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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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…)

 

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.

 

sinus pain and depression? February 18, 2009

Filed under: acupuncture,antidepressants,antipsychotics,depression — clementine @ 11:28 pm
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I haven’t been around much, I’ve been feeling lousy. Horrible sinus problems. And I believe the cysts are back on my right ovary or my Adenomyosis is acting up. Anyway, several weeks ago a friend of mine sent me this article. I get so many emails, I really didn’t pay attention to it until this week when my sinus problems worsened. This has me thinking.

“Bodily pain is not listed as a symptom of chronic sinusitis in general medical texts or journals and as a result, patients are sometimes diagnosed with unrelated conditions such as arthritis, depression, fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome,” said the study’s author Alexander C. Chester, M.D., an internist and clinical professor at Georgetown University Medical Center. “Unfortunately, this leaves too many people unaware of treatments for sinusitis that can improve their overall condition.”

I had hay fever and severe sinus problems as a child. I remember missing school because of it. I remember my eyes were constantly swollen shut during severe attacks. Here I am some thirty years later still dealing with sinus pain and I must wonder-if I could “fix” this problem-would the depression go away? I’m thinking it’s worth a shot. The friend who emailed me the article had sinus surgery the other day. He is recovering well and I hope to speak with him soon about it. He too has suffered from depression and it will be interesting to see if his depression dissipates. Well, that’s all I have the energy for right now. Oh, for those of you who are regular readers-the Effexor sample is still sitting in my bathroom drawer unopened. I decided, thanks but no thanks. I’m going the alternative route. It’s my body, my mind and I’m sick and tired of these doctors and pills messing with it.

Goodbye antidepressants and antipsychotics. Hello again, Eastern Medicine.

 

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.

 

ah, depression January 2, 2009

Filed under: antidepressants,depression,life — clementine @ 11:57 pm
Tags: ,

depression. its grasp can sometimes be overwhelming. crippling. i have described it before in the only way i know how and yet it is really impossible to describe to those unfamiliar. how it lurks around every corner, mocking and laughing at you, punching you, draining you. pulling you deeper and deeper into its warm and cold hole. it is something i am very familiar with-after all i have been living with it my entire life. i have been fighting it for years and it has not been an easy battle. and yet, here i am at 35-still alive even though i never thought i would be here. alive and fighting.

the past two days have been draining. as some of you know i’ve been struggling with insomnia for a good 3-4 weeks now. but luckily, my body finally had enough. it started new years eve when i fell asleep in front of friends around 2:30am. woke around 8amish and then napped from 11am-4pm. i muddled around the house for a few hours, ate dinner, started to watch ‘the visitor’ around 8pm last night and fell asleep. i did not wake until 11:30am this morning. and then a deep depression set in. worried about our financial situation and the lack of work in our industry thanks to another possible strike. but mostly, i found myself feeling so very sad. i managed to do a load of laundry which still sits in the dryer. put away a few christmas decorations. took a bath and honestly, have spent most of the day on the couch. right now i’m watching 80s movies back-to-back on tv and avoiding thinking. someone recently told me (or maybe I read it on a blog) that the path I am choosing, soon-to-be one free of meds, facing old pains and getting out there—living my life, is the hardest path. he/she mentioned we live in a society where it’s easier to pop a pill and keep moving, basically constantly escaping.

and so, this new path i am choosing is a frightening one. i am sure that is part of this depression. saying goodbye to the only path i’ve known for most of my life (antidepressants, antipsychotics, escaping, etc.) and yes, it is frightening. i know i’m making the right choice, i no longer want the side effects of these drugs. i’m tired of the memory loss, the lethargy, the depression, the slurred speech, the insomnia and sleep issues, the sadness, the fears, the anxieties and, well, all of it. i’m just plain tired.

i recognize that many of the above will possibly always be with me, but it is my hope that someday the battle will not be so crippling. i hope to have the tools to deal with life in a healthy manner.

i have a tendency to do things in life in an all or nothing fashion. it amazes me sometimes. if you were to see me when i’m working, you’d really be shocked. i spend 12-18 hours a day or more on my feet, constantly going, working with celebrities and keeping them happy and informed, i am always organized and on top of everything. but when i’m not working i am the exact opposite. it’s a good day if i get out of the house. and that’s what infuriates me the most and why i am seeking a balance more than anything. i’m not naive, i plan to take baby steps, this is not going to be easy. not at all. and i suppose i will soon mentally prepare myself for this new path and see what happens. until then, i just want this depression to go away…somewhere far, far away.