The Place Where Laughter and Concern Meet

I couldn’t write yesterday. Things got a little easier in the afternoon, but I’ve been having an extremely odd time starting to ramp up on quetiapine (Seroquel). 

The word people keep dropping when they ask how things are going on this front is zombie. As in;

Are you a zombie yet?

Quetiapine, a rather intense antipsychotic, has a reputation for a certain level of zombification. I can’t say I know for sure what that means, but I was hoping that starting small and working my way up would help combat this effect.

I started with the teensiest of amounts (12.5 mg) a week ago on Sunday, and what I found was that I quickly became totally ridiculous. Was I a zombie? I don’t think so… but I will admit to having done the following:

  1. I started last week by waking up and intending to make some eggs. Somewhere between point A (thinking, “mmm, eggs might be good,”) and point C (eating the eggs) I got lost. Before I could realize what was happening I was standing over the stove with cracked, oozy eggs in my hands and no pans or dishes anywhere near me! Errr… oops!
  2. By wednesday I mailed a father’s day card two weeks early because I couldn’t (for the life of me) figure out what day it was.
  3. A little later in the week I went to take Luna out for her afternoon walk and couldn’t figure out why my headphones weren’t working. Well, I was trying to plug the dog’s leash into the headphone jack instead of the headphones. Ouch!
  4. I was feeling a bit better (and a bit smarter) later in the week until having a long conversation with a couple police detectives and having to admit I could not recall when I worked last or what job I had. The detective tried to console me by saying, “oh, if it’s been like 5 or 6 years that is natural,” but it has definitely been less than half that time.

As amusing as I was finding these comical situations, I’ve began to feel increasingly concerned. Was I becoming stupid? Was I engaging in some kind of bargain with the devil? If so (and I considered this next bit with grave seriousness) would trading intelligence for stability give me a happier life?

By Sunday night at the end of that week (a few nights ago) I scoffed at the thought of myself flailing in such an odd existential conundrum. Things appeared to be back to normal at that point -with the exception of thinking it would be a great idea to drink some nesquick 9 years past the expiration date. Ok. Maybe I was still having some issues getting from where I was to where I wanted to go, it seems to be all those actions in the middle that are getting scrambled by the quetiapine.

12 hours later (yesterday, Monday) I sat down to try and blog. Not only was I sick as a dog (from drinking that exceptionally past-due beverage) I had doubled my dosage of quetiapine in the night. The lines between the dreams I’d had the night before and reality were completely blurred. Every post I began writing took on a life of its own, traveling somewhere I didn’t intend to take it. I didn’t have control over what was coming out, and that is when I always try to put writing on hold.

I didn’t break any eggs or try to plug a leash into my iphone but I did provide some of my lovely neighbors with an interesting show when I took Luna out for her walk. I put my keys in my pocket, but within 90 seconds I couldn’t remember where I put my keys (or even if I had them!). I panicked and began spazzing out, patting myself all over and furiously looking through my bag to try and find said keys. The neighbors found this display particularly comical, and though I agree the simple act sent me right back to that point of concern.

I don’t mind being that person everyone else is laughing at. For most of my life, I’ve been that person anyway -first by accident, then on purpose when I found I could make it work to my favor. My main concern about my seemingly newfound inability to rationally think things all the way through before doing them is one of safety. Frankly, I already knowingly drank some seemingly poisonous chocolate milk, how long before I really do lock myself out -or (even worse) forget to lock things up completely and come back later to a ransacked apartment?

At this point I can tell I am acting differently. If my mind is normally a stadium filled with all manner of people screaming and cheering (with half the fans angry at the home team for scoring and half elated by it) what I have now is a completely empty stadium with players who can’t remember how to play.

My anxiety seems to have improved, but only because I can’t seem to remember anything long enough to keep worrying about it. This has been helpful in a sense, but has generally left me in that situation where I couldn’t find my keys. It feels like waking up constantly and not being able to remember exactly what I’m doing.

Will that go away once I get accustomed to the medication? I couldn’t say, this is a place I’ve never been before. Since I have so few options left in the realm of medication to try I feel inclined to keep going and see where this takes me. After all, by this point with most medications I’ve tried I’ve had rashes and weird swollen glands and uncontrollable diarrhea, even headaches that went on for weeks. Right now my physical side effects are so minimal (tiredness) that putting up with some general stupidity and confusion might be the least of my worries.

So, apologies if I’ve left your comments unanswered. I am in that place where I’m hardly eeking through the day, and I’ve only been deemed a minimal amount of brain power. Hopefully later on this week I’ll be feeling better, in the meantime I need to take it easy.

11 responses to “The Place Where Laughter and Concern Meet

  1. I’ve been taking 100 mg/night of quetiapine since last fall because I started having agitated, severe insomnia and I needed a powerful med to nip that in the bud, or else I’d wind up back at the hospital. It has helped me tremendously with my sleep, which helps me with just about everything else in my life. I’ve been able to be creative on it and feel like myself. It’s *definitely* not a perfect drug for me by any means.

    I plan to taper to 75 and then 50 mg at some point this summer because I’m tired in the morning, but not alarmingly so as I’ve been with other meds in the past where I was a zombie…also, I’ve been told by smarter people than yours truly that it’s not great to take it long-term due to its affect on the body. Anyhooo – thinking of you and I hope that you feel much better ASAP!!!! Sorry about that nasty-ass expired Nesquick -yuckkkkk!

  2. When I was on Seroquel, I once almost burned the house down (ok, twice). I was making pasta and sat down “for just a minute” only to wake up to smoke detectors blaring and charred pasta on the stove. Another time, at work, I put out my cigarette but it wasn’t all the way out, and the whole butt can set on fire and filled the garage with smoke.

    It took a long time of playing around with various meds before I finally found a med regime with bearable side effects. learned to ask myself, “are the benefits worth the side effects?”

    Hope you start feeling better as your body adjusts. Just wanted to let you know that you’re not alone.


  3. Seroquel saved my life! Sleep. Stable. No way would I give it up. Hope you have the same results.

  4. Oh I understand all too well what you going through. I somehow got myself up to 100mgs last year but weaned myself off again for a few months a while ago. Turns out I really do need to take it so started on 25mgs again last week and it’s like I have no brain. I was suppose to write an exam last week only to realise the evening before the test that I had studied for the wrong subject. Also had to take a day off work because of nausea. Today I was 2 hours late for work because I overslept completely. I also got the days confused and was late for a meeting. I then had to catch a plain and although I actually made that on time, I forgot to print out my docs and didn’t know where I was staying, when my meetings are or how to get from one place to another. Quite frankly, how I still have a job and haven’t forgotten myself somewhere is beyond me.

  5. I hope you make it through the next few days ok. Wow, what if you would have drank Drano or something thinking it was lemonade! Scary! But hey, at least you’re not a zombie, right!

  6. Nice blog and funny post.
    I’m borderline bipolar and can relate, only thing I’m on is methylphenidate

  7. Going off seroquel was my big mistake. I took a lot of it for a long time. A long acting, short acting, plus prn’s. Anyway, in my own experience, i found they take awhile to adjust to but I did in a couple weeks. Always took at night until fully adjusted . The small doses (12.5-50) are tolerable to some in the day, but most people take it all at night. I took mine before all the others so I wouldn’t wake up groggy. If I had to be up at 8am, I would be sure to take them by 8 pm the previous night. Seroquel does help a lot for some peeps. Good luck 🙂

    • I have definitely been sleeping better, and though I am a little groggy in the morning that has been getting less and less the longer I have been taking it. Thanks!

  8. Your life seems like a real-life “Memento”. I’m guessing you’ve talked to you pdoc about your symptoms. You’re between a rock and a hard place being treatment resistant but your safety is defintely at risk. Hopefully as with the grogginess, those other symptoms will lessen over time. {{hugs}}

  9. Pingback: My Seroquel Journey & Questioning Reality | bi[polar] curious

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