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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Survivor Story 196:14/77 – Horror story of forced drugging.

 

A Survivor Speaks Out

2003

This is Survivor Story number 14.
Total number of stories in current database is 77

7/13/2003

Horror story of forced drugging

 

Ritalin/Adderall

“It seemed that the more medicine they used, the worse he got.”

If a stranger on the street came up to me and my child with a package of cocaine and offered to give my child a free month’s supply, I’d have him arrested.

AFTER I beat the living mess out of him. How DARE someone I don’t know offer dangerous, mind altering drugs to my child with me standing right there? Yet I sat there in that school psychologist’s office when my son was a mere five years old listening to this woman I’d never met before tell me my son had Attention Deficit Disorder and needed to be put on Ritalin so that he could concentrate more in class, stop fidgeting and disrupting. I sat forward in my seat, a confused look on my face. Fidgeting? Disrupting? Lack of concentration? I voiced my concern to the psychologist that there was a health problem with my son, that two years earlier he and our family had suffered through a severe toxic poisoning of carbon monoxide for almost three months that left everyone dazed for some time afterwards. Perhaps, I told her, he was simply having after effects of the poisoning and wasn’t quite himself yet. I’d already heard from a neurologist that toxic poisoning can cause possible brain damage, concentration difficulties and irritability. Could that not be a possibility? Definitely not, she stated. She had observed Daniel in class many times and he had all the classic signs of ADHD, and was certain it was Daniel’s difficulty. She said that she had spoken with the teacher and the teacher agreed with her. No, she said, Daniel needed to be put on Ritalin to control his outbursts and concentration problems.

She gave me a form she had filled out showing a long list of symptoms, each with a nasty little checkmark beside it that she had filled out and signed while observing Daniel, and I was to give it to the pediatrician when asking for my son to be put on the medication.

Still skeptical, I didn’t make an appointment for my son right away. I saw no signs of ADHD at home. Yes, he had a temper, but what child doesn’t? Yes, he fought with his brother and sisters. But what child doesn’t? He could sit and watch an entire thirty minutes of cartoons on Sunday, he could sit and look at a comic book about Spiderman for over twenty minutes and not make a peep.

My son? ADHD?? Not in this lifetime, I remember thinking.

Two weeks later, the school psychologist called me at home asking me if I’d had a chance to get to the pediatrician. I told her I was still thinking about my options.

To this day, I can remember the chill down the back of my neck when the next words out of her mouth were a stern “Now, Mrs. Rosecrans, refusing to cooperate with the school system is not benefiting you or your son. We may have to move him to a Special Education class if you’re not willing to put his education first, and in some states that’s considered child abuse.” I gripped the phone hard. The mere words “child abuse” brought on visuals of social service workers poking through my house, asking me millions of questions about how I fed the children, how I disciplined the children, forcing me and my husband to take parenting classes, and the possibility that they could even yank my child out of my home. I’d seen it happen to others. I’d heard the horror stories at Head Start a year earlier from other parents who dared go against the school. I was TERRIFIED. Just the mere thought of my little boy’s face laying on a bed in some foster home crying because Mommy wasn’t there filled my eyes with tears instantly. I choked out quietly that I would speak to the pediatrician as soon as possible. Satisfied, the psychologist let me go. I sent a letter to the school the very next morning confirming that I would do as I was asked and take Daniel to the pediatrician for a checkup and possible medication.

Once again, though, a few days later, the horrors of pumping my child with medications without a full research into other possibilities scared me worse.

So I began my own research into brain injury due to toxic poisonings, near drownings and asphyxiation. Sure enough, my son had symptoms related to brain injury, and we already suspected his father had possible brain injury as well.

Not even two weeks after the call, I got a letter from my son’s teacher, stating that she had received my note about taking my son to the doctor and seeking advice on medications, and that she had not heard anything about it yet and needed to know more. I felt pushed again. I called my son’s teacher, who told me that since the school psychologist who was trained to recognize ADHD stated Daniel was definitely an ADHD child, he simply had to be placed on medication that would CERTAINLY help him and help his grades or be placed in a special education class.

Again, I felt severely pressured, the undertones being “OR WE”RE GOING TO REPORT YOU”. So I made an appointment with my son’s pediatrician. Without so much as five minutes alone with my son, she handed me a prescription for Ritalin, smiled, and told me to contact her in two weeks to give an update on his progress. Then she simply left the room.

Fearing reprisal by Child Protective, and after an assurance from my son’s pediatrician that Ritalin was prescribed daily for thousands of children all over the United States, I reluctantly asked my baby to put medication in his mouth and tiny body that was made from a derivative of cocaine. No information from the doctor about side effects, nor from the pharmacist. Just a cold piece of paper that read like scientific reports not meant for lay people to understand. Well, that and the words “Effectiveness in children under the age of 18 has not been established”.

Yeah, that one got me scared, but not as scared as having my son yanked from me. The first two weeks, my son was a zombie. Just what they wanted, a quiet, compliant child. But there was no warmth there anymore. No heart. No fire.

He didn’t even seem like my son anymore. After that, the symptoms came back, this time with a vengeance. Another drug, Adderal, was added. Then another, Clonadine. Then the Ritalin was discontinued, and Wellbutrin added. Adderal removed, Zyprexa added.

It seemed that the more medicine they used, the worse he got. OH he’d be fine for a few weeks. But then it was like uncaging a monster. He started screaming. Waking up in the middle of the night hearing “voices”. Psychotic episodes began to get more frequent. He had intense rage episodes brought on by nothing, destroying furniture and trying to kill himself and others.

Finally, I removed my son from all medications. During the withdrawal, my son got worse. His father was going through the same thing, and suddenly I have a knock on my door from Social Services, stating my son has reported being belted by his father and that my son is not on medications as he is supposed to be. OH MY LORD, I thought, I’VE BEEN REPORTED FOR CHILD ABUSE!!! A check of everything from our bedrooms, our bathrooms, even to our closets and refrigerators left them satisfied that my kids were at least healthy and happy, but they were concerned about the medicine situation. I told the workers that I felt my son was being harmed by it. They said I needed counseling and that they would be back in touch. Fearing the worse, I packed up my two boys and left the state. Situations had already gotten so bad between their father and I we could no longer hold a decent conversation without either him or our son losing their temper and going into a rage. There was no more marriage. All my energy had been focused on a child who was threatening death and a husband that fed off my son’s anger with his own.

Once I got to New Mexico, and my son off the drugs, he seemed to calm some.

Even start showing signs of the sweet, funny, delightful little boy I knew I’d given birth to. After a month or so, it became obvious to me that my marriage was over. I wanted my two girls who I had left in New York with their father and grandmother to be with me. So a nasty custody battle ensued, with Child Protective, this time in New Mexico, combing every inch of my house to assure the children were safe.

Daniel again started having difficulties in school, unable to concentrate, and fidgety. Again, the same nightmare. Yet this school system was contacted by Child Protective in NY who advised them that my son should have been on medications, and again I was immediately pushed into drugging my son.

The strain was simply too much for the little fellow and he ended up in a psychiatric hospital for a few weeks to gain control of his emotions, brought on I suspected, by the new drug they had him on. SEREQUEL, a wonder drug, I was told.

Since my son was in the hospital and I was unable to attend the child custody hearing in New York, I lost custody of my precious babies. Their father, accused of child abuse by me and by Child Protective, was given custody of my children simply because I could not be there due to my son’s emergency hospitalization by a judge who never met me, never heard my side, and never gave me a chance to reschedule.

Five agonizing months later, I was given custody back of my children due to their father’s inability to control Daniel and happily took them back to New Mexico.

Once I got my son back to New Mexico, I found out another psychiatrist had agreed my son was ADHD and had put him on Tegretol and Klonopin. I immediately removed the medicine and it brought out rage episodes while my son was detoxing from its effects. By this time, my son had several “labels” by different doctors, psychiatrists and psychologists. The main one being ADHD. They added Bipolar, ODD, IDS, and even Learning Disorder, completely ignoring my pleas that the child be checking for brain injury due to the carbon monoxide poisoning. They all seemed certain that my son was indeed ADHD and no one wanted to buck the trend.

Finally worn out from fighting Child Protective and school systems in two states, I felt myself wearing down, near to collapse. I moved me and my four children across country to Atlanta, Georgia to be with my mom and get her help.

I had figured that if I said NOTHING to the schools, simply put my son in the age appropriate classes and show him security, love and affection, he’d do much better. I’d also made a promise to myself to find the best neurologist in the area and get his brain checked for damage.

When the records arrived from the other state, my son was instantly labeled “ADHD” by the school system, yanked from his normal class and put in Special Education. Once again Child Protective from THIS state came out to the house to demand I let them investigate to make sure the family was safe. They demanded I follow the instructions of the school psychiatrist and put my son on Zoloft, Risperdal and Adderal to control his outbursts, lack of concentration and his ADHD. I felt so defeated. So abused by three states and their systems put in place to PROTECT families and children.

Despite everything I had to go through in the last three years, losing my home, losing my security, having to support four children on my own financially and emotionally, despite having no social life and no one to turn to, I was still considering an unfit mother and under Child Protection once again in a third state, pushing me to medicate my son. After three more emergency hospitalizations, four different medications including Depakote, Clonadine and Neurontin, trying to convince dozens of teachers, psychiatrists and psychologists that my son had possible brain injury and NOT ADHD, after losing every dime I had taking care of four children with no child support, after months of research into brain injured children, I gave up.

I knew I had to move my children back to the State of New York where my ex husband would be forced to help me take care of their financial needs, their health needs, and their emotional needs. So back to NY we went.

Immediately, I was placed back on Child Protective with the local county.

Almost as fast, my son again started having psychotic episodes that forced hospitalizations, one in a hospital over 80 miles away due to, I was convinced, OVERMEDICATION.

I continued my research into brain injury and made my thoughts known to the psychiatrist on staff at the hospital my son was taken to, who dismissed it as ridiculous. At that center, he was abused, forced to wipe with shower curtains, locked in time out rooms until he wet his pants, given shots of Thorazaine along with doses of Benedryl by an undertrained staff to shut him up. After my complaints went unnoticed, I complained to the Office of Mental Health, who did a surprise inspection on the site, and found all the atrocities I and other parents had complained about and immediately forced the center to stop accepting children until the difficulties were resolved.

Three weeks of living hell for my baby, who by this time had been poked, prodded, examined and stolen from his mommy and siblings over seven times. A child who now longer trusted or wanted to comply with staff. Placed on Seroquel and Neurontin, he became a zombie again.

Seeing my son on a visit that day suddenly made me ANGRY. AND I MEAN I GOT MAD. I suddenly found myself demanding my son be given more attention.

Demanding I get to talk to my son more often. Demanding to see his records, to which I was denied three times by the staff. Demanding that he be given a brain scan to test for injury before upping the dosage on his medication. To this day, I still have a recording of the doctor telling me that a brain scan would never be done at that facility and I should check into another venue for that, yet refused to decrease my son’s medication for it. I was even told by the staff social worker that Daniel’s problems were EMOTIONAL, caused by parents that were divorced, a mother that drug them across country three times, and a dysfunctional family life. I sure chewed her butt out that day, let me tell you. It felt GOOD.

Then the hospital threw my son out after three weeks because I was getting PUSHY. They claim the insurance company refused to pay for any further treatment, but the insurance company denied their statements, saying their own social worker had called to cancel Daniel’s treatment.

Three weeks after I weaned my son of yet another drug cocktail, he began symptoms of withdrawal, became violent. He was taken from me again and put in a hospital over 3 hours away. My heart still breaks every time I imagine that boy’s horror in that long ambulance drive taking him away from mommy again.

There, the doctor listened to what I had to say about possible brain damage causing difficulties and medications causing symptoms to worsen. I even mentioned Dr. Gary Sach’s report concerning the “kindling effect” of medications being stronger and stronger until a raging fire spewed that was nearly uncontrollable.

He was sympathetic, but uninterested. He placed my son on Zoloft and a week later, I had him back. And again, the same pattern. Once again, back in my arms, I knew that medication was not working for my son. Yet this time I was under Social Services scrutiny almost daily, demanding to know whether or not I was giving my son the medication the doctor had prescribed. By this time, though, years of overmedication had brought on psychotic episodes and dangerous outbursts. I contacted KidsPeace in Romulus, NY, who agreed to accept the child to help me straighten out the medication difficulties, help me get a brain scan to determine if it was medical or emotional, and give my son needed counseling and assistance in controlling himself. Seemed like a WONDERFUL setup. Finally, somebody willing to help me. A facility willing to listen to ME. The only difficulty was that all entrants had to be under foster care through Social Services.

Breaking my heart badly, I broke down and asked the local Social Services to temporarily take custody of my son so that he could be placed in this residential treatment center to help him detoxify and learn the real cause of his troubles.

Over 80 miles away, we drove with our son, all of us crying, and placed our baby in these people’s 24 hour care. At first, everything was great. For three weeks he liked being secure, but the psychiatrist took him off all other medications and immediately put him on Zoloft and Risperdal. I spoke with the psychiatrist about my concerns of medications and why we couldn’t try brain scans and therapy.

What a SEVERELY different attitude I got from the day I signed my son over to these people. Suddenly once again I was told to mind my own business. That I was a mere mother, not educated in medicine or children’s therapies. I was told that they needed to stabilize him first, then brain scans would come later.

Heartbroken, and basically told “don’t call us, we’ll call you”, cut off from my son except for two fifteen minute calls a week and two visits for a few hours twice a month, I became determined to find out for myself my rights. I put my full soul and heart into research.

For four months, I spent hours on the computer reading anything I could about medications, ADHD, Bipolar, therapy, brain injury and even parental rights.

I started getting MADDER. The fight came back. The determination to be a part of my son’s therapy and treatment went to front burner. Again, I was met with extreme prejudice. Met with barriers and statements to stop being so pushy and let them do their jobs. My son got physically abused and sexually abused at the site. The psychiatrist REFUSED to remove the Risperdal from my son, but reluctantly removed the Zoloft after I threatened to drive to the site, find him in his office and sit on him and force him to read pamphlets stating Zoloft was NOT meant for children. I was SERIOUS, too, lemme tell you. That tone came through the phone CLEARLY. After all, THIS IS MY son.

NOT Child Protective’s. NOT KidsPeace. After the Zoloft was removed, he showed a remarkable difference. It was like night and day. He was suddenly able to participate in groups more often, enjoying things like reading and TV again, and even laughing more. To further enforce my rights, I demanded more visitation rights. Demanded more phone calls.

I refused to back down. Daniel started getting Excellents and Goods instead of Poor and Failing’s. I also arranged for my son to be taken to Syracuse for a proper brain scan thanks to my ex husband’s insurance on my son. HALLELUIAH, we finally had the proof we needed. My son was INDEED brain injured as I’d been SCREAMING about to Child Protective, doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, nosy social workers, undertrained overworked teachers, neighbors and bus monitors. I was yelling it to ANYONE that would listen. He was NOT ADHD, OR Bipolar. I IMMEDIATELY demanded my son be taken OFF all medications and rely only on therapy and ways to help him. The new staff psychiatrist refused, stating she needed a full neuropsychiatric workup to prove he didn’t have ADHD. So I set up a full battery of tests through Dr. Thomas Griffiths of Syracuse, an expert in brain injury.

Sure enough, my son’s tests proved that he simply could not ingest information as quickly as other children due to brain injury, could not retain that information as easily, and would get frustrated because he was a gifted child who knew something was wrong.

BINGO. THE PROOF I NEEDED. MY SON WAS NOT ADHD, or BIPOLAR. I HAPPILY and personally presented that proof to Child Protective, the staff at KidsPeace (who by now resented my interference with their program, resented my pushiness to be involved with my son’s treatment, and resented my stern warnings that I would no longer be treated like a second class citizen.) to neighbors, to anyone in three states that had EVER given me static about being a lowly mother. I was certain that now I would finally get the right treatment for my son.

You’d think so, right?: WRONG. The psychiatrist STILL refused to take my son off the Risperdal, even after a full team meeting I had to sit through and listen to her tell me and the full staff that what was WRONG with my son was emotional, that his parent’s difficulties and divorce and instabilities were driving Daniel’s emotions, listen to her state the ‘wonderful benefits” of the Risperdal and how Daniel was doing SO much better on it. With Child Protective listening in on the phone, I firmly and angrily stated that not only did we have PROOF that Daniel was a brain injured child and NOT ADHD, we had PROOF that I’d downloaded and printed out showing the facts that certain medications actually bring ON psychotic episodes in children. CAUSED aggravations. I had PROOF that the medicine he was on wasn’t even supposed to be USED by children under 18 and PROOF from Daniel’s neuropsychiatry reports that he simply couldn’t function in a regular class and needed more one on one, and circumstantial proof that by removing the Zoloft, Daniel was responding better, not that the Risperdal was working better.

I laid in to each and every member on that staff that had given me a stone wall before I got that proof. The last six years of pain and feeling of uselessness came pouring out and I asserted my rights as my son’s mother. THIS TIME, I knew, I would NOT BACK DOWN. The psychiatrist held her ground. Risperdal was simply doing him good. The next thing I have to listen to is her psychologist partner, a Sigmund Freud wannabe who obviously did not have the research and background experience I had on the topics of toxic poisoning, brain injury and ADHD tell me that it was his professional opinion that my son’s brain injury had nothing to do with his outburst, that he’d “studied” carbon poisoning online and found nothing to tie in Daniel’s symptoms with the actual disease, and that he agreed with the psychiatrist, it was simply us as parents who failed our son by divorcing, by child abuse and by moving cross country and that he was going to turn over all the information to a doctor he knew in Upstate NY that was an expert. I looked at this Bugs Bunny figure of a staff psychologist and smirked “Well, you know what? His DOCTOR seems to think he DOES have brain injury, and those little dark specks on his SPEC scan sure AIN’T SPIDERWEBS, are they.” Child Protective suddenly became compliant. They backed me at that meeting.

So the psychiatrist agreed reluctantly to remove one milligram of the four my son was on for a month to see if it made a difference. Then she had the nerve to tell me that my son would defiantly show signs of withdrawal and was I prepared to increase the dosage to keep him from hurting himself or others? I looked at this woman with a disbelief in my eyes I’m sure she saw, shook my head sadly and said “Hun, what do you think WITHDRAWAL of drugs IS? OF COURSE he’s going to have symptoms. Like ANY addiction, whether it’s alcohol, nicotine or drugs. How ridiculous can you be?????” With that, the meeting ended, and once I got home and had time to think, I called the psychiatrist who REFUSED to read medical reports, look at proof of brain injury or heed advice from another psychiatrist who specialized in brain injured children and left a rather harsh message, stating she had SIX WEEKS to wean my son from the Risperdal or I was coming in full barrel with a lawyer and a malpractice suit.

The very next day, I was called by Child Protective, who has now agreed to give me my son back, stating they agreed with me that I was right all along on my son’s actual diagnosis. On that day, I sat on the floor, unable to answer, phone still in my hand, years of fighting, years of severe anger outbursts from a child overmedicated and not knowing why his little body was hurting so bad, missed weeks and weeks of not being able to hold my baby boy, and years of battling for my rights as the child’s parent, nights and nights of holding a crying child because he didn’t know what was happening, years of struggling just to make ends meet and constantly worrying about rent, utilities, food, years of research to finally prove my point all came flooding out, silent tears flowing down my cheeks as I’d finally, I’d FINALLY won. Or HAD I? Just earlier that week, I had a note from my youngest boy’s teacher, who stated my little clown could not and would not sit still in class, and perhaps could benefit from a drug like Ritalin. I busted out laughing, still holding the phone, not caring if Child Protective heard or not, and FRANKLY, my dear, I didn’t give a damn.

That was seven months ago, and I’m STILL under court order to drug my son even though I have moved to another state.

Cynthia Gallaher
2144 Memorial Ave
Roanoke, VA 24015
540-397-2255
CrazyRnIRE@aol.com

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Survivor Story 192:10/77 – For the first time I know I am not nuts!

 

A Survivor Speaks Out

2003

This is Survivor Story number 10.
Total number of stories in current database is 77

5/29/2003

For the first time I know I am not nuts!

 

Antidepressants

“I’ve been on Zoloft for about a year and a half and I’ve hated every day of it.”

I’ve been reading through the posts on this site and thanking God that I really am not crazy!

I’ve been on Zoloft for about a year and a half and I’ve hated every day of it. The days I hate the most are when I can’t afford to refill it. I’ve told my doctor several times to please get me OFF THIS! When I can’t afford it I have to stop abruptly. THAT IS HELL!

My face goes numb. Then I my heart starts to skip so bad I can’t stop coughing. Sometimes it even throws me into a full fledged asthma attack even worse sometimes MAJOR panic attacks!

I just want to know how to stop. I just need to get off it. I am not glad that I am not the only who has had this happen but at the same time it’s bitter sweet because at least I am not alone.

If anyone has suggestions PLEASE email me.

Tina
MyMagic8Ball@hotmail.com

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Survivor Story 193:11/77 – Seroxat Ex-user Story. “Possibly suppressing results of the trials…”

 

A Survivor Speaks Out

2003

This is Survivor Story number 11.
Total number of stories in current database is 77

6/13/2003

Seroxat Ex-user Story

 

Antidepressants

“I simply cannot believe that so many people can be struggling to stay alive as a result of this drug without GSK knowing (and possibly suppressing) the results of their trials…”

First of all I would like to say a big thank you to the people reading this email and I hope that the information below will be of some benefit to others.

I used to live in South Africa and during a very intense period of crime (1995-1996) I was involved in 2 separate shooting incidents that I was lucky to survive, the second one occurring whilst I was the responsible adult for two of my nephews. Luckily we were not hurt. However the experience so scared me that I decided to leave South Africa and return to England, where I was born (I am now 32 years old).

I arrived in October 1996, and managed to find a job on the outskirts of London beginning 1997. I worked very well for about 6-7 months, when I noticed that I was finding it increasingly difficult to sleep, I (erringly) put this down to my age. All was relatively well until Christmas 1997, the morning after Christmas Day saw me standing outside in the snow in only my underwear burning up and unable to breathe – my first panic attack. My brother, sister-in-law and my mother not knowing what to do called the ambulance service and there I was in hospital for the first time since I was born. My brother drove me back to my flat after I had recovered and I was ok for a few days and then one morning in the shower – boom – panic attack number two. This time I knew what was happening to me so managed to keep it under control (just). Two weeks later I had another one, this one left me so dizzy that I fell down a flight of steps at a train station, not too serious luckily for me.

I decided that since I had no idea what was going on, and having NEVER ever had an illness in my life other than measles as a child and chickenpox in my early 20’s, I decided to go to a professional i.e. a doctor. This doctor, a delightful, heavily-pregnant lady listened to my story and said “it sounds like an acute anxiety disorder” and told me to register with a doctor near where I lived (I have never, ever needed a doctor in my life, except for sports injuries, cuts from falling off bikes etc.) so I duly did as I was told. I was aware that life for me was holding less and less interest, I had split with my girlfriend, the job was good, but overall things were down and I was becoming more and more easily jumpy at noises. The doctor I ended up visiting spent some time with me and recommended 40mg Seroxat per day (in the USA I am given it’s trade name is Paxil).

The horror, the horror. 2-3 days after starting, stomach problems i.e. involuntary bowel evacuation which I had put down to acute anxiety/PTSD as I was told I had, electric shocks in the head especially when moving the head from side to side or the eyes, still no sleep, breathing more difficult than before (I used to regularly run medium distance competitive runs for which I still have the medals), and so many other little things that made me into a different person, most notably violent tendencies. I got into 4 fights during that time, the fourth one was not so good because I challenged 2 guys and ended up in casualty wing of hospital with a broken nose, much to the horror of my mother who I was visiting at the time, which led to her and I not talking now for close on 4 years.

I finished my holiday and went back to work and found that I was completely unable to function properly. My employer, who was one of the most understanding people I ever had the honour and opportunity to work with, eventually made it clear that if I didn’t jump, I would be pushed. As I believe that dead wood should be cut away I readily agreed to this, even though I had nowhere to go to next. I didn’t really care however, all I was waiting for was to die. Never had I heard of anything like this before.

So I spent the next few months living off my savings and a loan from my bank, and decided that this Seroxat was probably the cause of the mushy head I had but was not sure. I had to work as I was looking after my brother and his family but in order to do that I HAD to work, so I kept on with the drug and looked for work. I had been prescribed some form of beta blocker over and above the Seroxat because the Seroxat seemed to have no real beneficial effect on me, immediately I started with them as well I felt much better simply because respiration and pulse slowed down so much I didn’t feel like I was always on the verge of another panic attack. So, I stopped taking the Seroxat immediately.

OOOPPSSS! what a nightmare! Nowhere in the literature supplied in the packaging of the drug, nor in any conversation with my doctor of the day, was there any indication of the physical pain and mental anguish that followed. I lost the plot completely, never felt anything like it. Constant electric shocks in the head and hands, wanting to die, it was awful. I started drinking to try and alleviate the pain and allow myself to sleep, bad idea I know, but the last thing I wanted to do was to take some other form of terrible chemical into my system. I stopped the beta blockers as I eventually ran out of money, at that stage I really didn’t care much about anything, most especially myself.

I went to stay with the brother, who had stayed with me, for a month or two, his exact words were “Come and stay with me and the family until you are through this” which I thought was fair given he had stayed with me for so long, however within a month his tune had changed “You have to get a job now or you cant stay” were I think his exact words, not what you want to hear when you are going through what I was, but dutifully I found a contract nearby and went back to work for 3 months. It was so difficult, it was a simple job compared to what I was doing, yet I found it so hard to do, and still the electric shocks in the brain. I still couldn’t get back into the things I enjoyed doing, all I could do was get up in the morning, go to work, leave work, go to a bar and have a couple drinks until the zinging sensation in my head was sufficiently dulled for me to try to relax, then go back to my brother’s house. My two nephews there simply could not understand why Uncle Mikey didn’t want to play any more (we always took time to do things together, bike riding etc.)

After 6 months of this I found some more simplistic part time contract work, less hours but better money per hour and I was feeling a lot better about myself and of course the serotonin levels were going up naturally, but still the zaps in the head, not constantly now but whenever there was a sudden noise near me or someone surprised me in some way (even a fork falling on a plate) but I still thought that this was probably something to do with PTSD and my disillusionment with doctors in general (unfair that it is) meant that I never went to get a second opinion.

This fluctuating state of affairs has been the norm ever since, I have been more and more into debt as I am unable now to work to the hours most people expect, yet costs are not going down so debt levels grow. Thus, we come to Monday of this week, and I see the news in England that Seroxat is now not to be given to under 18’s – I follow the link to the Seroxat Users Group website and lo! – there are hundreds of people, and a petition signed by thousands, all feeling the same symptoms, either while withdrawing from the drug or like me, up to 5 years later (I am the worst I have identified so far but believe me I am still researching) – The horror the horror! What has this drug done to us? It did nothing to me but ruin my personal life, leave me in no position to work so in serious debt.

I was so relieved to find the website I was in tears (another new trait of mine since Seroxat) and I have been actively involved with the website and others ever since.

IT IS CRITICALLY IMPORTANT that people around the world are made aware of the side effects and withdrawal effects of Seroxat(Paxil) as experienced and independently reported by so many of us. I am deeply afraid that I have been permanently affected by using this drug, if I had any idea that what has happened to me could have happened I would have stayed in South Africa and taken my chances with a quick round to the head rather than the (feared permanent) affects I am now suffering with. I am also wishing to pursue a lawsuit against GlaxoSmithKline, I simply cannot believe that so many people can be struggling to stay alive as a result of this drug without GSK knowing (and possibly suppressing) the results of their trials, surely the trials must have shown a strangely disproportionate amount of symptoms against their placebo tests, surely?

I wish anyone who reads this story the best of luck if they are on Seroxat/Paxil, if anyone has been advised to use it I would say “NO! find an alternative treatment” without hesitation, and if anyone can tell me the name of a lawyer in England that can help me try to recoup some of the tremendous financial losses of using Seroxat, I would be deeply and eternally grateful to that person.

I am so glad it was not me, everyone told me it was, very hurtful when it comes from your own family members, I feel so vindicated as a result of this week, let’s all work together to ensure that no more harm is done and reparation is made by GSK.

Yours Faithfully,
(more healed in the last 5 days than ever with Seroxat or the 5 years that followed)

Mike Rushworth
mikeyrush@hotmail.com

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Survivor Story 185:3/77 – An Answer to Our Nightmare on Paxil “No on a crusade to help”

 

A Survivor Speaks Out

2003

This is Survivor Story number 3.
Total number of stories in current database is 77

2/16/2003

An Answer to Our Nightmare on Paxil

 

Antidepressants

“I feel like I am on a crusade to help prevent another family and child from going through this experience.”

Finding this web sight was such a revelation to us. After reading through all of the experiences, we knew that we finally had the answer to the nightmare that we experienced. I immediately wrote the following letter to all of the doctors, psychiatrists, therapists, and special education teachers that had worked with my son. I feel like I am on a crusade to help prevent another family and child from going through this experience.

Our son began experiencing anxiety and panic attacks upon our move to a new home in the country. They became frequent enough for us to seek help. We found a therapist and upon his recommendation, we took him to our family doctor. The doctor prescribed 5 mg. of Paxil. Almost immediately, there was a change in his personality. He became much more anxious, angry, and aggressive. Our son had never exhibited this behavior before. A phone call to the doctor resulted in raising the level to 10 mg. At this time, he began having horrible rages and out of control behavior. He destroyed the interior of our vehicle, and kept threatening to jump out of the moving vehicle. At that point, in desperation, I called a psychiatrist. He raised the dosage of Paxil to 20 mg. and added 15 mg. of Buspar! This caused us to visit hell with our son. At therapy, I voiced my concern that his behavior and personality were so strange. The therapist approach was to discuss his behavior as though he were deliberately misbehaving. Following that session, our son become enraged and proceeded to rage at me, his father, destroyed his bedroom, verbally and physically abused us for approximately 3-4 hours that evening. We finally got through to the doctor who immediately told us to not give him any more of the drugs. We stopped the drugs cold turkey. He had been on the Paxil for less than a month.

This was the beginning of a least a 3-year journey into hell, which we now believe was generated by the Paxil, and later on the Serzone. He continued to have rages, severe “fight or flight’ responses where he would run away from anything he thought might threaten him . He was unable to function in school and we had to place him in special education as an emotionally disturbed child. A special “one on one” aide was given to him to help keep him from running away. He repeatedly abused us verbally and often physically. He would lie in bed at night sobbing at how he felt. At different times he would threaten to hurt himself as well as others. Any little thing would set him off and he would go into another “rage” that could last for hours.

At that time, we visited with another psychiatrist and began seeing another therapist. Our son was put on Serzone and we were told to increase his dosage until 350 mg. He continued to fall apart, and twice we ended up at the Crisis Center. The second time, we were told to raise his Serzone to 600 mg. and keep him at home. Our lives had been devastated. And still no one could give us a real reason for his bizarre, out of control, so totally out of character, behavior, other than to tell us he had Panic and Anxiety disorder. Bi-polar and other disorders were discussed. In therapy, Bi-Polar disorder was discussed, possible abuse was insinuated. We now believe that the real problem was personality changes brought on by the medication and yet no one addressed this possibility. Our psychiatrist left it to our discretion to raise and lower our sons medications as we saw the need. We knew that we wanted him off and once he seemed calmer, we took it upon ourselves to gradually, very slowly remove him from the meds completely. It took us over a year, and now our son has been drug free since March of 2002. His personality has come back. He is doing well in school. He has not had a rage in a year. He is a loving, happy kid and we are looking at a happy life again.

We are angry and disgusted. We are terrified when we think about all that has happened. All because of a lack of knowledge on the part of professionals who should have realized that the problems we were having were not because of family life, or mental illness or abuse or “being angry with your mother”. Drug companies are experimenting on our children and doctors are taking the word of these people and dispensing drugs without fully knowing or appreciating the consequences.

Please, when a desperate parent comes to you for help, before you write out that prescription, make sure that you inform the patient and parents about all the potential problems. Research the drug fully so that when you dispense it you can do so with good conscience. Think, before you attribute the problem to “family problems” that maybe a child is experiencing a reaction to one of these drugs and treat the problem immediately. Pharmaceutical drugs save lives, but also destroy lives.

Our lives will never be the same, but we are recovering. We were lucky. Our son is still alive and the future looks bright. My goal is to make sure that as many people know about what happened so that others may avoid the hell we went through.

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Doris and Brian Petro
314 Co. Rd. F45
Penrose, CO 8124
petro@amigo.net

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Survivor Story 186:4/77 – Sturggling to Withdraw from Paxil.

 

A Survivor Speaks Out

2003

This is Survivor Story number 4.
Total number of stories in current database is 77

3/12/2003

Sturggling to Withdraw from Paxil

 

Antidepressants

“Thanks for everything you’re doing to help people like me and for working so hard to get these drugs off the market.”

I’ve taken SSRI’s for nine years and am really struggling in my withdrawal from Effexor. I am unable to work due to my inability to focus, mood swings, fatigue, etc. I’m trying to read your book, but slowly. I have a hard time focusing. Its hard to believe these drugs are still being manufactured, marketed, and distributed the way they are in light of all the information and documentation you present.

I am on a nutrition supplement. If I wasn’t, I probably wouldn’t get any nutrition at all due to my low appetite. Today is a bad day, I can’t believe this is happening to me. I can’t work, I’ve never been unable to work for any reason. I’ve always worked and enjoyed working. Now I abhor the thought of trying to undergo the process of looking for a different job because I know I can hardly function at times. My husband and I will be celebrating our 1 year anniversary later this month, but my withdrawal has definitely taken some of the joy out of that. Not to mention the tremendous stress this has placed on our new marriage. My husband’s first wife died of cancer, he cared for her for several months as she deteriorated. I don’t know if he’s going to be able to handle this. He can’t understand why I just don’t find another job and start working again. I look like I’m fine, what’s the problem? I’ve tried to explain to him what this is like and what this is about but I think he completely discounts it. Its just not real to him. I don’t know what to do anymore. He’s getting tired of all this, as I am. But I didn’t ask for this, and I have tried to explain that to him to no avail. I feel really guilty and ashamed, putting this added pressure on him. Today was such a bad day, I woke up feeling hopeless and alone. I spent a good deal of it crying, and isolated. I just feel so spent, like there’s nothing much left in me. I don’t mean to sound like I’m whining, but I don’t know where else to turn. Do you have any suggestions or direction for me?

As far as my withdrawal goes, I did do my first cut back today in awhile. I have been on 37.5mg for a couple months and had been maintaining. I have the capsules, not the tablets. From what I’ve heard its easier to withdraw using the SR version. I divided the capsules as best I could, I think I’m probably at about 32mg now. I can’t wait until I’m off this drug. I’m exercising every day, but when I look in the mirror I feel disgusted because I put on about 30 pounds from being on this drug. I never had a weight problem in my life so that part of this is hard too. I guess that’s all for now. Hope this isn’t too long. Its hard for me to take the time to sit down and focus to do this so I think I get a little wordy because I’m afraid I won’t be able to write again for awhile. Thanks for everything you’re doing to help people like me and for working so hard to get these drugs off the market.

KathyKatLover@aol.com

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Survivor Story 187:5/77 – Serotonergic Poisoning on Paxil. “Horrible electrical feelings in my mouth.”

 

A Survivor Speaks Out

2003

This is Survivor Story number 5.
Total number of stories in current database is 77

4/5/2003

Serotonergic Poisoning on Paxil

 

Antidepressants

“My teeth no longer feel like my teeth and I have horrible electrical feelings in my mouth.”

I was being treated for a bipolar depression with St. John’s Wort, and my doctor prescribed Seroxat (Paxil). This was in June 1999. I became seriously ill within three days and then had all sorts of drugs thrown at me for my “depression.”

All these brought various horrors with them. In fact I suffered “serotonergic poisoning” for 22 months.

There was no acceptance of my constant statement that Seroxat was responsible (although I was taken off it after a while). There are no words to describe what it felt like. I could so easily be dead, for several reasons.

I feel terribly disabled now with a variety of neurological damage caused by the experience. e.g.. My teeth no longer feel like my teeth and I have horrible electrical feelings in my mouth. This is called ‘OFD.’ Of course I am receiving medication for this.

In summary I could say that my life is wrecked, but I try not to make sweeping statements for my own sake.

I am progressing as bravely as I can and want to make as good a recovery as possible. This is the only way, otherwise I would truly despair, and if I have any choice in the matter I am not going to let this win. This is the real me talking, rather than the drugs.

 

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Survivor Story 188:6/77 – Confused on Desipramine. I could not understand what was coming out of my mouth!

 

A Survivor Speaks Out

2003

This is Survivor Story number 6.
Total number of stories in current database is 77

4/15/2003

Confused on Desipramine

 

Other Medications

“…(I) could not understand the English that was coming out of my mouth, and about every third word my wife was saying.”

As I have scanned through the accounts of those affected in a life altering way, I have yet to run across any dealing with desipramine, so I guess I must add my short yet important experience to the mix.

I began seeing a Pain Management Doctor, one that happens to be young, and also deeply cares whether he helps me or not. His interpretation of my sleeplessness, and my addiction to pain (it controls my life, therefore by definition classifies as an addiction), as depression for which I was prescribed Desipramine.

After two weeks my wife informs me that she thinks it is not something that is helping me, other than my newfound ability to sleep at night, which was impressive enough to ignore the one that’s opinion means more to me than anyone’s on earth. And for a note, that part of the story was many bottles or months if you will, ago.

Three weeks ago, I “came to” if you will and could not understand the English that was coming out of my mouth, and about every third word my wife was saying. It confused me to the point that I though she was full up of the maintenance that was part of helping a disabled 42 year old man entailed, and was going to divorce me, from which came what I now know as a panic attack.

Once we were able to communicate through the fog, I understood she was mine forever, and she wanted to know what course I intended to pursue. I told her to wean off of those “blue pills” was my first mission, and informed the Dr. that it was my intention to get rid of them, he wrote a prescription stating to take half a dose. With this as the reasoning, I decided to take the usual 2 and then 1, then 2 then 1 and 1. So forth until I was taking one then none for seven days. I seems to have worked rather well and by the Grace of God I can remember why I am leaving the house more often than before, and I presume the most important question is, how many of you have dealt with Desipramine and what did it do to you?

Robert Joinerville
Texas
joinerville.1@email.com

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Survivor Story 189:7/77 – Effexor Survivor “I tried to commit suicide 2nd week on Effexor”

 

A Survivor Speaks Out

2003

This is Survivor Story number 7.
Total number of stories in current database is 77

4.15.2003

Effexor Survivor

 

Antidepressants

” I was taking Effexor into about my second week when I tried to commit suicide.”

My name is Amanda and I was taking Effexor into about my second week when I tried to commit suicide.

I firmly believe that this drug played a huge part in my doing so. I would never even entertain that idea under any depression that I had been through. I was the type of person who could not understand how a person could inflict pain upon themselves.

I have been tried on every drug that you can just about think of. Now I am labeled bipolar and take Seroquel at bedtime, and Wellbutrin in the day. High doses I might add, but the point I want to stick too is the fact that Effexor changed my whole personality my whole outlook on life and I didn’t even realize it. It was like I went crazy!

I believe that I have been used over and over as a guinea pig. I am 31 years old and I have been taking different meds since 1996. When tried on Effexor in 2001 I came very close to ending my life.

twnsmom2@aol.com

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Survivor Story 190:8/77 – Psychiatric drugs – Long path of uncertainty. “I think they should be banned.”

 

A Survivor Speaks Out

2003

This is Survivor Story number 8.
Total number of stories in current database is 77

4/20/2003

Psychiatric drugs – Long path of uncertainty.

 

Antidepressants

“Through all the experiences with these drugs, I think they should be banned. I don’t believe a one of them helped me in the long run.”

I am 18 yrs old, since the age of 12 I have been on, Ativan, Paxil, Wellbutrin, Zoloft, Zyprexa, Lexapro, Klonopin, Prozac, probably more in fact, I’d say I took most of the popular ones on the market.

Through all the experiences with these drugs, I think they should be banned. I don’t believe a one of them helped me in the long run, temporarily it may have, because some of them were narcotics. But to this day, at 18 yrs old, I know I will never be me again, I know somehow, someway it altered my personality for life, which is the most frustrating feeling a person can have in my opinion, wanting to be what is rightfully yours, yourself.

At the moment, I am coming off Lexapro, and I was only on this drug for 3 weeks, a small dose also, 10MG. Yet, I am having the same withdrawal affects as I did on Paxil, and Zoloft that I took for many months, the ‘shocks’ I like to call them, some people explain them with dizzy spells, electricity racing through the body, as if it releases through the brain, through the rest of your body, It truly makes me sick to my stomach when I see commercials on these drugs saying, Zoloft is not habit forming, Paxil is not habit forming. Because if your body has such horrible symptoms from not having a substance, is that not classified as habit-forming? Not habit forming, but yet if I took one of my pills right now, those symptoms would suddenly cease to exist, if that’s not habit-forming to your body, then I have no idea what is.

These drugs have made me high, they have made me low, they’ve made me hallucinate, paranoid, delusional, scared to death, crazy, suicidal, apathetic, detached, and most of all, they’ve made me not me. Which angers me more than anything. I look at the these drug industries, just like I look at a corporations like Phillip Morris. Who distribute harmful habit-forming substances to the ignorant. For the simple purpose of making handfuls of money, cause I believe that is the root of all evil. I am sympathetic to people who suffer with any form of mental illness, cause in the long run, it gets very hopeless if these drugs don’t work for you, cause you know there is something wrong, you take these drugs, they may work, they may not. If they don’t, then what? Do you continue looking for a simple-answer locked up inside a small pill.

That you really don’t understand what place they play in your body. Or do you stay with your natural self, and still feel terrible, That’s where the hopelessness comes from to many, although, I believe there is other possibilities,

For each individual out there, this will differ, some can cope simply by talking, others reading, some people take the destructive route, which I have, and many others continue to, drugs, alcohol. But even as I did take these various routes, there was/is something missing, but people must look, and continue to look. Although it’s a difficult way to live, there is still hope, I don’t think the answer lies inside a man-made pill. But that’s me, I am reluctant to recommend these drugs to people finding out they have a form of mental illness and are recommended medication, for the simple reason of uncertainty.

So many things can go wrong on them, At this point in history I truly don’t know if man-kind is ready to start messing with what makes up everything we are, the brain. It seems as if humans likes to start messing with things before they fully understand them, which I think is very dangerous. That seems logical to me, But when I ask doctors, why am I having these symptoms, from this drug, that is supposed to be so safe, I get, “I don’t know.”

As for me I will stop taking all these drugs, There is a few of them on my list above that I would do about anything to get off the market. So, ask questions, do research, don’t jump onto the long road of experimenting with this uncertain branch of drugs, for your son, daughter, yourself, or any loved one for that matter.

Joe
buffer@uncompiled.com

Joe
buffer@uncompiled.com

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