“We need to let people know what is going on with these drugs before more lives are destroyed.”
I credit reading Ann Blake-Tracy’s book with saving my husband’s life. I have talked to her by phone and by e-mail. Here is my story and what happened to us in the past two years: In December of 1995 our house burned down. For the next 4 months we fought with the town to get it rebuilt (it was a duplex owned and lived in by two separate families). The Zoning laws changed and the town would not let us rebuild it as a two family home. We subsequently had to buy the other owner’s interest. Then we had to go through the battle with our insurance company to get the money needed to rebuild the home.
It was a very stressful time in our lives, we were living in a trailer on our property during all this. It was hard but we were doing okay and helping our kids get through it as well. In April 1996 my husband went to his Primary Care Doctor for a refill of his Blood Pressure Medication. While he was there his doctor asked, “How are you doing?” My husband said “.. A little down over all of this.” The Doctor said “I have just the thing for you.” My husband came home with free samples of Prozac and a prescription for more. I recall looking at him and saying that people kill people and go nuts on that stuff. And then I laughed it off. Little did I know how true we were about to discover that to be in a short four months!
In August of 1996, I started seeing a change in my husband of 20 years. He had always been the type of person who liked to work in his yard and home and keep everything neat and manicured. Now I began finding him in front of the TV just staring at it. I would be yelling at one of the children about something and I would get no reaction at all from him. By September there were other signs, like not sleeping at night and not eating. Although it did not register with me at the time, I can look back now and recall noticing them.
On Oct. 4, 1996, I got a call from his work. They told me that he had passed out and been sent to the hospital by ambulance. When I got to the hospital they told me they would keep him there overnight for observation. When I picked him up the next day and he was in total confusion, having anxiety and panic attacks, and admitted he had been having severe nightmares about dying during the past few weeks. He went out for a walk on the third day after being released from the hospital and my brother found him walking on a busy street in a total daze. He couldn’t remember where he had been.
Over the next few weeks he went down hill rapidly. He tried to return to work but he couldn’t focus–he would just get up and leave, not telling anyone where he was going. I kept calling his doctor for help telling him there was something wrong. So of course the doctor continued to add more and more drugs. Klonopin, Buspar, and more.
He became like a zombie. He couldn’t function at all. Finally we took him off all meds except for the Prozac. In the next months he stared consuming large amounts of alcohol. He started suicide attempts, (walking in the middle of a busy road, walking on railroad tracks waiting for the train to run him down, slitting his wrists, electrocuting himself and overdosing on the prescription drugs, and also mixing them with alcohol.
He was now complaining of electric shocks running through his body and a rapid heartbeat. All he knew was that he wanted to die, even though loved his family and me very much. He was a wonderful person and we had always enjoyed each others company and had a good life with our kids. We were looking forward to moving into the new house and having it all to ourselves.
At this point the Doctor sent him to a neurologist who did a complete work up and ordered a MRI. He found nothing out of the ordinary and told him to up his Prozac to 40 mgs. Finally I convinced my husband to go to a psychiatrist. Of course, you have to use a doctor that belongs to your insurance group, and there wasn’t a Psychiatrist in our area at this time. So he ended up at a psychologist. Well he went to this Doctor and tried to explain what was wrong and that he thought it might be the Prozac. But the psychologist just said, ‘Oh no–no Prozac doesn’t do that!’ and gave him a relaxation tape that taught him to squeeze his butt cheeks as one of the exercises. He also told us to contact our primary care physician and add Xanax and something else.
We did not go back to him for treatment. By this time my husband was totally out of control he was starting to see a girl after work, leaving work to meet her, leaving home to meet her, and still attempting suicide. He would look fine one minute and the next minute his eyes would glaze over and his pupils would start flicking back and forth and he would start having something like little seizures. In the meantime I was still calling the doctor asking him what I should do. Finally my husband said, “I have to get off this Prozac or I am going to die.”
By January he was totally manic. He was having an affair with the woman he had been meeting. Still not sleeping at night, he would spend all night sitting in a chair staring into space and then go to work in the morning. I was terrified of him and for him. Finally I had to call the police to have him committed to the Psych ward at the hospital.
About this time his sister in doing some research on Prozac on the Internet, came up with some excerpts from Dr. Tracy’s book. We showed them to the hospital psychiatrist who said ‘Oh no–no Prozac doesn’t do that.’ So the hospital psychiatrist added more drugs: Effexor (SSRI anti-depressant), Serentil (anti-psychotic) and Anafranil (anti-obsessive). Four days later he came home and had to go to suicide and depression classes at the hospital for two weeks. Ten days after coming out of the hospital he tried to kill himself again and he went back to the Psych ward. This time he was there for 11 days. All of his meds were increased. He came home like a zombie again. His anxiety or panic attacks were gone, but he still had the sensation of electric shocks, and body seizures where he would jump and swing his arms in his sleep. He was also screaming out in his sleep and sweating badly. He was still unable to work or focus.
This continued on all Spring and Summer of 1997. By now he was seeing a psychiatrist (insurance company finally had one in our area). The Doctor kept increasing the doses of the meds. He also would add meds and change meds. By August he was a basket case! He was crying about what he had done to his family and that he just couldn’t go on after what he’d done.
August 31, 1997 I woke up at 3:00 am to find him gone! I found him in his car with a hose from his tailpipe to his car window. He said the pain was too much. So it was back to the hospital again. Pamelor (anti-depressant) was added to his daily regimen, Effexor was stopped, Melarill (an anti psychotic) was added, and Serentil was stopped. By that time he was on the maximum dosage allowed for Anafranil. He came home a Zombie again. He was unable to work for a month.
Finally I decided to order Ann Blake-Tracy’s book. In reading it, I found it described my husband and his ordeal to a “T.” Other people on Prozac and other SSRI anti-depressants were going through the same exact adverse reactions. It made me cry to think those doctors for the past 1 1/2 years were killing my husband with these drugs. They turned a normal human being into a manic-depressive, psychotic, basket case that almost destroyed his family and himself.
On October 31, against Ann Blake-Tracy’s warnings, he took himself off all meds. He went through horrific withdrawals: pain, crying spells, rebound depression. He wanted to lay down and sleep forever. Finally about 3 weeks later I saw a change. I saw my old husband starting to return. He had energy, he was happy, all suicidal thoughts were out of his head. He couldn’t believe that he had tried to kill himself.
It has now been four months off meds and he is working full time again. He is talking to people at work about the dangers of these drugs. We have been on the Geraldo show. And we have begun to find many others who have gone through this same “Hell” we have. We have found that we are surrounded by others having similar experiences and are trying to help them in every way we can. We need to let the people know what is going on with these drugs before more lives are destroyed.
Thanks for reading my story,
(Patty and her Husband recently taped an episode of the Geraldo Show. We will notify of the airdate on our Public Appearances page when it is scheduled to be broadcast.)
Years 2000 and Prior
This is Survivor Story number 61.
Total number of stories in current database is 96