This is Survivor Story number 9.
Total number of stories in current database is 77
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 dont 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.
(Please excuse the E-mail ID. I get angry about past stuff sometimes.)