My name is Jenny McKinney. I am 26 and a stay-at-home mother of three boys, ages 5, 4, and 1 year.
I was diagnosed with clinical depression in August of 1995. I was suicidal and depressed when I was prescribed the anti-depressant, Paxil. My mood swings were already out of control, but worsened after taking Paxil. I was told I would not see results for at least three weeks after beginning the drug. Within three days, my sister, whom was pregnant and I roomed with at the time, said if I did not get off the drug immediately, I was to find another place to live, because she would not have that baby with me in the home.
On Paxil, my mood swings increased greatly to the point I was sugar sweet one minute and violently psychotic the next. I was always nauseated, dizzy, and blacking out. To this day I cannot remember everything that went on at that time in my life. I was only on the drug for 2 weeks and quit cold turkey without consulting my psychiatrist.
I tried to handle life without any kind of meds, but over the next few years tried many herbals, including licorice root, St. John’s Wort, and SamE.
I struggled over the next few years with my depression and anxiety, as I married and had children. I tried counseling, different herbs, and much, much prayer. There were even a couple of times when the doctors wanted to institutionalize me. In spite of all my efforts, after having children the rage really set in. I was constantly yelling at my children, then 3
years and 18 months. I knew I was out of control with my depression and anger when my second son splashed in the bathtub and I spanked his bottom, several times, extremely hard, then sat and cried for hours over doing it. I was truly fearful that I would end up seriously hurting my kids if I did not get help.
Later in the week, my boys and I went to visit family out of state. My mother-in-law introduced me to Reliv when I arrived. As soon as she heard about it, she knew it was what I needed to get better. That was all I needed to hear. I began on Reliv Classic and Innergize immediately. I was taking them two times a day. By the third day, the same sister noticed the difference in me when I had not had my product. By the end of my two-week stay, I had not yelled at my children once.
I have since then had another child, and am able to handle life wonderfully, when I am consistent in taking these products. The best part, is knowing that as long as I am taking Reliv, my children are not afraid of me anymore.
My name is Nathan Gibb. I was diagnosed hypo-manic over ten years ago which, as I understand it, is a tamer version of manic-depressive. I had been taking a medication called Wellbutrin to manage the low end of the mood swings where I spent most of the time. Within the last couple of years I took a position with a company who offered no health insurance and so from month to month it was often impossible to stay consistent with the meds.
My experience on Wellbutrin was that I was maintaining a quality of life that was about 75% of how I felt before I began experiencing depression symptoms in my 20’s. I began the Reliv products in Nov 2001 and immediately began sleeping better and experiencing more energy. At about six weeks the depression that I was mired in began to lift. I have steadily improved over the last year and feel that I am able to handle stress, avoid debilitating lows that used to negatively impact my work and home life, and I have hope and a quality of life I have missed since I was in my 20’s.
I have had large weight gain, 18 kilos in less than 6 months. I was taking a max. dose of 300mg at night. I am now slowly reducing the medication to stop further weight gain. At the present I am taking 100mg at night and it has helped to stop further weight gain. My doctor does not want me to stop taking it completely.
This is Lisa’s story of the sudden and tragic death of her sister Lori in 1981. Lori was 25 years old and Lisa was 13. It took almost 3 decades for Lisa to find out the truth about her sister’s death. Here is Lisa’s story:
My sister Lori Died Suddenly on Sept. 22, 1981. She was 25 years old. I always knew my Sister’s sudden death was suspicious. I had searched for years for the answers to why, which included contacting the police department, and going over the report many times! Someone had to do this to her, she would not have killed herself! This I knew for sure! I would sit in my driveway where she lost her life, and look at my house many times over, and say how did you sit here, looking at our families home with your daughter, niece, sisters, and parents sleeping inside, how how could you have done this to us, and yourself?!
Nothing made sense then, and for the decades that followed. However, now almost three decades later “2009″ the truth has finally surfaced. I now have the answer I have searched for my entire life since that tragic morning I found her in her 1977 Buick with our father’s handgun in her lap. I promised her that morning I would not give up until I found the “truth” about what really happened to her. My sister loved life, and her family, and knew we loved her! She would not have taken her own life. So why did she?
Summary of Lori’s Story:
My sister moved home, and filed for divorce in 1980. I am her younger sister Lisa, and we spent most of this time together when she moved back home. I was going into the 8th grade that year. I was so happy that she was moving in with us, and that I would have time to spend with her. We were very close, very similar. Lori was a strong, smart woman, and she was determined to make it on her own! She worked for the county that we lived in, and was very well liked at her job. She also made enough money where she would be able to live. People that she worked with were shocked like everyone else was to hear about her sudden, so out of character death.
At the time she lived with us she was doing fine, going to work everyday, and taking one day at a time to rebuild her life. Throughout her divorce it was stressful, just as much as expected in any divorce situation. It is a life change. Suddenly the last month to weeks of her life I noticed that she had changed. I listened, and I watched her suddenly turn into someone I did not know. I could not figure it out? Why was she acting like this? Saying these things to me? Finding it funny to scare me? Lori suddenly started to talk about death, and dying! In which she would include me in her plans/ideas on how I/We could end her life!
Some examples are as follows:
1. Lori would loop a belt around her neck, and ask me to pull it as hard as I could until she stopped breathing!
2. Lori would ask me to come in the middle of the night, and put a pillow over her face to suffocate her in her sleep!
3. Lori would lay still in her bed, and when she heard me coming down the hallway she would lay still, and pretend to be dead. When I shook her to wake her up she would not move. She stayed so still until she couldn’t anymore, and started to laugh out loud hysterically at me, and then would say to me “I’m just joking Lisa, I just wanted to see what it would feel like to really be dead, and what you would do if I really was?! Then she would go on to say to me, “you don’t have to worry I wouldn’t really do anything, I’m too chicken!”
4. Lori suddenly changed by saying things to me like “HE” is in your room, closet and going to get you! Will you sleep with me in my room on the floor next to me? She also would say things that did not make sense like.. see this pin this will pop your face, see this curling iron, this will burn your face! It Never made sense the things she started to say..that was not her!
5. Lori suddenly at times would go from laughing, and joking about something into anger, (suddenly she pushed me into a file cabinet, it, and myself fell on the ground) Lori never would hurt anyone, especially me; agitated, and confused mood. (suddenly she would look at me with sadness in her eyes, and say to me I don’t know why I am saying or doing these things.. I must be going crazy.
Lisa & Lori
6. Something else happened shortly before her life ended in such a tragic horrific way. Lori suddenly became very sick she came down with the flu. She lost weight, she could not eat, drink, or get up out of bed she was very pale, and weak, frail looking. I felt so bad I could not help her feel better. I had never seen her so sick before. She could not hold food down and was growing weaker by the day.
7. Lori also suddenly started to fall asleep with her bible on her face. As if she were reading. praying for help to feel better. I had to take the bible of her face a few times when she finally was able to sit still, and take a short nap.
8. Lori’s sleeping patterns suddenly changed as well.
9. The night before she died, I remember it so clear. Lori kept rocking in our rocking chair that we had in our living room. She would not stop! She also was talking much faster than usual, and walking much faster as well. When I finally asked her to stop rocking so fast she just looked at me like she couldn’t stop, or didn’t want to. It was like someone was pushing her to rock. I thought it very odd at the time but soon overlooked it because of all her sudden behaviors had been so altered lately that I almost was getting use to the changes.
10. That night my sister’s were staying up to watch the Deer Hunter a movie that came out in the 80′s I believe. They wanted me to stay up also to watch it with them but I was tired, and only made through some of it. The Russian Roulette camp scene came up. Where each of the prisoners were made to put a loaded handgun to their heads, some chambers were full, some were not. Each prisoner was made to take a chance when it was their turn. If it was empty they lived. If it was not they died. Lori made the comment/question: Do you think if I did that it would work the first time? Then she laughed it off. Then she started talking about our German Shepherd Dog who was aging. Lori said what are we going to do with Champ when he dies? Then she said well it doesn’t matter, if we bury him the worms will eat him anyway! Again she laughed.
I went to bed soon after that part of the movie, I was very tired. Lori came into my bedroom late that night, and stood in my doorway. She was talking to me, and asked are you awake? I remember mumbling back to her yes, but was half asleep still. She looked at the last supper picture I had on the wall, and asked me who was so and so? I don’t remember the name she said. Then she went on to look at her daughters picture on my wall, and said aww, isn’t she so cute! Then the last thing she said to me was “Well I’ll see you in the morning ok?!” and off she went down the hallway, I heard the front door slam as it usually did behind her around that time of night. That night Lori was not sad, depressed, crying, or irritable, just sounded so full of life! Energized.
I did not know it then, but that was the last time I would hear her voice. That early morning of September 22, 1981 I was getting ready for school. I went into her bedroom to borrow a shirt of hers, and I quietly asked her if I could borrow it? Lori did not answer, so I took it, and got ready to catch the bus. As I walked out the front door down our driveway I had to pass her car, from a far distance all I could see was the color RED. My first thought was “here she goes again, She is trying to fool me again, and this time it looks like she used Ketchup!
Well as I got closer, I saw my sister through the car window, she was on her side with her head on the armrest of the passenger side door. I could see her face clearly, Her eyes were closed, and there was blood dripping from her mouth, and bottom lip onto the seat. Still I was in total disbelief. Our other sister ran back into the house right away, and was calling me to come with her. I stayed by the car window, pounding on the glass waiting for her move, or waiting for her to laugh because she fooled me again! She did not move, or laugh.
Our father came out of the house, and broke the driver side window, unlocked the door and got inside the car, reached across Lori’s body to unlock the passenger side door, ran around the car as fast as he could, got in and picked her up to hold her. Lori’s body lay across my fathers lap, and he just kept repeating WHY?
Our father came up to the house finally, hands and clothing full of blood, and said to me, your sister is gone. She had a open casket, I was not going to attend until a friend told me I should go say goodbye or I would regret it later. So I went. I finally went up to the casket where her body lay. All I could remember was the things she had said to me, and done those last weeks of her life. I was afraid, and confused to what had happened to her. It just never made sense! As I sat and looked across the room at her in the casket all I could think of was that this was not real. She was not Dead. She is pretending, etc. Even though In reality I did know she was gone. Just didn’t know why?!
*Lori did not drink,smoke, or do drugs- We had no answers. No clues so we thought. So for decades her sudden change, which followed to her sudden death remained “suspicious!”
THE NOTE SHE LEFT BEHIND SAID:
“IT’S NOBODY’S FAULT, I JUST FLIPPED!”
(WITH A SMILEY FACE AT THE BOTTOM.)
Decades later the truth surfaced! Finally I was able to put it all together. In 2009 I was going through my sister’s box of things that I had packed away almost 28 years ago, off the top of her dresser. I came across many things I remembered from the time… one which included a medicine bottle. We knew Lori was put on a medicine to help her with the stress of her divorce, so it was not a surprise to me that I packed the bottle. Like I said we all knew she was taking something for anxiety. Back then it was similar to taking an advil. No big deal. As long as a doctor gave you something, it was ok to take. Safe.
However..the shock came to me when I typed the name of the drug into the computer just months ago. Slowly it all started to come together, and I mean all of it! As I read the side effects of the medication she was on, it all suddenly linked! Including the things she said, the things she did, the rocking in the chair, the things she was seeing that were not there, and finally to the flu like symptoms that she was displaying shortly before she ended her life at the young age of 25.
-NOW..EVEN THE NOTE SHE LEFT BEHIND MAKES SENSE!….SHE DID FLIP, LOST HER MIND, HOWEVER, SHE DID NOT KNOW IT WAS DUE TO THE CONCEALED SIDE EFFECTS OF A PRESCRIPTION DRUG SHE TOOK FOR JUST A FEW SHORT WEEKS!!
HERE IS THE WARNING ON THIS SAME DRUG TODAY (2013):
Imipramine and Suicides:
Your healthcare provider should monitor you (or your child) carefully when you are first starting an antidepressant. You should also be watchful for any signs of suicidal behavior. Contact your healthcare provider right away if you (or your child) have any of the following:
*Thoughts about death or *committing suicide, Suicide attempts, *Depression or anxiety that is new or worse, *Agitation, restlessness, or panic attacks
*Trouble sleeping (insomnia), *Irritability that is new or worse, *Aggressive, angry, or violent behavior, *Acting on dangerous impulses, *Unusually increased talking or activity*Akathisia
An analysis of a large clinical trial published in the British Journal of Psychiatry in 2008 estimated that up to 35 percent of people taking antipsychotic drugs experience akathisia.
Symptoms include: Fidgety movements*, Leg swinging while sitting*, Rocking from foot to foot or pacing*, Motor restlessness; inability to sit still*, Feelings of anxiety*, Insomnia*. The combination of these symptoms and depression and impulsiveness may also contribute to aggression and suicide in some patients. Other strange changes in mood or behavior. (* I put a star next to every side effect she had!)
* The first descriptions of a drug causing suicide came in 1955. A few years later in 1958 and again in 1959 the problem was described with imipramine.* Treatment induced suicide became a prominent media issue in 1990 with a paper by Teicher and Cole. (MY SISTER DID NOT HAVE TO DIE!) *It was not until 2004 that regulators and companies conceded that these drugs can cause a problem.
In 2009 I was able to give our parents some kind of closure to Lori’s death, however, this in no way made up for the three plus decades of pain and suffering they as parents had to endure. Our Mother said: You mean she died because people had to be greedy, and make money? Our Father said: It don’t matter now, because she is gone, and nobody will care! HAD WE KNOWN THE CONCEALED SIDE EFFECTS OF IMIPRAMINE, MY SISTER WOULD BE ALIVE TODAY!
WELL MY STORY IS NOW ONLINE, AND PEOPLE DO CARE, AND HOPEFULLY LIVES CAN BE SAVED BY READING HER STORY! IN LOVING MEMORY OF MY SISTER… SHE MAY NOW, AFTER ALMOST THREE DECADES, REST IN PEACE.
It’s now August of 2009, just past a year after being discharged from the psychiatric hospital. I’ve been off Zoloft since March 2009 and am finally feeling like a human being again. Fortunately, I don’t seem to have any neurological damage, memory impairment, concentration troubles or other lasting symptoms.
I’m 48 years old and my introduction to Zoloft began when I was 34. I’ve since learned that the symptoms of fatigue and difficulty sleeping and concentrating that I was having at that time were due to over-work and adrenal exhaustion. That doctor had me fill out a questionnaire and then spent maybe 10 minutes with me before giving me free samples of Zoloft. Had I known then, what I know now?… And I must forgive the past and not dwell on it in order to heal.
In June of 2008, my nutritionist who was treating me with amino acid therapy took me off Zoloft abruptly. This caused me to go into a manic state, which I had never experienced before. It also brought up a lot of anger. After about a ten days, my wife and I figured out it was the discontinuation of Zoloft that was causing all these problems, so I went back on it.
Because of all my weird behavior, I had left the house and was staying at a hotel. My wife got my sister involved and she stayed with me for a couple of days but didn’t bring along her bi-polar medications. I remember distinctly the night of July 13th: I slept from about 9pm to 5am, went for a work out and did my meditation. I was definitely stabilizing.
Then my sister took me into town, my wife and I had another fight and, in my anger and frustration, I broke the rear view mirror off my sister’s car. This caused her to freak out. We had picked up her meds and agreed to go back to the hotel and take a nap. I later learned that she had already called the police.
When we arrived at the hotel, the cops came to my door (hands on their holstered guns) and ordered me out of the car. They hand cuffed me, searched me and put me in the squad car. Then, as I later learned, my sister and wife had a discussion about “wether or not to tell the police that I had threatened her.” My sister told the police a lie, that I had threatened her with a gun and I was hauled off to the ER where I was doped up with an injection.
Later I was taken to the psychiatric hospital where I was asked to sign a bunch of forms and “releases.” How absurd! I was only semi-consicouss at the time.
At the hospital I was taken off the Zoloft and diagnosed as bi-polar. Of course, this through me into another withdrawal episode and made me manic and aggressive again.
I want to point out that I have no history of violence, have never been in any sort of brawl, have never been arrested, have never before been put in handcuffs, no DUI tickets and even a clean driving record.
The hospital changed my drugs every few days. Zyprexa, Lithium, Depakote, Abilify, etc. After 20 days, I was discharged. The insurance and family money was expended, so I was well, right?
Far from it: My wife filed for divorce. I lost access to my home, which was also my office. She cleaned out the company bank account, etc.
Eventually, I lost pretty much everything and got saddled with all our debt and received none of the assets due to a waiver of “appearance” I signed 3 days out of the hospital. We had agreed on a negotiated, one lawyer divorce, but I ended up getting totally screwed.
Over the past 12 months, I’ve lived in 5 states. I’ve had a couple of “room and board” jobs and stayed with friends. Fortunately, my mother has been able to give me some financial support, so I haven’t been without the basic necessities of life. Through a friend, I found Ann Blake-Tracy and she helped me understand what happened to me and gave me phone support while I finished the detox from the Zoloft these past few months.
Now, I’m well enough that I’m looking for a job again so I can restart my life.
I’m certainly not bipolar. What a bunch of total bullshit. All I’m taking right now is 0.5 mg of Klonopin (Clonazepam) twice a day to help with anxiety and sleep.
I used to have a pretty normal life. I made a six figure income. My wife (18 years of marriage) didn’t have to work. We had a nice house and the swimming pool I had wanted since I was a child. Now, all that’s gone. All because of a stupid little pill and all the people that don’t know what the hell their doing with all these powerful drugs.
During the 13 years I was on SSRI Antidepressants, I saw several different psychiatrists and doctors. They experimented on me with many different drugs: Effexor, Celexa, Abilify, Alprazolam, Clonazepam (Klonopin), Depakote, Lunesta, Trazodone, Xanax, Zyprexa and of course Zoloft (Sertraline).
Of all the drugs, Lamictal was the worst. Once the doctor increased the dose from 50 mg a day to 200 mg a day (I’ve since found out that is NOT an increase in accordance with the manufacturers instructions) I had horrible, disgusting nightmares every single night and became highly suicidal. This happened in October of 2008, and freaked me out so much that I went back on Zoloft and some other drugs so that I could get my sleep.
During all these crazy times, I have survived because of my spiritual faith, the generosity of my mother and some good friends and Divine Grace. Also, because of the various nutritionists I’ve had over the years, I’ve learned how to eat well and take the right supplements. Cenitol by metagenics is magnesium supplement that has been especially helpful with relaxing me and helping me sleep. I order that online at: http://www.janethumphrey.meta-ehealth.com.
Lastly, I would like to mention that none of these doctors I saw gave me any sort of what I would call informed consent. I was never informed about all the adverse reactions and side-effects that I’ve now learned were well known back then. None of the doctors explained that, according to their view of brain chemical imbalance, I would need to stay on these SSRI Antidepressants for the rest of my life. None of the doctors EVER explained discontinuation syndrome etc, etc, etc.
These drugs manufactures and the doctors that push these drugs are all involved in a horrible scam, the tragic consequences of which yet to become fully manifest.
My intense gratitude to Ann Blake-Tracy and the good work she is doing!
In 2004, I gave birth to my son, Isaac, on Thursday, July 8. I had significant stresses in my life for several years and especially in the months prior to the birth, but throughout it all I remained happy and healthy and calm and patient. One major stress was moving from Georgia to Minnesota when I was about 8 months pregnant. I loved Georgia but dreaded Minnesota, and was being forced to move for my husband Joel’s new job.
Though I had wanted to deliver naturally, I ended up having Pitocin, an epidural, an episiotomy, epinephrine (synthetic adrenaline), and a vacuum extraction. I also had oxygen therapy for most of the end of labor and delivery. (I recently learned that epinephrine leads to mental disturbances. Pitocin and epidurals can cause an abnormal fetal heart rate, and epidurals can cause respiratory issues.) The final contraction for the baby’s delivery had to be induced with an increase in Pitocin. I was so numb in my lower body I couldn’t even feel when I was supposed to be pushing. I had pushed for an hour and 15 minutes before the doctor grew impatient with me and decided to intervene. Nevertheless I was enamored with my new baby and motherhood and nursing.
The nurses were concerned about Isaac’s weight loss early on (I recently learned that the infant’s weight loss is excessive when you have an epidural, which involves a drug derived from cocaine, and babies exposed to IV fluids are more likely to lose a large amount of weight after birth and get jaundice & hypoglycemia). They had taken him to the nursery overnight twice and told me he could go several hours without eating, but then wondered why he was losing weight. They blamed it on my milk not coming in yet. They shoved us out of the hospital at 48 hours postpartum with some formula samples.
The next morning, when he was three days old, Isaac had to go to the ER. A nurse called me at 10 a.m. to ask me how many diapers Isaac had since we brought him home. When I told her he hadn’t had one in almost eight hours, she told me to take him to Children’s to check for dehydration and jaundice. The ER doctor at Children’s said he seemed fine but sent us home with a bottle of formula just in case we needed it. Back at home again, Joel fed it to him (it was way too much for a newborn), and Isaac threw it up projectile style. Then Isaac fell asleep. Later I noticed he looked a little blue on the skin around his mouth and on his hands and feet. I couldn’t wake him.
We called 911. The paramedics couldn’t find any reason for the overly lethargic baby, blue hands, feet and mouth, but recommended we take him back to Children’s.
A few minutes after we walked into the ER, Isaac nearly choked to death. The staff saved him and he was admitted over night. I was scared he might choke again during or following a feeding, or from getting a small object in his mouth. The doctors explained that Isaac would be just fine with eating, and that the 8 ounce bottle (which they had given us earlier) had just been too much for a newborn. Coincidentally, had it not been for the vacuum extraction, Isaac wouldn’t have had high hemoglobin that made him look like he was turning blue, the first signal to me that something was not right. When we returned home my anxiety worsened from somewhat normal to severe. I had a panic attack. I called my OB and he said I might be having a heart attack and need to go to the ER, or it could be a panic attack. I didn’t want to go to the hospital any more so I just tried to rest.
I felt somewhat better the next day but the home health nurse who came out to check on us advised me to start taking drugs for anxiety. She set up an appointment with my OB/GYN.
For days I refused to let others feed him a bottle unless I was there to watch or listen to make sure he didn’t choke. For the most part I was nursing, but occasionally I let someone feed him a bottle because of medical advice that I “get my rest, and let others take care of Isaac” while I took care of myself. But I could not sleep with others feeding him a bottle, and even when he wasn’t eating, I couldn’t sleep out of fear I was going to wake up to a dead baby. I slept a lot of the time with my hand draped into the bassinet on his tummy to feel it move up and down with each breath.
I walked into my OB’s office with my baby, on Wednesday one week after the birth. The nurse at the desk asked if I was here for my 6-week appointment. I said, no, the baby was only six days old. Then, with a look of horror, she said, “Oh, you must be having problems, then.” I nodded. The nurse let me in within a few minutes and took my blood pressure. It was like 149 over 120 or something, way higher than usual.
When I saw the doctor, I began to talk about the stress of the ER visits, the panic attack, my blood pressure, my inability to sleep, etc. He interrupted me after about one minute and said, “What did the nurse you saw at home yesterday tell you?” I replied that she said I had anxiety and needed drugs. He quickly recommended I start taking 50 mg of Zoloft and possibly up my dose. He said that Zoloft is the standard of care for post-partum depression. Then he said, “Or post-partum anxiety in your case, although people don’t recognize that as much as they do PPD.”
The sample package of Zoloft he gave me was labeled for use in PMDD. He said it would take six weeks to work and I might need to stay on it for six months to a year or longer. He said he felt we needed to be aggressive in treating this, and not to stop taking it once I felt better because it was probably going to get worse and maybe even dangerous if I didn’t take the drugs. There was no information label attached to the sample pack.
I asked about having my thyroid checked because my mother-in-law was worried that could be causing my problems. I had been on thyroid medication for years and never needed a dose adjustment, and my doctor knew this. He said that there are no valid post-partum thyroid levels and he didn’t want to test it.
I asked about Zoloft’s safety for nursing and the doctor said it would make my baby happy too. He also prescribed Clonipin in case of more panic attacks, but told me I needed to check with my son’s pediatrician before taking it (I never took the Clonipin because I didn’t have any more panic attacks). He started to leave and told me to call if I had any side effects that bothered me. I asked if I could take the Zoloft right away and if it would help my blood pressure, and he said to go ahead.
Within minutes on Zoloft I began to feel a little less anxious. We walked to Joel’s office (a few blocks) to show off the new baby. I even let some woman at the office hold him. I had a sense that my anxiety had been too strong and that Zoloft was going to make it better.
Within several hours I felt a bit detached from my new baby, my family, and even my own emotions. While earlier that day I was fearful and protective, with a strong need to have my baby in my arms at all times, yet extremely overjoyed with my baby and life all at the same time, within hours I felt like a different person.
Things gradually got worse and I struggled to feel the joy that was mine a few hours before. Sometimes I felt a bit giddy, but I didn’t feel really happy. I could laugh and make jokes and play with the baby, but it was temporary. I couldn’t feel the overwhelming love I had before I took Zoloft. I continued this way until the most unimaginable thing happened.
That Friday, sleep deprived, I sat next to my mom on the couch, trying to nurse a very sleepy baby in the middle of the night. I remember thinking I had lost my love and adoration for my baby because I was too tired to feel anything. I knew that I loved him but I couldn’t feel it the way I had a few days before. I couldn’t understand why I had to be the only one to stay up all the time and never sleep, and my baby, who needed to eat, couldn’t stay awake long enough to get much food.
As I gave up on the feeding and walked past the stairs to our bedroom to lay the baby in his bassinet, I hallucinated – I saw myself standing about half-way down the stairs, throwing the baby down.
I had no history of mental illness. Never could I have imagined I would think such a thought, let alone hallucinate killing my baby. I went to the kitchen with my mom after I put the baby down and started to cry and told her I was afraid I was going to lose my mind and hurt myself or hurt the baby. She said that wouldn’t happen. She hugged me and told me to get some sleep. Upstairs in bed, I still cried for a long time and then told Joel I was afraid I was going to lose it and that I couldn’t sleep. He told me to get some sleep. I can’t remember if I got any sleep that night.
The next morning Joel and I were holding the baby and watching movies in the living room. But I couldn’t stop being afraid. I was convinced that I was on the edge of losing my mind. I felt like I couldn’t hold the baby, and I asked Joel to hold him. He didn’t understand why. I said I couldn’t hold him, or carry him past the stairs in the state of mind I was in. Joel got really freaked out as I told him about what had happened; he said what I was telling him was disturbing. I just wanted help. I told him I didn’t know why it all happened but I was really scared and I was afraid to hold the baby. I just wanted him to take over and maybe calm me down. He suggested I go take a bath and relax. But I couldn’t do that because I was having thoughts of suicide. I was afraid if I went in the bathroom by myself I would certainly find a way to kill myself with a razor or pills. I was so scared I was going to hurt the baby that I wanted to protect him from me by killing myself. But at the same time I knew this was all crazy and I didn’t want to die. I didn’t want to hurt the baby.
We called the help line for our insurance and the nurse recommended I go to an ER right away. Joel asked what they could do for me at the ER and she said they would give me drugs to stop the thoughts and make me feel better.
This seemed to me like a reasonable thing.
At this point my son was nine days old. We went to the ER, where the doctors pretty much ignored me for a while, gave me some disgusting hospital food, and then came in to talk to me. The doctor nonchalantly told me I wasn’t evil and that I just wanted to kill myself because I was feeling guilty about having thoughts of hurting my baby. I asked how long the thoughts would continue and he said, maybe three weeks or even three months. This was unbearable to me. I already felt bad enough, and to imagine having thoughts of harming my baby for even three days, let alone weeks, was too much. I burst into tears for about the 5th time in the ER room. As I waited and waited for another visit from the next in the series of hospital employees, and I tried to sleep, I was so tired I almost instantly passed out, but only to a vision of myself drowning my baby in our bathtub. Every time I closed my eyes to rest I got frightened and opened my eyes again. I could not let myself fall asleep. I was afraid I was going to fall asleep, and my spirit and mind would die, and when I woke up, I would be someone else.
Then a woman came in with a computer and asked me a bunch of questions and entered in my responses. She tried to make Joel leave for the questioning but I wouldn’t allow it. Judging from a report I obtained months later, she distorted the information I was telling her, making things seem even worse than they already were.
Following her computerized “diagnostic” process, she recommended I be admitted to the psychiatric ward so I could “get someone to talk to and get some help.”
I asked if I could be admitted to a room in a non-psychiatric ward where I could have Joel and Isaac stay with me like they did in the maternity ward. She said no. I said that I didn’t want to be admitted if it meant I had to leave my family. She told me that I could go home after 12 hours if I wanted to, that the admission was voluntary unless a doctor decided to keep me there longer.
She had me sign some admission form and then the nurse walked me and Joel up to the psychiatric ward.
I had only to take one look at the inside before I knew I wanted to go home. I started crying to Joel to take me home, but he said he didn’t want to do that because I needed help, and he was afraid for me and the baby. The nurse told me that I should give it a try. But leaving wasn’t an option anyway since I had signed the admission form. Joel left to get me some things I would need and the nurse took me to a room where he asked me a few questions and had me sign some more forms.
He made me agree that I was willing to do anything to help my treatment. Then he took me to my room and left me there. I didn’t like my room, and there was a girl in there trying to sleep so I left and tried to find some place to sit. There weren’t many places to sit except the room, and there was a phone with a line of patients waiting for it, a few nasty, mismatched chairs, some broken shelves with old games, and a small dining area. I went to the nurses’ station and knocked on the glass and asked to talk to my nurse. I told him I wasn’t happy here and wanted to just go home and that I had changed my mind about the voluntary admission. He told me that the doctors would never let me leave this soon anyway and I should just wait for the doctor to see me and start getting my help. I asked when I could see the doctor and he said not until the next day, or maybe Monday.
I said I needed someone to talk to and he wasn’t being helpful and neither were the doctors. I asked how I could get released and he told me I had to sign an intent-to-leave form and wait 12 hours from that time and I could be released unless the doctor decided to place a hold on me for up to 72 hours. I filled out the form and awaited Joel’s arrival with my bag.
What had started out as a voluntary admission quickly became involuntary. Joel arrived and we waited for an answer from the nurse who was already in the process of checking on my release. Soon we were told that the doctor had placed a 72-hour hold on me but that it wouldn’t start until Monday morning (this was Saturday) when he could see me. We couldn’t understand why the doctor wouldn’t release me when he hadn’t met me or talked to me.
Joel stayed with me as long as he could but then left to go to our house and take care of Isaac (my mom had been taking care of him all day). Later that night the nurses came in to give me meds. They brought me my Synthroid, and several additional drugs- I think they were an anti-psychotic, a tranquilizer, and Ambien. But with these new meds came some information sheets. I quickly read the indications and the warnings, and refused to take them. Not only were they unsafe for nursing, they were indicated to treat “schizophrenia and other mental illnesses” and had many dangerous sounding side effects, such as nightmares, suicidal thoughts, etc. This was the first time I had seen a fact sheet like this, since my Zoloft samples from the OB/GYN three days earlier came with no fact sheet or warnings whatsoever. I also got a fact sheet for Zoloft for the first time.
All alone and with no one to talk to, there was nothing I could do but cry or sleep. I did a lot of crying and pumping of my milk for the baby, even one session in the middle of the night, but I also did a lot of sleeping.
The next morning, Sunday, I felt pretty good in comparison to the day before. I felt more rested than I had been since before my baby was born. And I didn’t feel as unstable or frightened as I had the day before. Since I had been taking Zoloft in the mornings, I hadn’t had a dose for over 24 hours. It occurred to me that perhaps Zoloft could be causing my problems.
I phoned Joel and said that I felt a lot better and wanted to talk to the doctor before taking any more Zoloft.
The nurses reported to the doctor that I was refusing to take my meds and the doctor did see me that day. He talked to me for no more than 10 minutes and told me to keep taking my Zoloft. I expressed concern about its side effects but he said to keep taking it anyway, that all my problems were not caused by Zoloft. It was clear the only reason he came to see me was so he could gather the required information for his background report. The only questions he asked me relating to a mental illness were whether I check the locks a lot and whether I have a family history of mental or emotional problems. I told him that I do check locks occasionally, but not repeatedly, but I have to check them because Joel forgets to lock the door (which he still does to this day). I told him that some members of my family had some emotional issues but not severe ones. I answered every biographical question honestly. I couldn’t really understand why it was important for him to know what clubs I was in during high school or whether I had a serious boyfriend as a teen. And why wasn’t he asking me about the events leading up to my prescription for Zoloft?
I tried to get something more from him and asked him if he thought I could have PTSD from witnessing my son nearly die in the ER from choking. But he said “I have no idea.” And he also said “Your son didn’t almost die.” (Later I learned from reading my file that the lady with the computer had written that I was obsessed about my baby and had imagined him turning blue and taken him to the ER twice where nothing was found to be wrong with him). Then when I expressed my desire to leave because I wasn’t getting counseling and I felt the environment was depressing and the nurses were rude and borderline verbally abusive to me and other patients, he said that was just my paranoia.
My mom, Joel, and Isaac came later that day for a visit. I explained what was going on, how I had been ridiculed for requesting sanitary pads after mine had been taken from my bathroom while I slept, and was treated rudely when I asked for access to my Tucks pads, a place to clean my episiotomy, and the chance to talk to the doctor before taking any more meds, and how I had been not allowed to sanitize my breast pump or get anyone to talk with me about my emotional problems. I explained that the doctor spent about seven minutes with me, left, and wanted to leave me there for an indefinite proportion of the maximum 72 hours from Monday.
Joel and mom could not believe the mistreatment and lack of treatment and threatened to call a lawyer or the press, because the doctor (who was on-call) refused to come up to the hospital or even talk to Joel on the phone that day. One of the nurses was in the room along with an OB/GYN consulting doctor as my mom explained several incidences of ridiculous behavior on the part of the staff. The psychiatric nurse and the OB were really shocked at all the staff had done to me.
That night as my family left, I felt my heart being ripped out again because of my desperate need to be with the people who loved me, and to be with my newborn son.
Monday the doctor requested a family meeting. He agreed to release me with several conditions- that I get psychiatric outpatient care, take parenting classes, stay on Zoloft, and get counseling. He said I had post-partum depression with psychotic features and left it up to my mom and husband to protect me and my son.
As I left the hospital, my mom called her friend who was a Ph.D. Clinical Psychologist. She put me on the phone. I told her my new “diagnosis” and she said I might need to try to get up to a more therapeutic dose of 150 mg, and that 50 mg is just a starting dose.
Over the course of a few weeks I sought counseling, psychiatric help, and adjusted my dose of Zoloft up. My mom tried to convince me that Zoloft was possibly the reason for my problems, but I didn’t listen to her. I listened to the doctors who said I was psychotic. But each time I adjusted my dose, the violent thoughts got worse. I was no longer having hallucinations but I was plagued by persistent “bad thoughts” and the feeling that I had little control over myself. I practiced “I’m in control” messages constantly and used a calming down technique that I learned in therapy. My therapist explained to me that I wasn’t like the moms who kill their babies because I wasn’t angry at the baby, I was just afraid I was going to hurt him, and that I always sought help when I felt overwhelmed, so I would be able to do it again if necessary. For months I worked on my goal of being able to take care of my son without supervision from my mom and Joel.
Most people believe co-sleeping is dangerous. I fully believed this at the time, and I feared rolling over on my son, even though my mother encouraged me to co-sleep and nurse exclusively (and even though I remembered sleeping with my own parents and siblings in our family bed). Psychiatrists told me I needed to let others care for Isaac at night and get at least 8 hours of sleep to stay healthy. Joel and my mom would feed Isaac at night while I slept. Joel started to get sleep deprived and my mom had to take over after he had a car accident. My mom would stay up much of the night with Isaac and then all day with me to keep me feeling safe, and when Joel got home from work she would go to bed to rest for her night duty. I had to set up safeguards for myself so I felt I would not leave the room and kill my baby in the night or kill myself while others were asleep. Eventually Isaac moved from our room to the guest room with my mom. She would bring him to me for feedings in the morning, and sit in the recliner and watch me feed him in bed. Throughout the day she was constantly watching me. If she left me alone with the baby for five minutes, I would freak out. Once she was taking a bath, and I yelled to her to hurry up because I was going to put Isaac in his crib and lock myself out of the house. Eventually, she would take her bath as soon as Joel got home, and then go to bed, to rest for her night duty.
My therapist suggested I add another bottle of formula to the regimen each day so I could get more time to myself. She thought I was having a hard time with motherhood because of the demands of breastfeeding. My psychiatrist increased my dose of Zoloft twice and I still didn’t get better – just worse each time the dose went up. She wanted to switch me to anti-psychotics and stop nursing to do this. I considered going along with it but decided against it because I didn’t want to lose time and progress by going through withdrawal and adjusting to new medications. I also did not want to completely stop nursing.
I began to reconsider everything. I started to nurse more. Finally one night when Isaac was about six weeks old I decided to take him to bed because I was more afraid of falling asleep and dropping him from the chair than I was of rolling on him in the bed. I discovered I could co-sleep and breastfeed simultaneously. Since then I get enough sleep, and so does my family.
Around the same time I had my 6-week checkup with my OB. By this time he was willing to test my thyroid. Two days after the appointment, I got a call from him reporting that I had hyperthyroidism and I needed to back off of my Synthroid and see an endocrinologist.
mood disorders Melanie Blocker Sto
I began to understand what was wrong with me. I knew that I could have breast-fed my baby just fine without nurses taking him and making him starve in the newborn nursery, without bottles of formula, and still get all my sleep as I was now getting through co-sleeping. And I also began to see the pattern that had emerged. Repeated interference from medical staff had resulted in a less-than-desirable labor & delivery, emergencies for my son, subsequent panic for me, Zoloft, and subsequent hospitalization. All the while this was aggravated by Synthroid on top of underlying, undetected hyperthyroidism.
My endocrinologist dismissed the notion that Zoloft could be a culprit in my psychosis. But she did attribute the symptoms to my post-partum thyroiditis and also probably thought I was a little bit nuts. She said had she seen me earlier, she could have helped me more by giving me beta blockers. I learned much later that beta blockers can also cause depression, so I’m actually thankful that my OB didn’t refer me earlier, as I may have had to deal with Zoloft and beta blockers at the same time!
Empowered by my new diagnosis and treatment, I began to feel healthier. But the thoughts never went away. I just felt better physically. It really bothered me that I couldn’t get these thoughts out of my head. Despite my growing ability to spend increasing amounts of time alone with my son, I didn’t feel right. I started believing that it was possible that Zoloft had planted some foreign thoughts in my mind.
I began to consider stopping Zoloft. Every doctor I was in contact with didn’t like that idea. Isaac’s pediatrician said that Zoloft just gives people enough energy to kill themselves. She didn’t touch the violence issue. The psychiatrist all but refused to give me withdrawal information until I called her and told her I had already started to cut back and wanted information on how to do so safely.
My mom was planning to go back to Texas, so I had to get better. I withdrew from Zoloft over a few weeks and started to feel more like myself again.
Since I stopped taking Zoloft, I feel normal. I take care of Isaac by myself and stay socially active. I never feel out of control like I did on Zoloft, but the memories of losing my grip on sanity will never go away. Never again will I subject myself to drugs to “heal” my mind.
I am looking forward to a long life. It is something that Zoloft tried to take away from me. But I beat it. I beat the thoughts, the urges, and I regained my hope. As a result of this ordeal I am more confident in my true self and my ability to get through the worst life can offer you.
I can’t remember if I stated this before, however when certain comments were added to my most recent youtube video it made me wonder if I was very clear in telling this story of what happened to me. Yes, a lot of people have thyroid problems which lead to prescriptions for drugs. However I do not believe in the slightest that my thyroid had anything to do with the suicidal urges and homicidal urges.
I have since had a second baby. This time I had a home birth with a midwife attending. I did notice that I felt crummy and irritable if I did not eat enough or rest enough (I have since learned why this happens, you lose a ton of blood continuously and it gets worse if you don’t rest because your uterus is literally bleeding until it completely contracts and you stop having post-baby bleeding). Some of the worst advice I ever got in my life all compounded into one giant insurmountable confusion-fest which was only made worse by Zoloft, most of the bad advice started with my OBGYN’s statement to me that I was too fat and breastfeeding is a great time to lose weight / diet, but a lot of it coming from other sources as well. These included the advice to formula feed rather than telling me I could breastfeed while sleeping (if I hadn’t fed Isaac the bottle when he was 3 days old, he never would have nearly choked to death), the anti-cosleeping dogma that is prevalent in our society, and the blatant lies and omissions from psychiatrists and nurses who should have known or told me that there was a possibility that my really bad psychotic symptoms were drug-related.
The panic attack was absolutely legitimate, perhaps I would not have had it if my baby never almost died, or if I wasn’t rapidly coming down from the effects of labor drugs and pain meds. However a panic attack is not in any way similar to what Zoloft does.
Those who doubt that Zoloft can do this, I want you to go pick up a copy of David Healy’s Let Them Eat Prozac. In this book he outlines all the evidence that SSRIs induce violence and suicide. He states that a good example of proof is the dose-dependent relationship between suicidality and SSRIs. Also, a challenge, dechallenge, and rechallenge protocol has been used to demonstrate the effect.
David Healy is critical of SSRIs but he still prescribes them to some patients. If someone who is in one sense an advocate for the drugs can admit in a several hundred page book all the negative things about SSRIs then I do not understand why people insist on disbelieving that.
When I was on Zoloft there was clearly a dose dependent relationship between homicidal urges and Zoloft. Every time the dose went up, the thoughts got worse. I also had terrible withdrawal (not physical pain necessarily but definitely jitters) including worsening homicidal thoughts. At times I would think things like “If I just kill myself and the baby now, this hell will be over and I will never have to deal with this again.”
This is the type of hell that people somehow think is an acceptable side effect. The number of people suffering from this is not insignificant, and in fact at least 60% of patients discontinue SSRIs within a few weeks because they find it unacceptable. How many others are trapped into staying on them by bad advice and delusions given toa them by their doctors, or by insurmountable withdrawal syndrome?
Nothing of the sort of psychological torture I endured on Zoloft has visited me after my second baby. Doctors warned me to not have any more kids because there is supposedly a 90% chance that PPD will return. I am thankful that I did not listen to them, and it saddens me to think of all the babies like Toby who never got to be born because of poisonous lies from the pharma dogma. It’s almost like a form of population control / eugenics!!!!!!
By the way, Isaac is now 3.5 and Toby is 15 months…
Here is mine
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My son, Manie, was born with a rare heart defect because I took Paxil during my first three months of pregnancy. Manie had to have a hole ripped into his heart shortly after birth to save his life. At eight days old he had a 12hr. open heart surgery.
Manie is 5 yrs old now. He has a leaky valve which was caused by the open heart surgery. He has been on numerous medications. One of the medications he takes daily is for high blood pressure. He has been on this medication since he was one week old.
Manie has also suffered with severe acid reflux. This has cause extensive damage to his teeth and damage to his throat. Manie also experiences severe stomach cramps multiple times during the day and night. During the night he not only wakes from stomach cramps he often wakes screaming and crying because of arm and leg cramps.
When Manie was a year old it was discovered through a cardiac cath. he has collaterals (vessels) growing off of both sides of his heart. These collaterals attach to the arteries that go to his lungs. Manie has had to have several coils placed into the collaterals to plug them up. You can read more about Manie at www.bigpharmavictim.blogspot.com
My name is Leslie Judd and I appreciate the opportunity to tell you my
story. I recently had a major life change which came about because of
information from Dr. Ann Blake-Tracy that was passed on to me by Young Living
Eleven years ago, I experienced some serious depression which I now
recognize was most likely postpartum depression, since it began following the
birth of my third child. The condition was serious enough to cause me to be
unable to function normally. After a visit to the doctor, I came home with a
prescription for Prozac, and this was the beginning of a ten-year nightmare.
Within the first few days, I began having hallucinations and hearing
voices, but had no relief from the depression. At my next appointment, the
doctor prescribed Paxil and Trazodone. Temporarily, it seemed to help with the
depression, but I was a zombie all of the time. I felt like I had a hangover
With Paxil and all of the anti-depressants I took from then on, I had what
is called a withdrawal or “wear-off” effect, which means that my body soon
adjusted to the new dosage and then I would need a higher dosage. Symptoms
of this effect were electrical sensations throughout my body, shudders and
whoosh sound with every move. Also, a trailing feeling when I moved or
turned my head. This increased until the doctor would change my medication and
I would begin the cycle again. I began fluctuating between depression and
The therapist I started seeing referred me to a psychiatrist, who put me on
a fairly low dose of Zoloft. My initial diagnosis was Major Depressive
Disorder, but soon became Dysthymia, or severe mood disorder. After trying
different antidepressants, like Effexor, Serzone (now off the market due to
the fact that it causes liver failure) and Wellbutrin, all of which gave only
temporary relief, she decided to try lithium because my symptoms had
become like that of a bipolar patient. So now the diagnosis had become Bipolar
Next, the doctor decided to experiment with different types of drugs such
as anti-seizure medications (such as Topamax, Depakote, Lamictal and
Neurotin) and anti-psychotics (such as Risperdal, Sroquel, and Zyprexa), which
caused me to have a multitude of other side-effects such as tremors, visual
disturbances, anxiety and nervous problems for which I was prescribed
Guess what? I became even more depressed and I was more ill than I had ever
been before in my life.
The inherent back problem I have had since I was a teenager was now getting
worse. The medications decreased my pain tolerance. I developed
fibromyalgia. I became obsessed with illness and with pain. I gained an excessive
amount of weight. I also began behaving impulsively, lost interest in
relationships and developed social phobias such as agoraphobia (fear of public
places, not wanting to leave home). I would panic in crowds, break out in a
sweat, and collapse in terror.
I could not feel joy or affection, and didn’t want anyone to touch me. I
became obsessed with death. Sometimes, I cried uncontrollably without knowing
why. I felt like I was a burden to everybody. I spoke with slurred speech,
couldn’t find words and had loss of memory. The tremors became so severe
that I could no longer write a check or sign my name. This only led to more
anti-social behavior and self isolation.
Every month when I went to my doctor, my medication and dosage were
changed. There was a point during the ten years that I realized the medication
was making me sick, especially when I got lithium toxicity. My body was
holding on to all fluid, I was bloated beyond recognition, my pupils were dilated
(one more than the other), I started to get panicky and I had constant
nausea and severe headaches along with other symptoms which alarmed my
husband, and he called my doctor, who told me to stop taking the medication
This stopped the toxicity from progressing, but the immediate withdrawal
caused me to crash into an even deeper depression. More medication, without
relief. More suicidal ideation. Alcohol binges.
When I was released and came home, I was worse than ever. I was having
hallucinations. I shook uncontrollably, which was actually a side effect of
anti-seizure medications, and I had to move my legs constantly. My eyes were
dead and I had absolutely no energy and no desire to do anything. I felt
empty. My family rallied to get me back on my feet and friends brought dinner
to help out. It was as if I was seeing things from outside of my body, but
I actually remember very little from this time period.
An attempted suicide made for my second hospital stay, where I was
humiliated in front of other patients by psychiatric techs, after which I made
another attempt to end my life while I was still in the hospital. To get out of
the hospital, I lied by telling them I felt better. Eight days later, I
went home on new drugs.
After two weeks at home, I was back in the hospital for another eight days.
I was so out of it. I felt like I was in a vacuum. I did things contrary
to my nature, not even thinking of the consequences. Nothing mattered. On
leaving the hospital following my third stay, I was told that my diagnosis
was Bipolar II, Panic and Anxiety Disorder, PRSD (post-traumatic stress
disorder), and Borderline Personality Disorder with psychotic episodes. It
seemed that I would just get worse and never be well again.
Back home, my family searched for answers. Our good friends, Brian and Barb
Kuckuck, went to a Young Living convention in California and returned with
help — an audio tape and a book by Ann Blake-Tracy.
The tape opened our eyes to the destruction that these drugs can cause in
people’s lives. Today, I know that I have a disposition towards depression,
but I am not Bipolar. I am not psychotic and I do not have a Borderline
Personality Disorder. My mental and physical disorders were caused primarily
by the medication I was given by my doctors.
I lost ten years of my life.
I followed Ann Blake-Tracy’s guidelines for tapering off of the medication and I
have been using the Cortistop and other YL supplements as well as essential
oils, particularly Valor, Clarity and Peace and Calming, without which I
know it would have been much more difficult to break free from the drugs.
The weaning process can last up to two years, but it is worth it.
Today, I have been completely free of my medications for five months.
Although I still have some residual side effects, I am living my life again and
enjoying it. I thank Young Living and Ann Blake-Tracy for making me
aware, I thank my husband and children for their untiring love and patience,
thanks to my family for their persistence and love in searching for
something to help. I appreciate my friends, who were there for me even though I
didn’t know it and I especially thank my faith for giving me the strength and
courage to succeed.
[For more information on the Young Living essential oils discussed here, Link