It’s no secret that I have been diagnosed with a mental health disorder called paranoid schizophrenia in November 2018 (at age of 35) when I experienced my first episode and was taken to a mental health hospital for several weeks.
Unfortunately I didn’t “believe” in medication / drugs treatment, so I didn’t take it and experienced severe episode in May 2019 where I lost memory for 3 weeks, was in a very poor shape which required two nurses to look after me, and stayed in a mental health hospital for 3 months.
I had to take high dosage of medication to return to reality and unfortunately that came with severe side effects as well.
When I came out I was not able to function at all, I was not able to watch TV, I had a slow motion effect that made it very exhausting to watch anything, I couldn’t read anything, talk to people for more than a minute or even walk for more than 2 minutes. I was like a zombie, and of course any kind of return to work was out of the question, which started to give me thoughts like, will I be like that forever, is my normal life over, how will I support my wife and our small baby and how much time do I have before I run out of money on my savings, credit cards and overdrafts.
Fortunately dosage of my medication was reduced and I started to feel a bit better, my wife found supplement for me and gave me ginko biloba which for me was a jackpot! It turns out this is one of the main supplement used in China to help with schizophrenia and cognitive problems, and after several weeks I started to feel better and could function normally for several hours a day. This was the time I decided to write a book “A Career with Microsoft Power BI” which was a very interesting experience. Unfortunately I didn’t realize at the time it was the supplement and I stopped taking it and all my cognitive problems started to return.
In November 2019 I was running out of money on credit cards / overdrafts and decided to try working again, I was still in poor shape, slept most of the time and could handle only several hours of activities a day, but I did not have much choice.
After two months I secured a new contract and traveled to London to start it, and it was extremely difficult to keep up, after two weeks I reduced my medication so I could cope with work and it helped a little bit.
My biggest problem was lack of focus / concentration, and 16h a day sleep, but I managed to somehow survive.
During 2020 I decided to look for solutions, so I changed my psychiatrist who didn’t want to change my medication, and found out from other psychiatrist that current dosage I take is too small to prevent another episode, which they call minimal effective dosage, so I decided to try two things, different medications and try various supplements, unfortunately psychiatrists don’t specialize in supplements so I had limited choice and was just checking if I can take those that I found on pubmed website where they publish research related to things like schizophrenia treatment with supplements.
After trying different medication I found a new one, but I still had problems with sleep 15-16h a day and cognitive problems and as I had a bit more work at the time I decided to go without medication for a week and turned out my sleep and cognitive problems have not improved, but it did confirm that the new medication I was on was not causing me these problems so I decided to take a proper dosage.
I was thinking why did I feel better at the end of 2019 than I feel in 2021 and I reminded myself that I was taking ginko biloba so I started taking it again and after a week I started to feel better, and took it more regularly, major improvement came in April 2021 when I started to look into my sleep problems and I diagnosed myself with idiopathic hypersomnia and that led me to investigate nootropics which are supplements or medication specializing in improvement cognitive functions.
It turned out ginko biloba was a main ingredient for many supplements and I decided to go with a new one called Focus Elite and it worked! This new supplement had x2 more ginkgo biloba + other supplements and after a few days of taking it my sleep has reduced to 10h-11h a day and my cognitive functions have improved considerably.
I’m at a point where I function fairly normally, it’s not ideal yet, but is way better that what it used to be. I have also discovered that apparently #1 nootropic is a drug called modafinil, I contact my psychiatrist in Poland but he said they don’t sell it in Poland and there is a risk of higher dopamine which I need to be careful of, and was advised to contact a psychiatrist is the UK where this drug is sold. I’m still waiting for a referral to a psychiatrist from my GP but at this point in time I think I may try modafinil for a short period of time and see if there is any improvement and if I experience any unwanted effects, I already checked positive research reviews (pubmed) for modifinil and schizophrenia and in the USA it’s approved by FDA to treat idiopathic hypersomnia and similar conditions.
During my recovery, I haven’t mentioned it, but I tried psychotherapy (EFT/Havening/Other variations) and CBT. I gave up on CBT after several sessions as I could not see any improvement, but I continued with psychotherapy similar to EFT (emotional freedom technique) and that worked for me quite well, to I point where I stopped havening running thoughts which was a problem for many many years, although I’ll just mention I have used EFT/Havening for a number of years myself and the private session seems to be just a final touch.
Today (May 2021) I feel like I have a normal life with schizophrenia, I still have about 2 years on medication, and then I can try to live with schizophrenia without medication and see how that goes. My cognitive function have improved considerably, and there is still hope for an improvement with modafinil or something else so I’ll experiment with it a bit.
I decided to spend a bit of my time on my plans to start doing consulting business in my forte which is Power BI (data visualization tool) and recently I got a recommendation and got a small extra project which my team member is working on with me which is great news for me as I hope I can grow my business, now that I actually have the energy and possibilities to do it.
Recently (April ’21) I also did a webinar “Financial Freedom Power BI Dashboard” with over 200 attendees and I contact other user groups to do the same session over the next few months, so I should keep myself fairly busy now.
I do hope I can live a normal life with schizophrenia, and time will show if I can.