Consumed by the Black Hole of Serotonin

“…when I looked in the mirror I couldn’t see anything. There was nothing there.”

I am (was) a Professional Bowler that bowled on the National Tour which takes the lady bowlers across many states here in the U.S. to compete against one another. This is a sport I have loved for almost all my entire life; so, when I became burned out in my regular job, I retired and conditioned myself to bowl as an athletic competitor of the sport, practicing 50-100 games per week. When I was out on the tour we would bowl anywhere from 40-60 games in 4 days and then travel 3 days only to arrive at the next destination to start the same cycle again. Needless, to say you must be in good physical condition for competition. Which I was. I participated in my last professional tournament in the Summer of 1996. Just as I thought I would see one of my dreams accomplished a dark spot began to appear on the horizon.
It showed up slowly at first before it began to gain momentum. It showed up in my consciousness as a depression of some magnitude. I had been ducking and dodging before then personal and financial problems that somehow at this point in time caught up with me and behind the awareness of my having to deal with those issues . . . the Black Hole (deep depression) appeared in its full enormity.
When it hit I was put under psychiatric care and the first doctor I saw put me on Nortriptyline’s generic Pamelor 10 mgs. starting with 1 pill and steadily increasing the daily dosage to 5 pills to be taken at bedtime. (So, that comes to 5 pills @10 mg ea. day for 7 days = 350mgs. per week x 4 weeks = 1400 mgs. per month.) I was supposed to see her in a couple of weeks. By the time I went back to the doctor I was feeling bad with what I called a toxic allergic reaction to the med. My tongue had started to get sore and become coated and so did my throat. She told me I must have a bug and to see my family doctor which I did. He gave me some antifungal medicine to take because of my tongue and throat problem. (Just treating the symptoms.) Meanwhile this same psychiatrist doesn’t bother to stop this medication. She increases it instead to 3 pills @ 25mgs ea. day at bedtime, so, this boils down to 75mgs per night x 7 nights = 525mgs. per week x 4 weeks = 2100mgs. per month. Well I did not have to worry I didn’t get any further than the end of the week and I was taken into ER that Saturday with blood pressure: 225/212 and Pulse: 96 and rising. After the physician got my vitals under control he told me to discontinue taking Pamelor. So, the drug was discontinued COLD TURKEY!!

I changed doctors after that episode and the next psychiatrist put me on 10mgs. of Prozac to be taken once daily, but when I told him about the above recurring symptoms he immediately took me off Prozac, COLD TURKEY, and wouldn’t put me on any more drugs. I checked with the pharmacist at that point to see, what was a common chemical between the 2 drugs. I was told serotonin was the common chemical. When I informed the psychiatrist of this he acknowledged that he had never had any patient that had had a problem with this med. But he took me off and told me I would have towing it from then on with the therapist. I wish I could say this was the end. But it wasn’t. The Black Hole began to consume my very being until I felt as though I was a non-entity. I lost any reason for being. I lost my self-esteem; and all of a sudden when I looked in the mirror I couldn’t see anything. There was nothing there. No image of anything recognizable. I knew then I was out-of-control. This proved itself when I had an episode in the therapist office when I locked myself in the bathroom and would not come out. I remember feeling if I didn’t come out, maybe everyone would just go away. Just vanish!! Poof!! And they would be gone. However, to this day I cannot remember what set it off. I think I must have felt that was an escape, but I don’t know what caused the episode. My reactions went from that to two attempts of suicide stopped by my husband who just happened to get there in a timely manner. Now I knew I was a part of the Black Hole and the Black Hole was a part of me. I lost my spirit. Now that I had lost my spirit, I could no longer feel myself as a person. I could no longer feel. Sometimes, I would sit staring for hours. Staring at nothing. I remember that it felt good to just sit there and stare at nothing. Everything seemed to fit in. I felt like I belonged.

My husband saw this and would take me out and make me practice bowling, or to a movie, or to a mall. But, it wouldn’t help. All I would do was cry because I didn’t want to be out there. My blood pressure went completely out of control and nothing the family physician did would bring it within normal range. Things continued this way through 1997. My husband got kidney cancer and had to have his left kidney removed. We all heaved a big sigh of relief when his health appeared good and the cancer appeared gone. I had to try to push the fog back to help him. It was hard. I remember being so afraid because each day that went by I knew I was on the edge. However, March 1998 I was back in ER again with extraordinarily high blood pressure and pulse readings. I was in there because the family doctor had become so frustrated over my condition and the fact that he couldn’t fix it that he had accidentally overdosed me with other medications to the extent that you could fill a large freezer bag full of the different medications I was on. When the cardiologist saw this after having brought my blood pressure and pulse back within normal ranges and after testing me. He put me on 3 meds to be taken once a day. I began to come back while I was still in the hospital. I began to feel like my old self. When I got out of the hospital the cardiologist put me into a monitored exercise program that the medical center has for cardiac patients and I really began to feel good. My stamina came back. My head was beginning to clear. I appeared to be moving in the right direction. I was supposed to see the doctor in 2 weeks after I left. When I saw him he put me on an additional medication Paxil @ 10mgs. one daily in the morning.

I was on Paxil a week before I realized that I was getting some of the same symptoms I had gotten before. Except this time I couldn’t get up out of the bed in the mornings to go to my exercise class. I became totally bedridden. If I tried to walk I could just barely make it back to the house before collapsing. When I talked to the pharmacist and discovered this too, was serotonin based I tried to inform the cardiologist of this problem and received the same responses I had from all the other doctors, except he went one step further. He flat out informed me there was no way that it could be the serotonin because serotonin was stored in our brains and therefore because it was a part of the body how could I be having a problem. I tried to tell him nicely that so was the heart a part of the body, but that people did have heart attacks, etc. It was finally months later before I was able to convince him to test me for 5-HIAA. By that time I was having some of the following symptoms: Swollen, coated, ulcerated tongue, diarrhea, panic attacks, anxiety to the point I felt like I was going to die, fluctuating blood pressure and pulse, tremors and coldness in the extremities. This last reaction was what sent me to ER again and since the doctor there just did not know what serotonin was, diagnosed me with hypokalemia and sent me home to take potassium 10mgs. 3 times daily.

After the Cardiologist could not find any results from the test that he took, he, too, gave up on the situation and suggested in an offhanded manner that either I was a hypochondriac or delusioned. At least that was my interpretation of an example he gave me when he told me of another patient that he had who was in her 50’s that thought she was 72. I got the distinct impression that I was being put into the same category as this other woman. So, since April 1998 I have been free of all serotonin drugs. I have even tried to stay away from foods that might increase the level of serotonin in my body. But, I was not to escape!!

I began to experience severe gastrointestinal problems. So I went to a gastroenterologist and he first of all did an endoscopy to check the upper stomach. He found ulceritis of the stomach and a sliding hiatal hernia. I wish I could have said I was surprised, but by this time I had discovered after doing some research that serotonin does reside in the stomach also. You may be asking where do I stand now. The only thing that I can tell you is the depression has left. I cannot tell you when I left the Black Hole or when it left me, but it’s gone. Meanwhile, the family doctor will be sending me to an endocrinologist for the serotonin issue. I will be going back to the gastroenterologist to get a Colonoscopy to determine why my bowels stopped functioning and my stomach remains distended and when I do get my bowels to function with laxatives I go from diarrhea to constipation to diarrhea.

When my eyesight became blurred I had my prescription changed. The skin rash I suffered on my arms and thighs went away. It did create a minor gingivitis situation with my gums that I will have to have fixed in May. I have a vaginal infection that I am currently seeing a gynecologist about. I had some hair loss on the crown of my head. The scalp would itch, but there was no dandruff and I would wash my hair a lot and treat it with sulfur based hair conditioners.

I have approx. 20 lbs. of weight gain that did not occur from abusive eating, sweets, or alcohol. And, I do not smoke. I am living one day at a time. Dr. Tracy’s book has now come across my path so I have already ordered it. I have to believe that one day I will stop going around and around this vicious cycle that I feel has been set up in my body by these mood altering drugs. I am looking forward to the day when it all stops for good and I can really go back to being normal.

Percetta Speight

6/10/1999

This is Survivor Story number 29.

Total number of stories in current database is 96

604 total views, no views today

Severe Reaction to Z-Pak

“I hope this story will help remind people of the serious nature of medication…”

 

In May of this year (1999), I went to a minor emergency clinic for a sore throat. The Nurse-Practitioner gave me a Rx for a Z-Pak which I filled at the nearest pharmacy. At the time I was taking 400mg of Lamictal per day. It may have been the combination, but the day after I took the first dose of the Z-Pak, I was taken to the hospital with a Stephen-Johnson’s reaction. I was having problems breathing and swallowing, so I could take nothing by mouth for the first two days (not even water). I was, also ordered to complete bed rest. I did manage to talk them into a potty chair so I didn’t have to use a bed pan, but complete bed rest is the pits.

I had severe burns, like chemical burns over much of my body. My face and neck were so bad I was hard to recognize. I looked like a photo negative almost.

The burns attacked the linings in my lungs which did not help my Asthma, but the breathing treatments helped. The insides of my mouth and throat were burned as well. I was in the hospital for 7 days, and lost 40 lbs. I was on IVs but could not eat for a while.

My eyes came out OK except I must take eyedrops for diminished tear production.

I have a residual light rash, and some discoloration in places. The dark spots will probably be permanent. But I am still alive.

I hope this story will help remind people of the serious nature of medication, even for common items like antibiotics. If you need more information, please contact me. Thank you.

Ron Cole
RSCole1@prodigy.net

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 93.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

435 total views, 1 views today

A Nine-Year Old’s Side Effects on Prozac

“I am disgusted that Prozac is so readily handed out to children.”

I am the mother of a 9 year old boy.

About four months ago, my son went through a change. He was experiencing a lot of physical growth and he was developing sexual awareness. Being OCD to a degree, my son centered on thoughts and obsessed and started acting in mildly inappropriate ways. Now, that became a real concern because it was more than thoughts but turning to actions that were being perpetuated; my husband and I became alarmed.

There was NO CAUSE for this sudden escalation except for a natural curiosity getting out of control (OCD reaction w/a boy who is emotionally immature but very intelligent & spiritual).The guilt set in and no matter how we tried to help him forgive himself, he carried far too much guilt. It internalized into dropping self-esteem and finally that escalated into severe depression. Who was once a VERY happy, talkative, joyful, incredibly funny & affectionate boy turned into a boy who wept daily, seldom smiled, and was becoming despondent.

We took him to a counselor, and later were referred to a psychiatrist. After an hour assessment, Dr.SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER prescribed Prozac for Rob.

His reaction included: MAJOR joint/muscle pain (from the bottom of his feet to the top of his head PAIN!), lack of appetite, increased seizure symptoms (Rob has a left partial complex seizure disorder we are NOT treating with drugs but naturally and that has gone very well), abdominal pain, increased lethargy, increased OCD behavior, increase in thoughts of suicide, heart pain, vomiting, and strange feelings in his mouth/tongue. I took Rob off Prozac after only 8 days because I was so alarmed with the side effects.

After taking him off the med, I did some research and was very saddened that I’d been pushed into allowing my son to be given Prozac! I was pressured by the psychiatrist, husband (on Prozac), brother-in-law (Dr. also on Prozac), and it was approved even by the pediatrician! My taking Rob off Prozac was MY decision against all but hubby (he was worried about the escalating effects of the drug, too).It took a full 7 days for the incredible pain to go away. Rob told me it hurt even to move his fingers, walk, anything.

Well, in closing, I am disgusted that Prozac is so readily handed out to children. From what I know currently, the FDA has not even approved this drug for children, and after researching it myself, I AM WORRIED ABOUT MY HUSBAND! He has been on it for two years.

 

2/3/1999

This is Survivor Story number 30. Total number of stories in current database is 96

517 total views, no views today

Five Weeks to Psychosis on Prozac

“It was close to 2 years before I could laugh again.”

 

My name is Amy. I started taking 20 mg. of Prozac in April, 1992. My doctor thought I was depressed due to empty nest syndrome and menopause.

I had always been a very open and trusting person, so I swallowed my first capsule without reading the insert in the bottle. I trusted my doctor. The first week I noticed I was sleeping less. I had been sleeping between 7 and 8 hours a night and now I was sleeping about 6 hours a night. But this did not concern me. I suddenly had a lot to ponder. I began ruminating on how people had done me wrong. . I first focused on my 3 cousins (whom I had not seen in years). I thought they were betraying me behind my back. To add to this worry, I began obsessing about incidents in history such as the destruction of Cambodia and Tibet by the Communists and the tragedy of the Holocaust. I sat at my kitchen table and cried for hours about this. At my part time job, I felt that the other employees were taking advantage of me. I had never felt this way before and it seemed like a revelation to me.

By the 4th week on Prozac, I was sleeping only 4 hours a night but it did not concern me because I had so many important things to think about. I would pick up a book to read and would think that there was some special message in there for me. I was sure of this when the printed matter on the page began jumping out at me. Nothing like this had ever happened to me before. I began to make a special effort to act normal around people because suddenly these people would appear to me as being unreal. I became terrified that they were unreal but I must not let them know this. During the next several weeks I became confused in my driving and would lose my sense of direction. I thought that I could not concentrate on my driving because I was so terrified of what else was happening. I never once suspected that it was the Prozac.
My husband of 28 years became concerned about me but I kept saying I’ll be better as soon as this Prozac takes effect. I told him none of my symptoms. I felt that everything wrong in the world was my problem and I must solve it. At no time in my life had I ever thought of suicide. It wasn’t as though I had ever thought of suicide and then dismissed the idea. It was just that the thought of suicide had never occurred to me. By my 9th week on Prozac I felt suicidal. I went to my doctor and told him that I was going to kill myself because I could not endure this suffering. He immediately told me to discontinue the Prozac and he gave me some sleeping medication. I thought this meant that the Prozac had not worked for me and that I was having a nervous breakdown. The next day I began having visual hallucinations. I was so terrified that I went to my doctor in an incoherent state. He put me in the hospital and I was there for 3 weeks as an inpatient. My husband visited me every night after work. We both thought that I had a nervous breakdown. No doctor told us differently. I was given Thorazine and I began to sleep again. Then my health insurance ran out and I came back home. When I left the hospital, I was told to see a psychologist once a week. The psychologist and I discussed my childhood. One day, three months later, my husband said Do you think the Prozac could have contributed to your breakdown .No , I said, Prozac is a drug that helps mental disturbances. It would not cause mental disturbance.

My husband found the insert to my bottle of Prozac. We began to read it. We saw that hallucinations, depersonalization, paranoia and confusion were all listed as adverse reactions. I still could not believe it so I sent for my hospital record. I was amazed to see that on the fourth day of my hospitalization the physician had written Patient had psychotic reaction to Prozac. These symptoms started after use. We investigated this matter but were never given a satisfactory answer for why the doctors kept this a secret. The saddest part of this story is that it took so long for me to completely recover. It was close to 2 years before I could laugh again. It was almost 4 years before the idea of forgiveness even began to stir in my soul. Now, in my 6th year, I am completely recovered and enjoying life again, but I will never forget this trip through hell.

My husband, children and I are now dedicated to warning others about the dangers of Prozac.

 

10/29/1998

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 34.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

628 total views, 2 views today

Two and a Half Years Later–Problems from Three Zoloft Tablets

“…I only want to resolve these problems so that we can return to our life prior to taking Zoloft.”

 

Two and one half years ago, I took one 50 mg. tablet of Zoloft for 3 days. On the third night, I woke up with severe flu like symptoms (nausea, diarrhea, shivering in chest area, paranoia, and extreme anxiety).

I was treated at the Emergency Room with Ativan. My blood pressure was also high. Since that night, I wake up every day with the same symptoms but to a lesser degree. Reading and writing makes me nauseated and shaky until later in the day. Occasionally I also have a fibrillating heart which I didn’t have prior to the use of Zoloft. I have had many tests, and none of them showed any problems. I was tested for Serotonin Syndrome which turned up negative. I have consulted with two psychopharmacologists, a heart specialist, an endocrinologist, an allergist, and a gastroenterologist. All without any help.

One of the psychopharmacologists suggested that there was a possibility that there might have been damage caused by the Zoloft. I am able to sleep usually until 6 am when the symptoms start again. I have been to many specialists and have tried many medications without any relief. My husband and I only want to resolve these problems so that we can return to our life prior to taking Zoloft.

You have my permission to publish it on the Internet, and you may edit the story. Please pass this communication to any of the doctors that are specializing in this field I would appreciate it if you would post my name and e-mail address on your site.

lingram01@sprynet.com

 

10/29/1998

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 33.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

459 total views, no views today

Girlfriend Self-Destructed on Prozac-A Police Officer’s Story

“Please let people who are out there know that Prozac is bad medicine.”

 

Please let people who are out there know that Prozac is bad medicine. I have recently lost my girlfriend after a year because of this most marvelous chemical composition. She is a psych-tech at a local hospital in my hometown. She has worked there for almost two years, and since I have known her she has been prescribed medications like Phen-Fen and Zoloft and most recently Prozac. Yes, she probably could stand to lose a few pounds, but who couldn’t? Since being prescribed Prozac (by a staff physician) she won’t even speak to me. She feels simply that I tried to intervene.

Yet, I am a police officer of almost 10 years and could not stand by and watch someone self-destruct. It seems to me like someone needs to be policing the MD’s who are actively handing out prescriptions to our younger generation. After all they are the future, aren’t they?
Also I would like to know if it is common practice for the head of psychiatric departments to become involved in treating employees of the hospital where they work? Seems to me this would be a direct conflict of interest and would require a referral to another MD.
Please use my e-mail address for those that want to correspond. Maybe someday soon, people will wake up and see what they’re doing to themselves. Thank you for writing back, it’s always comforting to know that someone knows how you feel.

JDuffjr410@aol.com

 

10/29/1998

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 32.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

423 total views, no views today

A Teenager’s Journey into Prozac Hell

“He was on Zoloft about 5 days when he told me that he now could not distinguish between dreams and reality.”

 

My 17 yr. old son was prescribed Prozac after being diagnosed with mild clinical depression. We were told the side effects could be headache, stomach upset and anxiety for a few days. When I voiced concerns about this drug, stating that I heard it caused violent behavior etc. I was told that these were “fairy stories” and that Prozac was an excellent drug. He started Prozac and we hoped for the best.

He had been sleeping excessively, and after one day on Prozac, he woke up and said that he had woken up a few times during that first night. I figured the drug was starting to work. About a week later he announced that he had talked back to a teacher at school. ( very unlike him) I told him never to do that again. A week after that he came home from being out with friends, and he seemed very agitated. I asked him what was going on and he told me that he felt like a bully and had almost gotten into many fights at school. He said he didn’t care about anything, and if someone died, he wouldn’t even care. He said he felt his friends were becoming afraid of him. This was after about 3 weeks on Prozac.
I immediately called the doctor and told them I wanted him OFF this drug. He was becoming a different person and it wasn’t good. She asked me a few questions and said maybe we should try another drug. She never told us to taper him off this drug. She said to keep him off of it a week and then start on a small dose of Zoloft.

When he went off Prozac He was a wreck. He was shaking, had headaches, felt anxious, and kept telling me he needed some kind of medicine. It was as though he was craving some kind of drug. He then started on Zoloft.

He was on Zoloft about 5 days when he told me that he now could not distinguish between dreams and reality. The doctor now told me to take him off Zoloft. Again, we were never told to taper him off. He just stopped. We now know that going off of these drugs cold-turkey is the worst thing that you can do.

Then the hell started. Total change in him. He was hardly sleeping, and when he did sleep, he had horrid, violent dreams. He could not concentrate on anything, and his short term memory was shot. He said and did things that were totally unlike him. It should be noted that he had NEVER HAD ANY OF THIS HAPPEN BEFORE HE WAS ON PROZAC. He saw a therapist who suggested that he was bipolar, and he would have none of her. He asked me if he was going crazy, and told me he felt “criminally insane” in his mind. He said his thoughts were horrible.

At this point, I got on the internet and discovered Dr. Tracy’s web page. Everything my son had been going through was there in black and white. I sent for her book, and discussed it with our pediatrician. His advice was to let my son “dry out.” We told our son what we thought was happening, and hoped for the best. However, twice during the next month he became hypomanic, and wanted us to take him to the emergency room. We knew that they would only pump him full of more drugs, so we decided to wait out the episodes. The morning after each episode he seemed much better. However, his mood now became very unpredictable: it swung up and down from day to day. He also suffered tremendous weight loss during this period.

I then sought out any help I could find. We went to an acupuncturist, who told us that he had heard of such reactions to Prozac. He believed that he could help my son, whereas every traditional medical practitioner who we visited had not heard of such reactions, and discounted the idea that Prozac could have been the cause of such behavior. After a few months of acupuncture the violent thoughts and dreams subsided. However, his concentration and memory were still greatly affected. This had a huge impact on his school work. After a few more months of acupuncture, he seemed better, but still had an up-and-down mood.

At this point, he became extremely depressed, and we ended up seeing a psychiatrist. The doctor put my son on Depakote for rapid cycling mood disorder. He traded in his mood swings for constant depression. A small dose of Wellbutrin was then diagnosed to help this condition. After a couple weeks, he told me that he felt worse and wanted to quit taking all medication. He had once again begun to experience rage, and knew that the drugs were not good for him. He went off of all drugs, and began to feel better. at the same time, the acupuncturist started working on something new, and things started to get better.

I had been praying constantly throughout this ordeal, as had many friends and family members. I know that this has helped him, and all of us, get through these extremely hard times.

Since his attention and memory have been affected, his performance in school has dropped and his plans for a future education have been severely altered, at least for the time being. Our son has gone through an ordeal which no one his age should ever have to face. But with the support family members and his friends (who were kind enough to be there with him throughout the whole drawn- out incident, violent mood swings and all), we were all able to survive. It has been over a year since he has taken Prozac, and hopefully things will continue to improve.
This experience has taught us to rely on our instincts and to seek out as much information as possible on any drug prescribed to anyone in our family. I hope our story can help others in getting trough or averting similar situations.

Sincerely, a wiser, yet sadder, mother.

 

10/29/1998

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 31.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

495 total views, no views today

My Trip through Hell on Prozac

“By my 9th week on Prozac I felt suicidal.”

 

My name is Amy. I started taking 20 mg. of Prozac in April, 1992. My doctor thought I was depressed due to “empty nest syndrome” and menopause. I had always been a very open and trusting person, so I swallowed my first capsule without reading the insert in the bottle. I trusted my doctor.

The first week I noticed I was sleeping less. I had been sleeping between 7 and 8 hours a night and now I was sleeping about 6 hours a night. But this did not concern me. I suddenly had a lot to ponder. I began ruminating on how “people had done me wrong.”. I first focused on my 3 cousins (whom I had not seen in years). I thought they were betraying me behind my back. To add to this worry, I began obsessing about incidents in history such as the destruction of Cambodia and Tibet by the Communists and the tragedy of the Holocaust. I sat at my kitchen table and cried for hours about this.

At my part time job, I felt that the other employees were taking advantage of me. I had never felt this way before and it seemed like a revelation to me. By the 4th week on Prozac, I was sleeping only 4 hours a night but it did not concern me because I had so many important things to think about.

I would pick up a book to read and would think that there was some special message in there for me. I was sure of this when the printed matter on the page began jumping out at me. Nothing like this had ever happened to me before. I began to make a special effort to act normal around people because suddenly these people would appear to me as being unreal. I became terrified that they were unreal but I must not let them know this.

During the next several weeks I became confused in my driving and would lose my sense of direction. I thought that I could not concentrate on my driving because I was so terrified of what else was happening. I never once suspected that it was the Prozac.

My husband of 28 years became concerned about me but I kept saying “I’ll be better as soon as this Prozac takes effect”. I told him none of my symptoms. I felt that everything wrong in the world was my problem and I must solve it.

At no time in my life had I ever thought of suicide. It wasn’t as though I had ever thought of suicide and then dismissed the idea. It was just that the thought of suicide had never occurred to me. By my 9th week on Prozac I felt suicidal. I went to my doctor and told him that I was going to kill myself because I could not endure this suffering. He immediately told me to discontinue the Prozac and he gave me some sleeping medication. I thought this meant that the Prozac had not worked for me and that I was having a nervous breakdown.

The next day I began having visual hallucinations. I was so terrified that I went to my doctor in an incoherent state. He put me in the hospital and I was there for 3 weeks as an inpatient. My husband visited me every night after work. We both thought that I had a nervous breakdown. No doctor told us differently. I was given Thorazine and I began to sleep again. Then my health insurance ran out and I came back home.
When I left the hospital, I was told to see a psychologist once a week. The psychologist and I discussed my childhood.

One day, three months later, my husband said ” Do you think the Prozac could have contributed to your breakdown”. “No”, I said, “Prozac is a drug that helps mental disturbances. It would not cause mental disturbance.

“My husband found the insert to my bottle of Prozac. We began to read it. We saw that hallucinations, depersonalization, paranoia and confusion were all listed as adverse reactions. I still could not believe it so I sent for my hospital record.

I was amazed to see that on the fourth day of my hospitalization the physician had written “Patient had psychotic reaction to Prozac. These symptoms started after use” We investigated this matter but were never given a satisfactory answer for why the doctors kept this a secret.
The saddest part of this story is that it took so long for me to completely recover. It was close to 2 years before I could laugh again. It was almost 4 years before the idea of forgiveness even began to stir in my soul.
Now, in my 6th year, I am completely recovered and enjoying life again, but I will never forget this trip through hell. My husband, children and I are now dedicated to warning others about the dangers of Prozac.

Amy Lend
amylend@yahoo.com

 

5/20/1998 –

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 35.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

439 total views, 2 views today

My Zoloft and Serzone Nightmare

“I have a Zoloft problem, and I am prepared to tell anyone that this stuff is deadly.”

 

In March of 1998, I was assaulted during a robbery at work. I didn’t think much of the situation except that I was sore all over and had a back injury. I returned to work within three days. After two weeks I noticed that I was having trouble accepting the situation. I could not resolve the problem that this person may never be found and punished for what they had done. The company offered to send me for counseling, so I went. The trouble is that I never received the type of counseling that I required to resolve my problem. My problems were growing worse. I was putting in more and more time at work, but having more trouble getting things done. My concentration levels began to drop and I started having trouble sleeping, including reliving the assault over and over.

By the middle of July I was dead tired and couldn’t go on any further. I had developed an ulcer. The psychologist that I was seeing kept encouraging me to talk to my doctor about medication. My doctor knew that I hating taking any drugs let alone something for my anxiety and depression. He prescribed Zoloft, 25 mg twice a day, increasing it to 50mg twice a day after 10 days. I was also started on Cimetidine for my ulcer. I felt okay at first, but within a few days I started having problems. I had nausea, headaches, anxiety, disassociation, sexual dysfunction, shaking, sleep problems ( getting to sleep, waking up, sleep paralysis, weird dreams, and not being able to always distinguish being asleep and being awake). As a result the doctor gave me Ativan .5 mg to use whenever I needed it, (which was a lot). I had gone from a person with a problem to a loonytune.

By the time October came I was having so much anxiety that I couldn’t take it anymore. the doctor then changed my medication to Serzone while still using the Cimetidine and the Ativan. I started with 25mg two times a day working towards 200mg twice a day. I never got that far. I started having troubles which my vision and balance. I would experience a real buzz after sleeping or closing me eyes for a short time. Everything had 2 to 3 shadows following it, so when I moved or looked around it had a kind of strobe effect. I dealt with it by taking time out to “enjoy” this daily buzz. The only thing that got better was my sexual dysfunction.

All the time a had continued to see the psychologist. Let me point out that before I started taking all this stuff, I have never had any mental of emotional problems before. I was brought up in a loving family and never experienced abuse of any kind. I had never tired to commit suicide before. I have been a Christian for many years, and have a deep faith in God. I do not drink, smoke, or use drugs. I have always been physically fit, I have no health problems, I am happily married, I have no kids (our choice), we live in the country on an acreage, and I have a good job.

On November 4, I saw my physiologist for an appointment. I was very distraught. She was concerned about my safety and contacted a community response team. I was met by the psychologist, a nurse and 2 cops. I was told I had to go to the hospital. I did. I was committed for 72 hours and put under the care of a psychiatrist. During the first couple of days I was completely out of touch with myself. My medication was changed again. I was put back on the Zoloft but 200 mg a day. The Ativan was changed to Clonazepam .25 mg when needed to a maximum of 2 mg per day. The Cimetidine was changed to Losec 20 mg two times a day. I started to feel better again but was having a lot of anxiety. I remained in hospital after my 72 hours on my own because I felt it was helping me to be there. I was receiving excellent counseling from the psychiatrist and support from my doctor. I was allowed a day pass to spend with my husband seven days after being committed. We made plans for the day together at home on the farm and then going to a movie with friends. By 6:00 pm I had to return to the hospital because I was experiencing so much anxiety. My psychiatrist happened to come in that evening and my husband told her what was happening. She came and talked to me and I settled down, but then I was informed that I would have to change rooms. For some reason that blew me away. Since my 72 hours were up I decided I was going to leave. I was acting very strange and irrational but I couldn’t stop doing or thinking the way I was. My psychiatrist and my husband would not let me leave and I was committed again. That did it I was leaving. Security was called but I asked to talk to my psychiatrist, which I did. Again she was able to talk me down. I stayed in hospital until November 28th. By then I was feeling good again, although I still had nausea, headaches, anxiety, disassociation, sexual dysfunction, shaking, sleep problems. But everything was under control and I was released. The only good part is that I had lost 20 lbs that I had put on before going into hospital.

I had not returned to work yet but a plan for my gradual return was made staring January 15. I was seeing my doctor on a regular basis as well as seeing the psychiatrist a couple of times. I had mentioned to my doctor that there was periods of time that I felt out of control and that I was afraid that I might hurt someone or something. I was given the reassurance that I was not that kind of person and not to worry.

On February 2 in the very early morning I woke up and sent an e-mail to my psychiatrist. I said that it was over and I couldn’t take anymore. I went back to bed. She called and talked to me and told me to talk to my husband. I said I would. I did talk to him, and he insisted that he stay home from work the next day. I insisted that he go to work and that I would be okay. Again I e- mailed my psychiatrist and told her that I was giving up. On February 3, I got a phone call from the nurse on the community response team. She was the one who had taken me to the hospital in November. I can’t remember much after February 1. Everything is either my surreal understanding or has been told to me by others since. I had taken a collection of medications during the day. Basically everything in had around. My husband was called home from work and the nurse met him and came to our house. I was then taken to hospital where I was treated for a drug overdose. I was committed to psychiatry again, but not before apparently acting out some strange behavior in the hospital. I apparently tired to leave and had to be restrained, medicated and put in lock up. I can’t remember much of what happened, and I remember things that I know could not have happened. For example I can remember being at the office building of my psychiatrist and meeting a friend I hadn’t seen in fourteen years, and who lives over 2000 miles away. I also went into the bathroom there and threw up. The problem is I was in the hospital when this happened, but I would swear to you it happened. I slept in lock up until Friday, when I was released into the custody of a close friend as my husband wouldn’t be home form work until that evening. I can’t remember much until Sunday morning. I had taken 1600mg of Zoloft among other things. When I went into the hospital I stopped all medications cold turkey. I wasn’t told to take anything when I left the hospital. On Saturday, my husband phoned the hospital because I could not sit still for more that 2 minutes at a time. I was literally climbing the walls, (actually I was climbing on furniture and the floor). I was told to take .5 mg of Clonazepam as needed, which helped a lot to calm me down. I have very little recall of what happened but I discovered by counting my remaining Zoloft pills that I was missing 2- 100mg capsules. I knew because I had just started a new prescription and I had counted the pills prior to taking a bunch of them. What discovered was that on February 1, I had mistakenly took 400mg of Zoloft. I remember that I had woke up early and took my Zoloft. Feeling tired I went back to bed. When I woke up around lunch time I took my Zoloft again. Very early the next morning is when everything went wrong. Now I have been off the Zoloft for 10 days. Absolutely no one can tell me, my husband, or my friend that Zoloft has no withdrawal symptoms. I have had every side effect in the book. I have never had night sweats before but within 4 days I started having night sweats so bad my husband had to towel me off. I have had to put another half sheet on our bed because the sheets would be soaked. I had terrible tremors, headaches etc.. But in spite of all that I feel like a new person again. I have had no sleep problems, and things are improving day by day. I can even type fast again.

In retrospect I can not be sure of anything that I think happened over the past 6 months. It’s like I was living in a constant dream state. I started to look on the Net for more information about Zoloft, and was surprised at what I had found. When I was in the hospital the first time my psychiatrist gave me a whole bunch of information about Zoloft. I read all the information including newsletters from the Zoloft support group, and watched the Zoloft infomercial from the company. I thought I was well informed until I read your stuff.

It is hard for me to accept what has happened. Most of all I am confused about my psychiatrist. I know that she would not willing hurt me, but I am angry at what has happened to me. I have an appointment to see her on Monday. I plan on talking to her about the situation, and I am going to tell her that I am filing a report with the FDA. I don’t want this to happen to anyone else, but I am not sure how to address the situation with her.

If you have any suggestions, I would really like to hear them. I am going into town to buy your book tomorrow, but I don’t offend my psychiatrist, I want her to listen to what I have to say. I am not someone with mental and emotional problems. I have a Zoloft problem, and I am prepared to tell anyone that this stuff is deadly. I have been on a six month high and I feel very fortunate that I never acted out or completed all the things that I wanted to do during that time. This drug is criminal.

Kindest Regards

Carol

 

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 77.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

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Paxil Nearly Killed Me.

“Nothing is as awful as life was on Paxil.”

 

In September 1997 I was feeling down. Since each day seemed to be worse from the previous, I called the local mental health agency asking for help. Within 3 weeks, I was given an appointment, and prescribed Paxil for depression (which I questioned because a friend of mine who was a neurosurgeon had been taking Paxil and killed himself 3 months earlier) and lorazepam for anxiety.

A few weeks passed and I was not feeling any better. I had quit going to do things outside my house and I knew there was something wrong. I told my therapist who said to wait a while because sometimes it takes a month or so for the Paxil to work. So, I waited for 2 more weeks, by this time I could not get out of bed at all. I did not shower or eat either. I called the doctor and then went to see him. I told him there was something very wrong. I wanted to die. I wondered if I needed more medication (I felt so rotten, I thought if I felt this bad on the medication, I thought I would be worse without it) He wrote a script for Trazadone. I took it and did not wake up for 23 hours. I called the clinic, there was no one there who could help and I was asked to call back the next day. The next day was Wednesday, I called again, no one called me back. Thursday I had an appointment with my therapist. I told her I was doing awful and had thrown the Trazadone away. I explained if one pill could knock me out for 23 hours, I did not need 30 of them in the house the way I was feeling. I told her something was very wrong and she said to talk to the doctor. He was unreachable. Friday I called again after no return phone calls. I got the nurses voice mail. I left a message. About 5:30 pm she called me back and I told her there was something very wrong with me. She said everyone was gone and she would have the doctor call me on Monday. I told her again there was something wrong with my meds and I needed help.

At about 7:00 pm I took 60 Lorazepam (although I had no idea what I was doing and have no memory of wanting to die) and cuddled down into my bed and went to sleep. (I don’t remember the next four days. The following is the pieces as told to me) At 11pm I called my sister in law and told her I took a bunch of pills She took me to the hospital where no one believed how much Lorazepam I had taken until they took a blood level. It was too late to pump my stomach so I had to drink Charcoal. The hospital released me about 2 hours later and said to continue my Paxil until Monday when the Doctor could talk to me.

I am told I stayed in bed all day Saturday and mostly slept. I tried to get up a few times but fell (and had huge bruises all over my body for the next 3 weeks). About 9pm I cut my wrist open and took another bottle of pills. And then sat down at the computer to write a suicide letter. 18 hours later I was found still typing on the computer by my mother.

I remember telling her what I had done and that there was something very wrong with me. She called my regular doctor to make an appointment. The next day, Monday, my mother got me up and helped me bathe. I got on the scale and saw I had lost 30lbs in the past 7 weeks while I was on Paxil. I was so weak I was unable to walk alone.

My mother took me to my regular MD. She said I had a Paxil induced psychosis and to quit taking it right away. She gave me Zoloft in case I crashed from going cold turkey. I never took any Zoloft. I was too afraid. These behaviors were not me. They were not things I would have done no matter how depressed I was.

It has been 8 months since all of this happened. I am not on any meds or feel like I need them. However, I have some shocking sensations but not as bad as the 2 months right after quitting the Paxil. My memory is terrible. I can’t remember what I did yesterday, or words when I start a sentence. I can’t juggle tasks. My problem solving ability is gone. And I am uncomfortable in large groups of people. It feels like everything is closing in.

I am psychologically fine. The only good things that came from this is that I know I am strong enough to fight anything. And depression is something I can handle on my own. Nothing is as awful as life was on Paxil.

Tammy
Liptonlips@aol.com

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 67.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

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