So… here goes !
I’ve continued to be struck by the conflicting messages colleagues have posted about the idea that I might take chlorpromazine. Some appear to be saying that the adverse effects are trivial or mild – at least when set against the benefits for people experiencing psychosis. Other people seem to be saying that the drugs are hugely dangerous. Which is worrying, since so many people take them. Others point out that there is already plenty of documented literature on the adverse effects of these drugs. And some people continue to claim that “it’s different if you’re really ill”.
All of which illustrate the importance of the discussion, but none of which change my plans.
So why now?
The biggest issue affecting timing and practicalities was driving. I commute quite long distances for my work, and the dangers of ‘driving or operating machinery’ after having taken chlorpromazine struck me as great. Colleagues warned me not to drive, and falling asleep at the wheel scares me a lot. SO I wanted a few days (at least) when I didn’t have to drive.
Equally, I really wanted a few days when I didn’t have to work (too hard). If the medication suppresses my ability to work, I don’t want to let colleagues down –make mistakes in the supervision of colleagues or students, fail to attend to important decisions, pay insufficient attention to other people’s problems. And, since it’s good to be honest, I should confess that I wanted to avoid troubling my family.
A while ago, however, I had agreed to attend a conference in Paris – ICAP, the international congress of applied psychology – to participate in a symposium and meet with colleagues from EFPA (The European Federation of Psychologists’ Associations, where I have just started to convene the Board of Professional Development). For complicated reasons, I ended up having booked both my travel and my hotel before I knew the details of the scheduling of the conference. The result is that I have nearly a week in Paris, with no family commitments, only one symposium and a couple of informal meetings to attend, and no need to drive anywhere.
So… here goes…
I shall see, over the next few days, how the drugs affect me. I’m aware that it’s probably going to somewhat different, given that I’m in a (for me) foreign city. But it’s a city filled with wonderful experiences (normally) and at least one significant task (giving a symposium presentation in front of an audience of my peers). I think it will be interesting, at least, to see what the effects are. I’ll do – or at least I’ll try to do – what I normally do at conferences: meet with colleagues for dinner, attend conference sessions, see something of the city (and I have the Louvre, the Musé d'Orsay, Musé Cluny, Notre Dame on my doorstep, not to mention various cafés and restaurants). I’ll also – and this might prove a test – give a paper.
I’ll report back.