Editorial Note: This is Part 2 of Antidepressants and The Tell-Tale Heart. It fits into a sub-series about Pharmaceuticals: Rape and Consent. It also maps straight on to Antidepressant Withdrawal: A Prozac Story and Saving Grace both of which are on RxISK. Saving Grace picks up the Bipolar theme running through Tell Tale Heart.
For the record, there is no question but that citalopram and escitalopram have significant effects on the heart, and astonishingly almost none of these are at present understood. We talk about QT interval changes but even these are not understood. There are EKG – ECG – cardiogram Apps but not one that can handle some of the problems SSRIs cause. Someone who could design one would help a lot of people.
After 6 months my GP suggested coming off the antidepressant again. I had learned a little about tapering by then and asked to be referred to Addaction. Maybe I was addicted.
Addiction was added to my file notes… another nail in my coffin, as addiction, I later discovered is often considered to be co-morbid with SMI – Serious Mental Illness. My GP referred to it as “chemical dependency”…. but addiction was the only thing that appeared in my notes.
My GP wanted me off the antidepressants quicker than the 3 month taper I had researched through an online support group called CITA. However, she prescribed drops and tolerated my request to do it slowly.
Addaction were very helpful and supportive but knew nothing about citalopram. They researched withdrawal but found no advice. We were in the dark and followed the withdrawal charts I had downloaded from CITA.
I went through the tapering without too many problems until I got to the final few drops, then all hell broke loose. I dispensed with the last few drops and braced myself. This was a big mistake. I should have re-instated and stabilised instead of giving up on the taper. There was no advice available.
Withdrawal kicked in with physical as well as emotional symptoms. Profuse sweating, jaw clenching, no saliva, leg jerks, brain zaps, blood sugar feeling like it cleared too quickly leaving me shaking and sweating. An awful confused dream processing with images whizzing through my head kept me awake and I had unbearable restless legs.
After a holiday in the sun, where I was unable to leave my hotel room, and was taking diarrhea remedies to deal with the blood sugar problems, I begged my cardiologist for help. “Ah yes,” he said, “this is the fainting condition. A corticosteroid will sort that out…just one tiny pill….” I asked about withdrawal being the cause and was told that the antidepressant had cleared my system long ago and it was impossible that it’s impact could be felt due to it’s half life. Therefore this could not be withdrawal.
He placed me on the steroid… and admitted me for a pacemaker implantation.
On the corticosteroid my mood plummeted as it built up in my system. I became slightly puffy and moon faced and then seriously depressed. This time it really was depression. I became convinced I was dying and couldn’t stop crying. I made memory boxes for my children and kept telling my husband about my wishes for a Dignitas type death.
My GP referred me for CBT as I wouldn’t take the antidepressant again. I got 9 sessions and was discharged in the same state. It was a complete waste of time and it added to my misery.
After the pacemaker operation I was in shock, tearful and repulsed by the new lump in my chest. There was a long scar. I felt disfigured and violated and couldn’t come to terms with it, although everyone kept telling me it was a marvelous device keeping me alive and I should be grateful. I didn’t feel grateful at all.
I recovered at home then went back for a check up. My pacemaker had automatically changed setting to a more aggressive form of pacing. The technicians pronounced this wrong and dangerous for me and re-set it, saying it shouldn’t have happened.
After being interfered with again, something couldn’t cope. On arrival home I couldn’t co-ordinate my limbs to walk and the stiff legs returned and Parkinson type jerks came on. I became tearful and afraid and we rang the pacing clinic. They pronounced my symptoms “impossible” but changed the setting back to the original more aggressive pacing, writing up that the new pacing didn’t appear to “suit me”. The physical reaction was ignored and written up in my notes as anxiety.
The aggressive pacing was left in place for 5 years and a condition which should have been paced 2% of the time, was being paced over 80% of the time by the end of this period. I was becoming pacemaker dependent… but no one would listen to me as that “bipolar?” comment had found it’s way through to all concerned.
In the midst of all of this I was still trying to contest my diagnosis of a fainting disorder and asked for a referral to the autonomic nervous system clinic in Paddington to have the diagnosis challenged. My GP agreed, as he didn’t think I should be on the steroid… probably because “bipolar?” was in my notes.
I remember being terrified in the tunnels of the London Underground travelling down to the appointment and having an anxiety attack on the station. Just 10 years previously I had lived in London and had traveled on the underground daily in my sales job as a confident young woman. What was happening to me? I was a nervous wreck, jumping at my own shadow.
I had two negative tilt table tests at the clinic and the professor suggested that my diagnosis was wrong. It was probably a cardiac problem. His letter to my doctor was full of sarcasm regarding my account of my symptoms such as “paresthesiae, burning sensations” etc. The emphasis, again, was on delusions concerning my mental health and this overshadowed everything else.
My GP agreed that I should come off the steroid. I did so and the depression and thoughts of death disappeared as the drug cleared from my system. But the delusions were now in my file along with health anxiety relating to drug use… another nail in the SMI coffin.
My life outside medicine was in bits by then. My husband had lost his job and his shares had plummeted, his father had died and his mother was in a care home. We were trying to live on a pittance and an overdraft against our house. My son developed school phobia and I suddenly couldn’t cope anymore feeling I was to blame for my son’s problems….which I probably was as my behavior on the steroid must have frightened him, coupled with the heart admissions.
At some point, I became suicidal and made plans. Everything was my fault – I was a hopeless mother, I had failed and I was doing more harm than good being alive. My husband discovered the stash of razor blades and drugs and took me to the GP who prescribed the same antidepressant again. “It can’t hurt you this time” the GP patronised,” because you have a pacemaker”. I reluctantly took it as I knew there was no choice.
After 6 months I came off it and again had withdrawal symptoms and roller coaster mood swings. I think there was one more bout of suicidal ideation after this and I had been experiencing hypervigilance and paranoia when anxious. I asked for a referral to psychiatry. This suicidality, roller coaster mood swings, and paranoia was not normal for me and was becoming too frequent to be ignored. My GP agreed.
After a few sessions, I was told that the psychiatrist and my doctor had already decided what was wrong with me, it was just a question of time. Every letter following my psych appointments pulled out evidence to support a diagnosis of SMI….detailing “dramatic behavior”, the suicidal ideation, health anxiety etc. All I remember was sitting there, feeling out of it and worrying that I was like my father. I was told they were considering two serious diagnoses… and I joined up the dots and panicked.
I was having private psychotherapy at the same time, and that Achilles heel from my past, and my suggestibility had come up. I was working through those issues and realizing where I had gone wrong – seeing patterns of behavior that I was misinterpreting as hereditary mental illness.
My sons and husband had decided by then that I was quite mad. They wanted me medicated and safe. According to them. the therapist was putting nonsense in my head and validating me, when he should be listening to my doctors. I resented them all bitterly and withdrew to an online mental health forum for support.
I found a group of MH patients online who were far more knowledgeable than me about withdrawal issues and who put me in touch with another doctor, who saw me without a referral. I was afraid of seeing another psychiatrist and worried myself to distraction. But I needn’t have worried as he understood. He cut through the crap and saw what was happening. This was a turning point for me, and I will be eternally grateful for someone in a position of “knowledge” intervening and helping me fight my corner.
My doctors were not so grateful and branded him “out for his own ends and using me as a tool in a fight against the pharmaceutical companies”. I disagreed.
On my therapists advice I withdrew from psychiatry. He felt that I went backwards every time they suggested hereditary SMI as the cause of my issues and this was the cause of my problems. That psychotherapist was right! I never went back… but the self doubt was hard to shift.
Feeling slightly more validated I sent off for my father’s notes and discovered that he was diagnosed with personality issues and reactive depression. This made sense as he had been brought up by a step father who was a Polish Jew and had fought in the world war. This man had resented my father as a stepson and his upbringing had been very difficult as a result. I began to unravel my beliefs about hereditary MI.
I complained to my GP about being placed on psych drugs and misunderstood withdrawal and obtained copies of my notes which were full of inaccuracies. It was then that I discovered the “bipolar” comment which had been read by all who treated me. I began to realize that I had not been taken seriously for years.
I requested a re-diagnosis of my heart condition. This was translated as “health anxiety” again as my doctors maintained that I had received a full and comprehensive investigation previously. The consultant used the opportunity to gather information… supplied by me…. and placed it on file under relevant psychiatric history / reactions.
Apparently, I was delusional (whilst on the steroid), the dream disturbances I had experienced in withdrawal were hallucinations and I had experienced paranoia. I clearly had health anxiety regarding psychiatric drugs and my notes showed marked episodes of depression and relapses. I had reacted to small doses of antidepressants and steroids which was indicative of bipolar disorder and there was evidence of mental illness in the family with my father and my son’s school phobia.
I tried to go back to work but was told that I may have a hereditary form of mental illness and my GP would only sign me off part time. “Do you think I’m too dangerous for a classroom?” I asked.
I withdrew again, afraid, misunderstood and with a huge amount of self doubt. No one would back me up or believe in me. I felt hurt, angry and abused by a system that would not admit it’s own shortcomings or be open minded about drug side effects and expected me to accept a serious mental health diagnosis because as my GP said, “so many professionals could not be wrong”.
All this, when I had been dismissed by psych services after just two sessions of counselling 10 years ago with no significant symptoms or need for help apparently!! This did not add up.
Although my logical brain tells me that they cannot diagnose me with anything, I am terrified to go to the doctor now. Terrified to ask for help if I have heart symptoms for fear of them being diagnosed as health anxiety and terrified of what lies ahead with my heart condition which is still being treated as a fainting condition 6 years on despite no fainting during the intervening years and no drugs to prevent fainting either.
I have lost many friends, my dignity and my self-confidence. I have deep rooted fears surrounding hospitals. I nearly lost my husband’s respect and my marriage when I became suicidal and I have had to battle to regain the trust of my children, who lost all respect for me too as I fell apart whilst in withdrawal or on steroids. I worry about the effect on them.
I will never visit another psychiatrist and I will never take another psych drug or steroid unless I become suicidal again, which I think is highly unlikely now that I am two years drug free and back to the relatively calm and stable person I originally was.
Worst of all though is the specter of that SMI diagnosis. It probably won’t happen now but it still frightens me to know that there is evidence on my file. What if I become unwell or confused in later life or the menopause throws up depressive symptoms… will they pluck it out of my file again? I need to put it behind me… but that’s easier said than done.
They say that history within families repeats itself. Maybe this is true if you allow it to and buy into hereditary mental illness as a possibility like I did. It can become a self-fulfilling prophecy…. but that’s nothing to do with genetics really is it?
We mark out our own destinies sometimes with our fears…. and that’s where I went wrong.Share this:
Copyright © Data Based Medicine Americas Ltd.
The withdrawal symptoms listed are almost word for word the same as what my son went through.
This blog sounds like a real horror story, and I’m very sorry to hear about your son’s experience, Lisa.
I’m glad I sorted out my Seroquel heart rhthym problem myself (it didn’t return) – I wouldn’t fancy a pacemaker. I take more exercise now as well to get a good nights sleep.
I can identify very strongly, and with huge sympathy, with several aspects of your story. When I had a horrific reaction to withdrawal from psychiatric meds, I too was told that the deranged balance, sweats, nightmares, twitches – amongst other things – couldn’t possibly be due to the drug – as it would have cleared from my system within days. And – the various diagnoses I had been given many years before, came back to haunt me in spades. Personality disorder, diagnosed in 2001, reared its ugly head and led to diagnoses of ‘functional neurological disorder’, psychological overlay, pseudo epilepsy . I got so utterly frustrated that the one thing that accounted for all the appalling symptoms – the aftermath of powerful psychotropics – was never, at any point, acknowledged as even a possible explanation.
A few weeks ago I also read my medical notes – I’d been really scared about seeing them, as knew I would find them inaccurate and offensive. They were both. Leaving aside the fact that several chunks were someone else’s, not mine!
And – I also became completely phobic about doctors. I changed GP practices, and have worked hard at maintaining a good relationship with the new GP. But it is very, very hard work and requires huge compromises on my part: I play “good” because I’m scared to ever be honest, and because I am dependent on his goodwill, should I need his help in the future. That does not seem to be the basis of a therapeutic relationship to me but I am hamstrung by the past.
Very good luck, and with the really heartfelt hope that you might eventually find a medic who will listen respectfully – because it is a very, very lonely place to be, knowing that something is not functioning correctly, but too scared to ask for help.
Reading this, it seems that when doctors tend to focus only on treating SYMPTOMS– rather than searching for the root cause of the problem (causing a symptom). By treating only the symptoms, we simply trade one set of problems for another. I am a strong believer in giving the body the elements and materials it needs to heal itself–specifically vitamins, minerals (which most of us are deplete) and consuming only unadulterated forms of fats, proteins and carbohydrates. Our food is so contaminated today (and or depleted in vitamins/minerals), that finding pure forms of food is not always easy!! (but still possible) Artificial (made-made) chemical additives, along with pharmaceutical preparations are making us sick -not well. This may be good for the doctors, but it is no wonder we are all off balance–mentally and physically. The fact is most of us are depleted in one or more natural elements–and THAT is what is causing many (if not the majority) of our mental and physical problems–replace that missing element and voila! or health improves immediately. A lack of B-12 can induce paranoia and hallucinations and cause depression–replacing B-12 can “cure” the problems…without side effects. I suggest everyone STAY AWAY from all artificial food additives (and too much sugar! -read “The Sugar Blues” or other books on the subject). Here is an excerpt from Harvard Health Publications for an example of what can happen when we are missing an essential element in our system:
Vitamin B12 deficiency can be sneaky, harmful
POSTED JANUARY 10, 2013, 10:03 AM
Patrick J. Skerrett, Executive Editor, Harvard Health
Vitamin B12 stamps
What harm can having too little of a vitamin do? Consider this: Over the course of two months, a 62-year-old man developed numbness and a “pins and needles” sensation in his hands, had trouble walking, experienced severe joint pain, began turning yellow, and became progressively short of breath. The cause was lack of vitamin B12 in his bloodstream, according to a case report from Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital published in The New England Journal of Medicine. It could have been worse—a severe vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to deep depression, paranoia and delusions, memory loss, incontinence, loss of taste and smell, and more, according to another article in today’s New England Journal.
I have a long history of mental illness and started when I was aged 17 with suicide ideation, anxiety, paranoia and general feelings of inferiority and voices. I do have this condition. My mum first took me to the family GP in the l960’s and he prescribed lebrium. Then on another visit he sexually molested me whilst my mother was in the room and he had his back turned whilst examining me internally because I deluded thought I had cervical cancer. I told my mum and she kept me away from doctors until at the age of 22 when suicidal once again my brother made an appointment for me to see a psychiatrist. Then my fate was sealed and my career with bio psychiatrists has continued ever since.I had been sexually molested by a brothel owner when I was ll years old and had domestic violence in my family too. Although my parents were wonderful people. They had a lot of poverty and hardship in their lives.
I met my husband in a psychiatric hospital and we were married for 33 years and he died in one in 2009. Now at the age of 63 after 40 years on meds of various kinds and a spell of shock treatment I am determined to come off my Haldol Deconoate. I after reading so many books I know this has to be done so so slowly. In fact in tiny tiny doses over a number of years.
My MH team and nurse and psychiatrist do not seem at all to be aware of just what level of injection to reduce and the quantity and amount which is safe. But I insist they do this slowly and as minutely as possible because my brain is so badly affected and my short term memory is deteriorating.
I tried once before but this was done through my nurse and they left it up to me to decide on what dosage I should have and how to reduce it. I was totally alone with no social network whatsoever and no nearby family and my son is also diagnosed with bi polar. After 40 years the withdrawals were terrifying and the delusions were horrendous.
But as one successful man once said you don’t need money, fame or education. You just need determination to succeed. And for my son’s sake I am determined to find a way off these evil evil toxic medications.
I gave up smoking. I don’t drink. And recently they have forced me to take Depakote which is Sodium Volproate semisodium and I am in the process of desperately trying to withdraw from this. I will come off these drugs before I die. I will not consult a psychiatrist when I become overwhelmed but I will consult my wonderful psychotherapist Mick who is always there for me. But to my dismay I have to take something which what that will be I don’t know to keep them away from me altogether.
I will go down fighting because of the love I feel for my son who I have spent a lifetime struggling to bring up to adulthood and who is my pride and joy. I am doing it for him and will never ever give up.
I am going to start a blog soon and tell the world of my progress day by day and year by year until finally I am free of it. I advise everybody to do it so so slowly and trust your gut instincts and keep as far away as possible from doctors and nurses for as long as possible. Do it for yourself and do it for those you really love. Never give up on yourself ever!
Please look into vitamin and mineral supplements that relate to calming the brain…B-Vitamins in particular…there is much research on vitamin deficiency with regards to brain activity. See articles in HARVARD MEDICAL PUBLICATION as a starting point. I was given a various pharmaceuticals for a bleak period of my life for a few months–what a nightmare…worse than the depression I had. That episode convinced me to find other options for helping myself…including nutrition, exercise (mostly walking & hiking –to vent anxiety/frustration), and just talking to a few good friend on a regular basis. Also I have added meditation and prayer of late…really helps…I also use my imagination –I imagine I am floating on a magic cloud that is taking me exactly where I need to go…and that God is pushing the cloud around–basically having FAITH for a positive present & future. But without good nutrition, this would not be possible…I have been depleted in various vitamins and minerals and the effect is disastrous! (mainly lacking in B-Vits and at times an iron deficiency (which makes you so tired you can’t move). A healthy life-style is really the best way to go…including the physical (what you consume + exercise), the mental (your thoughts/habits), spiritual (what you believe/trust in). Hope this help. I wish you the best with your blog!! Great idea! (for sleep –look up “natural remedies for sleep”)
I meant to write HARVARD HEALTH PUBLICATION –it gathers & reviews medical news.
Nearly one year on from my son’s Venlafaxine Withdrawal and I can’t sleep again for what seems like an eternity now. Worrying about what’s going to happen to him as result of the consequences of his actions during that nightmare first week he stopped taking it.
I hate the person he became but I love my son and then I hate myself for feeling like that.
I dare not even go to the Doctors for help with coping with this because I know what the solution will be. Ill be given antidepressants to help me get through it, my nemesis will be given as my saviour.
How did it all come to this ?? How can being given a prescription end up ruining your life.
Lisa, I do not know. But Effexor happened to me, too. I became psychotic, as near as I can tell, and also had serious seizures after stopping. I was diagnosed with intractable epilepsy. I was nearly arrested twice for bizarre behavior, was hospitalized against my will, etc. I believed the Mayan apolcalypse was happening and thought an owl lived on my headboard. I thought my dogs were possessed by Satan.
I was only taking Effexor because a cancer hospital told me I was mentally ill when I disagreed with their treatment plan. I turned out to be right, by the way, and my life was only saved by a life-wrecking surgery at the last minute. I only stopped taking Effexor because the nurses forgot to give it to me as I recovered from the surgery. When I got home from the hopsital, I became instantly manic and it got much, much worse.
After a staid life as a married computer programmer with no previous mental illness other typical anxiety and sadness when life got tough, I was suddenly called “bipolar” and, well, you know the rest. LOTS of drugs, lots of side effects, and ultimately, the wrecking of all I held dear. My income is half what it was, my net work is less than half, I have lost many friends and all credibility.
Hello Selma! I take it by profession you are a doctor of psychiatry in some way? Yet again suggesting and advising I should take these toxins and allow them to flow and keep allowing them to flow into my body and bloodstream and therefore into my brain.
It is my personal belief that we know very little about our human brains and this is all virgin territory as far as science is concerned. Drug companies and their scientists and research on the affects of these drugs have never proved their efficacy to bring about the normal behavior of any human being. Let alone those like myself with abnormal behavior.
In other words they don’t work or do what we as people are told they are supposed to do for us. WE know in our hearts and souls and in the very essence of who we are as human beings that these drugs take away all of what gives us the capacity to live our lives as human beings.
We are not just symptoms! We are not just bodies to be injected and prodded. We have souls and hearts and feelings. And all that we are as well as troubled and distraught at times is totally human.
You talk without emotion. I talk with it. I do not and would never accept advice from someone who gives it so coldly and without emotion to a person whose emotions are everything.
You sound like a drug company rep!
You are quite wrong about Selma
Dear Dr Healy, I do apologize to Selma. But I have lived with coercion for so many years and it is difficult to know when to trust and in which way someone’s intentions are honorable.
Of course Selma was just trying her best to advise in a good way, but I feel that the need in me now at my age to survive is stronger than ever because my son is involved with the psychiatric system and I have to look out for him.
I have to take into consideration just what are the consequences of my forced taking of these drugs and what the affects will be on my body and mind. At the same time I live daily with a condition that is described as an illness and should therefore be kept under control by doctors.
So like so many women in history and in previous lives my plight is not easy although easier than many before me.
I am determined to survive and keep as healthy as possible. When mad I am not insane for long and do recover quickly no thanks to the medication which is destroying what mental health I could achieve when well. Although I am bright I have to be ever vigilant. And I will do everything in my capacity to avoid extreme damage from these toxins.
I have never had psychotherapy before only these last two years. And I am benefiting immensely from it. I feel if I had been given this many years ago my recovery chances would have been greatly made better.
But my advice like that of Dr. Peter Breggin is come off these medications extremely slowly. Which I am aiming to do through my doctors. On the account and proof they have never worked for me because I still do go mad.
I do apologize to Selma anyhow.
I took Escitalopram for two years with only positive effects. Venlafaxine, which I am now taking also affects the QT interval, mine was checked at the Heart Hospital (part of UCLH) and found to be normal. Sometimes the medicine works, for which I am grateful.
Yes Deirdre the medication can work and successfully, but the only way it does work is by the placebo affect and this proves how remarkable our brains are and in the they work.
The medications however are damaging to our delicate organs our brains and the organs in the body. Also some people who have emotional breakdowns and overwhelm do go on to make complete recovery anyhow.
But the prognosis by psychiatrists is that there will be no recovery and the long term use of medication is vital and necessary. But people find that they cannot come off these drugs and that these medications prolong their breakdowns and hospital stays and instead of recovery they get long term treatment. The withdrawals are the very same as the illness and bio psychiatrists are now diagnosing normal human behavior as illness and conditions.
Behind it at the top of the spectrum are the drug companies making their billions from the drugs these doctors insist people must take to regain recovery from illnesses they make up when they meet to discuss what goes into the DSM.
This is the reality and what I am against and what my son is aware of and most people are not.
You sound as though you were strong and able enough to make a recovery yourself by believing the drugs were there for you. My husband did exactly the same on Clopixol and Sodium Volproate. He was well for 17 years before he died but he wasn’t the man I married. He was spellbound. Just like millions of others who will say they feel well and who do not get ill as such but who no longer are the people they should be and who would have recovered anyway by life changing situations. My husband didn’t get manic anymore but then I believe because our life situation changed that he would have recovered anyhow.
Anne: haven’t you read Dr Healy’s Book in which he makes it clear that anti depressants are not inert placebos, but powerful drugs with many malign effects? Please look again at Pharmageddon and read what he says about the side effects of these ‘placebos’. My delicate brain is doing well on my present medication, as I have even been able to read Schopenhauer–quite a challenge. Try ‘The World as Will and Representation’ sometime..
The notion that ‘changing life situations’ is what is necessary to lift depression is naïve. A friend did that, sold his house with swimming pool and forestland, gave up his job and moved to a coastal village. He was still terribly depressed.’ What next?’ his wife asked me, having accepted this major change in the hope that it would end his disabling depression.
Depression is a normal emotion the emotions that these toxic medications bring about in the way they affect our minds is not normal. Yes a change in lifestyle can sometimes alleviate the depression but for most people it goes much deeper and way way back in our life history.
It is the very foundation of our brains and therefore our minds and our psyche that bring this unaware about emotional traumatic disabling overwhelming anxious depression that hits the very core of our lives and who we are.
A good psychotherapist and talking therapy can do so much to help a person with this and then to make the decisions in your lifestyle for change and rebirth.
Not the way of these toxic poisoness substances which like any drug addict will tell you it is no laughing matter and laughter is good medicine, which psychiatrists and drug companies do all the way to their banks.
I see you belong to the group who see ‘talking cures’ as good and medication for depression as bad. Well, I disagree and the only psychoanalyst I know wanted to marry me: NOT a solution. My depression was not ordinary sadness, which is a part of being human, but depression so severe that I stayed in bed shivering with horror until 12 noon. I was housebound and incapacitated.
I regret the moralising tone that this list has to those who have benefited from anti-depressants, as I have.
Anne you are wonderful. Thank you so much.
I agree Theresa
Re reading your story Anne, after a year, I’m struck all over again by your insight and courage – and hope that you have managed, somehow, to carry on the battle.
You are wonderful !
so true, my father suicided. Hereditary? ? Not in the way people think….I can not tolerate valium, sends me off the planet. My father suicided 3 years after valium was the new marketed wonder drug. I wonder. My sister convinced herself of it, she actually was seeing doctors and getting prescriptions.. what for? Inability to enjoy sex. OMG…….. now everyone knows that is a side effect of the horrible pills.
Following on from my earlier comment about never shedding labels of serious mental illness and losing trust in doctors: my local leisure centre runs a GP referral scheme whereby we can be referred for a programme of exercise if we suffer from various medical conditions: heart, diabetes, arthritis etc. I agreed to be referred, very amicably, because I need to lose weight having all three of those problems. Which were almost certainly caused by years of powerful psychotropic medication. I’ve just spoken to the leisure centre about which activity might be best suited to me – and discovered that the one and only box that my GP ticked on the referral form was – mental health problems.
My (fairly disastrous) physical health appears to be irrelevant, despite regular invitations to the diabetic clinic, heart clinic, stroke clinic (for which my surgery gets paid a tidy sum if I attend). Whereas the mental illness which is well in the past is clearly a millstone that I will carry round my neck for the rest of my life. Result: “playing good” with the new GP has been an utter waste of time. Am I angry and frustrated – yes!!!
If you were to make a suggestion about your GPs Mental Health, I wonder if they would view it so casually.
Sally – I empathise with you and totally understand where you are coming from. When you know you have recovered from the MH problems you had – the fact you had them can hang like the sword of Damocles above your head.
I would also be horrified to know that my local gymnasium had details of past history – simply because although most people can be understanding – there is the feeling that some will automatically assume that you are still having problems.
In this day and age people can still become cautious with you and jump to conclusions about you having suffered from MH issues.There is still a lot of stigma about it.
Your Doctor should have been far more sensitive – seeing as it was all in the past and not at all current.
I also could feel myself becoming cross with Psychiatric Doctors during follow up treatment because I knew I was completely well yet they insisted on talking to me in such a way which made me feel very uncomfortable and I sometimes felt that they were treating me as if I still wasn’t well.
Not all do this – My own GP was lovely but then he knew me before I developed the symptoms.
It can be frustrating – and you need to stand up for yourself, be polite but assertive if you feel you are not engaging with your Doctor – and yes, there were times I wondered about the MH of the Doctors I was seeing , and how they would respond if they developed problems.
I also am concerned about my records and am in the process of trying to view them as I feel there may be administrative errors and possible misinterpretations which could be there until the year dot.
So yes Sally – I empathise with you:)
Thank you both – I wrote that comment about discovering which box my GP had ticked on the gym referral (mental health) through a red haze of rage. Next day I thought – OK, grow up Sally. It’s a cross you are going to have to bear, getting furious isn’t going to help – so today went to the gym for my assessment. Only to find that said GP had kindly appended to the referral form a curious computer summary from my notes which included the fact that I was put on the Serious Mental Illness register in 2005 (not the fact that I was removed from it in 2007)- and had had endometrial cancer. True it also mentioned osteoarthritis, elevated blood sugar and stroke. But it really upset me. That information is now known to members of staff at the gym – so, the red mist of rage descended again, I came home and drank two stiff brandies and smoked five cigarettes. Which is probably not an intended consequence of an exercise referral. And, I am just too scared to make a fuss…
Where I live, they have mental health campaigns, big billboards highlighting the problems of depression in men and telling me to go and get help. Then, when men do decide they need help, they are fobbed off, told they’ll be waiting 6 months at least to see a ‘psychiatrist’, in the meantime they will be offered drugs, SSRI’s, Xanax or Valium. They won’t be warned about the addictiveness of the drugs, and by the time the mental health services assign a psychiatrist, they have either killed themselves or gotten worse. If they haven’t killed themselves there is a 50/50 chance that the drug they have been prescribed will make them suicidal, or even homicidal. You can’t win, you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t- The metal health services are diabolical…
To the sufferer of “The Tell-Tale Heart II” I understand how you feel, it is like in a battle zone – you cannot trust anyone, especially the “doctor”…so we play the game of “Yes, Grand, Great, Ok” to the many questions of “how are you today, are you feeling well, are you sleeping well”…and so it goes on. Do not feel guilty for the genetic doctors describing your feelings as hereditary and you take on the guilt of fear. Yes, fear is a big part in the Mental Health brigade making you feel responsible because you were vulnerable. When I reflect on my own situation and what was done to my mother, I felt the same many times…I used to think that here I am living out my mother’s story. Lately I am working on turning that around to – This is my opportunity to tell my mother’s story of harm, abuse and control of her life. Even as I suffer at the hands of medics who harm, at the suffering of pharma abuse, I now do this for my mother and for me. Where it will end I do not know but at least I know that I have tried to tell the truth of the abduction of lives for pharma and the betrayal of family members who simply do not want to know. Take care.
I would like to advise you to have certain cytochrome P450 enzym tested, to see if you are able to metabolise the medication you were subscribed.
There is a good possibility you are an intermediate or slow metaboliser. If so it would explain your emotions and problems. For the future it would be crucial to adapt the dosage of medication when needed.
Dear Deirdre, your depression was normal. Normal in the fact it goes way back to something that happened to you in your past that has now re-appeared in your present consciousness as a terrible fear. You have been frightened at one stage in your life. Maybe as a child. Maybe earlier. And that fear has remained with you but the memory is embedded somewhere inside yourself.
As for the the unethical behavior of your therapist there are good and bad therapists, there are also good and bad doctors and nurses. I know because I used to be a nurse at one time. I witnessed this.
Your brain and therefore your memories grow in layers upon layers and part of your fearful terrifying memory is buried under those layers but comes through and to the surface and you cannot explain what is happening to you. When life becomes strained and hard sometimes these thoughts resurface and this is depression but what bio psychiatrists insist is irrational and symptoms of some whipped up theoretical illness.
You need to find the courage to go seek out a good therapist and try again. Do not give up on yourself. Do not believe in a little pill. You as a human being are worth much more than this.
A lot of what you say here is correct but there are also conditions like Melancholia and Manic Depressive Illness that do not appear to me to stem from trauma or memories. This doesn’t necessarily mean we need to turn to medication to manage them. Similarly just because something is traumatic in origin doesn’t mean that a medication can’t help.
Dear Dr Healy, my husband suffered severe mania and was diagnosed manic depressive and this came about 6 months after a car accident and therefore was caused by trauma! All emotional overwhelm is caused by one trauma or another!
Applying medication only brings about a chemical imbalance of the brain that otherwise would not have been there in the first place! If someone actually believes a pill they swollow will cure them then it will but will also do them harm!
Thank you DH–glad to be helped by a fellow countryman. What evidance is there that bi-polar depression can be ‘cured’ by a Jungian or Kleinian analysis?
I have had a few friends who appear to be BORN bi-polar…it seemed a part of their regular M.O. during the the time I was with them. It was very upsetting to them and to me (former girl friend in all three cases). They each had their own way of dealing with their chronic problem–two used pharmaceuticals (one used multiple drugs which only seemed to acerbate his condition), the other used alcohol (compromising his physical health)–all were/are able to function at a fairly high level (professional jobs), but being around a person who has a Jeckyll and Hyde personality is not easy, and the frustration of not being able to help them was too great. I stressed a nutritional approach + sports/exercise which helped, but dealing with their suicidal ideation, chronic gloominess + constant self-focus was just too much for me. I don’t know the answer…apparently love wasn’t enough.
I should add that drugs seemed to put them in a zombie like state…not much fun!
Hi I am writing from norway and are shocked about how easy the psyciatrist diagnose People and put them on Heavy medications.Medications With enormouse side effects,both on brain and body.No Wonder “psyciatric “patients live 20-30 years Shorter than others.
In Norway the use of psycofarma is increasing minacing.The psyciatrist are paid well for promoting and precribing drugs.
We have a lawsystem that makes it difficult to take Medical Companies to Court.
We have a lot of commities that are supposed to protect patients,but that is on paper.May be to show the world that Norway take good of their inhabitants.?
I can tell you the truth for psyciatric patients in Norway would shock the world.
We even have previous prim ministers that has been in many important posissions in the world like WHO.Sorry but they like to tell the world about human rights and so on.the truth is that the way psyciatric patients are treated,also in Norwegian hospitals,are a good kept Secret.
Then take for instance the scandal of Zyprexa some years back that gave 500 mill in fine to Eli Lily for causing diabetes.Who is also the largest Company on diabetes medicine?Right, Eli Lily.Nobody,as fare as i know ,have taken them to Court in europe.Intead this med.is increasing in sale.
It also gives a lot of oher side effects like kidneys,liver,adrenal glant,digestive problems,teethproblems and thyroid.and also effects the brain.You get drowsy.
These problems slowly effects the body after a while on Zyprexa.If you have a strong body,it may take some years before Your body breaks Down.This horrible medication changes Peoples personality and body.
Now they have started to give this drug to kids and elderly who suffers from dementia.Where are the moral of the drug Companies?When you see who is behind Companies like Eli Lily it is very scary .The world get fooled by the drug Companies,because they involved in so many Health care programs around the world.Why ? To earn good Money,nothing else. They also are behind the science.
How many diseases are “created”by Pharma industry ?For in NeXT turn to medicate it ?
Dear Deirdre and Dr Healy, Yes, whilst I agree that depression cannot always be helped by talking treatments I think that research proves that because depression is a human condition and not some alien illness that talking and a human approach from somebody else can help and does often cure. People in severe depression can be reached given a change in environment and the right approach and talking care from different individuals.
In other words Sanctuary can cure depression. But this is when the depression is psychological. There is research also proven that physical ailments can cause depression too. Take Limes Disease for example. So your depression Deirdre must have been a physically caused depression not a psychological depression and therefore you were helped by medication. But this will have side affects and little is known of what in fact you do suffer from I am afraid.
It is just in your case guess work and if you do feel better I am glad. By the way I am a fellow countryman too and live here in the UK.
In my case the genetetic factor is strong, as my mother suffered a full year of clinical depression when she was a young woman working in the Civil Service in Dublin. She was bewildered by this, as her life was happy (she was living in Bray with her closest friend, my Godmother). In her case she simply endured the dreadful experience and she emerged at the end of the year, as she told me ‘as if I were coming out of a dark tunnel’.
Genetic factors have been demonstrated to be very high in bi-polar depression, Kay Redfield Jameson is very good on this, although she does advocate medication, with some therapy as a support.
A friend of mine a pharmacologist at UCL told me that medication for cardiac conditions (such as Flecainide) can cause depression. This was certainly the case with Lewis Wolpert (also of UCL) who suffered a dreadful collapse into depression after being prescribed flecainide for AF. His ‘Malignant Sadness’ is one of the best books written about depression, from the inside. He advocates medication with some support from CBT.
If like you say your mother became depressed for no apparent reason and it just overwhelmed her and then went away totally this is just something physical that happened to her and not bi polar an illness of the brain and mind.
I have been in hospital with mother’s who have just given birth and who are suffering psychosis. This has happened to them out of the blue just after giving birth. This is not some mental illness, this psychosis is as a result of the body coming out into a huge change in all sorts of factors from hormones to the actual birth itself and from the taking away of another human body which a woman has been carrying full term or otherwise.
Medication would be a mistake and only add to the problem. Because there are no such medications invented that could possibly help despite what drug companies lead people to believe. The research done by drug companies is bogus.
I have never been helped whatsoever with any psychiatric medication during the past 35 years. And I admit I have a condition, but I used to get by without medication to begin with and be nursed at home by my mother and father and I made a complete recovery and went back to work.
I still had the condition. I still had major issues. Now for the first time in my life during the last 2 years I have been undergoing existential psychotherapy and it has done me the world of good.
I have issues and outside factors and have been the victim of crime and still am, but I know I have a good chance of finally winning a case whereby I can stop taking these drugs. Because all psychiatrists have ever done for me is turn me into a drug addict. By coercion and wrong advice.
When ill I have the condition for roughly five weeks at the most then recover, but have suffered a lifetime for this. I have never harmed anyone. I have yes lashed out at abuse and in defense but that is different to being violent and dangerous.
I do not commit crime. I do not harm my neighbors, their property or their pets. Sometimes I play my music loud. Sometimes I pester the police. That is it. For this I am locked up for a few months. And if I don’t comply and let them addict me it is months before I get my freedom and then only if I let them force drugs upon me.
My son is the same. He does no harm. But gets himself in difficult situations. And the police broke his arm once. When his only crime was disturbing the peace.
So, you can choose to take medication and that is easy. But try choosing not to like me. Then you see a different side to everything.