Our Lives are Following Apart

“The doctor … just kept adding more (antidepressants).”

My name is Susan Sweatman, and my husband’s doctor had him on Paxil and three other antidepressants at the same time. He was on these awful drugs for 3 years. The doctor did not take him off of one and try another, he just kept adding more.

Paxil worked for a while then after he had problems sleeping, the doctor added Trazadone, Ambien and Remeron. He took these as prescribed by the doctor. He started drinking beer.

It got to where he was drinking a case of beer a night, always mad. Still could not sleep, then when he would sleep, he could not get up.

We found out last June our doctor was hooked on drugs and was sent to dry out. Then while he was gone, the other doctor without seeing my husband kept writing prescriptions for these drugs. Our doctor died in Feb.

Last October my husband got mad pulled a gun on me and our son, and said he was going to kill us. I called the police, and he was arrested. We did not know anything about these drugs, and that you are not supposed to be on them that long.

Now the court will not let us be together, and we have no hope. Someone told me about this website. We need help to get through this. He does not take any pills or drink now, but is still having problems with memory. He does not remember anything that he did that night. Please is there someone who can help us?



Zoloft Prescribed for Migraines

“These poor children don’t have a chance.”

I was 38 yrs old when I was prescribed “ZOLOFT”, for severe migraines on a daily basis for the past 10 yrs. At that point, I was taking it for 3 days and woke up with my mind racing. I felt like I was going out of my mind. I immediately flushed them down the toilet, for fear my children would get a hold of them by mistake. GOD only knows how I made it through that night, because I (to this day) don’t. For the past two months, I am now on Topamax for my migraines and the only side effects are possible kidney stones, but I drink lots of water to cure that. I like those odds a lot better.

MOMS AND DADS DO NOT LISTEN TO THESE DRUG COMPANIES!! I was an adult, and I knew it was the medication. These poor children don’t have a chance when you have family doctor handing it out after a 15 min. visit.



My Sister Took her Life on Celexa

“…she had never been suicidal.”

Trina Parsons Hannah was born in Atlanta, Georgia on March 31, 1942. As a child she was curious, loving and wonderfully talented. She played the piano, painted and acquired a sense of true connectedness to her family, friends, and community. She studied fine art at the University of South Carolina and obtained her MFA at Ohio State University.

Trina taught for many years at the Asheville School in North Carolina and operated a very successful ceramic studio. She played fiddle and banjo in the mountain music tradition and received numerous awards in traditional music competitions. In later years, she established a studio and produced landscape paintings depicting scenes from the historical Cataloochee settlement within the Great Smoky Mountains National Forest.

On July 11, 2001, Trina took her own life with a handgun while receiving treatment with the SSRI known as Celexa. In almost 60 years of life, she had never been suicidal, yet within a few weeks of SSRI treatment, she was dead. She is terribly missed by her family and friends.

Cheryl Soehl

Paxil Psychotic Event Required Hospitalization

“No one explained to me what happened.”

In November 2001 I was on Paxil. The drug was making it hard for me to concentrate and other effects… then one day I woke up from a horrible nightmare and ended up in the emergency room since I suffered a psychotic breakdown.

No one explained to me what happened. A year after the psychotic event the new psychiatrist told me Paxil can have a psychotic side effect in some people.

Since the hospitalization I was given more medicines to take daily. I’m suffering through withdrawal now. And I’m trying to get off one prescription.


My SSRI Experience

“When I held a knife, I could see in my mind me killing my family and then killing myself.”

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my experience. It all starts back to December, 2003, in which my life started to take a change. I am only thirteen years old, I was only twelve then, when I started to experience mild depression. If anyone has heard the Stacie Orrico song “There’s Gotta Be More To Life” that’s exactly how I felt. I’ve had a pretty decent childhood, I mean, yeah, there’s been some hard times, but not nearly as bad as others had it.

Anyways, I got this feeling like there was something missing. It could’ve just been me being a young teenager dealing with her raging hormones. But whatever it was, it was causing a disruption in my life. I had always made extremely good grades, (All A’s and one B in math) and I usually got along with everyone. I went to a psychiatrist because I couldn’t sleep at night and I was feeling sad a lot. He diagnosed me with Social Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and Major Depression Disorder.

I had been obsessed with mental health a few months before, so I knew all about these disorders already. In fact, I had printed out maybe 300 pages on different psychiatric disorders. I was convinced I was in the prodigal stages of Schizophrenia, but my doctor laughed it off and said “No way.” He prescribed Lexapro, an alleged “miracle drug” because it had few, mild side effects and it would supposedly help with all three of my disorders. It was a miracle drug, for a while. For about three weeks I was feeling on top of the world. My grades picked up, I was making more friends, and I wasn’t arguing with my steady boyfriend like usual. Then, it all went downhill. I started to feel like something was watching me, and I would have out of body experiences. When I got especially tired, I would feel like I didn’t really exist and it was all a dream. I became obsessed with gothic and dark things.

My whole personality changed. I began by gothic clothing and! I was crying every night for no apparent reason. Even more, I started having heated arguments with my mother, worse than usual. I began to get defiant, cussing, getting interested in alcohol, and thinking getting in trouble was fun. Two months into taking the medication, (going from 10mg to 15 mg) I was in a counselor’s office when I had a panic attack. I really felt like a demon was possessing me. I was crying wildly, saying that I would find a way to kill myself even if my family took all the dangerous objects away. I was that desperate to die. I even began talking to a seventeen year old boy, sending him suggestive pictures of myself over the internet and meeting with him behind my parents’ back.

In the counselor’s office, she suggested my mother take me to the hospital to be put in a crisis unit. When I got there, I was completely numb to all emotion. The psychiatrist there was a complete crackpot. He had no idea what he was doing and diagnosed me with Bipolar Disorder just because my grandmother was Bipolar. To make things worse, HE ASKED FOR A LIST OF WHAT MY GRANDMOTHER TOOK.

He gave me the exact same medication, same dose. What an idiot! So I was on 800mg of Depakote and some number of Ambien. Ambien totally knocked me out. I turned into a loaf and slept all day. The Depakote made me have extremely bad cramps and feelings of paranoia. When I got out of the crisis unit four days later, my psychiatrist took me off Depakote and put me back on Lexapro.

I went home thinking everything was going to be okay. Hah! A few days later, while blasting a gothic rock CD, I had my first self-mutilating experience. It wasn’t much, but I cut myself with a blunt kitchen knife. I did enough damage to bleed a little, but it wasn’t that big of a deal. From then on, it became a habit. Now, my step dad collects daggers and swords and hangs them on the wall. I always looked, but I never touched. Around that time, 8th grade started up and I was nervous as hell. For around three days, I had no friends and no one wanted to talk to me because I was so out of it. I finally made some friends with Gothic’s like me, and I felt a little better.

But most nights, I went home crying and sitting in my closet. I would sit there in my walk in closet, with lights out and cry. And sometimes when my parents weren’t home, I’d take a pencil eraser and erase the skin on my thighs until it bled. I had about 15 incidents in which I erased my skin. I completely shut myself out from my parents and ignored them. I was rude and mean to my stepsisters. Then the time came that I built up the nerve to actually do some damage. I took a sharp dagger off the wall, blasted Evanescence as loud as it could go, and sliced my thighs 11 times, and watched myself bleed. I allowed myself to lay there and bleed, and it brought me great pleasure to know that I was dying inside. I started to laugh manically, so enthralled with my loss of blood. I wanted to cry until I laughed so hard it kill! ed me. I wanted to scream and release everything inside of me. I wanted to binge and throw up my guts. All these violent images flooded my head. When I held a knife, I could see in my mind me killing my family and then killing myself.

That brought me intense fear because I loved my family very much. In church, I would cuss God out in my head and see disturbing images of people being dismembered. My moods were swinging so badly, that my doctor put me on the antipsychotic, Risperdal. In just three months, it went from 0.5mg to 1.5 mg. (3.0 mg is a fairly high dosage) In February of 2004, I attempted suicide. I was at the ultimate rock bottom. I hated myself, I was lost in these violent thoughts, and I wanted to burn in Hell. I had no other pills, so I overdosed on pamprin.

Yes, it sounds stupid, but I was desperate. My mother found out and called the ambulance. They were not compassionate at all, and the nurse gladly shoved a tube up my nose. My stomach was pumped for six hours through a tube in my nose, and I threw up charcoal four times, not to mention it came out the other end twice. (Both times I asked for a bed pan and they took their sweet time and made me stain the sheets)

I was then Baker Acted and sent back to the crisis unit of the hospital. Four days later, I was out. Then my mother told me she was sending me to a residential. I stayed at the residential for 6 weeks, begging to come home each night. They discharged me, hoping I was better. I threw out my gothic CD’s, clothes, and stuff like that. Right now, I’m trying to repair my relationships with family and friends. But still, I feel like I have to chase down each temporary high. I truly feel that these medications did not help me whatsoever, if not made me worse. I will be hopefully taken off medications tomorrow, and I will have to go through the withdrawal process.

I strongly advise using natural remedies for depression. I feel that these antidepressants and antipsychotics do nothing for you at all, they just turn into another addictive drug like heroine or LSD. If you’re having the same problem I am, hang in there. I know we can make it through.

Holly Easter

Matt’s Story

“On July 18, 2003, I lost my son to suicide after 10 weeks of being on the antidepressant Lexapro.”

Matt was a healthy and happy child who grew up in a loving home, the youngest of six. He was athletic and outgoing, well liked by his peers and adults as well. Matt was a good student, with a strong sense of right and wrong, a kind heart, and a sound faith in God. He loved sports and music, and was always joking around with his family and friends. Oh, he could be stubborn when he thought he had a point, and he was known to procrastinate with the best of them. He was a joy to us always. Then, during his senior year in high school, things started to change.

He became withdrawn and was having trouble sleeping. He lost interest in his friends, school, his job, his college plans, and basketball (the thing he loved most). Matt turned 18 on April 25, 2003. A week later he began treatment for “clinical depression” (his first episode). There were several things that could have contributed to his depression, though most were normal “growing up” situations. One thing we do know is that Matt was suffering from post traumatic stress. At the age of 13, he was hit by a car on his bike. He suffered a frontal lobe head injury, but every indication was that he recovered well from that accident. Still, five years later, he began reliving the accident as though it had just happened. He was having nightmares and panic attacks, but Matt was NOT suicidal.

The counselor that he was seeing was shocked and visibly shaken by Matt’s death. He said that he never saw any indication that Matt would do such a thing. The medication was prescribed ( by a family practice doctor) to help correct a “chemical imbalance” which we were told is at the root of depression. He began taking Lexapro during the second week of May. We were told the side effects could be nausea, insomnia, headaches, dizziness. Did anyone say “and suicidal behavior”? NO!!!

I am devastated to think that something we were giving my son to help him could have literally taken him from us. At the very least, we should have been warned to be on the look out for certain signs. Signs I have since learned are danger signs, such as anxiety and akathisia. I had never heard that word before, but I now believe that Matt was experiencing it. I realize that I have gone on at length, and still there is so much more I could say. Our lives have been ripped apart, and I’ll always wonder “What If”” he hadn’t been taking that medicine? Would he still be here?

Nothing can bring my son back. I would just like to share our story with other parents who may be helped before it’s too late.

I would also like to hear what others have to say about Lexapro. My e-mail address is csteub@visuallink.com. I welcome hearing from anyone who has an interest in this look forward to hearing from you. Thank you. Celeste

Celeste Steubing

Another Potential SSRI-related Death

“After taking one Wellbutrin, I had one of the worst emotional days of my life.”

People need to know antidepressants’ risks

I found the March 23 Dispatch article “FDA wants new warnings about antidepressants’’ to be very interesting and timely. I take this opportunity to point out that adverse reactions to antidepressants are not limited to children and teenagers.

During a stressful time in my life in 2000, I took Zoloft for a few months with no adverse reaction. However, in summer 2002, I began taking Wellbutrin in an attempt to quit smoking. I became extremely depressed, overly emotional, moody, borderline suicidal and lost the ability to concentrate on even the simplest tasks — not my typical self at all.

It took about three weeks to realize the Wellbutrin might be the culprit, and I gradually weaned myself off of it.

In spring 2003, I decided to attempt to quit smoking again and thought I would give Wellbutrin another shot. After taking one pill, I had one of the worst emotional days of my life. I then had no doubt it was the Wellbutrin and stopped taking it immediately.

The March 19 Dispatch article about the suicide of Lt. Brandon Ratliff mentioned that he had begun taking antidepressants earlier that week. I didn’t know Ratliff well, but I did know him, and he always struck me as being a very even-keeled, happy, upbeat person. The news of his suicide came as a total shock, and I can’t help but wonder what role antidepressants may have played in it. I extend my sincerest condolences to Ratliff’s family, friends and co-workers.

Our drug-enthralled society is quick to believe that there’s a pill to cure every ill, even unhappiness. Many physicians are too quick to prescribe antidepressants, and many patients are too quick to ask for them and accept them. I urge anyone who is taking or considering taking antidepressants to learn all you can about them, and if you (or your family members) think you are experiencing adverse psychological reactions, call your doctor immediately. Yes, for some people they’re the greatest thing since sliced bread, but they’re not for everyone.


Hysteria and Self Loathing on Effexor

“I had repeatedly expressed suicidal tendencies.”

9 weeks ago I went to my doctor complaining of depression. Following a traumatic event I found myself weepy, irritable, unsociable etc – classic depression symptoms. I was prescribed Efexor 75mg. The first week was amazing – my partner and I thought it was a miracle drug. After that however things became markedly worse and I had to return to my GP. I was now suffering from states of near hysteria, self loathing, was unable to attend college and was suffering awful nightmares. All my original symptoms had worsened markedly. My dose was increased to 150 mg.

Shortly after this I started feeling suicidal and self harmed. We returned to the GP who insisted that the Efexor takes up to 8 weeks to work, and said that if I became suicidal again I was to go straight to casualty. By now I had no sex drive and my partner was unable to leave me alone when I was suffering from an ‘episode’. 2 days later we went to casualty due to suicidal thoughts and the fact that I had stockpiled all medications I could find and planned to go to a hotel to commit suicide. I was assessed by Psychiatric services where I told them everything, including my suicidal tendencies. They said that they would arrange for a community psychiatric nurse to visit me, and sent me home telling me to keep taking my Efexor. By this point I was drinking heavily with cravings for alcohol, something I have never experienced before, and my partner had found me unconscious on the floor from alcohol mixed with a sleeping tablet.

The CPN came out, assessed me and 5 days later came back to give me phone numbers for 6 month waiting lists for counseling. I continued to self harm and was now suffering from periods of intense rage, throwing furniture about to the point that my neighbors threatened to phone the police. I am usually a very mild mannered, appeasing person.

I was next given an appt with a counselor. I attended and she was so concerned about what I told her that she called the local Psychiatric Hospital and tried to have me admitted immediately. They asked if I could hang on for 4 days until the CPN could see me again. All through this I was seeing my GP at least once a week and was being told to just hang on until the Efexor kicked in. At this point I had to pick my prescription up weekly and give it to my partner as I had repeatedly expressed suicidal tendencies. I still managed to take an overdose of Efexor and was detained in hospital overnight. I requested that they hospitalize me as I was terrified, but instead was sent back to the CPN who spent half an hour with me then sent me home telling me that I had to think positive and accept responsibility.

My partner and I were scared stiff as each episode of self harm was worse than the last, and characterized by a feeling that I wasn’t in control. I had very little memory of the episode afterwards and during was premeditated enough to actually go out and purchase sharper knives to cut myself with. I was now concerned that I felt like harming others during these episodes as well. I became extremely aggressive and paranoid, imagining hidden meaning in what people said to me. I was so sure that this would end fatally that I started to prepare a will. I was still attending weekly appts and expressing the opinion that my medication was at the very least ineffective, and at the worst causing these symptoms.

4 days ago my partner left me alone for just over 2 hours. He returned to find a garbled note begging for help and hospitalization and expressing self loathing, and I was covered in blood and in shock from a multitude of wounds on my leg. I went to casualty again – the same one- where I required over 30 stitches and was sent home no questions asked. The next day I had another appt with the CPN, and his behaviour towards my partner and myself was so bad that I am making an official complaint. He attempted to pick a fight with my partner and also seemed to be daring me to get the pills I was contemplating overdosing on. That afternoon, I also had an appt with a psychiatrist. He spent 2 1/2 hours with my partner and I and told me to stop taking Efexor immediately. I was sent back to my GP where I have been prescribed another drug and told that it looks as though Efexor was the cause of 9 weeks of hell, that my partner and I don’t doubt would have ended fatally. Throughout I was told what a fantastic drug Efexor is and to keep taking it, and as a result will now be covered in scars. I have had to drop out of college as well. Certainly I was depressed and needed treatment, but I feel that someone should have listened to my concerns about my drug sooner. My GP stated that it is extremely difficult to prove that this was the Efexor or I would seriously consider suing. Now I’m just worried about the withdrawal symptoms. One of the worst things was that for a while – hours or days I would be depressed but not as bad, so we thought that this was a cycle of my moods caused by the depression.

Jennifer Pass

My Wife’s Suicide on Lexapro

“She was the most gentle, kind and compassionate woman I have ever met.”

My wife, Bonnie, to whom I was married for 32 loving years, completed suicide on Monday, January 26, 2004. She was severely depressed, on Thursday, January 22, she could not go to work. I stayed home with her and immediately took her to her physician. Her physician placed her on medical leave for a month, and referred her to a psychiatrist who saw her that afternoon. He did a lethality assessment and concluded that Bonnie was not a suicide risk, but was in fact severely depressed. Bonnie was already on Lexapro from her own physician. He elevated her dosage that day, and added Wellbutrin, both of which are on the FDA warning list. He told me what he did, but gave me no warnings of risk of suicide, and in fact told me that the drugs would help her feel better in time.

She began to experience greater anxiety and agitation over the weekend. She began making statements that simply were not rational, such as she was failing all her colleagues, and the children and families she worked with because she was going on medical leave for a month. She was a school social worker who worked with disabled children and their families, and she was quite good at what she did. When I told her that people became ill all the time, and schools and other organizations had the capability of filling in behind an employee that became sick, and it was her job to get well, she would not hear it. I tried to tell her over the weekend she was failing no one, but she just did not seem to comprehend or accept what I was saying.

The psychiatrist told me I could go back to work on Monday. I planned to take her back to see him on Tuesday morning, when she had the follow-up visit scheduled, and she knew I was going to. On Monday, I asked her if she wanted me to stay home with her, and I could go back to work on Wednesday, but she told me she would be all right. We talked on the phone about 10:00 and she said she was fine. I decided to go home at lunch time to check on her and have lunch with her. I arrived at 12:30. Some time between 10:00 and 12:30, she cut herself so violently and viciously that she lost every drop of blood in her body. This was the most gentle, kind and compassionate woman I have ever met. She never spanked our children; she just did not believe in violence. The other FDA symptom besides anxiety and agitation that I have read about is hostility. The violence on herself was incredibly hostile. It is my understanding that most female suicides are by overdose. She had plenty of pills including sleeping pills that she could have overdosed on, but she chose to attack herself. That was so wildly out of character, that I cannot understand it.

She was clearly depressed, and their is a family history of emotional disorder. However, the FDA warnings on antidepressants were an exact description of what happened to Bonnie. I can’t prove and I am not necessarily claiming cause and effect. However, I am posting this with you because I am really beginning to believe that the radical change in antidepressants affected her biochemistry, and contributed to her suicide.

If their is any way, Bonnie’s story can save even one life then I want to help do that.

Thank you for letting me share.

Fred Meservey (Bonnie’s devoted and loving husband)bonfred@nycap.rr.com

Effexor & Topamax

“I never want to take pills again.”

Hello all, My name is Denise and thankfully I am still alive to tell this story and hopefully help someone. I have been bulimic for 17 years, on and off but never sought treatment until 2000. My Dr. put me on Effexor. When I went back to see him I told him I couldn’t sleep he put me on Xanax. I did that for about 2 years but got tired of taking pills all the time. I went off the Effexor, and the withdrawals were horrible, headaches, dizziness, diarrhea, no appetite, but I made it.

After I stopped the meds I realized how poorly I was sleeping while I was on them because I always felt “Hyped up” mentally but physically worn out.

After about six months I got pregnant and then suffered a miscarriage. I went back on the Effexor and Xanax. Also the Dr. said Topamax was being used to treat bulimia. So then I was on 3 meds. One of the Great things about Topamax is it did help with my headaches/migraines. A few months later I stopped the Effexor again (another bad withdrawal) and cut way down on the Xanax. after 4 months of just taking Topamax, I starting getting SERIOUSLY SUICIDAL.

I wouldn’t leave my house or go to the gym. I didn’t want to go out. I went to the Dr’s Office and told him this and he gave me sample of Wellbutrin. As I left I thought “more meds!!!” So I decided to do my own research and discovered that Topamax can cause suicidal feelings/depression so I stopped taking it. I never want to take pills again. I am looking into B-Complex for the migraines.


Denise Lee