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.

 

MedWatch May 18, 2009

Filed under: antipsychotics,big pharma,FDA,medications — clementine @ 3:19 pm
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still taking a break but i just received this email from the FDA and found it interesting:

MedWatch- The FDA Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program

The April 2009 posting includes 65 drug products with safety labeling changes to the following sections: BOXED WARNING, CONTRAINDICATIONS, WARNINGS, PRECAUTIONS, ADVERSE REACTIONS, PATIENT PACKAGE INSERT, and MEDICATION GUIDE.

The “Summary Page” provides a listing of drug names and safety labeling sections revised: http://www.fda.gov/medwatch/safety/2009/apr09_quickview.htm

The “Detailed View Page” identifies safety labeling sections and subsections revised along with a brief summary of new or modified safety information to the BOXED WARNING, CONTRAINDICATIONS, and/or WARNINGS sections: http://www.fda.gov/medwatch/safety/2009/apr09.htm

The following 45 drugs had modifications to the BOXED WARNING, CONTRAINDICATIONS, and WARNINGS sections:

Extraneal, Remicade, Orap, Prevpac, Soma Compund, Aleve, Aleve Liquid Gels, Aleve-D Sinus & Cold, Axert, Carbatrol, Celontin, Depakene, Depakote, Depakote ER, Depakote Sprinkle, Depo-Medrol, Dilantin, Doribax, Enlon Plus, Equetro, Exjade, Felbatol, Gabitril, Heparin Solium injection, Ibuprofen, Kaletra, Keppra/Keppra XR, Klonipin, Lamictal, Lyrica, Midol, Motrin, Children’s Motrin Cold, Mysoline, Neurontin, Peganone, Sarafem, Stavzor, Tarceva, Tegretol, Topamax, Tranxene, Treanda, Tridione, Trileptal, Zarontin, Zonegran

click here for the detailed view.

 

Robert Whitaker on Madness Radio March 28, 2009

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…)

 

more veteran PTSD deaths March 18, 2009

I don’t know how I missed this story from The Charleston Gazette:

March 1, 2009
Veterans’ families question cause of deaths
Post-traumatic stress syndrome treatment cited

Stan and Shirley White’s son Andrew, a Marine reservist, died at home 2 1/2 years after he returned from Iraq. Janette Layne lost her husband, Eric, in similar circumstances after his return from Iraq.

More than a year later, they still don’t know if the medication their loved ones were taking for post-traumatic stress disorder contributed to their deaths.

Andrew White and Eric Layne were taking Seroquel, Klonopin and Paxil, along with prescription painkillers.

Three other West Virginia servicemen have died in their sleep while undergoing PTSD treatment after returning from Iraq.

Investigators from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs looked into the deaths. Stan White, who actively researches similar deaths and PTSD-related medications, contacted Sen. Jay Rockefeller, who requested the investigation.

The investigators interviewed the White and Layne families and visited Huntington Veterans Affairs, the Charleston Community Based Outpatient Clinic and the Cincinnati VA residential program, where Layne was treated. They reviewed autopsy and toxicology reports for both patients.

In August, they concluded that White and Layne received care that met “community standards” at the VA facilities, and that the men died from a combination of prescribed and non-prescribed medicines.

Although it appears these veterans were taking painkillers on their own, I have a real problem with this story. Why was the VA prescribing three medications (Seroquel, Klonopin and Paxil) to treat PTSD?! Seroquel alone is enough to knock you out and destroy your body. Is this common practice with our veterans returning home from war? I’m too tired to research but I certainly hope not! But, something tells me it is and that is what angers me. I’m reminded of the Chantix/veterans fiasco. I’m tired of reading these stories. A major wake-up call is needed for the FDA, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, VA facilities and our government in general.

click here for the full story.

 

SICK of big pharma and doctors March 2, 2009

I must begin by saying I’ve been sick since before or on the week of February 16th, it’s been so long, I can’t remember. It began with a sinus infection and after taking a 5 day Z-pak, well, I got sicker. Go figure. I don’t know why I’m surprised. I’m thinking I’m pretty close to pneumonia at this point, I have all the symptoms minus the fever. I’ve had horrible side effects and found via this website that my side effects are not uncommon. Not to get too terribly gross here but constant diarrhea (with blood one day), no taste buds, heavy chest congestion, headaches, body aches, exhaustion, dehydration (no matter how much water I drink) and constant drainage. I’ve taken a Z-pak before, years ago, and had zero side effects. Something has changed and something tells me Big Pharma is involved. I believe Pfizer produces the Z-pak. Needless to say, this post might not make sense being that I’m way beyond feeling good. And none of this is easy dealing with when you are uninsured.

If you’re not a regular reader you might wonder why I am SICK of big pharma and doctors. First of all, let me state, I do feel lucky. Don’t get me wrong. I could be dealing with an incurable cancer, I could have an incurable disease, RRP, that my sister has. I know that I am lucky. However, for nearly 23 years I have been dealing with a mental illness. Fighting the good fight. I’ve spent tens of thousands of dollars on therapy, hospitals, medications, etc. None of which worked. period. Most importantly, I continue to run into these stories:

Recently news broke that AstraZeneca buried Seroquel studies. Just take a look at part of the story if you don’t feel like clicking on the link, but I suggest you read the entire story and do your own research: (more…)

 

little blue pills December 27, 2008

Filed under: government,medications,news — clementine @ 11:44 pm
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from the washington post

The Afghan chieftain looked older than his 60-odd years, and his bearded face bore the creases of a man burdened with duties as tribal patriarch and husband to four younger women. His visitor, a CIA officer, saw an opportunity, and reached into his bag for a small gift.

Four blue pills. Viagra.

“Take one of these. You’ll love it,” the officer said. Compliments of Uncle Sam.

The enticement worked. The officer, who described the encounter, returned four days later to an enthusiastic reception. The grinning chief offered up a bonanza of information about Taliban movements and supply routes — followed by a request for more pills.

For U.S. intelligence officials, this is how some crucial battles in Afghanistan are fought and won. While the CIA has a long history of buying information with cash, the growing Taliban insurgency has prompted the use of novel incentives and creative bargaining to gain support in some of the country’s roughest neighborhoods, according to officials directly involved in such operations.

In their efforts to win over notoriously fickle warlords and chieftains, the officials say, the agency’s operatives have used a variety of personal services. These include pocketknives and tools, medicine or surgeries for ailing family members, toys and school equipment, tooth extractions, travel visas, and, occasionally, pharmaceutical enhancements for aging patriarchs with slumping libidos, the officials said.
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“Whatever it takes to make friends and influence people — whether it’s building a school or handing out Viagra,” said one longtime agency operative and veteran of several Afghanistan tours. Like other field officers interviewed for this article, he spoke on the condition of anonymity when describing tactics and operations that are largely classified.

click here to continue reading.

is this our answer for everything these days? PILLS? seems so.

 

get kids off medicine December 19, 2008

Quickly, I would like to direct everyone to my new page (35 things: a continuous entry) at the top of my website, to the left of ‘about me’. I frequently update there with personal stories. It’s been very therapeutic.

my sincere thanks to Beyond Meds for this linking to this story. I think it’s a wonderful idea and hope to see more to follow.

Martin Irwin, MD, Professor of Psychiatry at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans School of Medicine, is launching what he believes is a first- of-its kind-program nationally to “Get Kids Off Medicine.”

The LSUHSC Get Kids Off Medicine Program, dedicated to tapering and discontinuing psychiatric medication for children being treated with three or more psychiatric medications, is being implemented three half days a week at the LSU Behavioral Science Center at 3450 Chestnut Street. The program accepts Medicaid and most insurance. Discounted and possible free care will be provided to those who qualify based on income.

“Along with the increase in prevalence of mental illness in children and youth, is a skyrocketing rate of use of psychiatric medication often as the sole treatment and most commonly to treat disruptive behaviors and aggression,” says Dr. Irwin, who specializes in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. “It is not uncommon for children even as young as five to six years of age to be on multiple medications, as many as four to five at the same time.”

Dr. Irwin says the over-medicating of the problems of children in the mental health system is likely to result in misdiagnosis-labeling of behavioral problems that result from interpersonal difficulties, realistic feelings that are not excessive or out of proportion to the child’s real life experiences, or reactions to current life stresses as major psychiatric disorders leading to unnecessary medical treatment. Many of the medications used to treat children are either not approved by the FDA for use in this age group, or are not approved for the indication they are being prescribed.