Survivor Story 209:27/77 – My life ruined by Prozac “..stubborn but not psychotic.”

 

A Survivor Speaks Out

2003

This is Survivor Story number 27.
Total number of stories in current database is 77

8/19/2003

My life ruined by Prozac

 

Antidepressants

“Before these meds she was stubborn but not psychotic.”

Two months after being proscribed Prozac, my exwife was diagnosed as manic depressive before this her diagnosis was mild depression. 2 months later because she had serious mind racing problems she was prescribed Adderall 2 months later she was diagnosed psychotic and was given anti psychotic drugs. Before these meds she was stubborn but not psychotic. After this every side effect Dr. Anne Blake Tracy ID’ed in her book “Prozac panacea or Pandora” was now exhibited.

She began drinking, gambling , taking drugs “cocaine”. She ruined my finances “I am bankrupt”. IN my quest to save her I lost my business. She was my chief financial officer. 2 year later I am still trying to get my life back on track. I believe she is still severely physically affected by the use of these drugs. The terror we experienced few can survive. She still may not and I still have some suicidal ideation.

What Ely Lilly and the FDA has perpetrated on the public pales to almost every other act ever committed.

Robert Nance
xfile@whc.net

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Survivor Story 203:21/77 – Prozac and Klonopin problems

 

A Survivor Speaks Out

2003

This is Survivor Story number 21.
Total number of stories in current database is 77

8/7/2003

Prozac and Klonopin problems

 

Antidepressants

“Please pray for me as songs run though my head like there is a tuning fork in it.”

I am 52 years old and had a headache from having withdrawn off Librium many years ago. I was given Xanax for it later, then weaned to Klonopin and then onto Prozac. My head exploded and protruded and I could not walk for months. I was hospitalized several times and each time given 4 Klonopins and sent home. I had hallucinations and was abandoned by my doctor. I was hooked to a social service agency who made me keep taking Prozac even though I was becoming allergic I think because my skin was burning.

I was never given anything for side effects. I was given tranquilizers. I am now 10 months coming off Prozac and have sharp head pain and muscle spasms and tremors for which they are again prescribing Klonopins for racing thoughts and zaps and they don’t work and are addictive. I was lied to and told nothing happens when you stop Prozac. It’s been awful for me. I am shaking and my head is bobbing and I feel stabbing pain and no one will help me. The doctor is now sending me to an involuntary movement clinic this week.

I am outraged and afraid of death from being given Prozac and Elavil together and then 4 Klonopin again. I just had a headache. If it was not for a friend who is studying to be a DO I would be dead by now. I keep calling the doctor and I am told that I can stop the Klonopin anytime I want. This is bunk. It is very addictive and I am shaking like a leaf with no help from family and friends. My neck is damaged and I can’t open my mouth to go to the dentist. The rigidity is so severe. Then I am criticized for the tranquilizers. I have no idea what to do. I know that the doctors are guilty of malpractice here, but they say it my fault. Please pray for me as songs run though my head like there is a tuning fork in it. I was a perfectly normal person with head pain. I may die. I am being marked as severely mentally ill. This is not the case. Thanks for reading.

Any correspondence is much appreciated. I can’t find a lawyer or doctor who will really listen. I can’t lay down normally without zaps and stinging in my head. I can see better now that my face is unmasked from the Klonopin, but my doctor will not tell me if I will be better or not. They say maybe a year. Maybe, if I am not stuck addicted to tranquilizers. They will not help me get off them. They send a nurse here to make me take them and then say they will take me off them later.

Any help is much appreciated.
Chris Burns

Christine Burns
chrisdeene@sbcglobal.net

3,108 total views, 1 views today

Survivor Story 204:22/77 – Effexor XR nearly ruined my life causing me SEVERE menstrual bleeding and clotting.

 

A Survivor Speaks Out

2003

This is Survivor Story number 22.
Total number of stories in current database is 77

8/15/2003

Effexor XR nearly ruined my life

 

Antidepressants

“Effexor …caused me SEVERE menstrual bleeding and clotting.”

If not for the fact that I’m stubborn, inquisitive, and fiercely independent, I’d still be anemic, weak, depressed and considering a hysterectomy.

Effexor not only didn’t do much for my depression, it caused me SEVERE menstrual bleeding and clotting. Whenever I asked my shrink or my gynecologist, “could it be from my meds?” they said, “oh no, why would THAT cause problems with the uterus? So, how do you explain that as soon as I completely weaned myself off Effexor, my periods became normal again?

Never mind outlawing vitamins, herbs and dietary supplements, to pacify the evil pharmaceutical companies; outlaw the real dangers: selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors.

Ellen Botelho mailto:peacefullake@earthlink.net

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Survivor Story 197:15/77 Cold turkeyed off Effexor and Etrafon.

 

A Survivor Speaks Out

2003

This is Survivor Story number 15.
Total number of stories in current database is 77

7/14/2003

Cold turkeyed off Effexor and Etrafon

 

Antidepressants

“I continue to cite your book to all I can reach. I believe in you, and thank you so very much!”

I’ve read “Prozac…” with great interest after your first “Art Bell” show. I was fortunate to be able to tape the second show with B. Simpson.

Thanks to your efforts, I now have all the support I need to warn friends about the pitfalls of these drugs.

My story:

Long term depression. Working physical job at printing outfit. Duties included fork lift driving. I went to the doctor for some relief; he prescribed Effexor, and Etrafon-forte.

My most pronounced side effect became noticeable to my wife; the persona of pure apathy.

Her father was killed in a car accident, and at the funeral, I couldn’t cry- became ultra-spiritual about his role in “the afterlife.” He was a Salvation Army officer and musician in the string band. He was loved by everyone. I miss him, but I do feel his presence even today; four years after my cold turkey episode.

My personal hell came in the form of unwanted thoughts that, without a firm spiritual background, I might have acted upon- as some of the examples presented in your case studies.

I decided that the drugs were the cause of my thoughts, and just stopped taking them one day. Things got worse, and I resorted to a relapse to drinking after a four year sobriety.

My drinking took off to three day binges, and I assaulted my loving wife while in a blackout.

Iwas jailed, and went through treatment. Over a six year period I’ve had three such episodes, but remain free of the SSRI’s. I’ve found relief with Librium, but they tapered me off of it while in the last treatment. I now feel totally lost, and have all the physical problems of stress, including fibro myalgia. I am now self employed making furniture.

I just got on the net at home, and wish to thank you for your insight-full work exposing this problem. I continue to cite your book to all I can reach. I believe in you, and thank you so very much!

Yours in central MN

Jon Allen
hihat02@yahoo.com

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Survivor Story 198:16/77 – 12 drugs in 4 years caused near fatal effects – Paxil: racing thoughts and extremely suicidal.”

 

A Survivor Speaks Out

2003

This is Survivor Story number 16.
Total number of stories in current database is 77

7/14/2003

12 drugs in 4 years caused near fatal effects

 

Antidepressants

“Within 4 days of starting Paxil I was experiencing racing thoughts and was extremely suicidal.”

So that some of this makes sense, at the age of 7, I was hospitalized with an unknown virus that attacked my major organs. Although I recovered quite well given the severity of the illness, I was left with minor liver damage and it was noted in my medical records that I was very medication sensitive. I repeatedly told each psychiatrist I saw about the liver damage.

In 1999 at the age of 14 I was admitted to aN adolescent psychiatric unit for depression and suicidal ideation. One day later I was prescribed the antidepressant Prozac and addictive anti-anxiety drug Klonopin by a psychiatrist who I’d never even met. After my first dose of both drugs and for the next few weeks I felt like I was drunk, I could barely walk and was unable to stay awake. I was kept on these drugs for 3 months, in that time I began to self-injure and was kicked out of public high school because of repeatedly falling asleep in class, until I complained to my psychiatrist of severe memory loss, he had me quit both cold turkey and begin Paxil.

Within 4 days of starting Paxil I was experiencing racing thoughts and was extremely suicidal. When my psychiatrist found this out he quickly diagnosed me as bipolar and put me on Tegretol and Risperdal. I was pulled off the Tegretol 2 weeks later due to extreme dizziness. I was told that Risperdal was aN antidepressant and at that time I was one extremely physically ill 15 year old kid and in no position to question my doctor.

After 2 months of continual nightmares caused by Risperdal I began to experience a horrible (for anyone yet alone a teenager) side effect, my body started to act like I was pregnant! My period stopped and I began to lactate. I was taken off the Risperdal and given Effexor, which made me suffer from severe insomnia and agitation and was given Trazadone to help me sleep. At this time my psychiatrist was moving out of state and my mom chose a new one for me, neither she nor I knew he specialized in ADHD. I was then given Ritalin and told my anxiety and drug induced agitation was actually a sign of ADHD.

I took only one pill of Ritalin and spend the rest of the day curled in a ball on my bed unable to move because of extreme stomach pain. When my psychiatrist found out I’d only taken that one dose he admonished me for not giving it time to work and gave me a prescription for Dipresamine. I had a severe allergic reaction, my arms and legs were covered in a rash which then turned into hives and I started having trouble breathing. My mom called the psychiatrist. After a 4 hour wait he returned the call and began to yell at my mom for calling and bothering him, he finally told her to not give me any more Dipresamine and he’d phone the pharmacy with a prescription for Zoloft.

After I recovered from the reaction I started the Zoloft, within an hour of taking it began to throw up and continued to for a few hours, this repeated with each dose of Zoloft I took and I stopped taking it after a week. At this time a therapist I was seeing recommended a certain psychiatrist for me to see. I met with him and he prescribed Depakote. I told him I wouldn’t take medicines that required blood tests and he assured me I didn’t need them on Depakote (I now know that isn’t true).

After 3 weeks I felt like a zombie and began having hallucinations, hand tremors, and had gained a lot of weight. I asked the psychiatrist if Depakote could be causing it all and he told me absolutely not. He went on to say what I was obviously developing schizophrenia and gave me a prescription for Risperdal (yes, he did know of my previous bad reaction) which I never took.

A few days later my cousin who is a nurse’s assistant came to have dinner with me and my parents. We started talking and I told her about the weird problems and the hallucinations. When she’d heard everything, her exact words were “I’m taking you to the emergency room, NOW!” She took me to the hospital that she worked at and had a doctor she knew in the ER examine me. He ordered the first ever lab tests done on me, and told me that my liver enzymes were high and I had a dangerous level of Depakote in my body, and that if I continued to take the Depakote I would likely go into liver failure within a few weeks.

After being told to go to my regular doctor in a few weeks to have liver enzymes checked again, and to return immediately if I got worse, I was sent home and promptly threw the rest of the Depakote in the trash. It took over 3 months for the hallucinations, weight gain, and hand tremors to go away. My liver enzymes went down, but they never returned to what they had been before I’d taken the Depakote. I’ve been told that my liver functions at about 70% of what a healthy liver does, a large part of that damage is from the Depakote.

I’d like to say that was the end of my experience with psychiatric drugs, but I hadn’t quite learned my lesson. Recently another therapist insisted I see a psychiatrist, who gave me Buspar. Buspar is advertised as the only nonaddicting anti-anxiety drug. After taking it for 11 days I felt dulled and slowed so I stopped taking it. I suffered through 3 days of withdrawals including headaches, dizziness, lose of coordination, insomnia, and severe muscle aches. Now, I’ve learned my lesson!

I was told I had ever disorder imaginable, including schizophrenia, and that my future was long term hospitalization. I proved them wrong. I entered an alternative program funded by the public school district where we were considered to be public school students but attended class at a separate location from the public high school. In May 2003, I graduated with a 3.97 GPA, the highest in the alternative program, had a class rank of 13 out of 350 students at the public high school, and was chosen to give a speech at my graduation ceremony.

In August I’m starting college at a small liberal arts college in the Midwest and planning to become a special education teacher for children with behavior disorders.

Bani
bani@busmail.org

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Survivor Story 199:17/77 – 16-Year Old Has Violent Nightmares on Paxil and Effexor, Takes Rifle to School.

 

A Survivor Speaks Out

2003

This is Survivor Story number 17.
Total number of stories in current database is 77

7/15/2003

16-Year Old Has Violent Nightmares on Paxil and Effexor, Takes Rifle to School

 

Antidepressants

“The first day he took his 300 mgs is also the day he walked into school with a rifle. He fortunately gave up the rifle, before harming himself or others.”

After complaining of anxiety and depression we took him to a Psychologist, who then suggested taking him to our GP and having Corey placed on medication. The medication was Paxil. After 10 months on 20 mgs. of Paxil, Corey said he wasn’t feeling any better. The GP upped his dose to 40 mgs of Paxil. For 2 months, Corey was on 40 mgs of Paxil and then complained that he was still feeling bad. He was taken to the GP, who then abruptly discontinued Paxil and placed Corey on a rising dose of Effexor. The first week, he took 75 mgs, second week 150mgs, third week he went up to 225 mgs and on the beginning of the fourth week he was to reach his highest dose of 300 mgs. The first day he took his 300 mgs is also the day he walked into school with a rifle. He fortunately gave up the rifle, before harming himself or others.

A Forensic Psychiatrist was hired, who had also worked with the Prosecutor. After months of research, the Psychiatrist found Corey in diminished capacity, because of the abrupt discontinuation of Paxil and the significant dose of Effexor. The Doctor also found that the Psychologist had misdiagnosed Corey clinical depression. It was actually situational depression and these drugs should not be give for that. He also mentioned that these drugs were not approved for children under 18. Corey was 16 yrs old at the time of his arrest. After 14 months in detention, a lesser plea of assaults was found and Corey was released on time served and has 5 yrs. probation.

Corey has no memory of getting the rifle, driving to school, being in the classroom or being arrested and taken to Detention. His next memory is someone coming to his cell and asking him a question.

Because of the community outcry and no contact order, we had to move to another part of the state of Washington.

We found that Corey had been afraid to tell us about the abnormally violent nightmares of going to school with a rifle, which took place a year before the incident.

Corey had also experienced visual and audio hallucination, depersonalization, aggressive behavior and amnesia. Corey had never used illegal drugs or alcohol. He told us, “he was afraid to tell us, because he thought he was going crazy”. It was these drugs that drove him crazy. Before this happened, Corey was always our sensitive, loving and huggy kid and he is still loving and huggy.

Jbaadsk@aol.com

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Survivor Story 200:18/77 – CNS Damage While on Paxil “I experienced explosive anger, rage, uncontrolled weeping”

 

A Survivor Speaks Out

2003

This is Survivor Story number 18.
Total number of stories in current database is 77

7/16/2003

CNS Damage While on Paxil

 

Antidepressants

“In trying to get off Paxil, I experienced explosive anger, rage, uncontrolled weeping…”

The following is a synopsis of the symptoms experienced while using Paxil followed by symptoms while trying to get off Paxil.

Physician Consultation

I sought counsel with my physician for pharmaceutical help in dealing with agoraphobia but wanted a medication with few side effects.

My doctor read the advertisements, believed every word and prescribed Paxil.

Symptoms

Inability to concentrate. Inability to care much about anything, i.e., numbed emotionally and physically. Not caring about life at all. Wanted to be left alone. Strong tendencies to isolate.

Getting off Paxil

My physician told me there were few side effects. Nothing was ever discussed about getting off Paxil, nor was the half life explained to me.

In trying to get off Paxil, I experienced explosive anger, rage, uncontrolled weeping, severe panic episodes, undergoing what felt might be similar to shock treatments, loss of short term memory, loss of good judgment.

It took almost a year to recover from the extensive damage done to my central nervous system and in recovering my short term memory ability.

Summary

Subsequent research has indicated that the majority of people taking Paxil experience radical symptoms while taking it and are put in serious, even life threatening states of mind while getting off it.

Pharmaceutical companies are in the business to make money. The advertising and administration of this medication are deadly as evidence continues to mount regarding side effects.

It is my hope the Senate Subcommittee thoroughly investigate the use of advertisements including misprescribed medications by general practitioners who do not special in psycho tropic medications.

Thank you.

Jacqueline Sterling
4010-15th Avenue South #16D
Minneapolis, MN 55407

Jackie Sterling
sterl005@umn.edu

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Survivor Story 201:19/77 – A 16-Year Old Tells of Suicidal Attempts on SSRIs.

 

A Survivor Speaks Out

2003

This is Survivor Story number 19.
Total number of stories in current database is 77

8/3/2003

A 16-Year Old Tells of Suicidal Attempts on SSRIs

 

Antidepressants

“I have thoughts of wanting to hurt people, and I have never been a violent person.”

My name is Jason Atwood. I am sixteen years old and have been on several different medications since I was thirteen years old. When I was about twelve years old I started to get signs of Depression. At the time there was reason for it and I didn’t‚t do much about it. I figured that present circumstances, it was okay to feel sad. Well, things brightened up for everyone around the home, except myself. So, I started to go to therapy. By this time I was thirteen years old. I was told that I should be on medication so, I went to my family doctor and he proscribed me Paxil. I took it for about a week. Then, the side effects became too strong, I couldn’tvsleep, my mouth was constantly dry and I couldn’t concentrate in school. So after the week I came off of Paxil. There was nothing the doctor said concerning how to taper off. So I just stopped taking the pills.

A meaningless argument between me and my sister left me in a panic. I ran down the stairs into my basement, picked up a piece of glass and cut myself for the first time. After that I switched therapists and talked to my therapist about cutting. He didn’t care. Later that year, I was convinced I needed medication. So, in frenzy I stole my cousins‚ medication, Zoloft®. I started taking it in November, and stopped taking it in January. That Quarter of school I failed every class because I stopped caring about my grades. The thing I worried about most, making sure they were all up to date.

July 9, 2002 I tried to take my life, the one thing that I had held precious in my sight. Upon being committed into a psych. Ward, I was put on Celexa. I had been taking it for three months when my suicidal thoughts returned. I was scared to tell my parents in fear that I would be sent back to a psychiatric ward. So, I continued to hurt myself. I would take large amounts of pills, and I would cut my arms, legs, chest, and anywhere I wanted to.

April 19, 2003. I tried to take my life again, and I was hospitalized. I went into primary children‚s hospital. I continued taking my normal medication or so I thought.

Without my permission or my knowledge, they had switched my medication. I was now taking Remeron®. Ever since I have been on Remeron® I have had thoughts of wanting to gouge my eyes out, strange dreams, and fatigue . I have thoughts of wanting to hurt people, and I have never been a violent person.

With the help of a doctor who knows a lot about medication I have been coming down off the Remeron. The side-effect, still apply, and I still feel urges to commit suicide but, I am better at fighting them. I would like to state my feelings of medication, they are not necessary and don‚t feel that people need them to survive thank you for you time!

Jason Lloyd Atwood

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Survivor Story 202:20/77 Victimized, tortured and abused in Psychiatric Care.

 

A Survivor Speaks Out

2003

This is Survivor Story number 20.
Total number of stories in current database is 77

8/5/2003

Victimized, tortured and abused in Psychiatric Care

 

Antidepressants

“To all those who read my story, there is hope, and don’t give up until you’ve won.”

My name is Julie and I would like to share my story with your site.

It all began shortly after graduating high school, at the top of my class in 1996. At the time, I was renting my own apartment, which is rare for a 19 year old high school senior.

I was waitressing nights, making great tips and had recently graduated modeling school.

I sculpted nightly, had a terrific group of artistic friends which involved musicians, artists, dancers, writers and others. In high school, I was loved by everyone, especially my teachers who prompted me to enter some state and city wide writing contests.

I won best poet across my state for a poem entitled Chirchen, or “church” in German, and also won runner up in a Reebok essay contest. I regularly attended art shows with by boyfriend and dressed up in gorgeous dresses, and had a bold smile ready to shake the hands of professional artists who would be presented at these shows.

Then, I got pregnant and had to terminate the pregnancy due to complications. I moved out of my apartment, had to change jobs and tried my best to cope with every day living. I had a lot of emotional problems which surfaced heavily after the abortion and was recalling all the trauma from my past which made it difficult to face relationship issues with my boyfriend.

I moved out of his place and moved in with some roommates but still worked at my job which was managing a busy craft shop. Then my adoptive father started to call me suddenly quite regularly out of the blue. He was insistent on taking me to a mental health clinic to be evaluated. He told me in order for me to claim Social Security because he couldn’t afford to pay for me anymore that it would be good to be seen in order to receive benefits. He didn’t tell me at the time he was convinced I was mentally ill.

We went to the doctors and when he left the room, I was surrounded by a team of “professionals” who asked me questions and I felt like the spotlight was on me. I voiced I always felt self-conscious and felt uncomfortable around other women who shared similarities to me physically.

I didn’t want to compete anymore and I wanted girlfriends who didn’t feel envious of me or felt competitive. I think I went into that office thinking a little talk therapy and my hopes of having a supportive friend would come to surface.

I told them I didn’t want “that doctor” and pointed to the most attractive woman in the room. A few days later, they had me set up with that doctor and I went back to her office feeling very uncomfortable and had a sort of euphoric hopefulness speaking to her.

She tipped her head and asked the most typical every day questions I would be asked by an acquaintance at a local cafe. There was no apparent interest or deep therapeutic assistance happening. She was not a doctor. She was a hired “friend” who was not half as bright as I was. She sent me to the psychiatrist, he told me I had no clue and handed me a prescription for Depakote.

A week or so later, I had my first psychotic episode and was driven by my father to the clinic. The therapist handed me a daffodil and she told me to hold onto it as tight as I could. I could barely grip my hand around its stem. They brought me to the hospital across the street where I was admitted and soon diagnosed schizophrenic. In the morning, I was in the shower, and a male nurse molested me.

Later, they put me on Haldol and I had a bad reaction, closing my teeth so hard, I almost broke them all out just from biting down. Then they put me on Prolixin and while I was adjusting to the drugs, I kept busy by trying to write coherent poetry and drawing pictures of flowers with crayons to hang all around my room. I suddenly found myself looking into the foggy hospital mirrors and barely being able to decipher my own face.

I began to look like the life was being literally sucked out of me. I could barely lift the corners of my lips to smile. My therapist from the clinic came into the hospital and had dyed her hair my color to make me feel closer to her somehow. When I told her it made me feel uncomfortable, when she thought I would love it, as I felt she was stealing my fragile identity, she dyed it back we grew distant as patient and therapist.

One nurse who I grew fond of would see me, burst into tears and hide behind other nurses. I remember vividly, her face red from tears feeling so bad for me. Little did I know it was only the beginning of hell. When they let me out of the hospital, I had some tardive dyskinesia and could not move my arms coordinated like I did before while walking.

I moved to my father’s for a few weeks and on one particular trip to visit my boyfriend in the city, while walking through the mall, my right leg became paralytic and I would have to drag it to each mall bench just to get about 20 more steps to the next bench. When I saw my old friends at our old apartment, they had to turn and cry when they took one look at me. The before vivacious, lively, happy Julie was suddenly, as they later told me, looking through them instead of at them.

My boyfriend made me get off Prolixin and took me out dark at night to teach me how to walk while swinging my arms again on the runner’s path under the trees. I got most of my stride back and began to feel a little better but not long after, I was admitted to other hospitals numerous times more and became a guinea pig for a plethora of various drugs which made me forget who I was and I eventually lost all drive to work, sculpt or a lot of times, venture outside to be with friends. I moved back in with my boyfriend and we would try to taper off the drugs but I would always cycle and end up back in the hospital. In a matter of 4 years, I was diagnosed borderline, schizophrenic, schizoaffective, bipolar affective and finally bipolar.

n the later hospital stays, I was victimized, abused, tortured and had my dignity destroyed. I learned to manipulate the doctors and orderlies to let me out based on I was in agreement with them I would stay on the drugs and lead a “functional” life. Eventually, I gained 100 pounds, had nerve damage in my hands, vision problems, lost all my former athletic ability and became engrossed in a psychiatric stigma where I became afraid of my own shadow- literally.

Now I am on 10mg of Zyprexa once a night and hope to be medication free so I can be at my best when attending college to earn a degree in English Literature. Even though my life is not where I believe I am capable of bringing it to be, I know they haven’t gotten my soul and I will fight until she is fully on the surface again. I still have my pride as far as my talents and fount of undying forgiveness lie but its hard to face the days when those people who seemed, most of them for that matter, cruel and almost evil.

I hope that in my future, I can regain the inner effort to pick up the pieces and tell my story in a book one day of the inhumane practices that those doctors placed on me. To all those who read my story, there is hope, and don’t give up until you’ve won.

Julie
LittleDickens3@aol.com

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Survivor Story 195:13/77 – A Paxil Withdrawal Success Story. “it was altering the way I thought”

 

A Survivor Speaks Out

2003

This is Survivor Story number 13.
Total number of stories in current database is 77

7/8/2003

A Paxil Withdrawal Success Story

 

Antidepressants

“The Paxil was altering the way I thought – my thought processes were not me.”

My story has no tragic ending to it…THANK GOD!!!!

Pre-Paxil: I was experiencing severe anxiety (mostly physical sensations running through my body) along with just feeling NOT like myself. It was like someone else was walking around in my body instead of me – I had lost myself. My sense of well-being was totally destroyed… I could experience no comfort in anything – nothing. After an initial visit with a psychiatrist for 65 minutes, I was diagnosed with life-long depression (dysthymia) and now I had hit an even deeper depression. No reason why, just happened. I guess the years of raising two wonderful lively healthy sons, being married for over 25 years, active in volunteer work, working full time, seemingly well adjusted to this life with all it’s foibles and struggles…all counted for nothing.

So, I started taking Paxil.

Paxil days: I was so black inside – I could not be alone – I have NEVER been that way my entire life! My hands were shaking so bad I could hardly write. Interestingly the depression seemed to be subsiding – there was an indiscernible ‘lift’ – but I was still not myself. I fought anxiety and a feeling of desperation constantly!!! I told my husband numerous times how much I loved him and no matter what happens to me don’t ever forget that… Because sometimes I feel like I won’t be able to control the urge to kill myself. Someone suggested I see a peri-menopausal specialist – I may need estrogen. I am pushing 300% to just get through the day…

Paxil and estrogen days: After beginning the estrogen it only took a few days to “feel” myself coming back. YES! It is slow – but Lynda is coming back. However, I still shake – my sleep isn’t right – it’s not restful, no appetite, still feel overwhelmed in my thoughts, confused and hard to concentrate… but I can deal with all of that because my sense of well-being is returning. I want to stop the Paxil. It is altering the way I think.

Paxil withdrawal: My symptoms…horrible aches all throughout my body… I could hardly open and close my hands it was so painful. Felt like I had a huge case of the flu… confusion, inability to concentrate – worse than ever. I started experiencing the electrical zaps in my brain. Frightening! I was very, very dizzy. Ultra confused. I could hardly lift my head off of the pillow because the pain was so intense in my neck and head . I began experiencing stomach cramps and severe diarrhea. And the nightmares! They were horrible! VIVID bad dreams. And I could hardly handle the intensity of sights and sounds… I thought I was going crazy! I had to fight the intense feeling that I had to take more Paxil… and the intense feeling that I had to drink (I am a recovering alcoholic – 17 months sobriety)…

Day 10 of Paxil withdrawal – July 7th, 2003: Without a doubt I can say my brain is working better than it has in 6 months. I still have stomach cramps, dizziness, intense dreams, zapping sounds in my brain…. but I can finally say the total Lynda is almost back. The Paxil was altering the way I thought – my thought processes were not me. This is different than a sense of well-being . The sense of well-being was lost because of the hormone deficiency. I could never have handled the Paxil withdrawals had I not had my sense of well-being back. The altered way I was thinking was prompted by the Paxil.

Thankfully I never acted upon the suicide thoughts. Thankfully I never was violent (although I had to work extremely hard to control myself).

Lynda Frieden
LFRIEDEN@svbank.com

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