Survivor Story 194:12/77 – My 10-year Nightmare Started with Prozac.

 

A Survivor Speaks Out

2003

This is Survivor Story number 12.
Total number of stories in current database is 77

6/16/2003

My 10-year Nightmare Started with Prozac

 

Antidepressants

“My mental and many physical disorders were caused primarily by the medication I was given by my doctors. I lost 10 years of my life.”

Dr. Tracy,

I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping
our daughter, Leslie. Without the information from your book and tape it is doubtful that we would have known how to get her off of her drugs.

She recently spoke in front of about 50 people, telling her story. Believe me, 1 1/2 years ago she would not have walked into a room with more that 5 people without experiencing serious anxiety.

I just read your newsletter about the woman’s daughter who had mutilated herself. Our Leslie did also and her doctor tried to convince us that she had already done that as a child. She hadn’t of course, not until she was prescribed all of the many drugs.

She has been on a roller coaster, but is doing so wonderful now. She is no longer taking anything and is outgoing, happy, active in her
children’s education and in her church.

Her husband frequently tells her that he feels like they are newly weds because he hadn’t seen her that way for almost 11 years.

Her children frequently tell her that they are so happy to have their mom back.

I would like to send you a transcript of her story that she told to the 50 people.

Please continue your campaign, we have told many people about your book and tape.

Marion Schiffgen
____________________________

Leslie’s lecture she just gave:

My name is Leslie Judd and I appreciate the opportunity to tell you my story. I recently had a major life change. This came about because of information that was passed on to me by Young Living. It also came about because of encouragement from my family, friends and because of my faith.

Close to 11 years ago I experienced some serious depression. I now recognize that it was most likely post-partum 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. This was the beginning of a 10year nightmare.

Almost immediately within the first few days I began having side effects such as hallucinations, hearing voices and no relief from the depression. I went back to the doctor, who now prescribed Paxil and Trazadone. Temporarily, it seemed to help with the depression, but I was a zombie all of the time. I felt like I had a hangover every morning. With Paxil, and all of the anti-depressants I took from then on, I had what is called a withdrawal or “wear-off effect”. Basically it is a withdrawal caused by the fact that my body soon adjusted to the dosage and then I would need a higher dosage. Symptoms of this effect were electrical sensations throughout my body, a shutters and whoosh sound with every move and a trailing when I moved or turned my head. This continued to increase until the doctor would change my medication and I would begin the cycle again.

I began fluctuating between depression and hypomania.

I started seeing a therapist, the therapist referred me to a psychiatrist. She put me on Zoloft next. Starting with a fairly low dose. My initial diagnosis began as 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 II disorder) My condition began to worsen.

At this time the doctor decided to experiment with different types of drugs such anti-seizure medications, such as Topamax, Depakote, Lamictal and Neurontin, as well as anti-psychotics, like Risperdal, Seroquel, and Zyprexa, causing me to have a multitude of other side-effects such as tremors, visual disturbances, anxiety and nervous problems for which I was prescribed benzodiazepines. Guess what, I was more depressed, I was more ill than I had ever been before in my life.

Due to an inherent back problem, I have always, even as a teen, had back pain. Now my back pain was getting worse. The medications decreased my pain tolerance. I developed Fybromyalga. 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, collapsing in terror.

Of course my children were suffering during this whole time because I was unable to provide nurturing. I could not feel joy or affection, and I became obsessed with death. I didn’t want anyone to touch me, cried sometimes uncontrollably but could never explain why. I felt hopeless. I felt like 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 I went to my doctor, each time 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 immediately.

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.

During this whole time, my husband, family and friends stood by me. I didn’t know it, I didn’t care. I even expressed hostility towards those who tried to reach out to me with their concerns. I had no interests, no hobbies outside of the dark, morose, and depressing. My music, books, movies that I watched all dealt with depressing subjects, especially death. I had total dissociation (Feeling as though I were transparent or not feeling anything at all.) I slept most of my days, but had to take drugs to sleep at night too. I had nightmares if I dreamt at all. I was always jittery and hyper vigilant. I could not tolerate any light and often called myself a vampire.

I had to have throat surgery due to sleep apnea, anther side effect from the weight gain. And during the recuperation time we made a move to Chino Valley. Major stress, beyond what I was able to deal with and within a few weeks I was hospitalized for the first time for a breakdown. I was in the hospital for 10 days. It was a frightening experience. Locked doors, scary people and more medication changes.

When I was released and came home I was worse than ever. My eyes were dead. I shook uncontrollably, actually a side effect of anti seizure medications. I had to move my legs constantly. I was having hallucinations. I had absolutely no energy and no desire to do anything. I felt empty. My family rallied to get me back on my feet. Friends brought dinner to help out. But I really remember very little of this time period. It was as if I were seeing things from outside of my body.

I felt nothing. I just wanted to die. This is when it all started to climax. My symptoms escalated to the point that I had to be hospitalized again. During this whole time, my psychiatrist kept assuring me that it was just a matter of time until the right balance of medication was determined. It was trial and error. Ten years of trial and error! From my 25th year until I was 36years old. The years that I should have enjoyed most with my husband and young family.

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. I lied to get out of the hospital, telling them I felt better. Eight days later I went home on new drugs.

Two weeks later I was back in 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 consequences. Nothing mattered. On leaving the hospital following my third stay, I was told that my diagnosis was Bipolar II, Panic and anxiety disorder, PTSD ( post traumatic stress disorder), and Borderline Personality Disorder with psychotic episodes. It seemed that I would just get worse and never well again.

Back home, my family searched for answers, looked for ways to help me. Good friends, Brian and Barb Kuckuck went to a Young Living convention in California. They returned with help. An audio tape and a book from Dr. Ann Blake Tracy.

The tape opened our eyes to the destruction of people’s lives these drugs cause. I today know 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 many physical disorders were caused primarily by the medication I was given by my doctors. I lost 10 years of my life.

I followed Dr. Tracy’s guidelines for tapering off of the medication and I have been using the Cortistop and various supplements as well as essential oils, particularly Peace and Calming, Valor and Clarity, without which, I know it would have been much more difficult to break free from the drugs. The weaning process is a long one, it can last for up to two years, but it is worth it.

Today I have been completely free of my medications for 5 months. Although I still have some residual side-effects, I am living my life again and enjoying it. I thank Young Living and Dr. 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.

Marion Schiffgen

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Posted in Breaking News - Our Most Recent Serotonin Nightmares., SSRI Survivor Stories.

Ann Blake-Tracy

Ann Blake Tracy, Executive Director,
International Coalition for Drug Awareness
(DrugAwareness.Org & SSRIstories.Net)
Author: ”Prozac: Panacea or Pandora? – Our Serotonin Nightmare – The Complete Truth of the Full Impact of Antidepressants Upon Us & Our World” & Withdrawal CD “Help! I Can’t Get Off My Antidepressant!”

She has specialized since 1990 in adverse reactions to serotonergic medications (such as Prozac, Sarafem, Zoloft, Paxil, Luvox, Celexa, Lexapro, Effexor, Serzone, Remeron, Anafranil, Fen-Phen, Redux and Meridia as well as the new atypical antipsychotics Zyprexa, Geodon, Seroquel and Abilify), as well as pain killers, and has testified before the FDA and congressional subcommittee members on antidepressants.

WITHDRAWAL WARNING: In sharing this information about adverse reactions to antidepressants I always recommend that you also give reference to my CD on safe withdrawal, Help! I Can’t Get Off My Antidepressant!, so that we do not have more people dropping off these drugs too quickly – a move which I have warned from the beginning can be even more dangerous than staying on the drugs!

WITHDRAWAL HELP: You can find the hour and a half long CD on safe and effective withdrawal helps here: store.drugawareness.org And if you need additional consultations with Ann Blake-Tracy, you can book one at www.drugawareness.org or sign up for one of the memberships for the International Coalition for Drug Awareness which includes free consultations as one of the benefits of that particular membership plan. You can even get a whole month of access to the withdrawal CD with tips on rebuilding after the meds, all six of my DVDs, hundreds of radio interviews, lectures, TV interviews I have done over the years PLUS my book on antidepressants with more information than you will find anywhere else for only $30 membership for a month (that is only $5 more than the book alone would cost) at www.drugawareness.org. (Definitely the best option to save outrageous postage charges for those out of the country!)

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