Brian and I rode to Lake of the Ozarks for Missouri’s statewide mental health consumer conference, called Real Choices Real Voices. I gave my presentation on “Knowledge is Power for Medication Decisions.” This was a perfectly appropriate topic for me because I had to make my own medication decisions for the trip.
As a person with schizophrenia, I have to balance medications with my own ability to tolerate symptoms. I had been having hallucinations before the trip, and working through that. I was somewhat nervous about taking the trip but I didn’t want to let Brian down. Besides, the two things that really make me feel good are riding my bike and writing poems, and I’d have plenty of both on the trip. I told Brian, “I’ve been sick lately and I’m going to be riding slower.” The whole trip there I was well off my pace and he couldn’t even ride slow enough to keep pace with me.
Finally on the morning of the second day I started having tardive dyskinesia, a movement disorder induced by medications, and usually when medications are at a higher than effective level. I got totally angry. I thought, “Why should I have hallucinations and the movement disorder at the same time – it’s completely unfair.” I got so angry that the hallucinations started to go away. Then later on the trip I had a second important thought. I realized that I only see things that aren’t there – and that wasn’t going to get me hit by a car. What would be dangerous was not seeing something that was really there – and that wasn’t happening. So I decided not to be afraid of my hallucinations any longer. When I made that decision they pretty much went away and I had a great rest of the trip.
It was 2 1/2 days there and 2 1/2 days back. On the way back I rode so much faster that I had to keep telling Brian to speed up because I felt so much better. We were just about to camp for the night one night and some people were hanging out on their porch drinking beer. They yelled, “Do you want a beer?”
We said, “Hell, yeah.” and wheeled around up into their yard. We got to chit chat for a while, then make the state park just before sundown.