Wednesday, July 9, 2014

I slept though the Germany vs Brazil match!

The chlorpromazine diaries day 2 (...or is it 3?)

I am well aware that the effects of drugs are non-linear; drugs have quite different effects depending on how much you take and for how long.  A small amount of alcohol makes you relaxed, a bit more makes you disinhibited, and yet more makes you dangerously physically incapacitated. If you’re a regular heavy drinker the effects are different again. It isn’t as simple as relaxation  level 1, level 2,  level 3 or disinhibition level 1,  level 2, level 3.  So I wouldn’t presume that 100mg of chlorpromazine for three days is anything like – in intensity or in nature – the experience of people who take large doses for years.

Yesterday morning, after a second fabulous night’s sleep (about which more later), I presented my contribution to our symposium. I am no judge of my own performance, but I ran out of time… which either meant I had plenty to contribute, or that I repeated myself, or I was just less organised and careful than usual That aside, my day yesterday was one summarised by three words: OK, lethargic and fidgety.

For myself, I’m surviving just about OK on 100mg. But it’s… interesting. About a year ago, I had an episode of Stendhal’s syndrome (and yes, I know it’s a diagnostic label, I’m making a point) when visiting the British Museum. I wandered up to the Parthenon marbles, and felt tears welling up in my eyes when I realised that they actually know the name of the man who carved the famous (and very beautiful) horses. An emotional response to an image of beauty.

 Yesterday… the Louvre. One of the most magnificent museums in the world. And, don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the visit. It was… OK. But I did feel tired, and at one point nearly nodded off. To be honest, it was the idea of being pick-pocketed, rather than the Titians, that woke me up. Later, an excellent meal (with good wine) at a beautiful bistro… which was… OK. While all the time my bloody legs were doing St Vitus’ dance.

So I’m aware that taking 100mg for three days doesn’t necessarily tell you much about what it would be like to take a much larger dose for much longer. But I learned something. I could live with the lethargy and the fidgets. I seem to be able to work. But even at this dose, it would wear me down after a while. And if either – the lethargy or the akathisia – were to get significantly worse, that would prove a problem.  It would also be extremely unpleasant, leaving aside any possible effects on my health.

And if there’s an external benchmark for the medication-induced sleepiness, perhaps this is it. I lay down on my bed (still dressed) to watch the Germany vs Brazil game. You know? The one that surpassed all records and dished up a 7:1 victory. That one. The one I slept through after vaguely registering the first goal. I’m not the world’s greatest football fan, but I would have stayed awake for that one. 

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