional; Anosognosiaiac.

Have you ever written me back?

2. indigorhythms - October 25, 2012

There are some people with Manic Depression who have only one or two episodes in their life time, so the issue is somewhat debatable… I have experienced a psychotic depressive episode that started two years ago and still persists today however the symptoms are much less severe. I took medication and hospitalized myself in the beginning but only took the medication briefly due to the high cost and annoying side effects.

3. Keri - November 7, 2012

Thank you for putting the name to this urge! You are a wonderful writer. I look forward to reading your memoirs.


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