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.

 

while i’ve been away May 10, 2009

So much news and so little time to comment but here are a few stories worth reading:

Most NAMI Money is From Psychiatric Drug Industry! BIG surprise (not) but thank you Sen. Grassley for continuing to fight for awareness and human rights while most members of Congress sit back and don’t say a word.

The FDA has approved yet another drug for schizophrenia, Fanapt. Keep your eyes on this one. Soon to be the next Seroquel, Zyprexa, Abilify, etc. When will this madness stop? The FDA continues to disappoint.

Two recent trials show akathisia occurred in 25% of Abilify patients compared to 4% of placebo patients. I’m glad I got off this one quick-even though I still have doctors pushing it. and I am growing increasingly tired by the constant Abilify ads on TV. I’m about to storm Bristol-Myers Squibb’s headquarters. Here’s their advertisement for the drug:

Merck Makes Phony Peer-Review Journal. Well, this one leaves me speechless.

The Scientist has reported that, yes, it’s true, Merck cooked up a phony, but real sounding, peer reviewed journal and published favorably looking data for its products in them. Merck paid Elsevier to publish such a tome, which neither appears in MEDLINE or has a website, according to The Scientist.

What’s wrong with this is so obvious it doesn’t have to be argued for. What’s sad is that I’m sure many a primary care physician was given literature from Merck that said, “As published in Australasian Journal of Bone and Joint Medicine, Fosamax outperforms all other medications….” Said doctor, or even the average researcher wouldn’t know that the journal is bogus. In fact, knowing that the journal is published by Elsevier gives it credibility!

Psych Rights sent letters to several members of Congress:

Massive Medicaid Fraud Exposed: PsychRights Calls on Members of Congress for Assistance
In letters to Senators Charles Grassley and Herb Kohl, and Representatives Henry
Waxman, Bart Stupak, John Dingell & Barney Frank, the Law Project for Psychiatric
Rights (PsychRights®) has exposed massive Medicaid Fraud. While working on
PsychRights v. Alaska, its lawsuit to prohibit the State of Alaska from the largely
ineffective and always harmful psychiatric drugging of children and youth, PsychRights
“discovered that it is illegal for the vast bulk of these prescriptions to be reimbursed by
Medicaid.”

Extrapolating from Alaska Medicaid Claims, PsychRights calculates over $2 Billion in
fraudulent claims are being paid nationally every year for drug treatments Congress has
explicitly prohibited, and it is probably well over $4.5 Billion, based on the total amount
paid by Medicaid. Stating the carnage caused by the practice will be “recognized as the
largest iatrogenic (doctor caused) public health disaster in history,” PsychRights
analogized the situation, “to our current economic debacle caused by unrestrained Wall
Street greed,” but noted, it is much worse, ” because children’s and youth’s future, health,
and even lives, have been sacrificed and continue to be sacrificed on the altar of corporate
profits.”

Also, “because most current child psychiatrists no longer know how to help children and
youth without resort to the drugs” PsychRights suggests “the savings be used to fund
approaches that have been proven to be safe and effective.”

The Law Project for Psychiatric Rights is a public interest law firm devoted to the
defense of people facing the horrors of forced psychiatric drugging and electroshock.
PsychRights is further dedicated to exposing the truth about psychiatric interventions and
the courts being misled into ordering people subjected to these brain and body damaging
drugs against their will. Extensive information about these dangers, and about the tragic
damage caused by electroshock, is available on the PsychRights web site:
http://psychrights.org/.

 

a doctor voluntarily took an antipsychotic drug April 16, 2009

Filed under: antipsychotics,news — clementine @ 5:29 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Thanks to Beyond Meds for posting this very interesting story. And I say interesting for a number of reasons. One, whenever a doctor would deny the side effects I was experiencing from Seroquel or Abilify, I wanted to say, “Have you tried it?” Two, after my swain learned of my horrible experiences with Seroquel he took 1/4 of the dose I used to take (100mg) to see what would happen. He took 25 mg one time and was knocked out for nearly 24 hours. After he woke he could barely form a sentence, he was extremely sluggish and it took him a few days for him to recover from that one small dosage. He simply could not imagine what it must have been like for me, taking a stronger dosage for a much longer time. And thirdly, anytime I’ve ever seen a pharma rep selling (marketing, pimping or whatever you choose to call it) these horrific drugs, I have always wanted to ask, “Would you take this? Would you have your child take this?” I did ask a former friend and Wyeth rep the last question and his answer was no. Of course it was. So, here we have the story of a doctor who voluntarily took an antipsychotic drug:

In 1993 Richard Bentall went a bit mad.

He voluntarily took an antipsychotic drug and at first thought he’d get through unscathed.

“For the first hour I didn’t feel too bad. I thought maybe this is okay. I can get away with this. I felt a bit light-headed.”

Then somebody asked him to fill in a form. “I looked at this test and I couldn’t have filled it in to save my life. It would have been easier to climb Mt Everest.”

That was the least of his troubles. Bentall, an expert on psychosis from the University of Bangor in Wales who is in New Zealand under the University of Auckland Hood Fellowship programme, developed akathisia – unpleasant sensations of inner restlessness and an inability to sit still.

“It was accompanied by a feeling that I couldn’t do anything, which is really distressing. I felt profoundly depressed. They tried to persuade me to do these cognitive tests on the computer and I just started crying.”

Bentall had volunteered to be in a study run by Irish psychiatrist Dr David Healy. Volunteers were given either 5mg of the antipsychotic droperidol, 1mg of lorazepam, a type of tranquillizer, or a placebo.

“The experiment completely failed,” says Bentall. “Because first, it’s absolutely mind-bogglingly obvious to anybody after an hour whether or not they are taking an antipsychotic or a placebo – the side effects are so marked. There is no such thing as a placebo antipsychotic in that sense.”

But it was the fact that most of the healthy volunteers who took the antipsychotic became so unwell, let alone do the cognitive tests, that meant the study couldn’t continue. One psychiatrist became suicidal and had to be put under observation.

In his controversial book Let Them Eat Prozac Healy wrote about what the volunteers experienced. “It was not like anything that had happened to them before… Highly personal memories of previous unhappy times – broken relationships or loneliness – seemed to be flooding back. And if they previously held themselves responsible for these unhappy times, they seemed to hold themselves responsible for feeling the way they did now as well.”

The antipsychotic experiment, which gave him a hangover for a week, typifies Bentall’s approach to mental illness – rigorous scientific research coupled with a clinical psychologist’s perspective.

He has a doctorate in experimental psychology. “Most of my arguments are research-based,” says Bentall. “I’m just interested in what the evidence says about the nature of mental illness and how best to treat it. I’m a scientist at heart.”

What worries Bentall is how many mental health services seem to ignore what the research says and when an antipsychotic medicine doesn’t work, simply up the dose.

Once again Bentall refers to the science – that about a third of recipients don’t get any benefit whatsoever from the drugs. And research that shows if patients don’t respond at a relatively low dose, they’re not going to respond to a high dose. And are very likely not going to respond to any other anti-psychotic.

The optimum dose of antipsychotics is about 350mg per day (measured as chlorpromazine equivalents). Yet a recent study in the north of England found the median dose of antipsychotic drugs was about 600mg and about a quarter of those reviewed were on a gram or more a day.

“The average dose was about twice the optimum. How does that happen? It doesn’t make any sense.” Bentall suggests the reason such “unethical doses” occur is because mental health services have come to rely on these drugs as if they are the only treatment available. “When a patient doesn’t respond, they just up the dose in some magical belief that hopefully something will happen.”

But while promoting alternatives like cognitive behavioral therapy – the Government-sanctioned treatment of choice for depression and anxiety disorders in England – Bentall also points to research that shows all psychotherapies work, and that no type is more effective than any other. It’s a finding that surprised many, including Bentall.

Closer analysis highlights a common theme. “The quality of the relationship between therapist and patient explained most of the result.”

It seems blindingly obvious that having a good quality, empathetic therapist is likely to get good results, so why doesn’t it happen? “Establishing good relationships with patients shouldn’t be that difficult, but most psychiatric services seem to find it very difficult indeed,” says Bentall.

He says many services operate from a coercive model: “We know best. We’ve got the treatment. Better take these no matter what the side effects. Do what we say and if you don’t, we’ll put you on a community treatment order and you’ll be legally obliged to do what we say.”

click here for the rest of this incredible story.

 

away for awhile March 23, 2009

I’ll be away for a short time. I finally have a job. I’m helping a director friend of mine cast his next feature film which is set in Portland but shooting mostly here, a city that is the polar opposite of Portland. (in film lingo, difficult to cast) The problem is, I haven’t been in the casting world since 2004, so, I’m a little rusty. No, wrong, more than a little. But I am very thankful for the short-term work. I haven’t had a decent job since last August, basically living off unemployment. I thought I worked in a recession-proof industry but nobody is safe anymore. Well, a few are but I won’t go there. Anyway, I can’t remember the last time I went shopping and bought something for myself or my swain. A friend of mine bought cupcakes for my swain’s birthday a couple of weeks ago, that’s how bad things have been. I can’t even afford to drive 3 hours away to see my sister, parents and meet my niece who was born in October! Or visit my swain’s parents and sister and our newborn niece on that side of the family. Sad. However, I know that it could be so much worse. My dad’s company just cut his salary, my mom is in fear of losing her job-there have been many layoffs at her company. And I’m alive, fairly healthy and not living on the streets. Sooo….before I leave for a bit, a few rambling thoughts. (more…)

 

Dr. John Breeding on trauma March 17, 2009

I found this video at the lovely and very helpful beyond meds at ning website. Unfortunately, I’ve been sick the past several months and haven’t been able to spend as much time there as I would like. Anyway, this video left me feeling confused and intrigued:

I am interested because today I was reminded of my rape. It’s not an unusual occurrence-it’s a past traumatic experience that is almost always there lingering and sometimes taunting me or shutting me down, etc. Today, some of the many memories came up again. the gravel driveway. my head banging against a tire. the sound of my underwear being ripped off of me. the rest, mostly a blank. a bathtub. my friend holding my hand. blood. wearing nothing but a t-shirt. I was fifteen and then suppressed the events of this evening for nearly four years.

Three key things Dr. John Breeding mentions in this video in regards to healing past trauma(s) are:

take care of yourself
go slow
allow expression

Well, the first two, I don’t know how to do. The third, not a problem. Although I was raised in a home where I felt loved but misunderstood. But, and most importantly, there were rarely any expressions or emotions allowed-we didn’t talk about anything of substance. Pretty much everything was swept under the rug. If you’ve seen the beautiful film “Ordinary People” you’ll have a better picture. I don’t blame my parents for this-I have forgiven them-they were raised this way. My parents also tried to find a quick fix which is what led to my first psychiatrist visit at the age of 13 after I showed signs of depression and voiced suicidal thoughts. Again, I don’t blame them. I imagine they were doing the only thing they knew to do in that situation. That first visit led to over twenty years of psychiatric medications to include: Celexa, Lexapro, Paxil, Prozac, Zoloft, Effexor, Abilify, Seroquel, Remeron, Wellbutrin, Xanax and Lamictal. These are the ones I can remember. And, not one of them worked for more than 2 years. Actually, Lamictal was the only one that seemingly worked that long. I saw many psychiatrists and therapists over the years following my first visit at thirteen. I even checked myself into a mental hospital. NOTHING WORKED. But during all of the above visits, I was always labeled with something-depression, double depression, borderline personality disorder, bipolar-and given meds and ridiculous tools from therapists that never worked.

Here’s where I’m going with this. So, I was raped at 15. But, what happened BEFORE that? Is there a trauma that I’m still blocking/suppressing after all of these years? I’m nearly 36 now. I know why my parents brought me to see that psychiatrist at 13-I repeatedly told them I wanted to die! But, why?!?!? I have absolutely no clue and this concerns me. How does one face and heal from a trauma that does not exist in their mind? My maternal grandmother was deemed mentally ill and spent a lot of time in mental hospitals, she had shock treatments, she was medicated most of her adult life. She died fairly young, due to complications of diabetes, during a very difficult time in my life. I was heavily medicated and we had never once had a discussion about her illness or her life. As I mentioned in a previous entry, I always assumed that I had inherited her “mental illness” but is that what she had? Is that what I have? My grandmother, for example, I know after much digging around and asking my aunts lots of questions, I know that her father burned to his death when she was around five. I’m don’t know anything about her mother, my great-grandmother, I don’t recall ever meeting her. But I do know my grandmother lived in orphanages and foster homes. I’m pretty certain she was sexually abused. So, for some reason, after my great-grandfather died in that fire, my grandmother did not stay at home. I remember my grandmother’s mysterious sister showing up at her funeral and everything was hush hush. Now that I think about it, I believe my grandmother also had a brother and he was not at her funeral.

My grandmother’s life, what I know of it, reeks of trauma. Which is exactly why this video caught my attention. I must blame some really bad doctors and therapists for not addressing and treating the trauma but instead labeling me with whatever they felt suitable, medicating me and moving on to their next patient.

Regardless, I’ll be heading to the library to check out some books while I can’t afford therapy or acupuncture and facing the trauma I know about. First on the list I suppose will be Trauma Through A Child’s Eyes by Peter Levine and Maggie Kline.

 

light January 14, 2009

I can finally see the light. Not sure how long it will last but things are a little better. We somehow managed to pay our January rent and are now figuring out how to pay February’s rent.

I have decided to stay on the Celexa and Xanax until things calm down. If you know me, you know how difficult this decision was. I dream of a life free of meds, those meds that only help me escape and of course damage my body, my brain. Several of my side effects are gone though, the insomnia…finally. I think that was the Abilify and it is completely out of my system, I hope. No more slurred speech, feeling like a zombie.

Good riddance to a nasty drug.

I can’t find the commercial on youtube that has been running constantly on television but it basically sends this message and not once in the ad is Abilify described for what it is, an antipsychotic. Instead they are flat out deceiving the public into believing this is an “alternative” to be taken in conjunction with an antidepressant. The following information all comes from the Abilify website where you clearly see the words: ABILIFY as add-on therapy for depression. REALLY?!?

Finding relief from unresolved symptoms of depression can be challenging. Medicine can affect each person differently. A clinical study showed that many people with depression did not achieve adequate symptom relief after taking an antidepressant.

If you’re still dealing with unresolved symptoms of depression even after trying one or more antidepressants, it may be time for you and your healthcare professional to consider adding ABILIFY to your antidepressant treatment. You may be able to achieve additional symptom relief.

Clinical studies compared the use of an antidepressant plus placebo (sugar pill) with the use of an antidepressant plus ABILIFY. When ABILIFY was added to their antidepressant treatment, people experienced significant improvement in their symptoms of depression compared to people treated with an antidepressant plus placebo.

ABILIFY is approved by the FDA to help improve symptoms in adults with major depression when added to an antidepressant. Although everyone responds to medication differently, in clinical trials with add-on ABILIFY, some patients experienced a significant improvement in symptoms of depression as early as 1 to 2 weeks.

The advertisement runs fairly long because these jokers need to tell you the disgusting side effects, where again, Abilify pretends to be an antidepressant:

Antidepressants may increase suicidal thoughts or behaviors in some children, teenagers, and young adults, especially within the first few months of treatment or when the dose is changed. Depression and other serious mental illnesses are themselves associated with an increase in the risk of suicide. Patients on antidepressants and their families or caregivers should watch for new or worsening depression symptoms, unusual changes in behavior, or thoughts of suicide. Such symptoms should be reported to the patient’s healthcare professional right away, especially if they are severe or occur suddenly. ABILIFY is not approved for use in pediatric patients with depression. Elderly people with psychosis related to dementia (for example, an inability to perform daily activities as a result of increased memory loss), treated with antipsychotic medicines including ABILIFY, are at an increased risk of death compared to placebo. ABILIFY is not approved for the treatment of people with dementia-related psychosis.

Hopefully soon these ads will disappear, they will be outlawed. Enough on this subject and back to what was to be my original post. I am taking small steps. Trying to eat healthier (not easy with little money) but I’m opting for soup vs. a .99 frozen pizza. I’ve gained at least 10 pounds since going back on meds a month or so ago and really need to watch what I put into my body. I’m hoping to get out and start walking again-I used to walk 5 miles a day and I miss it. But it is so very cold right now, not the best time to start. I want to say thank you to everyone who stopped by sending good thoughts. Knowing I’m not alone has been what’s kept me alive for so many years. So, truly, thank you very much.

 

children, bipolar and antipsychotics December 14, 2008

How many times will this be the title of one of my entries? I mean, truly, when will this madness end? Every time I read another story my heart breaks and I am furious at the same time. Those of you who are unfamiliar to the world of antipsychotics, I beg you to read this entire blog. and click on the links. Take this excerpt from today’s LA Times for example:

‘I need these pills refilled,” the weary mother says, displaying an array of empty bottles on the desk in my office. “My son is bipolar.”

The boy, a quiet slip of a 10-year-old, had been prescribed two antipsychotics, two mood stabilizers, one antidepressant, two attention deficit disorder medications and another medication to manage the side effects of the antipsychotics.

The mother explained that she had just regained custody of her son and his brother. During the last year, while they were in foster care, a doctor had diagnosed the 10-year-old with bipolar disorder and attention deficit disorder and prescribed eight medications.

In the hour I spent with the boy and his mother, he exhibited no signs or symptoms of bipolar disorder, though he did display some irritability. In school, he continued to perform poorly in his second attempt at third grade. Both irritability and poor school performance can be significant problems. But I strongly questioned his diagnosis.

There are so many to blame for this problem:
Joseph Biederman
Fred Goodwin
Charles Nemeroff
(more…)