Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Clear Headedness

Before I make another post, I want to update people on my health.

1. I no longer say things that don't make any sense.

2. I no longer think things that don't make any sense.

Several years ago my posts were describing a new phenomena.  It was a worsening of my illness.  Naturally I was alarmed, and I described the few incidents.

Since taking hormone replacement therapy for perimenopause the advancement of my illness has stopped and I have reverted to a much calmer place of peace of mind.  While I still have episodes of torment, well, I've always had those going back to childhood.  But most of the time now I am in a place of contentment.

Estrogen protects females from schizophrenia.

I am wearing an estrogen patch on my hip right now.  I have been using hormone treatment for the last year and a half.

Two bits of information made me seek hormone replacement therapy.  The first was a study by Japanese scientists I discovered online.  The Japanese found that schizophrenic women needed less medication during menopause if they were taking hormone replacement therapy.  Schizophrenic women who entered menopause without hormone replacement therapy eventually needed more medication.  This indicated to me that mental illness was exacerbated by menopause, and protection was given by hormone replacement therapy.  The second thing that made up my mind was an anecdote by my medication nurse.  She is near retirement, but when she was young she worked as a nurse in a psychiatric institution that warehoused the mentally ill.  I asked her what they did with female schizophrenics who had difficulty during perimenopause. She said the hospital put them on hormone replacement therapy.

In all, I did a lot of research about perimenopause and menopause on the internet.  I was starting to have classic signs that my body was changing and nearing menopause.  There were some scary first person accounts of husbands who watched helplessly as their wife's personalieties changed drastically.  While these women still were able to function in society, their behavior could be described as mentally ill.  Then there were the reverse stories from women in menopause who felt more confident and more serene.  However, it is cold hard fact that the suicide rate for women is the highest along the entry point of menopause, and that the divorce rate for couples is also the highest near the entry point of menopause.  Evidently, it is a time of great emotional upheaval.

My best friend is 53 and entered menopause when she was 50.  She is paranoid schizophrenic.  During perimenopause she described her cognitive abilities as sharpening, and the feeling that she was becoming very wide eyed and perceptive.  "I am thinking the best I've ever thought" was a comment she frequently made.  During perimenopause she only needed a slight increase in her anti-depressant medication for sudden depressive episodes and crying boughts.  When menopause was official she rejoiced.  However, this last year her schizophrenia worsened.  It was heartbreaking to watch.  She became terrified and tormented by paranoid thoughts.  Her pain was profound.  Her world was so very dark and cruel to her.  I have known her for about 25 years and she has never been so unhappy.  And I thought, like the Japanese women in menopause who are unprotected by hormone therapy, she is going to need more medication.  And that was the outcome.  She is now on more medication.  Because of this medication increase she has very little energy.  She is very sedated.  But I understand, and she understands, that there is no other way to live.  She has to accept the medication because she could not survive the Hell-On-Earth that her delusions made her live through.  Her voices are still very cruel, they tell her cruel stories of how people are whispering behind her back insulting, demeaning, and mocking her.  Every morning she reads the Bible and prays.  She tells me that the one prayer, said every morning, is she wants God to help her ignore the voices and not react to the viciousness of other people.  Pretty much, she thinks the voices are accurate.  She feels people giving her stares and negative attitude every day.  But she prays that she not react.  That she can ignore them.  Even, perhaps, to smile at the people who hate her.

Do people know that a paranoid schizophrenic would pray, every morning, for such a thing?   A mind assaulted by persecution wishes to turn away and be quiet.

My new physician is an older woman.  She entered menopause when she was 40.  And she has been on hormone replacement therapy for 21 years.  She told me that research done by Duke University proposed that estrogen delivery by the patch, as opposed to a pill, does not create health complications like cancer.  My doctor said that breast cancer runs in her family.  Yet she has no intention of stopping the hormone treatment.  I told her that she must feel the benefits of the hormones outweighs the risks.

Her advice to me, after hearing the story of a worsening, then reversal of my illness, is that I stay on hormone treatment for the rest of my life.

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