Sunday, January 26, 2014

The side effect that moves me.

I feel better when I rock. This subtle tension exists inside that I can’t abide. It's like I need to rock. Sit me down, except when driving, and I’m more than likely to start rocking where ever I am. I don't rock back and forth when I'm getting a haircut or when I'm typing.

Do people notice? I’ve had Tardive Dyskinesia (TD) at least four years, and once in a while I've caught a few. But most people don’t seem to notice. Only my best friend has ever said a thing about it or asked why I do it. It hasn’t made a difference in my social relations. It doesn’t change who I am. Only once did I observe that anybody looked askance at my rocking.

I think a huge majority of people respect norms of civilized social behavior. It must be so. I don't know how else to account for the respect people show me by ignoring my rocking back and forth disorder. I don't give a hoot about my TD either. I'm relaxed about it and people can sense that I am.

What causes Tardive Dyskinesia?  It’s caused by years of taking medication to treat mental illness. The very recently developed medications appear not to produce these side effects as compared to those developed earlier in the 20th century. Most psychiatrists prescribe the latest medications and it’s thought in medical circles that incidences of TD will diminish in the future.

I started accepting injections of Prolixon twice monthly in the early 1970s while going to an outpatient treatment center in Marin County. I had had several nervous breakdowns and know what’s it’s like to be strapped on a cart or put into a rubber room. I know what’s it’s like to look through a window and watch Fidel Castro exit a spaceship.

I’ve been taking either lithium or valproic acid regularly since 1983. Yet I earned a four year college degree. I worked as a journalist. I worked as a professional in furniture re-finishing. I know what can be done if you refuse to believe you are limited by those who assume you are.

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