13

April

Adventures with Priadel

Tuesday April 13, 2021


Priadel, I see, is about to be discontinued in April. Having been on a low dose of this drug for over twenty years, I have to thank the medication for allowing me to live an interesting and full life during that time.

Throughout this period I was able to teach in a number of schools including a famous girls public school and as Head of Physics in a comprehensive school in Cornwall. This last was my downfall when I succumbed to a nervous breakdown and had to retire from teaching. A small pension gave me the chance to do some serious sailing and I eventually found myself visiting some remote islands in the South Pacific on a cruising yacht. What a revelation these isolated communities gave me. Sometimes they’re numbered less than fifty inhabitants living by subsistence on fishing and home grown crops. I have written a book “Drifting Away” which describes my seven years living with Bipolar on a sailing yacht travelling halfway round the world.

Eventually the onset of kidney disease meant I had to give up Priadel and return to England. Subsequently I tried to manage without any medication and as usual with Bipolar I suffered long stretches of depression with brief manic periods. I was nervous of any other medication because of side effects.

My GP tried to persuade me to go to a psychiatric hospital. When I refused I was arrested by the police and taken to the nearest police station. They took me to a police cell and locked me in. This was the procedure in those days and it was very frightening on my own in my confused state. Seven hours later a police surgeon came to interview me in the cell to try to persuade me to accept my illness and need to go to a psychiatric hospital. In the middle of the night I was transferred to a cage at the back of a police van, being transported to the local hospital, Cold East.

Now it was very obvious to me that admitting myself voluntarily would avoid being sectioned. Having a room to myself with locked windows, I refused all medication and was mercifully not forced to take any. By this time, after all the stress I had been subjected to, my mood flipped becoming manic with some psychotic symptoms. Although still ill the doctors must have thought there was no point in keeping me in hospital, my having refused treatment. They gave me a prescription for a drug, olanzapine, hoping I would change my mind.

I went to the local council and said I was going to be homeless. That day, after a long interview, when they ascertained from my doctor that I was mentally ill, they found me a static caravan in Warsash to stay in. By then my mood reverted to depression again and I finally took the medication. I’m now on Quetiapine and Aripiprazole and I’ve never felt so well.

Jacqueline
A Moodscope member.

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