Mystery of the Missing Medicine

Can missing one dose really cause all this?

by Matt Coot

I have a drug regimen to control my mental health problem. I take a combined dose of anti-depressant and anti-psychotic in an attempt to stabilise the messed up levels in my brain. The thing is, last night, I may have accidentally missed a dose of Quetiapine. Since then, everything has been just a little bit weirder than normal.

First up, I couldn’t sleep. I wasn’t tired. Not in the slightest, not at all, not even one tiny yawn of sleepiness. Nothing. Nada. Nil. This was a type of wakefulness that counting sleep wouldn’t help. It was a type of wakefulness that included random dancing along to any rhythmic sound, whilst sitting up in bed in complete darkness. It included digging around under my bed to find a notebook and an elusive pen so that I could, first, write a poem and, second, draft the opening to the next chapter of my novel. It also included making porridge at a ridiculous time of night before switching on Netflix to watch the complete second season of Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, which, by the way, was fantastic and possibly better than the first season. It also included reading a chapter of Stella Rimington’s At Risk spy novel. Anyway, if you haven’t taken the hint, sleep was far too elusive.

When the morning came along, my brain was racing but at a speed that was far too fast. I couldn’t keep up. It was jumping from one idea to the next and then to the next, at a supersonic speed that meant working on any task – like researching and drafting an article on Brexit, or typing up the draft of the chapter that I had scruffily handwritten during the night – was completely impossible to do.

So, what have I been doing? Good question. It doesn’t have a good answer. You see, one of my issues is the compulsion to scratch, dig, and pick at parts of my skin until they bleed. Sometimes I don’t even stop when the bleeding starts and it becomes an absolute mess. Anyway, my scalp has been a particular target lately. Trenches have been dug across the battleground of my scalp, whilst blood drips and dries into crusted scabs to become targets later in the battle. The cycle starts with an innocent itch and the responding innocent scratch of the nail across the scalp, but it then develops into an obsessive scratch to obliterate the enemy territory. Blood. Dig. Scrape. Scab. Scratch. Blood. Dig. Scrape. Scab. Scratch. And repeat, forever. For the most part, I don’t even know that I am doing this. It isn’t until my fingers resemble that of, what I imagine, a serial killer’s hands, post-slaughter, would look like, that I realise the compulsive behaviour has beaten me again.

This compulsive harmful activity becomes more of an issue when I feel like my brain is going out of control, when I feel as if I cannot slow the thoughts down. At times like this, digging into my scalp and making myself bleed seems to be my natural reaction.

Anyway, my day has consisted of:

  • Breakfast (porridge);
  • Drinking numerous mugs of tea (in my “I am Sher-locked” mug);
  • Eating homemade banana loaf (my mother bakes amazing cakes);
  • Compulsively destroying my scalp;
  • Completing the second season of Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (the episodes I failed to finish during the night);
  • Watching Sally Potter’s The Party (absolutely excellent!);
  • Trying to fool myself that I was interested in Jeremy Corbyn’s Brexit speech (I lasted eight seconds);

And between all of these activities, I’ve been trying to slow my thinking, slow my breathing, and slow my heart rate – all of which have been racing all day.

Oh and I still haven’t slept.

Can all this really be from missing one dose of Quetiapine? I doubt it. I mean, the sleep, yeah, I can see how that is affected. But can one skipped dose really trigger all this? Or has my body and mind been leading to this over the last week?

What I do know is that I am way overdue on receiving treatment from the Community Mental Health Team, way overdue on being assigned a care co-ordinator after my last one left, and way overdue on seeing my psychiatrist for a follow-up assessment.

This is probably the worst written article since I started writing these things. I apologise, my brain is a mess.



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