My Struggles with Prozac

“I’ve tried to come off at least half a dozen times.”

I feel like I really screwed up. In 1998 I read Dr. Peter Kramer’s book “Listening to Prozac,” and I was quietly optimistic about the benefits I could receive. I was mildly depressed, nothing major; but I really wanted to try and see if I could change myself into someone I thought I could be. Indeed, I did, for a while anyway. I felt wonderful, stopped drinking completely (not that I was an alcoholic), and had higher self-esteem; I hardly thought of the future. But, the future came, and I started to notice my bodies negative effects of the drug. I weighed 160lb before starting Prozac. Today, after six years on the drug, I weight 136lb.

I’ve tried to come off at least half a dozen times; every time I feel more committed. My doctor is a good guy, but he doesn’t know what’s going on. I found your web-site on the internet simply by typing in “Help, I can’t get off Prozac.” I’ve ordered your book and the audiotape. I’m also researching supplements that you suggest to help fight against the deleterious side effects that accompany withdrawal. I have just recently begun tapering off, and yes, I will do it very slowly. Thanks for your information. I feel confident about coming off, but I also felt confident the last two times. I thought quitting cigarettes were hard… this is quite a bit harder.

Doug Morgan
agnosticdoug@hotmail.com

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Losing it on Prozac

“My brief exposure to Prozac left me thinking I was truly insane.”

Thank you very very much for providing this website and the services you have there.

It’s taken over 10 years for me to write this story. For years I was too ashamed to admit I suffered from depression & anxiety, so I told no one. And my brief exposure to Prozac left me thinking I was truly insane. My last experience of medicated depression left me completely ashamed regarding what happened to me. I thought I had truly gone crazy but instead I found out later, it was only my reaction to the new so-called wonder drug of the day: Prozac. Many people take this drug without experiencing what I did; however, there are enough of us so that I want to share my story so that anyone suffering the same way I did can recognize what the problem is (the drug) and find a way to get healthier with out it.

My first depression occurred when I was 17, the fall of 1977. I was prescribed an anti-depressant, most likely one of the tricyclics and recovered 6 months later. The next bout of clinical depression occurred when I was 26, again on a trycyclic for about 6 months. Then I succumbed again in 1990. I was given Prozac. My depression symptoms consisted of crying excessively and inappropriately, inability to find joy in anything, inability to get out of bed/off the sofa, my body preferred remaining motionless, I ached physically and hoped the earth would swallow me whole or that I wished I’d fall asleep and not wake up. I never truly contemplated suicide until the last 2 years, but that’s another story. Back in 1990, my psychiatrist had me on Prozac. The first week I noticed that my muscles became twitchy, I became short with people, my head ached, my depression remained the same. By the second week, my anger was boiling, I snapped at people, I made scenes in public, I yelled, screamed, threw things, pushed people in retail store lines, movie lines, post office line. Can you imagine standing in line with a customer yelling, screaming and pounding their fist on the counter? By the time the Post Office incident occurred, I had extreme violent thoughts against OTHER people. The lady behind that counter was lucky that the counter was so tall because it was all I could do to keep myself from jumping over it to strangle her. Her offence? She didn’t accept my return of my postage stamps. Somehow I found the strength to get out and sat in my car sobbing and sobbing – I couldn’t stop. This was so much worse than my original depression. On my drive home, I was pulled over my highway patrol for speeding. I still could not stop sobbing. A second patrol car pulled up. My sobbing became harder. I held onto my steering wheel for my life as there was a huge pull on me to jump out of the car in front of any oncoming vehicle so I could die. I then thought, maybe if I rushed the officers, they’d pull their guns and kill me. What little sanity I had left convinced myself that I did not want to burden either the car driver or officers with my death. I drove off, half expecting the officers to pursue, but the let me go. I figured they didn’t want to deal with a crying woman. I was scared they were going to haul me off and commit me.

At my next psych appt, the next day, I demanded to get off these crazy making pills, that I was better off them than on them. This doctor explained that it was better I was finally getting my anger out. I jumped up, slammed both hands on his desk, put my face as close to his as I could and screamed – YOU BETTER GET ME OFF THESE BEFORE I KILL SOMEONE. He relented. I was switched and weaned and I will never go back. From 1st pill to last pill took about 2 weeks. I thank God every time I remember these things that I didn’t kill anyone. You will never know how close I was to completely loosing it. It was as if part of me was watching myself do these behaviors and have thread-bare control over my actions. I remember feelings as if I were coming Unglued. That I was somehow disintegrating, being pulled about cell by cell.

A few years later, I signed up at a diet place to loose some weight. I explicitly asked if the Fen-Phen products were anything like Prozac and the doctor assured me that they were not. He was wrong. Again, by the end of the first week, I was crying uncontrollably, tears pouring down my face – this time it was more odd as I had no feelings to go along with the tears. I went in to explain, they wanted to resist refunding my money, but all they had to do was look at my face.

I went along just fine, until I had to deal with infertility. This has been the most heartbreaking, gut-wrenching life trauma I’ve ever gone through. If there was something safe and effective, I’d be on it. There is not enough money on the planet for me to ever go back to anti-depressants. So I white-knuckle it. I use natural products, essential oils, meditation tapes and I let myself cry. Honestly, the essential oils I use have been a lifesaver, same as described in the website I list below. I’ve come to grips that no matter how much I truly want to die, that dying is not the answer and suicide is a decision where I could never change my mind. I thank God that I’ve never had another homicidal thought ever since quitting the drugs. I do however have left over tremors that are probably going to be with me for the rest of my life.

If I had heard my story from a book or website or third hand, I probably wouldn’t have believed it. It seems surreal that a simple little pill that’s suppose to help could turn a quiet, shy, woman into a shrieking homicidal threat in 14 days but that’s what I lived. I’m glad it’s getting more out in the open. I’m still incredibly ashamed but now, not at my depression, but rather at my behavior I exhibited to completely innocent bystanders who happened to be in the wrong place when I walked by.

 

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Prozac and Johnnie Brown

“The alcohol and the antidepressants almost killed him.”

am so glad I give all the glory to God that I have this information! I have a thirteen year old son who has been on a number of anti-depressants!

He has been in custody with my father a Firefighter and my step-mom who was a nurse. After my step-mom passed away almost 5 years ago my son became depressed. The Dr.’s have given him these medications for many years. I moved up to Washington because I received a call from my father saying he wanted me to come get my son! I jokingly said what’s the matter dad he’s not cute anymore! It was November 2003 when I arrived to Spokane WA. from Oakland Ca. Boy what a ride. I don’t mean the flight here!

My son had cut marks on his arms, from the ruler he was using in school. He was in trouble at school, falling asleep at his desk. They were ready to kick him out. At home he was I thought experimenting with alcohol and weed! Thank God I am a recovered addict alcoholic! This helped me in finding all his hiding places, and everything he was doing. Johnnie had told me these thing on his own He was crushing the Amphetamines his dr. had prescribed and snorting them. He would abuse them sneak them and he was stealing booze from my dads cupboard above the fridge! He was abusing inhalers. smoking weed! I removed him from the prescribed medications and had my father make an appointment to see his Dr. It was just too dangerous.

My dad started working full-time again driving school bus. I noticed my son would be laying on the floor of the shower in the morning before school. I questioned all these things for God to reveal! About February 2004 I woke up to sounds of my child crying the uncontrollable sobs! The cry that someone cries when they can’t go on ! I ran through the house he wasn’t upstairs I found him downstairs with my jacket and his shoes on with his PJ’s. He had taken my Dads gun out of the closet in the den! He cried out to me!” Where are the Bullets, I need the bullets, I can’t go on anymore, It’s only going to get worse, Where are the bullets he screamed at me!!??” My heart just broke! My very handsome beautiful child was so damaged I could not get him to come around! no matter what I said or what I prayed! I was crying too! and screamed for my dad, it was 3:00 am.

My dad called the authorities. My son was transmitted to Sacred Heart Hospital in the Adolescent Mental Health facility. the Dr.’s noticed a twitch in his Lip and his head! They put a heart monitor on him and found that he had acceleration and deceleration by 30 points! They did a MRI not all results have come in! They found he has a spot in his brain! He has MS Korea, Damage to his brain stem, he was deeply depressed and dehydrated which I thought was impossible because he was drinking distilled water by the gallons. The alcohol and the antidepressants almost killed him! So the Dr’s and Court ordered him to take them with Ramsinol, Prozac, fish oil, sleeping pills and penicillin because he is a carrier for strep! He has recently since he’s been out of the hospital cut himself once and him and his friend vandalized someone’s property and he didn’t realize what he was doing!

Knowing that he would face 180 days lock-up I feel responsible for letting him stay the night at a friends house and trusting the other parents in charge. Well everything happens for a reason! I woke up today and was given information about this web sit and Dr. Ann Blake Tracy! I was also given information about Dr. John Lindzer who God directs to heal and has a very wonderful gift!! I thank also Peter and Paula Ryan and all of this gift I give thanks to my cousin June Miller and Karen Conners! I give all the glory honor and Praise to God! and my Dad Gary Brown and my son Johnnie!

Lorrie M. Brown
(509) 276-3127
leomaeruby662003@yahoo.com

Johnnie can be reached on his AIM screen name: unsanejohnnie or on MSN at as_i_close_my_eyes_i_feel_it_all_slipping_away@hotmail.com

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Prozac Made Me Want to Kill Myself

“Prozac is the scariest thing that ever happened to me.”

I am a 19 year old female. I struggled with depression for as long as I can remember, it peaking at the age of 14. When I turned 16, I couldn’t take it anymore and begged my mother to get me help. After seeking help from a psychologist and it being unsuccessful I finally agreed to try out Anti-Depressants.

I can’t remember all the kinds of A.D.’s I tried but I do remember that it took a while before I could find one that worked for me. One of the med’s my doc had me try was Prozac. Prozac is the scariest thing that ever happened to me. While before I would sleep all the time to “get away from the world” Prozac gave me insomnia. At night I would curl up in a ball and cry my eyes out uncontrollably. Thoughts of suicide emerged that were so intense that the only thing that kept me alive is that I was sobbing too hard to do anything. I had suicide thoughts before but it was more of a passive feeling, like “I hate life and want to die, but if it doesn’t happen now oh well.” The suicide feelings brought on my Prozac were so intense that I felt I needed to do it NOW; I couldn’t put off killing myself.

I remember being so scared of these feelings that one night while I cried my eyes out I walked to my mom’s room and woke her up, told her all the feelings. She told me to quit taking them and called my doc first thing in the morning. I waited to say something because 1) I thought Prozac just took a little while longer to take effect or that I didn’t wait long enough from the kind of A.D. I tried before and 2) I thought no one would believe me because it makes no sense for a medication that’s supposed to treat suicidal tendencies to be causing them, especially not a medication that has been around for so many years!

I like to add that I found Buspar to be effective in easing my depression but after I took it for a while I began to get extremely mean. Finally I found Effexor XR to be the best for me. I never had problems with it and I have been off for almost 2 years and am still fine.

Hayley Adams
cajundreamer@hotmail.com

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On Prozac for 10 Days

“I wish that I had never took Prozac.”

Hello, my name is Sherri and I had a horrible experience with Prozac. I only took it for 10 days. I had problems that I never thought in a million years that I would ever have. I had panic attacks, fear, anxiety, depression, thoughts of suicide, thoughts of hurting someone or my pets, thoughts and feelings that made me feel very uncomfortable. This has been two years ago and to this day I still have problems.

However I am a lot better but I wish that I had never took Prozac! I also wish that I could find a doc in my area that treats people that this has happened to. I just try to take one day at a time and live my life to the fullest. And hope that one day I can put this awful nightmare behind me for good.

If anyone out there wants to e-mail me with any questions or just to talk please feel free to do so. Good luck and god bless.

Sherri
fabtechmech@prodigy.net

 

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Effexor Prescribed for PMS

“PMS compared to this would be heavenly!”

I am 45 yr old mother of 4, working full time. I was prescribed Prozac 12 yrs ago , then was changed to Effexor 7 yrs ago and have not been able to stop. The withdrawal’s are too overwhelming and debilitating. Even the slightest reduction 1/8th, starts the withdrawal symptoms. I experience extreme crying spells, horrifying panic attacks, which has sent me to the emergency room, sweating and burning followed by shivering cold spells. I can’t sleep, work or even function . I was prescribed this drug to help with PMS. PMS compared to this would be heavenly! The drug companies need to be held responsible for their actions. I believe their greed became more important than the reason these drugs were developed, to help people. I am a Christian and firmly believe God’s Word, we shall reap what we sow. I would ask other believer’s to join me and pray that these drug companies would reap what they have sown. Destruction. I have not yet gone through ‘the eye of the needle’ withdrawal and freedom but I am believing god to go thru and I will follow. Our country messed up big time. Hopefully god will be merciful and get up through this!

Liz powers
swamee14@yahoo.com
Lpowers@hmacloan.com

 

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SSRI’s Almost Cost Me Everything

“I have gone through 4-5 years of hell.”

I am very pleased that I can finally share my story with others who have suffered as I have from what I am certain are SSRI medications.

My story begins in 1998 when I read an article in a major magazine (I don’t remember which one) about the many benefits of SSRI medications. The article hyped the drug up by declaring that CEO’s of corporations where taking it to sharpen their business savvy. The article was provocative, and about a year later I decided to try it. I went to a psychiatrist, and told him that I was depressed and that I suffered from compulsive thoughts, which I new from research were commonly treated with Prozac. The psychiatrist gave me a sample pack and scheduled a follow-up appointment for one week later. One week later, I returned, and was feeling very different, very empowered. I liked it. Little did I know what my new power would yield in the months ahead.

The first stupid mistake I made happened about 2 weeks after starting Prozac; I went to Tijuana with my x-brother in law and hired a Mexican prostitute. Fortunately, I did not think myself so invincible not to use a condom. I practiced “safe sex”. During my next follow-up appointment, when the doctor asked how I was doing, I told him great, and things were looking brighter. I told him the compulsions were gone, and that I was feeling better than ever. I wanted to keep taking the drug so I did not reveal my behavior with the prostitute. In fact, I feared not taking it. I was hooked. About a week after the trip to Mexico, red, itchy, rashes started erupting on my buttock and back. My first thought was that I must have caught something from the prostitute, my second thought was that I was having an allergic response to the Prozac.

I called my doctor and told him and he said that it was very rare to have a reaction after taking the drug for a month. He was surprised, which made me feel almost certain that I caught something from the prostitute. He told me to stop taking the drug immediately (cold turkey!). This was just the beginning of the fall for me. I have gone through 4-5 years of hell since then. It took 2-3 weeks for the huge, red, itchy rashes to subside. During that time, I was terrorized by the thought that I had aids, which was exacerbated by the depression that ensued after stopping Prozac. I was so disturbed, that I confessed to my ex wife (of 8 years) what I had done, having sex with the prostitute. I emotionally collapsed and fell apart, crying since I had had unprotected sex with her less than 5 days after the prostitute. I asked her not to share silverware and toothbrushes with our children (two daughters, ages 3 and 7) just for precautions. I went to a local clinic that did free anonymous HIV screening to get tested; I had insurance through my ex-employer, but was afraid that if I were positive, my employer would be informed. I was in a full blown crisis. The results of the screening came back negative, but I did not believe it.

When I went to my next psychiatric appointment, the doctor prescribed Zoloft for me. Despite all the things that happened while on Prozac, I was eager to feel “undepressed” again. I started Zoloft, but it made me feel worse. After about a month, the doctor upped my dose. Again, I wanted to feel better, so I took it. A couple days after upping the dose, hot flashes consumed me day and night. During the day my body was billowing off heat, and at night I soaked the bed with sweat. I was so delirious that I did not think it was the Zoloft and did not think to take my temperature; I thought it was the HIV virus. I decided after about a week of this, that I would stop taking the Zoloft and stop going to the psychiatrist. The hot flashes diminished and went away after about two days. However, after about 4-5 days neurogentic pain swept across my face, neck, lower abdomen, and arm pits. It was incredibly painful, constant, and burning mostly around my eyes, roof of my mouth, tongue, and gums. I would rate it as a 10 on a scale of 1 to 10. In addition, my intestines constantly cramped and my bowels rumbled. My stools were loose to diarrhea. My physical deterioration made it nearly impossible to continue working, but I persisted in excruciating pain.

After a few months, I was certain I was dying. I went to a family practitioner, and told him the entire story. He ran a plethora of tests, including HIV since I informed him about the prostitute. Everything came back negative. He told me I was likely depressed, and that the my abdominal distress, and neuropathic pain were symptoms of my depression. He prescribed Paxil. I was so desperate that I took it. Paxil made me feel a lot like Prozac did, and before long I began incurring the hatred of everyone around me, but it did not alleviate my neuropathic pain at all. After several months on Paxil, one day I left work to go to lunch, and did not go back. I called the regional manager and told him that I quit on voice mail. My wife came home from work, and I told her that I quit my job, just walked out. That was the craziest thing that I had ever done in my life. I found another job, doing the same line of work, and was fired (first time ever being fired) after deliberately throwing important document into my trash can, costing the company three thousand dollars. Even worse, when interviewed about it, I admitted doing it and doing it intentionally. My supervisor said “I cant believe you did that”. About that time, I also decided to get a tattoo (never had one before), ran my credit card up to the max (never even used one before), dyed my hair ink black (first time dying my hair), began beating my wife (never did that before), bought a junky car for an outrageous price(out of character), and was behaving violently towards my children. After losing my job and insurance, I never went back to the physician. The doctor never suggested that I was having adverse reactions to the Paxil.

I found another job, and was fired after a week (second time being fired in 3 weeks). I was in a tailspin. I was so physically weak and mentally disarrayed that I could not get out of bed. My ex wife said something that provoked me, and I pushed her to the floor in front of my daughters. She bumped her head on the floor and lost consciousness. My girls were screaming and crying. Their once calm and collective father had become a monster. I will never forget their crying faces and voices saying “mommmmmmy, mommmmmmy”. When my ex wife awakened she called the police, and stormed out of the house. After the police came and inspected the house, I packed up a suitcase and left the state to reside with my parents in another state. I dread to think of what I might have done if I stayed. I know now that I was capable of doing great harm because the SSRI medications eroded my conscience away to nothing. I have not taken any SSRI’s since the day that I drove out of Los Angeles on that terrible day.

I successfully got off of the drugs by seeking professional counseling (6 months once a week), exercise, nutrition, and persistence. I found medical help for my neuralgia at the VA hospital in Portland, Oregon; I am an air force veteran of six years. I currently take 50mg of amitryptelene per day to alleviate the constant burning sensation on the roof of my mouth and face that I still bear . Since coming to Portland and getting off SSRI’s, I finished my Bachelors of Science degree at Portland State University, and am a senior, going to graduate in June, from Walla Walla school of nursing. I choose nursing because of my own experience with illness and aim to help others in crisis. I will be an RN soon and will be practicing. My long term goal is to be a nurse practitioner. Heaven willing I won’t be fooled by advertisers or anyone else into buying and taking anything so harmful for me again. SSRI’s almost cost me everything.

I hope this testimony will be of some consolation to others who have shared in similar experience.

Scott Ferguson
jms22@teleport.com

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Prozac and Alcohol

“I have experienced blackouts when drinking alcohol and engaging in embarrassing and even dangerous behaviors during the blackouts.”

I want to share my recent experience with Prozac. My e-mail address may be posted, but not my name.

I have taken Prozac for close to 15 years, and I would have to say it has provided relief from my depression. Several months ago, I was going through an ugly marital separation and other problems and felt very depressed again. My doctor doubled my Prozac dosage from 20 mg. to 40 mg.

I have always been a social/moderate drinker, consuming 1-2 glasses of wine with dinner most evenings. It never presented a problem on the 20 mg. of Prozac. However, since increasing my dosage, I have experienced blackouts when drinking alcohol and engaging in embarrassing and even dangerous behaviors during the blackouts. I am also craving alcohol in a way I never have before. I also feel that my short-term memory has been negatively impacted.

It has taken me several months to make the connection between my recent behavior and the altered Prozac dosage, but I am absolutely convinced the first is a result of the second.

karenshome@cox.net

 

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Student's Life Destroyed on Prozac

“(After begging my doctor to put me on Prozac,) I just felt insane. I felt like screaming, tearing my clothes off and running around like a madman.”

I wrote to this site several weeks ago about sending in my story. As I wrote it that night, the anger, fear and trauma built so badly that I ended up ranting and rambling. I needed some time away to think and to collect my thoughts about this nightmare so that I could do it justice on paper. I will try to make it as brief as I can:

In 1991, my parents separated. I was 18 at the time. My mom had been seeing a psychiatrist and was taking Prozac. She turned into a completely different person. She was vengeful, angry and borderline psychotic. My mom told me that my dad was an alcoholic (I since have learned she is as well) and that we have depression in our family. She recommended that I see a psychiatrist as well. I blew her off and went to college the next year. I starting drinking once a week (parties) in college and started becoming depressed. It was harder to get up in the mornings now and I remembered what mom had told me.

I panicked and went to the doctor. Mom went with me to the doctor (right before she left home) and I practically begged him to put me on Prozac if that was “what I needed.” He assured me that the side effects were dry mouth, possible weight gain, nausea, etc. I took the stuff and almost immediately started feeling badly (the doctors told me that that was impossible as it would take two weeks to get into my system.

They have since concluded that some patients are effected in a few days. I just felt insane. I felt like screaming, tearing my clothes off and running around like a madman. I told my doctor that the stuff was making me crazy but he told me that it was me and not the pills (For the record, he was an MD who could prescribe meds. I was referred to him by a psychologist.) So we upped the dose. I had also been taking a benzodiazepine (Klonopin) because I was having trouble sleeping and I immediately became addicted. The doctor never told me that these pills were addictive. I stayed on Klonopin for three years and mixed and matched medications constantly as my condition worsened. I tried to save a drug problem with more drugs and I spiraled completely out of control as I was caught in that vicious cycle we all have heard about.

I tried countless anti-depressants. I was later diagnosed with manic-depression and schizophrenia. The possibility exists that the Prozac helped my depression and left my manic phase alone (or aggravated it.) Medications are constantly evolving and the doctors don’t even know sometimes so I have no real answers. I took Paxil for a day and puked my guts out. I took Luvox and all I thought about was killing people. I took muscle relaxers and other pills while my addiction went unnoticed by doctors in two states. I switched to Atavin in 1995 and drugged myself completely to death for two years. I was taking the near maximum dose. I was later told by other doctors that I should never have been on benzodiazepines for that long. I told one doctor that I needed to quit taking the benzos as they were killing me. He apparently misunderstood me and told me that I would be on them for the rest of my life. I’m assuming he meant the other medications I was taking. I had to go to another doctor to phase down off of the benzos. I had a grand mal seizure by coming off them two days early (I had been phasing down for months.) This was at the Kentucky State Fair in front of my mother and sister and I almost died.

I was a solid B student with an IQ near the upper two percent in HS and I was also a successful athlete. There had been no major disciplinary problems in my schooling life up until I started taking medications. I never partied in HS and probably had only a few drinks of wine in my life before I was 18. Before the medication, I averaged a 3.0 my freshman year in college with the intent to do better. The pills sent my life into a tailspin. I dropped out of college several times after seeing my GPA dip to a 1.0. I bounced from drunk parent to drunk parent and doctor to doctor. I had been on pills until recently, even though I had kicked the Atavin for good seven years ago. I was unable to work during this time as I was addicted.

They tell us that the pills are non-addicting but they don’t understand people with addiction issues. I get addicted to anything. ANY powerful drug will addict me and the anti-depressants and mood stabilizers were no different. After fighting for my right to get clean and free of drugs and doctors (with both parents and doctors), I have made it to some sanity. I ballooned up to 242 pounds on the pills (one social worker asked me once if I would rather be fat or mentally ill.) I have since gotten down to a very healthy and athletic 185 and I feel great. I have also invested in proper nutritional supplementation. Natural supplements, especially fish oils, work and I regret not trying them earlier. In 1998, I had a domestic dispute with my dad and I was arrested and committed. I was abused, bullied and intimidated at the “mental health clinic” where I was committed, where I was put on more pills (after being coerced into signing my rights away.) Most of the rest of the “treatment” was having social workers tell me how to grocery shop (!) and play Scattergories with me and other patients (no joke.) I was also insulted in the clinic and overheard lines like “people think we’re Nazis and criminals.”

One social worker even told me, “There is no such thing as justice.” I may be misquoting exactly how she said it but the message was that justice was a fallacy in the real world. So I knew that I had no rights in this place. They charged me $500 a day (I couldn’t say no as I was a prisoner) and told me about disability and it’s insurance the day that I was to be released five months later. In the meantime, I had been put in a group home, where a miscommunication between the case worker there and the mental health clinic led to me being arrested and put back into the clinic. I was told by the clinic that I could stay as long as it took me to find a job, although the normal period was two weeks. After two weeks I didn’t have a job, so they kicked me out. Terrified, I left and went back to the clinic to talk about what had happened. The police were waiting for me and arrested me as I had “broken the rules of the group home by leaving.” I swear this is the God honest truth.

I now owe these snakes $54,000 for pills that got me addicted and for playing Scattegories while I was a prisoner. I have taken their pills, gotten addicted and have been unable to work. They continued to experiment, make more money and blamed a lot of the problems on me. I called up my original MD in 2001 and confronted him about the issue of medications actually causing the symptoms they are supposed to be treating (since proven my doctors.) I asked him if he knew about these potential problems when he prescribed the first round of meds and didn’t tell me. He said that he did after I continued to press him. I called him a bastard and he hung up (I will also note that he didn’t return any of my calls to talk to him and I had to get him at home.) I tried to report him (symbolically and as a public service) very recently. The woman I was trying to talk to answered me very rudely and in a belittling fashion that I couldn’t report something that long ago. I have since read a lot on this issue and feel that I am just another victim of corporate psychiatry (look it up online.) I am hurt, angry and betrayed by people who took an oath to help me. Some doctors were stooges while others knew the risks and didn’t tell me. These issues put my life at risk and have led to poverty and financial ruin for me.

I have talked to lawyers and they told me that they don’t even touch addiction cases of psyche meds, even if the doctors err. Apparently, these people have dictatorial power to experiment on citizens like me who suffered enough emotional abuse from drunken parents and cruel school children. I also have tried to contact newspapers online with the story but they have not written back to me. I have run from this issue as I feel I have no hope for retribution, satisfaction or justice (they also told me in the clinic that paybacks are bad. Gee I wonder why.) If anyone wants to contact me on this subject, I will be more then happy to talk. I will also be more then happy to fight as I still owe these so-called people $54,000. I don’t even have the money to declare bankruptcy right now. The payments are supposedly ability to pay but I get notices in the mail every month from the clinic.

Again, I swear that this is all the God honest truth. I wouldn’t have believed it myself if it hadn’t happened to me. I am a college graduate with a degree in history and a minor in political science and I am not stupid (I’m studying for the Mensa test now.) I knew what was happening to me the whole way but was too sick to fight it. If anyone has any information on organizations that fight these kinds of things, please let me know as I have tried many things. And, for God’s sake, don’t go to these people if you can help it. Watch your health, take the proper supplements and take care of yourselves. In my experience, if you go to these people and take their pills, you just put a gun in your mouth and pulled the trigger. I also have to live with the pain and shame of this stuff forever.

PS- Sorry it took so long but it’s a long story. I would like my name and E-mail printed as I would like to be a leader in the confrontation of these issues. If you have any questions, please E-mail me.

Jeff Riley
solongsuckers@netzero.net
(Please excuse the E-mail ID. I get angry about past stuff sometimes.)

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A Professional Dancer’s Ordeal With SSRI’s

“…a “nightmare” of experimentation, grave anxiety, lots of depression and suicidal thoughts, which were to pervade my life for the next 12 plus years.”

 

Dear Ann Blake-Tracy,

Fortunately, for me, someone recently referred me to your tape, “Help, I can’t get off my Anti-Depressants.” I would like to tell you my story.

Back in 1989, after years suffering from depression and anxiety, I was prescribed, for the first time, an antidepressant. I had been a dancer, previously, with American Ballet Theatre, in New York, and the National Ballet of Canada. Although I was no longer dancing, I had always been very aware of my body, and did not realize how sensitive my body chemistry was. I have suffered from depression since I was about 12 years old. I immersed myself into the dance world, and became a professional dancer.

At this time, which was already several years after stopping dancing, I was prescribed Prozac, which I took for six months (I do not recall the dosage). I was living in Tempe, Arizona, at the time, and became “wired like a bunny, going 90 miles an hour, sleeping about four hours a night.” I began commuting back and forth to Los Angeles, where I fell into the movie business, doing set decoration. I was happy and high. After six months, I went off the medication.

About six months later, someone broke into my truck, in LA. I, for lack of any other description, “freaked out,” beyond the normal reaction. I panicked, felt violated, and really overreacted. I decided to try to take the Prozac again, and began what was to become a “nightmare” of experimentation, grave anxiety, lots of depression and suicidal thoughts, which were to pervade my life for the next 12 plus years.

I guess my body chemistry being so sensitive, when I tried to take the Prozac again, I reacted badly, becoming even more anxious and agitated. The doctors would increase my dose, and it would get worse. Over the next 10 or so years, I went on and off different medications, different doses, always on the low side. I was given Paxil (made me severely agitated and very drowsy), Wellbutrin, Depakote, Serzone, Zoloft, and I even tried St. John’s Wort, Kava, and nothing. My cycles of depression were severe at times. And whenever I got to the point where I was finally off the medication I was taking, as I tried to get off so many times, I would have a major depressive episode, and it would take from six to nine months to get back to normal. It was even more difficult getting back on the drugs and becoming stable, after I had weaned off. I must say, I always did this against my doctor’s advice; she did not want me off my medications, I wanted off.

For a few years I did well on a low dose of Zoloft. Then I tried to wean off, and had a serious re-occurrence of the depression, waking up extremely anxious every day, not wanting to live. It was almost harder getting back on the drugs after I had weaned off. It took about nine months to recover and feel “normal” again.

In 1999, I ended up at a treatment center for depression and anxiety. By this point I was taking only Luvox, as I had a lot of obsessive thinking (not OCD, though). I don’t know what happened, but I went through a period that was bad, and the doctor’s upped my dosage from 25 mg to 75 mg a day, and I really freaked out and ended up going to this treatment center. When I dropped the dosage back to 25, the anxiety was greatly reduced. The doctor would always tell me to take a Xanax when it got that bad…I would rarely do that, and if I did, I would take 1/2 of the .25 mg pill, just one time, and that would jump start me back to normal, after a day of feeling totally out of it, for the next six months or nine months, when I might end up taking another 1/2 a Xanax again.

Anyway, today I have stabilized on 12.5 mg. of Luvox, EVERY OTHER DAY!! I have been trying to wean off for years, unsuccessfully. I practice kundalini yoga, with Gurmukh, at Golden Bridge Yoga in Los Angeles and am taking the teacher’s training program. This form of yoga works on the nervous system. A lot of time I shake in class, because I know my nervous system is still so out of whack. I try to each healthy, I don’t eat red meat, and not much chicken or fish, either. I am attracted to sugar, and always have been. I have a very lean, muscular, athletic body, and obviously a VERY sensitive body chemistry. The kundalini yoga has been amazing, BUT, I still haven’t been able to get past the 12.5 mg every other day dosage.

WHAT CAN I DO???????? If I pull out just one pill, meaning, if I skip one day, hoping to proceed further in the weaning process, I find myself dip right into the depression. I can also become very angry and agitated.

Earlier this year, not knowing the severity of quick withdrawal, I went from 12.5 mg Luvox every day to every other day for one week. I felt like I was in bliss, like someone lifted the cloud off my head. The second week I cut back to 12.5 mg every third day. On day 10 I suffered a severe crash, and it took me 6 weeks to get back to normal. I had to resume my dosage to 12.5 every day, and eventually got it back to 12.5 mg every other day. But every day, for six weeks, I woke up agitated, and crying and not wanting to live.

I am 43 years old. I am tired of being on medications, even if it is only a small dosage. I have taken something or other since the end of 1989, on and off. I want so much to be drug-free. I am also single, and tired of being alone. No one wants to deal with this kind of mood disorder, although I was married, and my husband was supportive, most relationships cannot endure “my problem.”

Despite my depressions, I have always been a functioning depressive. I will cry and be alone and in pain in the quiet of my own home, or often when I am on the streets driving, and I will go to work and complete my job. I work on the TV show “Malcolm in the Middle.” I shop for the set decorations, so I am often out by myself. I have time to be in pain and depression and not show anyone, then put on a smile when I get around the set. But it’s not good enough for me anymore.

I want to get past this dosage of 12.5 every other day, and get to NOTHING!! I practice the kundalini yoga 2-3 times a week. I’ve tried some herbs at various times to support my weaning, but I honestly haven’t been consistent with any one program. I get 32 acupuncture visits a year, free as part of my insurance, and I have utilized them for emotional balancing. I always come of there “spaced out,” much like how I feel after a yoga class.

I don’t know how long I’ve been on Luvox, probably almost four years now, if not more. Like I said, I don’t even know if it’s doing anything for me, but I have managed to get down to the 12.5 every other day, and I want so much to be off completely. Last week, I actually managed to cut the 25 mg tablet that I cut in half to make 12.5, in half again, to make it 6.25 (approx) mg, and I took that one day. I may have imagined this, but I suffered a relapse after that, too.

I follow a spiritual path. I’ve read all the self-help books. My whole life has been devoted to wanting to heal. It’s time for this to end now.

Please, can you tell me how I can finally kick that last little bit of the medication?? I don’t even know if even the 12.5 mg every other day is doing much for me, because I still have my cycles of mood swings.

Can I hope to be off of them completely? Where should I go from here??

I hope you will write back to me.

Thank you so much for your time.

 

12/29/2002

This is Survivor Story number 2.
Total number of stories in current database is 48

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