invincible summers

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

beauty in tragedy June 27, 2009

i must admit. i really miss writing. but life has been hectic lately, to say the least.

i am in the middle of therapy at a local sexual assault center. it’s a wonderful place and i’m finally getting the ‘right’ treatment. trauma focused cognitive behavioral therapy. so, 21 years this summer since I was brutally raped. the mask is off. the walls are coming down. and i am healing. finally. no more doctors pushing the dangerous medications…just a loving environment focusing on the trauma in my life. and there is a lot of it.

my therapist asked me last week if there was anything in her office that made me feel unsafe. the simple fact that there are no pharma reps pimping their latest drugs is good enough for me. i didn’t say that but she knows how i feel about them.

i have found beauty in tragedy there. i see children playing (they are big on play therapy) outside the window of my therapist’s office in the yard or in the sand box. i see paintings and drawings from children ages 2-14 covering the walls in the hallways and my therapist’s office. and i cry. i cry tears of joy and pain. but mostly joy. i know why these young girls are there. i stared at a girl around age 7 in the waiting room one day and my heart was heavy knowing why she was there. (this center only sees victims of sexual abuse) and yet i also felt joy knowing this girl (and others there) are getting the proper help now versus 21 years later like me. something tells me their life will be less painful and a little easier. and i cry…thankful for places like this.

i sometimes sit there and stare at the children and think….if only i had found the right treatment earlier. and then i remind myself i blocked out my rape for nearly 4 years and then spent years of escaping…listening to the wrong doctors and therapists, allowing them to label me with every ‘mental illness’ in the book. allowing them to medicate me, believing it was the only solution. and yet, i do not live with regret. it took 21 years to come to this place for a reason. i don’t know why but there is a reason and someday i will know. i think i probably already do and just can’t express it right now because there is so much going on. i have not been reading blogs or the news…still. i miss my friends and readers here. but….my husband’s father is dying. quickly. cancer in his liver. stomach. colon (which they removed) and lymph nodes. we have been out of town. my husband is making peace with the man (his father) whom he had not seen in 14 years for a very good reason. and now, we wait. well, he waits for the phone call. it may come today. it may come in 4 months. but it will come and it saddens me. i wish i were in a better place to comfort him during this time. it’s something i am working on.

i don’t want to get too much into the details…it is not my story to tell. but sometimes when one is on their deathbed there is often much regret for the horrible things they have done to loved ones. i do not want to have that regret someday. and so i will continue on my path of love, compassion and honesty.

in regards to my family, they are waiting for me to call them and ‘mend’ things….and although it hurts….i will do it, eventually. sooner rather than later. because, again, i do not want to be on my deathbed someday with regret.

i will continue to seek the beauty in tragedy. it is all i know to do.
peace to you all.

 

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.

 

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.

 

now is the time to act April 5, 2009

Now is the time. It was a phrase President Obama used frequently that inspired me, gave me hope.

If you google “Obama now is the time” you will find:

Obama: Now Is The Time For Iraq Withdrawal

Now is the time to protect our planet: Obama

Obama: “Now Is The Time For Congress To Act”

and this speech truly inspired me:

Today I must wonder-was it just a speech? Smoke and mirrors? I am beginning to question the man I voted for. A man who I believed wanted to unite Americans, end the war, fix the economy, create a transparent government and on and on. Now, believe me, I know that our current President has one hell of a mess to clean up. I wouldn’t want his job in a million years but…

Right now this is what I’m seeing: questionable cabinet appointments like Tim Geithner. Focusing on a war in Afghanistan when we need to focus on our country and get out of Iraq and Afghanistan. Obama is a man who once said, “I don’t oppose all wars. What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war.” Well, during these incredibly tough economic times I do not see how moving troops (slowly) out of Iraq and sending them to Afghanistan is smart. I personally feel it is dumb. Our troops are exhausted. They need to come home. We are not going to end the “war on terrorism” by moving into another country-those that do hate our country and want to attack us will just move somewhere else. We can’t hunt them down in this manner. It is absolutely absurd. No wonder we are hated by so many countries-we keep attacking them! The fact of the matter is: war is a money-making business and it seems our President is going back on his word. sad. And then there was the 62% federal cigarette tax increase effective on, of all days, April Fool’s Day. This is what his administration had to say: (more…)

 

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…)

 

AstraZeneca, you’re back! March 18, 2009

Dear AstraZeneca,

So, you’ve decided to visit three times between and 10:40am and 11:35am. And that was before I posted the link on the story at the Washington Post airing your dirty laundry. Here’s another link, just for fun, from the LA Times where they too have the WP story. You guys can’t buy your way out of this press. It also looks like you noticed the link explaining how patients (we are human beings, not guinea pigs) can now testify in regards to your hearings on applications to have your antipsychotic Seroquel approved by the FDA for depression, anxiety and whatnot. Did you not like the Bob Dylan video in my previous post to you? Well, here’s another version, enjoy it while you can!!!

Domain Name (Unknown)
IP Address 156.70.222.# (Astra Zeneca)
ISP Astra Zeneca
Location
Continent : North America
Country : United States (Facts)
State : Pennsylvania
City : Concordville
Lat/Long : 39.8886, -75.5143 (Map)
Language unknown
Operating System Microsoft Win2000
Browser Internet Explorer 6.0
Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.0; SV1; @; .NET CLR 1.0.3705; .NET CLR 1.1.4322; .NET CLR 2.0.50727)
Javascript disabled
Time of Visit Mar 18 2009 11:34:15 am
Last Page View Mar 18 2009 11:35:29 am
Visit Length 1 minute 14 seconds
Page Views 2
Referring URL unknown
Visit Entry Page http://invinciblesum…you-johnson-johnson/
Visit Exit Page http://invinciblesum…seroquel-experience/
Out Click
Time Zone unknown
Visitor’s Time Unknown

 

how to testify to the FDA on Seroquel March 17, 2009

Folks, this is so very important. If you have been on Seroquel or you’re taking Seroquel, you know the dangers and side effects of this drug.

Personally, I wish I had the money to go and testify in person. I also wish I had the money to rent a bus (or several) and head to AstraZeneca’s headquarters. We need to be heard. We must at least send a message to the FDA by testifying, this is our chance! If our voices are not heard, this drug will be most likely be approved for depression, anxiety, etc. We cannot let this happen. This is our chance to stop the cycle and save lives.

Please click HERE to find out how to testify.