Leslie Judd’s Story – post-partum depression – Prozac, Paxil and Trazodone

Leslie Judd’s Story

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 that was passed on to me by Young Living Essential Oils.

Eleven years ago, I experienced some serious depression which I now recognize 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, 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 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, 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 hypomania.

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 II Disorder.

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 benzodiazepines. 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 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.

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 essential oils discussed here, see Ann Blake-Tracy’s book, Prozac, Panacea or Pandora? – Our Serotonin Nightmare and her tape or CD entitled, “Help! I Can’t Get Off My Antidepressant”. You can order these by calling 1-.

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Merrill Osmond’s Amazing Alternative Health Transformation

merrillThe following is Merrill Osmond’s story from the 3/04 issue of UT Health Magazine about his long term use of medications and his journey back to health using Young Living Oils:

OVERVIEW:

Stress, depression, stokes and a host of health professionals pumping his body with a buffet of chemicals took its toll.

“They were telling me it was possible to completely get off the stuff I had been on since I was twenty one! Getting off the Lithium alone was a real no-no. My doctors would have killed me. It’s what was maintaining my moods and controlling my depression. The whole borderline diabetes Glucophage® thing was another huge issue.

“Here I was listening to these physicians who were telling of other breakthroughs and new ideas. They told me it was between me and my family and God, but emphasized that they really could help me go in a new direction. ‘We can help you, Merrill,’ they kept telling me.

“I said, ‘Okay. I’ll give it a shot.’

“I will swear to you on a stack of everything I know to be true, that I’m off of everything, and have been for over six months!” exclaims Osmond. “I’ve had all my tests updated, and I’m not a hundred percent yet, but I do feel one hundred percent better. I feel so great. And I’m much better off now, too. I’m drug free and I’m sleeping well,” boasts Osmond.

And the depression?

“Absolutely under control. I’m getting around better and functioning better than ever and handling more stress than ever.

Change is Good
Merrill Osmond’s Amazing Alternative Health Transformation

By John A. Anderson

In the best shape of his life, Merrill Osmond is breaking the mold and branching out. He’s trying new things and surprising even himself with the positive results.

If you’ve been doing something effectively since you were four, would you change it now? After 46 years entertaining audiences, that’s exactly what Merrill Osmond is doing.
“I’ve been performing this since I was four years old, and it’s my first solo tour!” quips Merrill.

Wearing his retro-black color, Merrill is off to England this month for a virtually sold-out ‘Back in Black’ solo tour. He is also releasing a new CD with Curb Records and writing four new songs for the project.

“Looks like we’re back in the record business in England,” Osmond says enthusiastically.

Why the hoopla in England, you might wonder?

“England is a second home to the Osmonds. They took a liking to ‘One Bad Apple’ in the early 70’s and the whole Jackson-Osmond thing took root. We’re a lot more popular in the U.K. than in America – in Japan too,” Osmond explains.

“England has always seemed to embrace the family. The critics and the press in England wanted more of the music and wanted to hear what we had to say. Asia really took a liking to the Donny & Marie Show, and that’s been a huge PR tool for our family ever since.”

Osmond Paraphenalia

The Osmonds were the original boy band, with Merrill’s gritty-smooth lead vocals setting the pace for their impressive track record. In cooperation with his brothers, Merrill has written the music and lyrics for five number one hit records and sang lead to the group’s 27 gold records – many of which he shared the production credits.

Merrill has received two “People’s Choice Awards,” four number #1 “Billboard Hits,” and two “Grammy Award” nominations. Not only that, but collectively the Osmonds have produced 47 platinum and gold records.

The Osmonds received their star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame in August of 2003. And it was well deserved considering their decades of music industry success.

In fact, the Osmonds still hold a music industry world record – most gold records earned in one year by a recording artist.

Not even the Beatles were able to receive eleven gold award certificates in one year, but the Osmonds still hold that record today.

In fact, Paul McCartney even took sides with the Osmonds after Beatles drummer Ringo Starr volleyed negative blasts their way over this issue. Hey Ringo – what do you call a guy that hangs out with musicians? A drummer. “We were dumbfounded that Ringo would be so vocal about us since we had never even met him. But the next thing we knew, Paul McCartney comes out, front page, blasting Ringo for blasting us. We’ve had a great relationship with Paul ever since,” Merrill says with a smile.

Bitter-Sweet Success

But spotlights cast shadows as they illuminate. Glittering success is a two-edged sword and Merrill Osmond began paying the price early. Stress, depression, stokes and a host of health professionals pumping his body with a buffet of chemicals took its toll.

“When I was 21 I had two ‘mini’ strokes that put me in the hospital. On top of that I had a heart condition. Soon thereafter I began to be very depressed, which was actually the worst of all. In fact, depression is kind of the Osmond thing – Donny’s had it, Marie’s had it. For me, depression was so severe that it almost got me to take my life. It was bad. It was especially difficult because very few were addressing it back then.

“Even though I held hope and had vision and tremendous blessings and promises, something wanted me to go away. I took the knife and did the whole ten yards. But something empowered me to continue on.

“During my late 20’s and early 30’s I was doing our shows and decided that I couldn’t handle it anymore. I felt depressed, and had begun to have a sugar imbalance issue. Doctors said I was a borderline Diabetic. I couldn’t sleep so I was taking Ambian, coupled with the other meds doctors were giving me. I was really suffering, and not surprisingly I was hospitalized all the time. The doctors kept me in the hospital scratching their heads about why I wasn’t responding to their treatments.

“Then came the most unbelievable experience of my life. I got this skin condition that caused such a problem that I couldn’t stand it. The treatment was a high form of Methotrexate. After I got done with that treatment, the skin condition came back twice as bad!

“So I was suffering with all that and trying to maintain the performances. The show must go on. I endured it with high doses of everything you can imagine. About fifteen years ago, in my early 40’s, we were doing our shows in Missouri and I passed out on stage. I thought that was the end of my professional road.

“I went back to Duke University – where our family goes whenever we have health problems. The doctors noted that my kidneys were failing, my heart continued to have issues, and then I had two more little strokes. The doctors said to call my family; that my body was going into serious ‘shut-down’ mode.

“Only by the grace of God was I able to make it through. Blessings, prayer, and meditation – everything I was able to muster – went into that process. I exercised all my faith and went into a very spiritual mode, which helped come out of it. And yes, the doctors were watching me like a hawk!

“Just when I felt a little balance, the financial problems hit. Everything compounded at that point, so my health began to sink again. And that brings us up to about a year ago,” Osmond tells me.

SEEKING ANSWERS IN ALTERNATIVES

“Think of this,” says Merrill. “I had been under a doctor’s care since I was 20 and had received everything from injections to you name it. Then my son Shane calls me and encouraged me to come down to the clinic where he worked Young Life Research Clinic in Springville, Utah. I was totally suspect because I had been working with some of the best doctors in the nation. In terms of alternative or natural medicine, I didn’t trust a thing.

“I go in there and sit down with their medical doctors. I have always felt there were a lot of ‘quacks’ in the natural medicine arena. While that’s still true, it became obvious that I didn’t understand natural medicine. Frankly, I was surprised that I was meeting with actual MDs. They sat with me and listened to my whole story. They took notes. They took me into these rooms for about four days. They did the cleansing, the diagnosing, the dry blood workups.”

“I literally found it hard to believe what they were telling me initially, but I told myself to put my faith and trust in this process and just see how things would go,” Merrill recalls.

What was so difficult to believe?

“They were telling me it was possible to completely get off the stuff I had been on since I was twenty one! Getting off the Lithium alone was a real no-no. My doctors would have killed me. It’s what was maintaining my moods and controlling my depression. The whole borderline diabetes Glucophage® thing was another huge issue.

“Here I was listening to these physicians who were telling of other breakthroughs and new ideas. They told me it was between me and my family and God, but emphasized that they really could help me go in a new direction. ‘We can help you, Merrill,’ they kept telling me.

“I said, ‘Okay. I’ll give it a shot.’

“I will swear to you on a stack of everything I know to be true, that I’m off of everything, and have been for over six months!” exclaims Osmond. “I’ve had all my tests updated, and I’m not a hundred percent yet, but I do feel one hundred percent better. I feel so great. And I’m much better off now, too. I’m drug free and I’m sleeping well,” boasts Osmond.

And the depression?

“Absolutely under control. I’m getting around better and functioning better than ever and handling more stress than ever. I’ve got this new solo tour to worry about, my new DVD project, and I just signed another three-year contract in Branson producing all our shows. Before I could have never held up without the medications.

“But here I am, medication free and starting a fresh new chapter of my life feeling better than ever,” says Osmond.

NATURAL MEDICINE’S APPROACH

So what’s the secret formula to Merrill’s amazing health success? Dr. David K. Hill, clinic administrator of the Young Life Research Clinic explains:

“The premise of natural medicine is that, regardless of the condition, you’ve got to seek for and find the underlying cause. The holistic approach is exactly that – a look at the whole of emotional, spiritual and physical makeup for each individual. Sometimes its dietary issues, sometimes it’s hormonal, or chemical, or environmental. Whatever the case may be, true medicine must find the source of the condition. That’s the norm in holistic medicine.

“Because of the environment we live in we are almost always going to find toxicity – in the bowels, the liver, etc. We find a lot of chemical toxicity associated with different organs of the body. So there must be a cleansing process that takes place.

“And there is uniqueness. While you and Merrill Osmond might come in with the same issues, the treatment approach is always unique. For instance, somebody with diabetes may require that we use geranium. For Merrill’s diabetes, coriander, dill, phenol and geranium is a pretty standard protocol. But Merrill also has the psoriasis and eczema, so we know he has high acid in the body, so we put him on dietary restrictions as well. We had Merrill stay away from dairy, many meat proteins, many sugars. We were pretty specific about what he should and shouldn’t eat.

“Then we looked at Merrill’s chemical structure in terms of his anti-oxidant levels. We were looking for free-radical damage, vitamin and mineral deficiency. We developed a supplementation protocol to create the necessary change.

“But again, all these things are for naught if we don’t discover why these issues are taking place. There’s the uniqueness that comes into it.

“We aren’t just looking for quick fixes, but rather, long-term solutions that require lifestyle changes and commitment. Unfortunately, we live in a society of quick fixes – a pill to take or the top 10 things I can do today to restore my health. Optimal health doesn’t work that way.

“Merrill has seen dramatic success, in part because we outlined what he needed to do, but more importantly because he was willing to do it and radically change his daily lifestyle. Merrill’s health turnaround is directly tied to his willingness to make the changes,” says Hill.

You can see Merrill online at (www.merrillosmond.com). You might also want to check out his autobiography – ‘Let The Reason Be Love.’

See Dr. Hill online at (www.younglifeclinic.com)

MERRILL OSMOND – THE REST OF THE STORY

As a member of the legendary Osmond family, Merrill Osmond sang lead vocals on some of the band’s biggest hits including ‘One Bad Apple’, ‘Down By The Lazy River’ and ‘Love Me For A Reason.’ Embarking on his first ever tour as a solo artist the show will feature some of The Osmonds’ greatest hit songs including ‘Crazy Horses,’ ‘Let Me In,’ ‘Going Home’ and ‘The Proud One.’

Fame isn’t free. It comes with a price, as Merrill Osmond well knows. “It begins with the stress of a four year old.”

“At four years of age I am singing with my brothers to raise money for our family and our future. The next thing you know we’re singing barbershop harmony because my dad liked it – we liked it. We got a job working at Disneyland. Walt Disney gave us our first big television show.

“We were having a ball, but we all wanted to do things right so we worked our tails off to come up with the right routines and the tight harmonies. It was during that time that Andy Williams’s father saw our program and invited us to audition for Andy.

“Talk about stress. Andy liked us and said he’d put us on one show to see how things would go. One show became another, and soon it was show after show. It was wonderful, but it took its toll. In this business, you’re only as good as your last show so we were constantly creating new things.

“The show producers would say, ‘Next week we are doing a big band theme – what instruments do you play? None? Well, you have a week to learn.’ We’d come back literally in a week playing those things. Another week it was ice skating with Peggy Flemming. ‘Do you ice skate? No? You have a week to learn.’ We’d come back in a week knowing how to do ice flips with firecrackers in our hands and blisters on our feet. We really put our heart and soul into our performances. The foundation of my life since age four was constant challenges like these.

“Of course we were told that we’d never make it in the rock-n-roll business because we were too clean cut. So we went out to prove we could do that. 100 million records later we demonstrated that you could still be in this world, but not of it, and still have some fun recording music.

Power of Perspective

You mentioned the Jackson – Osmond rival of the 70’s. Now Michael Jackson claims that so many of his present woes are due to his stolen childhood. Do you feel the same?

“I love the Jackson’s (though I was appalled by what when on at this year’s Super Bowl!) I still talk to Jamaine all the time, so I am very familiar with their feelings. I feel bad for the Jackson’s because I care about them and love them. I really care about their mom right now. She has a real spiritual depth about her, and I can imagine that she is completely distraught by what happened at that halftime show.

“But there are huge differences between our families. Obviously, they experienced the same basic stress levels and experienced the same types of pressures. The key difference is our belief system. We came home and we knew why we were doing what we were doing. Strutting your stuff on TV and in front of crowds is one thing, but it had to be within a proper perspective,” Osmond explains.

It seems that to remain at the top of the pop music world, musicians have to keep pushing the envelope. It looks to me like the two famous Jackson’s are doing whatever they can to be discussed.

“Oh yes, that happens. It’s been interesting to hear the networks and the participants squirm out of the responsibility for this Super Bowl halftime show, but you and I both know it was all strategy. It comes from the very top, and you’re right, everybody is just looking for the next big thing, and it’s a manager’s job to make sure their star remains on top,” admits Osmond.

Have you guys ever felt that pressure to compromise? I remember reading that during Donny’s mid-80’s cooling career his buddy Michael Jackson told him to change his name and get a new image. Sure, Michael rode the wake of his Thriller success, but twenty years later, honestly, whose life would you rather have?

“Exactly. That is the moral to life in general. It’s difficult to be in the world but not of it. Yes, Michael suggested that Donny should change his name and start over, which is strange.

“The Osmonds have been in the world and beat up because of it. We have literally lived horror stories at times. It took everything we had and money we didn’t have to put together a machine that would cause the industry to take a look at us. In our own way we did what we had to do to be noticed, but we certainly feel we didn’t compromise anything.

“In the case of Donny, he went through his ‘80’s, and oh, I could tell you stories. He was tempted beyond reason to do certain things. For instance, executives wanted him to be arrested for doing drugs as a way to get him back on the charts. I mean, what does that have to do with talent and musical ability? But there’s the whole image thing that the world seems to assume a musician must have. Donny basically threw his hands up in the air and came home.

“Many, many times all of us wanted to quit. But, John, when you have a ‘lifetime calling’ you just plain do what you’ve got to do.”

I have always been impressed that the Osmonds have held true to their values over the years. Describe what you mean when you say ‘lifetime calling?’

“I’m sure you don’t want to get into too much spiritual stuff here, but when you’re 15 years old and called into the Church Headquarters in Salt Lake City, and there’s the prophet (President Harold B. Lee) and the twelve apostles basically calling you on a lifetime mission, you take a different perspective on fame and fortune. You get an understanding of ‘why’ we’re doing it.

“Obviously that’s probably not what you want to write about, but that’s really what kept the Osmonds moving forward – that’s what we held on to, and there were times that this calling from a prophet of God was all we had. We feel that it’s a calling from God, and to date we have not been released from it.

“Also, our patriarchal blessings matched what the prophet was asking us to do. So we had a fairly profound sense of purpose in what we were doing and why we were doing it. When the hard times and the pressures came, we had a different understanding of why they were happening. We didn’t let the world beat us up on it. After all, a prophet of the Lord had spoken to us and blessed us with our ‘callings.’

“Obviously, the Jackson’s were hit huge by the world. The Osmonds were also hit, but we were always able to regroup and discuss the eternal aspect of it all.

“The secret of our success over the years is perspective in a world that’s full of clouds and spiritual distractions, and all kinds of temptations.

From MerrillOsmond.com –

Quote: “This Life is fragile and needs to be nurtured with loving care. Each moment we live, think about the air you breathe, the heart that beats within you, and the relationships that are important to you. Don’t take anything or anyone for granted.

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Withdrawing from Prozac after Eleven Years

“I credit (finding the ICFDA web site) with saving my life.”

I am grateful to you and your colleagues for warning people about the dangers of SSRI’s I am withdrawing from Prozac now after taking it for eleven years. Until January of this year I was taking 60 mgs/day of Prozac. I have taken doses as high as 80 mgs/day! After experiencing a psychotic episode (one of many). In January I found the ICFDA website. I credit that discovery with saving my life and I am grateful to you and your colleagues for warning people about the dangers of SSRI’s. After tapering off of the drug for four months I took my last dose of Prozac nineteen days ago. I have experienced all of the major SSRI withdrawal effects. Right now my biggest problem is disturbed sleep patterns and extreme fatigue.

I know that it might be beneficial to seek the help of a medical doctor but after my experience with Prozac I don’t know who to trust. I know that most MDs or DOs are probably part of the medical/pharmaceutical establishment that got me into this position in the first place.

Aaron L. Swinger
5152 Burgoyne Lane
Columbus, Ohio 43220-7345
(614)459-5281

6/21/2000

This is Survivor Story number 20.

Total number of stories in current database is 96

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