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Confused thoughts, lapses in concentration, inability to focus, psychotic episodes.  These are all common to my mental health and have been for years.

Can I claim that I am generally on top of them and able to manage well probably not but I can claim that I generally do cope quite well and that thankfully these all do seem to be episodic rather than continuous in my case.

Of course sometimes they come in pairs or all together and sometimes it is hard to differentiate between them.

To make it slightly more confusing and even more fun (not) I have several medical conditions some of which share the same or similar symptomatology and thus I am often unable to determine which medical condition is causing a medical symptom when it flares up or becomes more extreme.

I am of course not alone in any of these and I am sure that many readers will relate to what I am saying in respect of either the psychiatric side of things, the medical side of things or both.

Today I was scheduled to see the Psychiatrist and given the fact that I am on Risperdal and since the makers of Risperdal – Johnson & Johnson have just been slapped with a $1.2 billion fine by and judge over in Arkansas, USA when a jury found the company’s officials misled doctors and patients about the risks of the drug, I was keen to discuss whether or not I should be taking it.

Interestingly, I didn’t actually see one of the on-duty psychiatrists (that’s how it works over here in Ireland it seems, or at least the part I live in, you never see the same psychiatrist just whoever is on duty at that time) but instead saw the Consultant.

It seems that the Consultant reviews patients treatments on a regular basis and this time it was my turn.  “Bonus” I thought. [I confess to being able to have little to no confidence in seeing a different psychiatrist each and every time.]

But he took one look at me and realized things were not good.  Several minutes later and he and I were talking and whilst he hadn’t heard of the Johnson and Johnson fine did have major concerns about be having been on Risperdal in the first place. HIs comment, “I am changing you from Risperdal to Abilify as you should never have been on Risperdal in the first place”, did I have to admit, concern me somewhat.

But what concerned me even more were his facial and verbal expressions when he realized from my file that I had a serious heart condition and was on Effexor.  “What on earth are you doing on Effexor?  No one should be on Effexor and especially on that much with a heart condition such as yours.” really was quite disconcerting. HE has therefore taken me off of Effexor and put me on Cymbalta.

So in terms of my Psychiatric ailments I have a new drugs regime to follow and will of course have to go through the whole weaning on and finding the right dosage process.

But I have to confess that I am relieved as I have been very concerned about how dark my thoughts have been lately and also about my additional withdrawal from things and people and also the way I have been responding to situations. (Although I have tried to keep this in check I promise.)

In terms of my medical ailments well just as with my mental health my physical health also poses some confusion with cross over symptomatology etc.  And certainly this has been the case for a few weeks now.  I have a serious heart condition – one which means my heart does not work anywhere as effectively as the average joe’s and I also have Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome and on top of this I have both problems sleeping and Severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

All of these conditions can lead to (among other things) a feeling of tiredness and fatigue and so when I came down will extreme fatigue some weeks back I simply put it down to one of these.

When they continued but were then accompanied with general viral infection come flu-like symptoms, I loaded up with general over-the-counter meds and thought that it would solve it.  But although they did at first seem to be responding, they soon came back with a vengeance.

So today (several weeks of over-the-counter meds later) since I was due to  go into town to see my Psychiatrist anyway, I thought I would make an appointment with my Doctor.

The good news is that I was right I did have some sort of viral infection but the bad news is that it was pretty severe and so over-the-counter meds wouldn’t touch it.

I have now, however got a prescription for my new psychiatric meds and a course of strong antibiotics designed to attack the infection along with two or three other things designed to manage or at least reduce the symptoms.

Were some of the medical symptoms down to my normal stuff? Without doubt, but the severity of them is no doubt down to the added viral infection.

I can honestly say, and feel able to admit now, that I have for some weeks now been totally confused by what has been going on with me both mentally and physically.  But more importantly I do at last feel that today I have some clarity amidst the confusion.