21Schizm Horizontal

Lack of Productivity During Episodes of Psychosis

I woke up today, but I did not do much else, strictly because of my voices. My productivity was kaput. Well you may say, yeah I have an inner voice too, that may be true, but there is a stark difference.

When I say hear voices, They are a clear and defined third party, A third party that does not always have my best interests in mind. These voices are also known as auditory hallucinations, one of many negative symptoms found in psychotic disorders. We’ll go into detail about this a little later.

This Article is NOT Advice! It is Only my Experience with Psychosis

Although I am addressing mental illness, this article is only meant to showcase some of the psychotic symptoms that I myself have had to endure due to schizophrenia. This is how it affects me and some things one might expect when dealing with psychotic disorders.

Now What About the Past Two Months?

But now back to me not doing much else for today. Strangely enough, this follows a pattern that I have had to deal with for the last two months. Yes I have been out of the hospital for over a year now, which is a personal record by the way. Woohoo! But for the last 2 months I have not been productive per se.

What Happened?

So life was actually looking up for the first time in a while. I had launched a podcast and a mental health website focused on destigmatizing mental illness, in the process I authored a good amount of articles (21SCHIZM). I was running 3 miles a day and lifting weights at least twice a week. In terms of coping, my mental health professionals claimed me to be on the right track. So what happened?

Photo by krakenimages on Unsplash productivity
Photo by krakenimages on Unsplash

Actually Not Much Happened, It Felt Like a Lot Though

Well actually not much to be honest with you. Except somehow that third party that only I was aware of, hijacked all of my progress. This meant a complete halt to my website work, running, lifting weights and most of my generally productive behaviors.

Why Can’t You Just do the Opposite of What the Voices Say?

And before you ask No it is not as easy as just doing the opposite of what the voices in my head say. This third party sometimes takes full control of my body. Resistance quite literally is futile.

Now How Does This Make You Feel?

This part of mental health is very discouraging. I feel like I’m constantly playing catch up with my goals. The fact that I am not meeting my own ambitions says something about me and also about my mental health condition.

Photo by Mark Williams on Unsplash productivity
Photo by Mark Williams on Unsplash

It Makes Me Feel, Well, Bad

It says that I’m not as well as I would like to be. It says that mental health conditions are not some made up or fictional cry for help. It says that mental illness is not some bogeyman that does not exist.

The Truth is My Goals Have Never Seemed Further Away

In all honesty it makes everything worse because the work just keeps piling and piling and piling up. Believe me I had dreams too but the menace behind mental illness strikes fear into even the most diligent of people. I would not wish it upon anyone.

What Else Does My Illness Say About the State of Mental Health?

It says that this should be a major problem in the discussion of modern day discourse. Additionally, mental illness is comprehensive and far reaching in its grip. It effects any and everyone it chooses to. This is not just something that effects those around you as it could even attack you.

Photo by Finn on Unsplash productivity
Photo by Finn on Unsplash

Now What are Auditory Hallucinations?

Backtracking to the topic of auditory hallucinations. In essence people like me hear voices that don’t necessarily have an external source. In my case these hallucinations go a step further and assume full motor control. Unfortunately, this out of many psychotic symptoms, receives quite a bit of skepticism, even from my medical professionals. Bottom line is, this part of mental health conditions is tough.

More Reasons to Feel Bad

Sadly I haven’t been happy with my current output or overall productivity. This is very much due to the voices of psychosis onset and the reasoning behind my unhappiness is due to something many others have to deal with. The lack of cash. We all know money doesn’t equal happiness. However we also know it sure does help.

Photo by Emil Kalibradov on Unsplash productivity
Photo by Emil Kalibradov on Unsplash

I Did Say No Advice But Sorry, I do Have Some Suggestions

One piece of advice I always give is don’t compare yourself to others, think about how much and what you need to be satisfied. Comparing yourself to others is others is ridiculous because we all have such different circumstances.

What if You Needed $1000, Pronto?

While it’s not something that comes easily to everyone. One thing to consider that most overlook is the question “If you were pressed to make $1000 in the next month what would you do?”

Believe in Your Own Worth

The first thing you would probably do is weigh the value of your skills. After doing that you would most likely think about ways you can possibly monetize that skill. After that you would put the method to action.

The Market For Your Talent

However, sometimes marketing that skill comes with what one may consider as obstacles. If you are at a lost about finding a source of income sites like upwork.com and fiverr.com might help.

My Psychosis Keeps Me From Happiness

Sometimes just feeling useful satisfies that longing for more that keeps many from happiness. In my case, psychotic symptoms have ceased both my ability to be self-sustaining, i.e money and the production of my main outlet for productivity i.e my website.

Photo by Krišjānis Kazaks on Unsplash productivity
Photo by Krišjānis Kazaks on Unsplash

Maybe My Psychosis is On to Something

To this day I still have no solution for this particular portion of my mental health. I find myself asking questions about my own mental health. What exactly are the motivations and benefits behind these psychotic symptoms or the voices halting of work?

Introducing, Ocular Gyrate

The only semblance of a benefit that I have noticed is the lack of a certain side effect. This side effect being ocular gyrate. This occurs alongside certain antipsychotic medications. In my case, this symptom causes my eyes to stray upward and often stay fixed there. This often happens for hours at a time and only after I focus on a single event or act for more than one hour.

Photo by Tachina Lee on Unsplash productivity
Photo by Tachina Lee on Unsplash

When Do These Clinical Symptoms or Side Effects, Effect Me?

The eye movement and inner voice that I referenced also occur in tandem with the consumption of entertainment. The inner voice only allows me the chance of watching a certain few shows a week.

Hey Voice, What’s The Method To Your MAdness?

The selectivity of this detail is actually, well selective. To the extent that it suggests certain shows over others, without any source or prompt. Or it will only allow me to listen to certain musical artists over others.

Hello! Is Anyone In There?

Really it is like having a whole other person with different preferences talking to you throughout the day. Except no one else can hear it, of course and every now and then the voices get a little edgy.

What I Mean by Edgy

By edgy, I’m referencing mostly things in the past but also some present hindrances. In the past the voices had me doing things like streaking stark naked throughout my brother’s apartment or jumping out of moving cars.

My Boots Weren’t Made For Walking, That’s Just What They Do

I walked miles and miles with no apparent destination thanks to the voices. From West Detroit to East Detroit and vice versa. No amount of distance could deter the voices from their intentions. I was and am still completely at their mercy.

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash productivity
Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Leave Me Alone!

In the present or as of late the voices spare no expense in making me feel lesser or in danger. The voices attack me by saying that I’m focused on the wrong issues or even things as drastic as the ones who I love or care about will suffer fatal or lethal incidents, thereby ending their lives and our relationships.

I’m a Genius! (Sarcasm)

These things occur or are said after the voices challenge me with random trivia questions. They ask me to identify the titles and artists behind certain songs or trivia questions about Television shows. If answer incorrectly the attacks begin, if answered correctly more questions follow.

Yes, I do Get Run of the Mill Depression From My Psychosis

As if my lack of productivity were not enough I also have issues where the voices cause deep depressive symptoms. Thankfully these voices that cause depression and poor functioning only last for a few hours and oftentimes occur alongside the rapid eye movement.

Any Depression is Bad Depression

Regardless, any depression is bad depression and honestly can cause times where the productivity I’ve achieved dulls in comparison. I mean what good is productivity when you can’t indulge in positive behaviors on the side.

What I do to Fight Depression

When the voices get louder and depression starts to creep in, I find the best method of fending off depression to be seeking comfort in family or trying to sleep.

Photo by Joey Pilgrim on Unsplash productivity
Photo by Joey Pilgrim on Unsplash

I Feel Like My Own Body is Not Even Mine

Still one can see that not being able to control something as simple as one’s own eyes can cause frustration. Well maybe not see but understand, haha. Not being able to control your own bodily functions is a reality of mental illness.

When it Pours, it Pours. I Apologize for the Pun, it was Too Easy

I’ve seen it at the worst ends of the spectrum and to a lesser extent even in my own mental health. I mean I have witnessed moments of grown people urinating on themselves in public and also extreme crying spells in public.

In Terms of the Spectrum, I May be On the Higher End, In Terms of Cognitive Functioning

Fortunately, my mental health at this point registers me at either average or higher functioning. Regardless what good is function without product. Not much, except for the prospect of staying out of the psych ward.

What I Actually do in Hospitals

On the topic of inpatient hospitalizations. Somehow the effects of psychosis cause lapses in certain parts of my identity and positives in other parts of functional outcome. In the past I know that I’ve attempted to workout in hospitals as a means of coping, staying entertained and managing psychotic symptoms in the hospital. This consisted of sit-ups and push ups and simple walking laps around the campus.

Photo by Fortune Vieyra on Unsplash
Photo by Fortune Vieyra on Unsplash

Who Works Out In a Psych Ward? Raises Hand

There I was likening my inpatient experience to something akin to incarceration. I mean come on working out in a psych ward. At least it was one of few healthy behaviors I engaged in during inpatient dedicated to my recovery process. In later hospitalizations, the voices absolutely forbade me from continuing in the process of achieving GAIINZZ.

Eating Good In the Psych Ward

Another part of my routine that benefitted over time during inpatient was my diet. During my earlier hospitalizations I had to endure certain psychotic episodes that I called the hunger games challenges. This caused me to involuntarily abstain from eating certain meals. Later on however, my diet during hospitalizations fared even better than my outpatient statuses.

What Did I Say About Higher Function? Is This a Retraction?

In terms of negatives my thought processes or cognitive performance were far from beneficial. I refused to take antipsychotic medication as per my voices. My hygiene care through means of things like brushing teeth fell to the wayside. In short I was not functioning right. I did not need to compare myself to my peers to understand that something was not right.

The Past Year has Been, Great I Mean Maybe Besides The Past Two Months

In terms of my outpatient experiences prior to this previous year outside of the hospital, my life has pretty much been trash. I was in and out of hospitals for almost 10 years. I was engaging in self destructive behaviors such as fights, attempting to runaway and etc.

Photo by Maddi Bazzocco on Unsplash
Photo by Maddi Bazzocco on Unsplash

My Mental Illness Today

In terms of my life today, a lot has changed though I do not have much to show for it. I definitely have established a healthy baseline. I cope with my issues but still suffer from a bit of relenting from illness.

Severe Negative Symptoms

I find it hard to read, or do things as easy as flossing. These days I find myself getting out of bed around 12 and wandering around the house for the better part of 12 hours. Man do I feel lazy. I just can’t seem to get anything done. When I find the time to work, my progress only lasts for short bursts of time because as I said earlier working for an hour or longer often causes the eye movement symptom.

Mental Health Services

My mental health professionals have tried tweaking my antipsychotic treatment just a bit over these past two months. For the eye movement issue, my doctor has adjusted my side effect medicine, Cogentin with what may have actually worked.

I’m Pessimistic About The Source of Symptom Improvement

I’m kind of hesitant to attribute any improvement to prescribed medicine due to my past. When you have been in and out of hospitals like me, you know better than to believe in some miracle cure.

Psychotic Symptoms Are Random

Also my doctor lessened the Haldol and increased the Clozaril to fight off the voices. The major difference here being the lack of productivity. Once again I don’t want to attribute the lack of productivity to the meds, because psychosis and the relevant medical conditions are so random. Still with all these meds I’m tired throughout the day even when I sleep for a long period of time.

My Antipsychotic Medication Does Effect My Cognitive Functioning

The fact that I sleep at least 12 hours a day also doesn’t help. Though this is mostly due to the antipsychotic treatment or medicine. Even if I switched up my sleep schedule I don’t think the current state of mental health or voices would allow for much to get done.

What is My Functional Outcome?

This slump or illness course also has affected my physical health. Not being able to run has translated into higher blood pressure and a higher heart rate. Though physical appearance has managed to stay mostly the same. The voices that I hear also force me to skip certain meals, especially breakfast. This compares terribly to the diet I follow in hospitals.

What’s Food Got to do With It?

This brings me to another question. Why are certain meals and foods okay compared to others? The only answer I have arrived at highlights the environment as the culprit, i.e hospital vs home.

Photo by Alex Haney on Unsplash
Photo by Alex Haney on Unsplash

I’m Fighting These Negative Symptoms, I Swear

One strange way I try to increase productivity, is by actually talking to my voices out loud. This is done usually when the voices are extremely persistent and active. I ask them things like why are they so set on particular bits. Such as why this TV show is better than another or similar strings, etc. I often find this as some sorts of progress, by getting the unsaid to be said. Although it doesn’t lead to much else. At least it shows effort and progress in what some may perhaps call a therapeutic pursuit.

Make The Meals Count

The state of my current mindset has caused me to seek out more methods of being more productive. Instead of pursuing goals like like losing or gaining weight. I’ve sought to maintain progress by attempting to eat clean. I may not be able to eat when and what I want, but that little input I do have goes toward making the meals count.

Not the Cardio I Want, But May be the Cardio I Need

That means healthy snacks and portions. Occasionally my parents will ask to take walks with me, which gets me out in the open ai r or nature and my heart pumping. It’s not the cardio I want but maybe it’s the cardio I need. Maybe a way to develop gradually.

Sometimes I Can’t Think For Myself Due to Cognitive Deficits

It’s hard to believe but sometimes the voices do not even allow me standard cognitive functioning or ability of thinking of anything relevant to work, so this is something where my persistence is key. Eventually I catch the voices slacking and arrive at some dialogue or conception with the purpose of furthering my website goals and functional outcome.

Differences I’ve Noticed in Productivity in Inpatient and Outpatient Settings

All this considered, you may ask what exactly is different in mental health and functional outcomes from the times that you are actually in the hospital and how productivity stagnates in the two settings.

My Relationships Suffer Either Way Thanks to Psychosis

First off my friendships and family relationships suffer as consequence of being in the hospital. I mean I missed one of my best friend’s weddings by going to the hospital. With this same friend, I also found myself imposing on him and trying to run away from my family to stay at his place during a psychotic episode. Both of these issues strain any relationship and one occurred while in the hospital and the other obviously while outpatient.

Photo by Jed Villejo on Unsplash
Photo by Jed Villejo on Unsplash

The 21st Century Schizoid Man is Alright

No one knows why it happens, but there are a few things I do know. I for one know it does happen. I know the voices have slowly tapered in terms of the outrageous nature of actions and commands. I know there is proof behind my recovery. And finally I do know that I have been out of the hospital for over a year, the longest since diagnosis. All these factors taken into account, I guess you could say I’m doing alright. But those of us with mental health disorders and issues know when we get the chance we are a force to reckon with.

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