Monica’s story: the aftermath of polypsychopharmacology

November 12, 2012 • 65 comments

I recently contacted the doctor who is responsible for my iatrogenesis — the doctor who grossly over-medicated me and made me ill. I’ve been corresponding with him for several years now, but this was the first telephone conversation I’ve had with him since telling him what his drug cocktail did to me. He rarely says much in response to my emails where I link to the articles I’ve written casting large shadows on the “treatment” he gave me. So I called him and left a voicemail that I might talk to him.

When he returned my call a few days later, we talked for perhaps a half hour. I always liked this man when I was his patient and now that I’ve worked through most of the rage of having been harmed by his treatment, I still like him. His intentions were good. I’m clear on that. I do not think this relieves him of responsibility, but it does relieve me from hating him which simply isn’t good for my soul. Still, I simultaneously appreciate Dr. David Healy’s insight about patients succumbing to Stolkholm Syndrome and have made the same observation about myself. I contain multitudes. There is nothing easy about emotionally processing what happened to me and what continues to happen to so many others.

So my conversation with the man who practiced wild, untested poly-pharma on me was actually quite civil and I felt it was productive too. He listened and shared his view too. He did not always agree, but he was clearly listening.

I want to share a bit of the conversation. He has a hard time believing that what happened to me is routine, that it happens to many patients. He grants me my experience, though, like a good shrink. He believes me when I tell him both that my mind is clear now and that I’ve been gravely harmed by the drugs. I’m not sure he thinks he’s responsible, but he doesn’t challenge my experience. The phrase cognitive dissonance comes to mind. How do they do this? I don’t claim to understand.

So he said something suggesting what happened to me isn’t the norm. That he sees medications working wonders all the time. I challenged him like this, “Dr. M, when you were treating me you thought I was one of your successes, right?” He said, “Yes.” And I responded with, “Well, you were wrong. My life was miserable. I lived in a drugged haze. I slept and worked because that is all I had time to do. I had no passion for what I did and I just lived by going through the motions, flat and empty. My life was hell. I liked you and you needed to believe that I was okay…I tried to please you like a “good patient.”  Still if you’d paid attention you  know that I was always asking to be put on disability. That’s because it was insane for me to work 8 hours a day when I required 12 hours of sleep because of the heavy sedation. It was also dangerous for me to drive on that pharmaceutical cocktail yet I needed to drive to keep my job. If you had really paid attention you would have known my life was miserable. And I promise you, you have other patients just like me.”

I’m sharing that vignette as an opening because I think most doctors hear stories like mine and think that they are not the ones perpetrating such injury. My doctor is a very well-reputed psychiatrist in the Bay Area, CA. He’s well-known and well-regarded. He is a typical psychiatrist and typical psychiatrists are causing grave harm every day all over this country and throughout a good part of the world. He still seems to believe that I’m an anomaly and that somehow I’m not his problem. Yes, cognitive dissonance.

So I was on a six drug combination including every class of psychiatric drug at high doses that required over six years of withdrawal. I was left severely ill, afflicted by a severe iatrogenic illness:  “Withdrawal syndrome“ for lack of a better name. The name makes it sound like something that might last days or weeks but it’s crippled my life for years. Those of us who become this sick (I’ve networked with thousands of folks in withdrawal now) are  subject to dangerous care and outright denial of our experience by medical doctors and the medical establishment in general.

What possesses a doctor to prescribe such a cocktail? I don’t think I’ll ever know, but I can tell you how it happened.

The drugs never did “work” and in retrospect they made me much worse…in fact they caused the chronic illness I am now living with. It became clear to me when I was unable to continue working about fifteen years into the (heavy) drugging as my mind and body simply stopped cooperating under a fog of neurotoxic chemicals. I knew I had to try to free myself from them.

So, how did it all begin? After an illicit drug-induced mania I triggered in college, psychiatry got a hold of me. I was told that I was bipolar and would be sick for the rest of my life. One doctor, in fact, told me I would die if I did not take medication for the rest of my life.  Having suffered repeated traumas in my life the additional trauma I was subjected to in the psychiatric ward took its toll. I gave in to what they told me, they scared me good including threats to send me to a state hospital for permanent residence. It’s clear to me now this was used only to terrorize me into submitting to drug treatment, it was not a threat that would have been carried out, but I did not know that then.

The truth, however, is that I had a history of trauma that needed tending to, not any sort of brain disease as mental illness is popularly understood. The years of heavy drugging, in the end, is the only thing that made me truly sick. That is, psychiatric and physical symptoms caused by the drugs I was being given for “treatment.” My original diagnosis, bipolar disorder,  given as a life sentence never really had much credibility. The tragedy is that during all those years of being drugged during the prime of my life I felt purposeless, flat, barely alive and sexless. I went from being a fit and toned athlete to being 100 lbs over-weight and unable to exercise much at all due to the sedation and nausea. Yes, I had long-term chronic nausea as an adverse effect of the Lamictal. I went through the motions of living while in a fog.

Now, drug-free, I’m  quite often too ill to leave my home but my mind is crystal clear. I am motivated and productive, the author and editor of a popular mental health blog that offers alternatives to psychiatry. Having been both a professional in the mental health system and a victim of the same system, I have some interesting and uncomfortable insights into the standard of care. I’m passionate about my work. I have more of a life than I ever had on drugs even while able-bodied and even though now my life is painfully limited in ways it’s hard to convey to those who’ve never experienced such illness and isolation.

In retrospect I see now how one drug led to the next. The “mood-stabilizers” which left me depressed led to the antidepressants which left me with insomnia and agitation which led to the benzos for sleep. They still didn’t get rid of the agitation which led me to the antipsychotics (which made everything worse and in fact my doc kept adding Risperdal milligram by milligram until I was on 11 mg for my akathesia which I now know is CAUSED by the Risperdal—he was treating a symptom with the very drug that was causing the symptom!! My akathisia ceased when I finally got off the Risperdal. We always called it “anxiety,” but it was akathisia.

That big cocktail of drugs left me sedated and lethargic. No surprise. The next step was stimulants. Addiction and dependence to benzos also leads one to needing more and more drug to get the same “therapeutic effect.” And so my dose continued to increase. Unfortunately I’ve learned this happens to way too many people, some of whom never even realize it. Drugs leading to more drugs leading to more drugs. And once in the trap it’s almost impossible to see clearly. To realize what is going on is difficult and perhaps sometimes impossible.

I’ve been free of this massive cocktail of drugs for over two and half years now. The sad part is the greatest amount of suffering I’ve ever endured in my life has been a result of my body adjusting to no longer having neurotoxic drugs in my system. Medically-caused harm and a term that often sounds Orwellian to those of us who experience the protracted version: withdrawal syndrome. It totally fails to capture the grave disability some of us experience.

Still, I have not one moment of regret for having freed myself from these drugs because my mind is clear! I have a clarity of mind that is so beautiful I can cry if I spend time thinking about it. My clarity was stolen from me for almost half my life. I have it back and even impaired as I am, unable to leave the house most of the time, I am grateful.

I once made a list of the myriad insults my body and mind endured. It included over 50, mostly disabling symptoms . What is most astonishing is that I am exponentially better now and don’t experience the bulk of these symptoms anymore, but I’m still very very sick. This, again, is something very few people can conceive of. It’s mind-boggling to me as well and I’ve experienced it.

The fact is our bodies and minds are intrinsically driven to seek wellness and mine is no exception. I am on a path towards wholeness. I don’t imagine it will stop now. There is no going back.

Make Your Voice Heard

Make your voice heard!
Report your experience with prescription drug side effects

Although drug side effects are known to be a leading cause of death and disability, less than 5% of serious drug side effects are reported. Our mission is to capture this missing data directly from patients to help make medicines safer for all of us.

When you report your drug side effect, you also receive a free RxISK Report to take to your doctor or pharmacist. This report serves as a means to initiate a more detailed discussion of your treatment.

At the end of the reporting process, we also provide you with the option to take the information you have reported on RxISK and automatically create a form to send to your country’s health authority — for example, the FDA in the United States, Health Canada in Canada, and Yellow Card in the United Kingdom (more countries will be added soon).

Filed Under: Antidepressants, RxISK Stories, withdrawal | 65 comments

Comments (65)

  1. I’ve known Monica’s story for quite some time now, but what really impresses me here is the courage that she demonstrates by confronting the psychiatrist who harmed her in a phone conversation. That takes guts. Bravo, Monica. Thanks for all you are doing to alert people to the dangers of polypsychopharmacolgy.

    • I agree 100% with Monika letter. my son is 33 and has been diagnosed with schizophrenia when he was 23. he too is on a cocktail of pills and is so phyisically and mentally unwell that my mother’s heart is so wounded. e my son and I are scared and don’t know where to turn.

      every word in Monika’s letter is describing perfectly what has happened to my son by the so called professionals. Like monica my son too is highly intelligent and realizes the delema he’s in and what has happened to him.

      for me, it is bittersweet to finally hear from someone who has experienced what I’ve seen happening to my son.

      • Dear Melina I have just come across your comment on this wonderful website and would like to offer you insight into what I have researched about Schizophrenia; I have a brother with with the same diagnosis. I also have been labeled Bi-Polar II. There is a type of therapy called Orthomolecular Medicine Therapy and a wonderful Psychiatrist called Abram Hoffer spearheaded this medicine particularly for Schizophrenic patients he was treating. Hoffer did not agree with the cocktail of drugs his peers were administering to these dear souls and researched in great depth the benefits of vitamin and supplement therapy along with other holistic approaches and had tremendous success. Hoffer has since passed away but his work lives on and practiced by the brave souls who believe in his pioneer work. I highly recommend reading and watching films about his work. I am using a wonderful Naturopathic doctor in Canada who completely advocates OMT and after years of being on ADs, am now following this line of therapy and starting to see some very positive results. I am gradually weaning of Effexor but having strong support and knowledge is critical for this stage. I am taking it slowly and feel more informed than any previous times in my life. We, the patients must take control and not feel bullied by the system that purports to have all the answers…they don’t!! I truly empathize with you about your son and hope that this wee bit of information will perhaps help lead you in a more informed direction regarding his illness.
        Kindest regards,

        • My son who is 40 years old, has been in psychosis for 3 years after abrupt withdrawal from several drugs after being admitted to a mental hospital. Ativan 2-6 mg, Ambien 10mg, Cogentin 6mg, Tylenol 650mg, Klonopin 1mg, Risperdal 2-9mg, Zyprexa 30mg. He was placed in jail, for 5 months for several misdemeanors that he did not appear on. He was found incompetent to stand trial, and was headed to forced treatment. No beds available, so he was released at 9:30pm on our stormiest night of the year. Our family was there to pick him up, he would not go with us as he did not know who we were or who he is. He was taken to emergency, diagnosed with severe dehydration, severe malnourished and electrolyte issues. They kept him for 2 days and he started to do better, he knew who he was and knew his birthdate etc.
          I had him taken in on a welfare check about a month later as he was suppose to receive follow-up care from his emergency visit. The emergency room, did not listen to my concerns of abrupt withdrawal, I told them I wanted no drugs used, as he had been off all medication for 3 years, and wanted to find treatment that understood what he was going threw. I went to eat, upon returning they had given him Ativan 2mg, & Haldol 3mg, and sent him to behavioral health, where they started Zyprexa 30mg. He was released 17 days later, and again in abrupt withdrawal. I do not know what to do. He does not know who we are, or who he is. We live in a smaller town in northern California and I cannot find good help. I am frightened for him, I do not know what’s happening. He is a shell of his self, he has lost around 40 pounds this year. If anyone has a referral to a great Doctor that understands the use of these deadly medications, please let me know.

  2. I have been in contact with Monica before and subscribe to her blog. Myself, I was lucky in having been locked up through my childhood, but before the drugs were so widespread. If I had been drugged throughout my childhood, I would not be alive today. Monica, I think you express this serious problem for society better than anyone else I’ve ever read. Keep up the fight!

  3. Hi Monica. I can hardly imagine the feeling to have spoken with this man. It sounds like you have the best, and still realistic outlook possible on this “relationship.”
    My best, Syl

  4. So brave! Thank you, Monica.

    It’s so hard to confront the doctors who harmed us. Yet, if we don’t, they’ll continue in their fantasies that they have the magic touch with patients and they’re all doing so well with the medications.

  5. I was prescribed several different anti-depressant drugs (etc) and took to shop-lifting and stealing – something which horrifies me now – I ended up in prison at the age of 56 where I took the decision to stop taking all medication. Although I still suffer from depression due to childhood trauma etc. I have turned my life around – but have a criminal record which shames me……xx

  6. Wow, Monica. Your story is harrowing and inspiring. I was also prescribed poly-psych-meds after docs diagnosed me as Bipolar II (whatever the hell that is). They were so sure there was some med out there that could “cure” me that they completely ignored the horrific side effects I experienced on antidepressants, and later benzos. As Dr. Peter Breggin writes in his book “Medication Madness,” our culture is hypnotized by the psychiatry industry and Big Pharma into thinking that psych meds are safe and good for everyone. Thanks again for your wisdom and bravery!

  7. I did ask the psychiatrist what he thought when he heard I had almost taken my life from Seroxat.
    His face did redden, he said he didn’t know whether it was the drug or me.
    But then he did not know that the gp had not taken his advice to switch to Fluoxetine, due to the short half life of Seroxat and the longer life of Fluoxetine. So, only now, can I perhaps think this psychiatrist had more going for him that I initially thought.
    After all, he did then put me on a year-long programme of tablets and liquid reduction which got me off Seroxat, eventually.

    So, if this man in a small psychiatric hospital in Argyll, did this for me, why then, does GSK insist on a two week withdrawal and why then did my gp fail to recognise manic psychosis and give me Chlordiazepoxide, Propanolol, Lorazepam, Diazepam, and fail to mention Fluoxetine to me.

    Answers on a postcard please to:
    ‘Land of the Brave’

    • annie, I’d very much like to know who that doctor is, who understood gradual tapering. If you will, please send me a note with his contact information survivingads at comcast dot net

      Thank you.

  8. Hello Monica,

    I’ve read your text and I can relate to you. I’ve been experiencing probably the same thing as you. My original diagnosis: bipolar disorder II. The psychiastrist then gave me Prozac, Lithium and Benzodiazepines. 2 months after starting the medication I went through a severe hypomania that got me a lot of troubles. That was in 1996, as being told I was bipolar, I then felt in the trap of being told: you are going to take medication all your life…
    From 1996 to 2010, I’ve been prescribed 16 drugs such as lamictal, valproique acid, cymbalta, etc. Other than overstimulating me, I think, as you do, that these drugs got me really sick. I’m still fighting to get back my health.. Never tought medication could get me worst. But I’ve discovered, than I read a story like yours and the reality is hard to accept. Because I tought I did what I had to do by taking these pills…

  9. Recently I have come to realize the utter devastation psychopharmacology has had on my life over the last 13 years. I would love someone to talk to. I am in the process of documenting my experiences and feel compelled to bring this issue into the light. My life has been robbed from me and the Dr.’s have never taken my complaints seriously. I am devastated. I am angry and I am outraged.

  10. Dear Martie – I think everyone here can share those feelings of outrage and bewilderment. I blamed myself for a long time for taking seriously the pretense that there was Big Science behind the treatments I was given, and swallowing obediently while my mind and health went downhill.

    Well at least we are thinking for ourselves now, and this site is meant to help us keep doing so!

    The Internet can be a godsend in this process. There are gutsy and dedicated people like Monica working hard to maintain quality blogs. There are also a lot of “discussion boards” springing up where people try to help each other with the fallout from various psychotropic drugs. Here are a few I know personally:

    Most of these boards discuss more than just the one drug in the title. They all have plenty of members who have been diagnosed as bipolar and put on multiple drugs. The advice varies – just remember that no one’s an expert and everyone’s nervous system is different. Paxil has probably caused more misery to more people trying to quit than any single drug – but I was taken off cold turkey, and barely felt a bump. I was not so lucky with the next set of drugs. Go figure. Check back in here soon and best of luck!

  11. stan, french, 62 years, victim of protracted antidepressant withdrawal since more than 4,5 years after 13 years 20/10mg deroxat/paxil

    when you hurt someone, you must answer for your actions before a judge, whether you made this intentionally or by accident, and the judge determines liability and damages;

    For doctor and psychiatrist, it’s good, they never worried, even their victims come talk to them,
    This joke can still continue years

  12. Dear Monica,
    Fantastic writing! Your muse struck! Thanks for sharing your story… I always love to read what you have to say!

  13. Pertinent comment, Stan. ‘Even their victims come to talk to them.’

    I made an analysis of my gp, who led me a not so merry dance regarding Seroxat and many benzos.

    I don’t know anything about psycho school or how psychiatrists are trained in dispensing ssris and benzos, but I do know that filtering responsibility to a gp is like giving a gp ‘a weapon of mass destruction.’

    I am always finding analogies and ‘weapons of mass destruction’ brought on a war with Iraq, which became ‘sexed up’ dossiers from our government, and in the end the suicide of a man, called David Kelly. An eminent scientist who, I believe, took his life due to pressures from those who abandoned him.

    Returning to my gp, who was old fashioned, elderly, frumpy, disillusioned, cynical; the sort of woman you would not want in your life.

    So, she came out with a statement, in my medical records, which I will reel from for the rest of my life.

    She said:

    “She has had Seroxat which she discontinued last summer when she was well at his suggestion of Fluoxetine. It does not appear that either of these drugs have made the slightest difference to her and I notice in a recent article they are no more efficacious in anxiety than benzodiazepines.”

    1. She did not give me Fluoxetine.
    2. After eight weeks off Seroxat I hacked myself with a carving knife, tried to hang myself and then swallowed 28 beta-blockers.
    3. If they are no more efficacious in anxiety than benzos, then why did she give me chloriadopoxide, Lorazepam, Diazepam, Propanolol for months on end.

    What am I missing. Was this a deliberate attempt at criminal intent to deceive, or was this just ramblings from a tired, old woman.

    Whatever it was, it put me in a ‘near death situation’.

    This is why gp’s meddling in pharmapsychology, is way beyond acceptable, and why I should have gone right back to the psycho, who gave the advice, instead of allowing this gp to nearly murder me, caused me two years of unimaginable distress, and ten years of trying to right what should not have gone so cruelly wrong in the first place.

    Way to go, with this.

  14. I’m going to repost something I posted on the thread at Mad in America on this same article. I’ve edited it a bit.

    “When I engage with the doctor I do it because I care about the people he is still treating. It’s not some sort of touchy feely exercise to commune with him. Seeing and believing him to be evil when it’s clear to me that he is not would get us no where at all. It would only totally alienate him. I may not change him 100% but I’m sure at this point he will never prescribe quite the same way again either. (I’ve been sending him my work on the harm psych meds cause for several years now) Any time less aggressive prescribing is used…any time people end up on less medications… will diminish how much people are harmed. This too is harm reduction.

    It’s convenient and sometimes satisfying to imagine all these prescribers as evil. (And for our healing process it may also be helpful at certain junctures) But it’s simply not the case all the time…misunderstanding this fact can forfeit any chance of meaningful dialogue with those who might have ears to hear. I opt for meaningful dialogue and frankly I welcome the opportunity to dialogue with people that are not part of the choir.

    We all work where we are called to work. Talk to those we can communicate with and help. I was a professional in this field. I am skilled at communicating with other professionals. I do what I can on as many fronts as possible in this battle to educate and change what is happening with the use of psychiatric drugs.

    It’s better that we support each others unique skills rather than question their value.”

    If talking to MDs doesn’t feel right people shouldn’t do it.

  15. I really, really agree with you but when the people you want to have a dialogue with totally refuse to discuss anything to do with it in a rather unrepentant and hostile manner, then what on earth do you do?

    I have two letters.

    One from the hospital who put me on Seroxat and although, offered sincere sympathy, for my distressing symptoms, refuse absolutely any further discourse. In fact, they tell me to talk to my surgery.

    The other, from the surgery, refuse totally to even begin to talk to me. Notwithstanding, a very distressing telephone call from a man in Canada, who tells me that he has not the time to listen to my complaint about ‘potential manslaughter.’

    I am not a trouble maker, I am not someone who makes a fuss about nothing.

    I have just been met with a brick wall and in ten years cannot penetrate it.
    I really do now think that I have met the lowest, most absurd people.

  16. yes, Annie. I hear you…it’s simply not always possible nor is it always appropriate or safe. I certainly support protecting ourselves and NOT retraumatizing ourselves or risking our safety in any way. That is why it depends on the person and the situation. It’s not always the right thing to do. I applaud you trying but I wouldn’t sweat it for a minute if it’s not the right thing to do… I personally go with the flow on this stuff…it works for me so I do it. I wouldn’t do it otherwise.

    And so it’s totally legitimate to simply not go there at all. Absolutely.

  17. You are a wonderful and contained person and I admire your resiliance and fortitude.
    Of course, you are right, why should I let these people get to me. But they did, and I cannot let it go. I cannot let it go.

    I live in a caravan. I lost everything. Except, for myself, as it happens. Although, it took me a while. Once, this is all over, I will face the world, without being forced into mania and suicide and disgrace………

    However, all is not lost. I work six days a week as a freelance gardener, in a Scottish castle, I try to paint, I want to be an artist. I read, I think, I live.

    But, the pain and anguish I have in my heart because of GSK and their rotten drugs and the way I was treated by the gp and psychiatrist have left me bereft, that I could have been anniliated so easily; without one single person trying to help me out.

    Thanks, Monica. I appreciate your thoughfulness in responding.
    All my comments on David’s blog have the only belief possible. Seroxat causes suicide and no one will tell me otherwise. And, altercations with surgeries, will continue …………..

    • Annie…
      your story, as most of our stories are, is one filled with trauma. I find the trauma lens to healing the best one for me. If you’ve never looked at some of the newest methods of caring for yourself once traumatized you might find it helpful. If you don’t know where to start getting info you can look at the page on my blog that has a collection of info about trauma and care of trauma. I’m mostly drawn to the fact that trauma is often embodied…it sinks into our bodies…quite literally. Healing for me has become hugely body oriented. I have no idea if it will resonate with you but I felt moved to share that I’ve found it helpful.

      here is the page I’ve put together on trauma and it includes quite a lot of suggestions for getting in touch with the body.

      Your job sounds perfect…really…working with plants outside is so healing. When the weather permits and you aren’t using any dangerous equipment try working barefoot…direct contact with the earth is another one of my “therapies.”

      best to you. hang in there.

  18. I totally related to your experience. I went to the doctor in 1992 and reported symptoms that I now know were situational anxiety due to many life events and a job that was incredibly stressful. The Psychiatric social worker told me that she thought I was depressed. Just the word “depressed” didn’t seem to fit what I was going through. She did a little trick that was totally unethical and was part of a con-job that really destroyed much of the life that I was building. She said, “Just try the medication (Prozac). If you aren’t depressed it wont have any effects and if you do feel relief then you will know you were depressed.” I reluctantly started the meds. After about a month of taking them I was driving to work and I noticed that I felt pretty good. I immediately thought, “It must be the prozac! I guess I really was depressed!” I then committed to taking these meds. After a time the effect wore off and I found myself feeling much worse than when I initially went to the doctor. When I went for a foolow-up my dose was increased. Over the next 10 years I went from being a moderately successful professional with incredible prospects to someone who looked and acted like someone with severe mental illness. I basically lost everything in time and ended up on the streets in a state of utter desperation. I finally quit taking any medication and lo and behold I feel much better and am productive in my life. Going to a psychiatrist to deal with life’s stressors was one of the worst decisions I had ever made. I would have been better off if I had gone to a street drug dealer. Really though social support and self-awareness have made the difference. I know that I am the authority on my body and mind today. Physicians are consultants and today I know they cannot be trusted. Just like when buying a car I am going to weigh anything the seller tells me with the knowledge that he/she is trying to SELL the car.,Going to the doctor is the same thing. Medical treatment is partly a financial decision. The motives of the medical establishment are obviously tied up in money and my well-being is not always the main concern. Thank You Again John

  19. Pingback: Talking to the MD who prescribed the drugs that made me so very ill – Beyond Meds

  20. Monica, I don’t know if I could be so forgiving of the harm done to me, as one suffering protracted withdrawal, no-one could even begin to imagine the torture that ensues with this “condition”. Originally, I visited the Dr, who’s bad advice resulted in me being in this position, seeking help and answers. He was unhelpful and this only further amplified my suffering. It took 19 months of suffering for anyone to confirm that what I was going through was withdrawal and that it was most probably due to quitting prozac so abruptly. This confirmation was from the psychiatrist on my first visit. All the other Dr’s in the practice are aware of problems withdrawing from these types of drugs and usually switch drugs and reduce gradually to prevent problems. Why did my Dr find it inconceivable that I would not suffer any adverse effects quitting 40mg prozac after 2 1/2 years use without problems. His actions nearly cost me my life, have cost me my sanity (for a while), my health and the life I wanted for both myself and my family.

    • Chrissy, I just recently read about Monica. Can you tell me why she is unable
      to go out? Is she disabled permanently from taking these meds? I don’t know
      how to get in touch with Monica.

  21. Pingback: Story of harm presented to the American Psychiatric Association and summarily dismissed – Beyond Meds

  22. I nodded my head throughout this whole post, as my son experienced a lot of the same, being on ten different meds for severe obsessive-compulsive disorder. He recovered from his OCD, you guessed it, once we insisted he be taken off all medication and be given the right type of therapy (Exposure Response Prevention). I follow your blog, Monica, and appreciate your passion to get the word out about psychiatry and these drugs.

  23. Pingback: Recovery from psychosis: Listen to the many voices of those who have been there – Beyond Meds

  24. Pingback: Newborn infants experience psychiatric drug withdrawal – Beyond Meds

  25. Thank you. I feel stronger to face my life having gained strength in your story.

  26. Pingback: Video interview with John Nash of Beautiful Mind fame (with commentary) – Beyond Meds

  27. Thank you for writing this blog. It is so nice to find like minded people. My “bipolar” was caused by Wellbutrin withdrawal (given for smoking cessation, not depression), worsened by a major drug interaction with a pain killer Ultram and ADRs from a NSAI. All these meds given to me by a PCP, I later learned from reading all my medical records, was paranoid of a malpractice suit because her husband was the “attending physician” at a “bad fix” on a broken bone.

    My pastor told me I dealt with the “dirty little secret of the two original educated professions.” (Apparently historically, and still, any time a pastor or doctor wants to cover up a sin or malpractice, they recommend a therapist, who claims the person has a mental illness, ships the person off to a psychiatrist, who then makes the person ungodly sick with drugs.) I survived 15 distinctly different drug cocktails, before I was finally weaned off drugs. Talk about insanely inappropriate medical care, and betrayal.

    But I am grateful to the kind nurses who eventually handed over my family’s medical records, recommended we find another doctor, switch medical insurance groups, and the one nurse who followed my family to our next two PCPs, and worked to protect us.

    When an industry offers malpractice suit prevention as a service to the balance of the medical community, it’s no wonder there is an anti-psychiatry movement. They claim to be doctors there to help you, but in reality they’re just hypocrites trying to harm patients to cover up a “bad fix.” Truly, Dante was correct when he claimed the hypocrites belong in the very lowest depths of hell.

    Will I ever overcome my disgust? I’ve been drug free for six years now. And I’m not certain I will ever trust, or even respect, any doctor again knowing this is commonly accepted behavior within the medical community.

    All people should be made aware of this “dirty little secret of the two original educated professions.” (Put a person on a drug that causes mania, misdiagnose – according to the DSM-IV-TR – the drug induced mania as bipolar, then render the person senceless with antipsychotics, et al.)

    And the most appalling thing about this, is that this is exactly the same way the medical community created an iatrogenic “childhood bipolar epidemic” in this country. The scope of the iatrogenic crimes against American children by the US medical industry are almost unfathomable. We need a return of ethics in this country.

    Shame on Dr. Joseph Biederman, the psycho / pharmaceutical industries, and the US governmental agencies who allowed over a million children to be misdiagnosed as bipolar. Shame on the lawyers for not taking these easily provable malpractice suits. Read your DSMs, doctors, if mania is caused by a drug, then a bipolar diagnosis is wrong!

  28. Having a very hard time right now coming to terms with the fact that these drugs over time have caused me to barely be able to leave the house the last few years, seriously. Fatigue, mental fog, severe depression have been my chronic companions, not therapeutic help in the form of these toxins. I finally got a neuropsych at an ECT consultation appt. to admit that yes, the meds could have made me worse and his advice was to get off Cymbalta and see how I do. I’ve been on one after another med and the last three years, I’ve been battling extreme depression with severe headaches, fatigue, and memory loss. I got myself off of Adderall and ma now in the midst of Cymbalta withdrawal. Next will come Tramadol for the chronic pain. I have to find another way to deal with that though if that is the only drug I have to take if it, I would pick that over any of the total psych meds I’ve been on. I am just sad. I really liked my doctor as well and I will still have to go see him to keep up my disability until I get somehow get back to work – if I ever can after all this. I think my energy systems were severely damaged by these things over time. I don’t know if I will ever be the same but slowly but surely on what I have quit so far, I am feeling some clarity and some passion – but some rage coming back as well. I am 47 recently and I worry I’ve lost most of my life by now to all this – 30 years to be exact of being medicated. I hope there is still hope. I guess I have some grieving to do and some old trauma stuff to get through.

  29. there is always hope Cat. I highly recommend this withdrawal board:

    there you will find others with similar stories to your own and support and the safest methods of withdrawal available at this time. While it’s name contains antidepressants there is extensive information and help to come off all psych drugs.

    I wish you the best on your continued journey. I’m sorry you’ve had to suffer so much.

    • Thank you, Monica. Really enjoying your Facebook page and I take great inspiration from your story. I found the group you suggested and I don’t feel so alone or hopeless anymore. Thank you! I think supplements should have been tried in my case but the whole psychiatry trip has you believing over time that those can’t possibly touch such severe illness and you need the drugs and need to keep trying them or combinations until you find the right one(s). Such baloney! Desperation keeps so many mesmerized and spellbound by the effects of the drugs that by the time we figure out something is really wrong, it is much later than we are prepared to deal with – like the frog in the slow boiling pot of water. Not fun realizing I’ve been burned but on the other hand, as David Foster Wallace said, “The truth will set you free, but not until it is done with you,” and unfortunately I don’t believe he lived to survive psychiatry, is the conclusion I drew after reading his biography. But our experiences and talking about them will hopefully be useful to others over time and I commend you dearly for making use of a major challenge and tragedy in your lie. I will endeavor to do the same and find a way to start a blog to share my healing journey. I am finding Yoga Nidra recorded meditations to be very helpful recently as well.

      • Monica, I relate to everything you say – In Ireland I was abducted by the psychiatry world for questioning general medical wrongdoing in a hospital – I am now going through the same as you as nice qualified doctor psychiatry tells me that I have a clinical imbalance and must stay on the drugs for the rest of my life – if only I would for my own sake he declares go on the monthly injection it would save me a lot of unnecessary worry on having to think to take the “tablet” every day – I tell him about the adverse side effects, and show him xrays of wrongdoing in the general medical field – he completely bypasses all that and tell me how wonderful I am doing on the medication – forced psychotropic drug – I talk about the proven information on Council for Evidence based Psychiatry – he ignores all that and tells me how important it is for me to stay on the medication – that it is in my best interest – in an area not far from his office I read about the sponsorship from Lundbeck…another bulletin states do you want to get of benzos – we can help – the entrapment of human life beyond what the world wants to know…slaves of pharma, endorsed by the well dress gatsby type figures whom Big Pharma depend on…Well done Monica, you have found a way out of the dungeons of Pharma control…God Bless you.

        • Hi monica

          I read alot about your situation.
          I am in a very desperate one myself. Very desperate. I was put on and off of meds this year and the last med they tried on my i developed horrible akathisia. I can not tolerate anything anymore and can not sleep. Or lie down. My situation is very bad. I read that you were put on lamictal to somehow reset you brain…can this be necessary? I really really need help from someone who understands what he is doing.
          Sorry for being so desperate.
          Melanie from germany

  30. Pingback: This is it. Pay attention. – Beyond Meds

  31. Pingback: Our relationship with doctors (or health providers in general) – Beyond Meds

  32. Pingback: SSRIs are no better than placebo… (really?) – Beyond Meds

  33. Pingback: Yoga: Hormones/Endocrine System – Beyond Meds

  34. Pingback: The unbearable heaviness of protracted psychiatric drug withdrawal – Beyond Meds

  35. Pingback: The Unbearable Heaviness of Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal | Mad In America

  36. Pingback: Prison Yoga Project – Beyond Meds

  37. Pingback: When “psychiatric survivors” think they know it all… – Beyond Meds

  38. Excellent article. I had a psychiatrist do something similar and held him accountable legally.

  39. that’s very hard to do, you are lucky and you situation was likely different than mine if you were able to bring a case against him. My psychiatrist did nothing unusual as compared to other shrinks…and given it’s standard care it’s almost impossible to bring lawsuits against. I actually consulted with a law firm that deals with iatrogenesis and was told I had nothing.

  40. Pingback: Mental handcuffs: how this young student describes his ADHD drugs – Beyond Meds

  41. Pingback: To my friends and readers who still take psych drugs (and to everyone on and off meds too) – Beyond Meds

  42. Pingback: Lobotomy…revisited – Beyond Meds

  43. Pingback: Restorative yoga – Beyond Meds

  44. Pingback: 4 year anniversary of withdrawal from psych drug cocktail: healing continues – Beyond Meds

  45. Pingback: ’4 year anniversary of withdrawal from psych drug cocktail: healing continues’ By Monica Cassani — Recovery Stories

  46. Pingback: Video interview with John Nash of Beautiful Mind fame – Beyond Meds

  47. Pingback: Peer support? This is the real thing. Free of institutionalization. (psych drug withdrawal) – Beyond Meds

  48. thank you so much for your blog and site. I am a RN with 22 years of nursing experience. I was prescribed benzos in 1994 with a job change and told I had an ” anxiety disorder ” and I would have to take them the rest of my life. my mother was mentally ill so I too was labeled with something wrong with me when I needed the help of a qualified psychotherapist at that time in my life. This morphed into a horrible experience being given more drugs over a period of 20 years and polydrugged. It has now been 16 months and I am benzo free and in withdrawal still with horrible physical symptoms. But my mind is clear once again and I am so proud!! after a review of these years, I now know I had a thyroid disease for years Hashimontos’s that was not treated for a period of 10 years, then when it was treated, it was treated with the wrong thyroid medication for 7 years. I have also learned that instead of an anxiety disorder, I have bipolar disorder, that was not treated for 10 years, and the following years, not treated with the right medication. I am talking lamictal 100 mg daily and feeling more normal. I am so happy now for after spending 2 years on my back in the bed, I am now healing enough to face the day, and up and going altho in a great deal of physical pain. my body is overweight, and I have lost muscle mass, but I hope to heal my body with proper exercise. I would like to go back to work, but due to the damage to my body, I am unable too at this time. so anyone who has been prescribed benzos, and who is in recovery or in withdrawal know you can overcome and reclaim your life. I am not totally there yet, but I am on my way. if I never work as a RN again, I will find a fulfilling way of helping my fellow man again.

    • For me, 3 years of clean after 16 years on mind numbing psychiatric medications is an awakening to myself!! Be kind, be compassionate to you. Mindful meditation via MBSR workbook via Bob Stahl and Elisa Goldstein PhD ‘ s helped me first. It takes a long time to come back inside the body and mind after being gone. Do your best. Enough~

  49. Pingback: We not only get ill, we also get well – Beyond Meds

  50. Pingback: Mamma earth in action and my big brother – Beyond Meds

  51. Pingback: Do antidepressants work?
 – Beyond Meds

  52. Pingback: Los Angeles has increased it’s outpatient involuntary treatment program in the face of UN declaring force torture – Beyond Meds

  53. Pingback: Los Angeles Has Increased Its Outpatient Involuntary Treatment Program in Spite of UN Declaring Force Torture | Mad In America

  54. Pingback: Los Angeles Increases Outpatient Involuntary Treatment in Spite of UN Declaring Force "Torture" | Mad In America

  55. Wow. Seldom am I speechless, but this ‘takes the cake.’ A journey I’m not sure I could do myself. I’m grateful that you’ve gone before me Monica, introducing to me the dangers. I’ve read about the politics of medicine for years, but your personal experiences are far more reaching than a text and I am paying attention.

    Thank you, Monica….you keep me on my path and I am reminded…I am not alone.

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *