“I have a Zoloft problem, and I am prepared to tell anyone that this stuff is deadly.”
In March of 1998, I was assaulted during a robbery at work. I didn’t think much of the situation except that I was sore all over and had a back injury. I returned to work within three days. After two weeks I noticed that I was having trouble accepting the situation. I could not resolve the problem that this person may never be found and punished for what they had done. The company offered to send me for counseling, so I went. The trouble is that I never received the type of counseling that I required to resolve my problem. My problems were growing worse. I was putting in more and more time at work, but having more trouble getting things done. My concentration levels began to drop and I started having trouble sleeping, including reliving the assault over and over.
By the middle of July I was dead tired and couldn’t go on any further. I had developed an ulcer. The psychologist that I was seeing kept encouraging me to talk to my doctor about medication. My doctor knew that I hating taking any drugs let alone something for my anxiety and depression. He prescribed Zoloft, 25 mg twice a day, increasing it to 50mg twice a day after 10 days. I was also started on Cimetidine for my ulcer. I felt okay at first, but within a few days I started having problems. I had nausea, headaches, anxiety, disassociation, sexual dysfunction, shaking, sleep problems ( getting to sleep, waking up, sleep paralysis, weird dreams, and not being able to always distinguish being asleep and being awake). As a result the doctor gave me Ativan .5 mg to use whenever I needed it, (which was a lot). I had gone from a person with a problem to a loonytune.
By the time October came I was having so much anxiety that I couldn’t take it anymore. the doctor then changed my medication to Serzone while still using the Cimetidine and the Ativan. I started with 25mg two times a day working towards 200mg twice a day. I never got that far. I started having troubles which my vision and balance. I would experience a real buzz after sleeping or closing me eyes for a short time. Everything had 2 to 3 shadows following it, so when I moved or looked around it had a kind of strobe effect. I dealt with it by taking time out to “enjoy” this daily buzz. The only thing that got better was my sexual dysfunction.
All the time a had continued to see the psychologist. Let me point out that before I started taking all this stuff, I have never had any mental of emotional problems before. I was brought up in a loving family and never experienced abuse of any kind. I had never tired to commit suicide before. I have been a Christian for many years, and have a deep faith in God. I do not drink, smoke, or use drugs. I have always been physically fit, I have no health problems, I am happily married, I have no kids (our choice), we live in the country on an acreage, and I have a good job.
On November 4, I saw my physiologist for an appointment. I was very distraught. She was concerned about my safety and contacted a community response team. I was met by the psychologist, a nurse and 2 cops. I was told I had to go to the hospital. I did. I was committed for 72 hours and put under the care of a psychiatrist. During the first couple of days I was completely out of touch with myself. My medication was changed again. I was put back on the Zoloft but 200 mg a day. The Ativan was changed to Clonazepam .25 mg when needed to a maximum of 2 mg per day. The Cimetidine was changed to Losec 20 mg two times a day. I started to feel better again but was having a lot of anxiety. I remained in hospital after my 72 hours on my own because I felt it was helping me to be there. I was receiving excellent counseling from the psychiatrist and support from my doctor. I was allowed a day pass to spend with my husband seven days after being committed. We made plans for the day together at home on the farm and then going to a movie with friends. By 6:00 pm I had to return to the hospital because I was experiencing so much anxiety. My psychiatrist happened to come in that evening and my husband told her what was happening. She came and talked to me and I settled down, but then I was informed that I would have to change rooms. For some reason that blew me away. Since my 72 hours were up I decided I was going to leave. I was acting very strange and irrational but I couldn’t stop doing or thinking the way I was. My psychiatrist and my husband would not let me leave and I was committed again. That did it I was leaving. Security was called but I asked to talk to my psychiatrist, which I did. Again she was able to talk me down. I stayed in hospital until November 28th. By then I was feeling good again, although I still had nausea, headaches, anxiety, disassociation, sexual dysfunction, shaking, sleep problems. But everything was under control and I was released. The only good part is that I had lost 20 lbs that I had put on before going into hospital.
I had not returned to work yet but a plan for my gradual return was made staring January 15. I was seeing my doctor on a regular basis as well as seeing the psychiatrist a couple of times. I had mentioned to my doctor that there was periods of time that I felt out of control and that I was afraid that I might hurt someone or something. I was given the reassurance that I was not that kind of person and not to worry.
On February 2 in the very early morning I woke up and sent an e-mail to my psychiatrist. I said that it was over and I couldn’t take anymore. I went back to bed. She called and talked to me and told me to talk to my husband. I said I would. I did talk to him, and he insisted that he stay home from work the next day. I insisted that he go to work and that I would be okay. Again I e- mailed my psychiatrist and told her that I was giving up. On February 3, I got a phone call from the nurse on the community response team. She was the one who had taken me to the hospital in November. I can’t remember much after February 1. Everything is either my surreal understanding or has been told to me by others since. I had taken a collection of medications during the day. Basically everything in had around. My husband was called home from work and the nurse met him and came to our house. I was then taken to hospital where I was treated for a drug overdose. I was committed to psychiatry again, but not before apparently acting out some strange behavior in the hospital. I apparently tired to leave and had to be restrained, medicated and put in lock up. I can’t remember much of what happened, and I remember things that I know could not have happened. For example I can remember being at the office building of my psychiatrist and meeting a friend I hadn’t seen in fourteen years, and who lives over 2000 miles away. I also went into the bathroom there and threw up. The problem is I was in the hospital when this happened, but I would swear to you it happened. I slept in lock up until Friday, when I was released into the custody of a close friend as my husband wouldn’t be home form work until that evening. I can’t remember much until Sunday morning. I had taken 1600mg of Zoloft among other things. When I went into the hospital I stopped all medications cold turkey. I wasn’t told to take anything when I left the hospital. On Saturday, my husband phoned the hospital because I could not sit still for more that 2 minutes at a time. I was literally climbing the walls, (actually I was climbing on furniture and the floor). I was told to take .5 mg of Clonazepam as needed, which helped a lot to calm me down. I have very little recall of what happened but I discovered by counting my remaining Zoloft pills that I was missing 2- 100mg capsules. I knew because I had just started a new prescription and I had counted the pills prior to taking a bunch of them. What discovered was that on February 1, I had mistakenly took 400mg of Zoloft. I remember that I had woke up early and took my Zoloft. Feeling tired I went back to bed. When I woke up around lunch time I took my Zoloft again. Very early the next morning is when everything went wrong. Now I have been off the Zoloft for 10 days. Absolutely no one can tell me, my husband, or my friend that Zoloft has no withdrawal symptoms. I have had every side effect in the book. I have never had night sweats before but within 4 days I started having night sweats so bad my husband had to towel me off. I have had to put another half sheet on our bed because the sheets would be soaked. I had terrible tremors, headaches etc.. But in spite of all that I feel like a new person again. I have had no sleep problems, and things are improving day by day. I can even type fast again.
In retrospect I can not be sure of anything that I think happened over the past 6 months. It’s like I was living in a constant dream state. I started to look on the Net for more information about Zoloft, and was surprised at what I had found. When I was in the hospital the first time my psychiatrist gave me a whole bunch of information about Zoloft. I read all the information including newsletters from the Zoloft support group, and watched the Zoloft infomercial from the company. I thought I was well informed until I read your stuff.
It is hard for me to accept what has happened. Most of all I am confused about my psychiatrist. I know that she would not willing hurt me, but I am angry at what has happened to me. I have an appointment to see her on Monday. I plan on talking to her about the situation, and I am going to tell her that I am filing a report with the FDA. I don’t want this to happen to anyone else, but I am not sure how to address the situation with her.
If you have any suggestions, I would really like to hear them. I am going into town to buy your book tomorrow, but I don’t offend my psychiatrist, I want her to listen to what I have to say. I am not someone with mental and emotional problems. I have a Zoloft problem, and I am prepared to tell anyone that this stuff is deadly. I have been on a six month high and I feel very fortunate that I never acted out or completed all the things that I wanted to do during that time. This drug is criminal.
Years 2000 and Prior
This is Survivor Story number 77.
Total number of stories in current database is 96