invincible summers

in the middle of winter I at last discovered that there was in me an invincible summer. (albert camus)

it’s not/what you thought/when you first began it June 5, 2009

it’s not/what you thought/when you first began it…
lyrics from Aimee Mann’s “Wise Up”
from one of my favorite songs and film, Magnolia.

my absence is not due simply to work (i’m finished and broke again) or negative attacks. it’s also simply (and i hope i don’t offend anyone but if I do, I apologize in advance….) I need to take of ME.

21 years ago around this time, i was raped. as my regular readers know, it was so brutal, i blocked it from my mind for nearly four years until something triggered it. then, at 19, i began traveling a road of escapism, addictive behaviors, etc. along the way I was diagnosed with just about every ‘mental illness’ out there…first depression, then double depression, then borderline personality disorder and lastly bipolar. I’ve been on numerous psychiatric medications all of my adult life.

and now, as I’m about to turn 36 next week, i have realized (with the help of some dear friends and readers…you know who you are and I am eternally grateful to you!!!) that it’s not what i thought when i first began it. for the majority of my life, i wanted to BELIEVE I had a mental illness. i took the pills. i spent tens of thousands in medical bills…saw the most expensive psychiatrists, therapists, etc….none of whom never understood me nor cared to. a waste of money and time to say the least, but a lesson learned and I grew from it. that’s what life is about….

I have been reading Peter Levine’s Healing Trauma and of course I have realized that the symptoms of many ‘mental illnesses’ are absolutely 100% identical to the symptoms of trauma. and I have a lot of trauma in my life, not just the brutal rape. The obvious cases of trauma being war, sexual abuse, physical or mental abuse, loss of a loved one, etc. But I was surprised by the lesser known cases of trauma and I encourage you to read his book if you haven’t already or one similar.

while working on a job recently, a girl turned me onto a beautiful center here in town. it’s a sexual assault center. my first appointment was earlier this week. i nervously walked in and was immediately overwhelmed by a beautiful, caring and loving energy unlike anything I have ever experienced at a place like this before. i will get more into it at another time, but let me just say, it is a wonderful place. and i received a grant so my first 8 sessions are free, after that, sliding scale. not sure how i’ll afford it then, but I will find a way. what matters here is: these people CARE. they do not medicate you. they HEAL you.

during my first session i did 90% of the talking (not uncommon during a first visit) but when my therapist was able to get a word in she brought up dissociation and a form of esp…something I will also get into at another time. (my intuition has grown much stronger over the years and she explained why) but as i sat in her office staring at the toys, the window covered with children’s artwork and drawings…i cried….tears of joy and sadness. through the window I could see children doing their ‘play therapy’ in the beautiful yard. i cried because i wish i had that experience earlier (but have also learned there are no regrets in life, at least that’s my belief) and i cried tears of sadness knowing what these children have been through.

i made it very clear to my therapist, i am anti-meds in my case. especially after 20 years of the meds making me sicker and masking the real issue: trauma. luckily, she is too. i told her the meds I’ve been on that I can remember: Seroquel, Abilify, Paxil, Prozac, Lamictal, Effexor, Celexa, etc. she told me i’d be surprised to know how many young children come in to see her who are on 6-8 meds and it saddens her. i told her i am fully aware of the child bipolar, etc. epidemic. i told her it angers and saddens me. HOWEVER, my dear how it was refreshing to see a place like this where children are loved and nurtured. they are not medicated. my therapist believes fully in creativity and I could see it everywhere. I didn’t see a diploma in her office but instead toys and books and games. even though i know she has a degree…that doesn’t matter. what matters is her heart and what this center is doing.

anyway, i don’t have much energy for more right now. (i haven’t had any energy lately and my mind has been numb) i will end by saying…i am so thankful for this opportunity and i KNOW it’s going to work. i also know it won’t be easy. and so, I haven’t been reading blogs, the news, etc…like I normally do because I’m focusing on me right now. I must do so in order to heal. I have also been escaping by playing games but I believe that is a result of 2 months of non-stop work and the nature of this therapy I’m receiving. That escapism will end as I get further along in therapy.

and in the end….i will hopefully be free of 21 long years of trauma and paralyzing pain.

my love to you all.

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Joe Pantoliano on mental illness stigma April 27, 2009

thanks to Van for posting on this-I’ve been out of the loop and missed it although I am familiar with what Joe has been doing lately.

Joe Pantoliano (The Sopranos, Memento, The Matrix, The Goonies) started an organization called No Kidding, Me Too! He has a documentary coming out with the same title. I want to start off my saying, I commend him for this. Stigma is a real problem in America and throughout the world. We must bring an end to it!

This is Joe’s message at his website:
We are ready for the fight and we ask you to please join us in the revolution and help us educate souls all over the world to “Remove the Stigma!”

Mission
No Kidding, Me Too! is an organization whose purpose is to remove the stigma attached to brain dis-ease through education and the breaking down of societal barriers. Our goal is to empower those with brain dis-ease to admit their illness, seek treatment, and become even greater members of society.

The Goal
Make Brain Dis-ease cool and sexy. We want a normal conversation in America to be:

“I have bipolar disorder/schizophrenia/insert dis-ease”

“No Kidding, Me Too!”

Who Has The Stigma:
Those suffering from brain dis-eases including anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, specific phobias, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating, pyromania, kleptomania, compulsive gambling, addictions, paranoia, multiple personality disorder, gender identity disorder, Down’s syndrome, psychosomatic disorder, tic disorders, and others.

How Will NKMT Accomplish This?
h Create strategic partnerships with members of industry, academia, organizations and government to ensure a broad-based spectrum of support and input.
h Organize the creative talents of our industry professionals to generate messages for various media and use our celebrity status to ensure these messages are heard. The messages will be of empowerment and acceptance and can include topics as basic as giving job opportunities to those with a brain dis-ease.
h Coordinate, participate in and generate interest for national and regional educational events consistent with our goal.

He has an impressive list of Advisory Board members, some of whom I greatly admire in the industry Joey and I share: Robert Downey, Jr, Ed Begley, Jr, Jeff Bridges, Edie Falco, Marcia Gay Harden, Ang Lee, Robin Williams and many more.

At his website there are photos of Joey from the screening of the teaser at the Democratic National Convention with people like Tony Goldwyn, Dana Delaney, Bobby Kennedy, Melissa Etheridge and Tom Fontana.

Here’s the teaser to his documentary:

Under the resources section at his website-the very first resource listed is NAMI. ahem. I wonder if Joe has researched Big Pharma’s influence at NAMI? Is he aware that Sen. Grassley is investigating NAMI’s funding? I am a registered Democrat and I’m becoming increasingly frustrated with this party, a party who is ignoring the corruption of Big Pharma and anyone linked to Big Pharma mainly because of their involvement with them. They are looking out for themselves and those that financially support them instead of the PEOPLE. Senator Grassley is all alone and that is sad.

At Joe’s website he links to several articles, letters, humorous videos and some of this favorite quotes, here’s a sampling:

To Fight Stigmas, Start With Treatment

Call for New Home to Address Health Disparities for Mentally Ill

FDA Approves Depressant Drug For The Annoyingly Cheerful

some of Joey’s favorite quotes

The teaser for his documentary opens with the statement:
1 in 4 Americans suffer from mental illness
4 in 5 Americans are affected by it

And then throughout you see more statistics on the screen:

87 million Americans have been diagnosed with some form of mental illness
There are over 350,000 diagnosed cases of PTSD resulting from the Iraq war
18 of our American heroes are committing suicide every day

And statements like these:
There is a fine line between madness & creativity
Mental illness is the only DIS-EASE which you can be diagnosed with, and get yelled at for having

Joe went public with his illness after he was hired to do a film. (FYI: one of the first things required for actors and directors before they start filming is to see a doctor and production schedules a physical for insurance purposes) He had done this over 70 times but in this case he told the doctor the two medications he was currently taking, one for depression and one for heart disease. His lawyers were then informed that the production company/studio could not insure Joe because he was taking an antidepressant. They were told Joe could sign a waiver basically saying if he had a ‘breakdown’ he would be financially responsible for the loss of work or a shutdown. Joe’s real problem and awakening was simple: they were willing to cover his heart but not his brain. That is stigma. We all know it and it’s something I’ve been fighting and living with for countless years. It’s heartbreaking.

However, in a separate (lengthy) taped discussion with Joe he discusses a number of topics, mostly stigma, his films, politics & mental illness. He also talks about the fact the he quit drinking and has started practicing yoga, he exercises, etc. He believes in the theory that mental illness is genetic. I believe he mentioned his mother was diagnosed bipolar. Now, I haven’t seen his documentary but when his teaser states 87 million Americans suffer from a mental illness-I doubt (and I hope I’m incorrect) that he mentions why we have this false statistic. This number has increased drastically simply due to Big Pharma’s influence and a bunch of doctors started diagnosing people for a variety of reasons: more money in their pockets, get the patient in and out as quickly as possible, falsified data and studies…the list goes on and on. Instead of dealing with the true issue at hand, whether it be trauma or dysfunction, it seems Joe has partially bought into the quick fix system. And he’s using his celebrity status with people in the government in hopes that his message will be heard. That would be all fine and good except there are many flaws in his message. I agree with ending stigma but ‘his message’ goes much, much deeper than that.

In chapter 15 of the discussion linked above someone asked him if he’s tried alternative treatments like acupuncture and he states that he does practice yoga and meditation, he partakes in talk therapy, 12 step groups, etc. He seems to be all over the map and that is fine. It is his path. But it will truly disturb me if he does not mention Big Pharma’s influence within our modern psychiatric world (doctors, NAMI, etc) in his documentary, No Kidding, Me Too!

 

7-year-old commits suicide while taking psychiatric meds April 25, 2009

This story at the Miami Herald saddens me. It also infuriates me. When are doctors and the FDA going to wake up? What will it take? How many more lives will be lost before this madness stops?

From the article:

Weeks before his death, Gabriel Myers, the 7-year-old Broward boy who hanged himself in the shower of his foster home, had been prescribed a powerful mind-altering drug linked by federal regulators to an increased risk of suicide in children.

In all, Gabriel had been prescribed four psychiatric drugs, two or three of which he was taking at the time of his death, said Jack Moss, Broward chief of the state Department of Children & Families. Moss said he is not sure which medications the boy was taking because Margate police took the foster home’s medication log as part of an investigation into Gabriel’s death last week.

Three of the psychotropic drugs carry U.S. Food and Drug Administration ”black box” label warnings for children’s safety, the strongest advisory the federal agency issues. Three of the medications are not approved for use with young children, though they are widely prescribed to youngsters ”off label” — meaning doctors can prescribe the drug even if not formally approved for that use.

Gabriel had been prescribed Symbyax, Lexapro, Vyvanase and Zyprexa. Again, three of these meds are not approved by the FDA for use with young children. And of course, prescribing them nonetheless is not uncommon, doctors must be held accountable.

Four feet tall and 67 pounds, with short-cropped brown hair, Gabriel was a bright, charming and often sweet little boy, those who knew him say.

But he already had a sad past hinting at a troubling future. Records obtained by The Miami Herald show Gabriel may have been molested by an older boy while he was living with grandparents in Ohio, while his mother was in jail.

On Thursday, Gabriel locked himself in a bathroom and hanged himself with a detachable shower head after arguing with the 19-year-old son of his foster dad about his lunch, Moss said.

this screams trauma. and yet again, another precious child did not get the help he so desperately needed. Instead he got the “quick fix”-medicate. medicate. medicate. so very tragic.

Myers said the boy’s pediatrician had discontinued all psychotropic drugs while Gabriel lived with him, and the boy did well, earning A’s and B’s at the Hollywood Christian Academy.

”We did not have any issues with him having tantrums,” Myers said. “He would get upset, like little boys do.”

A week or two before Gabriel died, his grandfather in Ohio expressed concerns that the boy sounded overmedicated. ”My father said that the last conversation he had a couple of weeks ago Gabriel sounded like he was too drugged,” Myers said. “He sounded like he was doped up.”

Gabriel’s doctor, Dr. Sohail Punjwani, said he did not recall Gabriel. This statement sums up part of my problem with modern psychiatry today. Dr. Punjwani, since you seem to have forgotten your patient-here is a picture:

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What a sweet face. Rest in peace, Gabriel. Let this picture be a reminder to any parents thinking about medicating their children with dangerous meds like Zyprexa. Do the research on these medications before you think about filling that prescription. Unfortunately in today’s modern psychiatric world, your child’s life and well-being is rarely your doctor’s concern.

 

Harvard medical students rebel April 22, 2009

Filed under: big pharma,corrupt doctors — clementine @ 1:45 pm
Tags: ,

Thanks to a friend for passing this along.

Click here to read the entire article.

Two hundred Harvard Medical School students are confronting the school’s administration, demanding an end to pharmaceutical industry influence in the classroom.

The students worry that pharmaceutical industry scandals in recent years, including criminal convictions, billions of dollars in fines, proof of bias in research and publishing and false marketing claims, have cast a bad light on the medical profession. The students have criticized Harvard as being less vigilant than other leading medical schools in monitoring potential financial conflicts by faculty members.

Harvard received the lowest possible grade, an “F,” from the American Medical Student Association, a national group that rates how well medical schools monitor and control drug industry money.

 

update on Seroquel/FDA committee hearings April 9, 2009

I’ve been so busy today I’m just now reading about the updates on the Seroquel hearings with the FDA. Surprising considering I’ve been following this story very closely.

Here is a snippet from the Reuters story:

AstraZeneca PLC (AZN.L) won partial support from U.S. advisers on Wednesday for its bid to expand the approved uses of a blockbuster schizophrenia drug.

A committee of Food and Drug Administration advisers said Seroquel XR was safe enough for treating some patients with depression but opposed use of the drug for fighting anxiety given the serious side effects.

The panel voted 6-3 that Seroquel XR had acceptable risks if it was added to other medicines to find a workable combination to alleviate depression. Several panel members stressed that doctors should try other treatments for depression first before deciding to add Seroquel XR.

“I think this represents a second-line therapy,” said panel member Frank Greenway, an endocrinologist at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Louisiana.

The panel split 4-4, with one abstention, when asked if it was safe enough to use Seroquel XR as the only treatment for depression in some cases. Panelists said there were safer medicines that should be tried if only one medicine was going to be used.

The FDA will consider the panel’s input as it decides whether to approve the expanded use for Seroquel XR. The agency usually follows panel recommendations.

Seroquel is AstraZeneca’s second-best-selling drug with $4.5 billion in 2008 sales. Seroquel XR is an extended release version of the medicine with a longer patent life than the original formula.

Doctors are free to prescribe approved medicines for any use they see fit, but winning FDA approval for wider use would allow AstraZeneca to promote Seroquel XR more widely.

It’s always bothered me that doctors are free to prescribe Seroquel (and other psych meds) when they see fit. If they really cared about their patient’s health…they would not be doing this, knowing the dangers of the drug(s). But it’s all about the money and the quick fix. Seroquel brought in sales of $4.5 billion last year. And most doctors want to get patients out of their office as quickly as possible. Some are getting kick-backs from Big Pharma. You get the picture. (more…)

 

Biederman and 2 other Harvard researchers subpoenaed! March 28, 2009

Filed under: big pharma,corrupt doctors,corruption — clementine @ 11:37 pm
Tags: ,

Hmmm…maybe Biederman will get what he deserves.

According to this NY Times article he has been subpoenaed:

Federal prosecutors have issued a subpoena seeking information about the work and statements of three prominent Harvard researchers who have been the focus of a Congressional investigation into conflicts of interest in medicine.

The researchers — Drs. Joseph Biederman, Thomas Spencer and Timothy E. Wilens — are named in the subpoena, which was sent on Wednesday to Fletch Trammel, a lawyer who represents state attorneys general in lawsuits that claim makers of antipsychotic drugs defrauded state Medicaid programs by improperly marketing their medicines.

The three researchers have advocated increased use of antipsychotic medicines in children and have accepted lucrative consulting agreements from the drugs’ makers. Senator Charles E. Grassley, an Iowa Republican investigating conflicts of interest in medicine, found that each of the researchers had failed to report much of his consulting income to Harvard. Mr. Grassley has also said that Dr. Biederman and Dr. Wilens might have violated federal and university research rules. The controversy led Dr. Biederman to suspend his work with the drug industry.

The subpoena was issued by the Federal District Court for the Massachusetts District; it was sought by the United States attorney in Massachusetts, Michael J. Sullivan, and by the Health and Human Services Department inspector general, Daniel R. Levinson. The subpoena seeks all documents produced in litigation relating to the three researchers as well as transcripts of any depositions of them.

Mr. Trammel said he would “comply with the subpoena and facilitate the U.S. attorney’s investigation in any way I can.”

Peter Spivack, a lawyer for Dr. Biederman, and Mark Paoletta, a lawyer for Dr. Wilens and Dr. Spencer, said they were unaware of a subpoena.

A spokeswoman for Mr. Sullivan declined to comment on the investigation.

 

Robert Whitaker on Madness Radio

Gianna at Beyond Meds posted an incredible interview with Robert Whitaker on Madness Radio. I encourage you to click on the link above to listen to the interview in its entirety and pass it along to everyone you know or link to it at your site.

Here are my thoughts/ramblings on it, which I posted in the comments section:

Gianna, thank you so much for posting this! Well worth 50 minutes of my time. Bob had so many wonderful things to say and I’m really looking forward to his new book!

I would like to see Bob and others like him on shows like, say, The Today Show. If he’s been on this show or similar shows, my apologies, I don’t watch them. People listening to Madness Radio or NPR are not necessarily the crowd that needs to be addressed although there is nothing wrong with it, don’t get me wrong. We need voices like this more than anything right now to pass along this strong and crucial message. However, the majority of us listening to Madness radio, etc already know these facts. We know the problems. We want the Biedermans and Goodwins in jail (well, at least I do!) Part of our problem is simple, the corporations own the networks, they own everything and voices like Bob’s are often silenced. The FDA has issues and on and on… (more…)