How 1 Panic Attack Led to 15 Years of Psychiatric Drugs 


During the winter of 2004, when I was a senior at a private school in Maryland, I had my first brush with psychiatry. That week, I had experienced a panic attack after trying to stay up all night completing a mountain of homework assignments, college applications, and practice SATs.

On a cold Baltimore morning, I arrived at the office of a local psychiatrist. After a brief stay in the waiting room, I was greeted by the doctor, who motioned me back to her office. It was only a few feet away from where we had departed, yet I felt as though we had been walking together for miles.

As she reached for the door handle, I began to notice acutely the rate at which my heart was now beating. I recounted my panic attack to her and relayed that I still felt a significant amount of distress. After what felt like a 10-second conversation, I was given my diagnosis.

“You have panic disorder,” she stated. “This is treatable by antidepressant medication.”

There was not even a twinge of hesitation in her voice. I felt stunned, yet a large wave of relief slowly washed over my mind. This was it, I thought. There was a cure for all the distress I had been feeling.

The psychiatrist briefly described the side effects of the medication, which were limited to the potential for nausea and increased anxiety at the start of treatment.

“You’ll feel like yourself again in just a few short weeks!” she exclaimed.


I was stunned. An anti-depressant? Zoloft? I had seen the commercials before and I even knew a couple of friends who took these drugs. I did not know what to feel, but a large part of me was excited about the possibility of relief.

“You can take these drugs for up to six months,” she added. “After six months, you can slowly come off and be back to normal. This medication should kick in soon! You’ll be back to your old self in no time!”’

In my vulnerability, I accepted her statement as an unwritten promise between us. She handed me a small sample pack of Zoloft (sertraline) and sent me on my way. Though I felt optimistic, I was also apprehensive about taking my first dose. My sea of optimism would soon come crashing down on me. To date, the worst mistake of my life was ever setting foot in that doctor’s office.

Later, I fumbled with my Zoloft pack and retrieved my first dose, a 25mg pill. I washed the pill down with some orange juice and walked over to my car. I knew that the medication would kick in soon and then I would feel better.

At first, I did not notice any change.

“This is fine,” I said to myself out loud. “The doctor said it may take up to a few weeks for the medication to have its full effect.”

I waited.

Day 7: I had continued to increase my dose of Zoloft as instructed by my doctor and was now taking 75 mg. When I showed up to my community service job, I was asked to make copies of a flyer, a trivial task that I had completed many times in the past. However, this time was different.

I asked my supervisor how to work the copy machine. She explained the process, but I could not comprehend what she was saying. I asked her twice more to repeat the instructions. As she spoke, I felt my brain shutting down inside my skull. I managed to nod my head after she finished speaking in an effort to appear normal.

Then I dashed to the women’s bathroom and opened up the first vacant stall in sight. Once inside, I moved the silver knob to the locked position and crumbled down onto the cold, bare tile.

“It’s finally happened,” I cried. “I have lost my mind.”


I went home that evening with a horrible zapping sensation in my head. I felt as though I could begin seizing at any moment. So, I called my doctor.

“I guess we should try to get you off of this medication,” she stated. “Let’s try you on Xanax [a benzodiazepine drug] next.”

I took the Xanax as prescribed, hoping for the slightest bit of relief. The next day, I entered my psychiatrist’s office, barely able to sit down as another round of brain zaps shook me to my core. “My head hurts ALL the time,” I exclaimed. “It’s like I am being plugged into an electrical outlet!”

She barely looked at me and said, “Rose, you have anxiety. Anxiety can cause physical sensations. Why don’t you try counting to ten as you breathe in and out.”

I pretended that her breathing exercises worked, and she then told me that we would try a new medication. This prescription was for Klonopin, a different and more potent benzodiazepine than Xanax. I nervously asked her if there were any side effects, recounting my previous experience with the Zoloft. She shook her head and told me that I had nothing to worry about.

Klonopin and Paxil

At first, Klonopin seemed like a miracle. But soon enough, although I had taken the medication as prescribed at 0.5 mg twice a day, all the strange brain-zap sensations returned with a vengeance. Despite being a previously diligent student, I had missed so many days of class that I was in danger of not graduating. When I did make it to school, I often ended up in the nurse’s office, holding my head and crying about how awful I felt.

I called my psychiatrist about a dozen times throughout this experience, but she would only keep telling me that my “underlying” anxiety was causing all my distress. Deep down, I knew this was not the case. I had had none of these symptoms prior to taking the medication. So, I Googled my concerns and found a website titled “Antidepressant Facts.” In horror, I read all the horrific side effects that can occur from psychiatric medications. At this point, however, I did not know what to believe. As I continued taking the Klonopin, I built up a tolerance for it and then started getting interdose withdrawals, including intense anxiety, brain zaps, and depersonalization. I detailed these symptoms to my psychiatrist, but she continued to brush them off as evidence of underlying anxiety. Meanwhile, I felt as though I were having mini seizures on a daily basis.

In a desperate attempt to feel better, I asked her to try a different medication. She suggested Paxil, another antidepressant. Upon ingesting a single dose, I hallucinated the letter “E” coming off of the ceiling and felt so agitated that I ended up in the hospital. During my stay, I calmly and articulately explained that I was having adverse reactions to psychiatric medication. No one believed me. Instead, they asked me leading questions about suicide.  They removed my belly-button ring and a metal ornament that I had in my pocket. I felt like a prisoner.

Meanwhile, the potent effects of the Paxil had taken their toll. I became convinced I was dying and said goodbye to my entire family. I lay my head on the hospital pillow and was ready to part with life. I felt at peace about it and I waited for death to rescue me. Instead, I passed out into a deep slumber and awoke to the doctors pleading with my parents to let me stay and have them try different drugs on me. My parents refused, and I was lucky enough to return home.

Withdrawal and More Drugs

After my dehumanizing experience at the hospital, I told my doctor that I was ready to come off the Klonopin. She provided me with a rapid taper plan to get off the drug and asked me to buy a pill cutter. I went down by 0.25 mg every two days until I was fully off the medication in less than a week. Although this method seemed questionable, I still trusted that my doctor knew what was best for me.

Every day, I continued to file more pieces of the pill away and swallow the powdered specks of poison. After I completed my taper, I was promised that my symptoms would disappear. Unfortunately, they only escalated. I had severe inner restlessness, a condition that I can now identify as akathisia. My brain zaps were so severe that I again felt like I was having a mini seizure on a daily basis. And I experienced depersonalization, feeling that I was completely dissociated from myself. I felt as if my soul had been lit on fire. I was no longer a person, but a hollow shell of who I once was. I could not even recognize myself when I looked in the mirror.

All of my friends were going off to college and I felt pressured to do the same. I started at the University of Maryland in the fall of 2005. But due to my unrelenting symptoms, I had to withdraw from all my courses and move out of the dorms after only a couple of months. After this period of high stress, I developed new withdrawal symptoms. I started to suffer from agonizing intrusive thoughts that would torment me 24/7. I also developed vocal tics, involuntary movements, and speech patterns that I had never experienced before.

Despite my negative experiences, I went on to see more than a dozen other psychiatrists. I was desperate to feel better and I did not know where else to turn. I always brought up the possibility that my original medication regimen could be responsible for my current state. These concerns were heavily dismissed, and instead I was given multiple diagnoses throughout the years, including Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, and Bipolar Disorder. Each psychiatrist would always tell me that my only hope was to try another medication. Over the last 15 years, I have tried over a dozen different psychiatric medications including antidepressants, benzodiazepines, antipsychotics, and mood stabilizers.

During this time frame, I was able to successfully complete college and even go on to acquire a doctoral degree. However, any periods of stability were also fraught with underlying bouts of extreme anxiety, obsessive thinking, and depersonalization. Although the brain zaps would fade over time, they would inevitably return and I would suffer silently, in horrific pain.

Off the Merry-Go-Round

A couple of years ago, my pain had escalated to the degree that I became determined to find more answers about my condition. The first name I came across while searching the Internet was that of Dr. Peter Breggin, a Harvard-trained psychiatrist who writes scientific literature on the dangers of psychiatric medications. This led me to find the Facebook support group “Beating Benzos,” a community of more than 5,000 individuals who have had protracted symptoms from taking benzodiazepine drugs. This was a huge revelation, and I immediately read hundreds of stories that mirrored my own. For the first time in more than a decade, I did not feel alone. As important, I was now 100 percent confident that the source of all of my ongoing symptoms was the psychiatric medications I had taken for years.

While I am still in the process of fully coming off of my medication, I feel more hopeful about a future that is free of psychiatric drugs. I am now educated about slow and safe micro tapering methods, a means of reducing doses in order to minimize withdrawal symptoms. I also have the support of a community that validates my experience and provides an outlet to document this silent epidemic. I feel angry, frustrated, and sad about the many years of my life lost to psychiatry. However, I do feel hopeful about my future. I hope to advocate for other psychiatric survivors. And I hope that my story reaches others who may still be in the pits of despair. I want them to know that there is a life beyond psychiatric medications, and to keep going.

Rose may be contacted at [email protected] .




Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.


Mad in America has made some changes to the commenting process. You no longer need to login or create an account on our site to comment. The only information needed is your name, email and comment text. Comments made with an account prior to this change will remain visible on the site.


  1. A genuinely ghastly performance from modern psychiatry- what sounds like an initial job for non-prescription magnesium chloride, and maybe a few grams of (also non-prescription) niacinamide. But then, there aren’t any winter conferences or gifts for not using prescription drugs.

    Report comment

    • I strongly agree. It is quite disturbing that in 2020, very little has changed. Psychiatrists are writing more scripts than ever amidst the pandemic to an unsuspecting and vulnerable patient audience who is spellbound to their erroneous narrative. Thank you for reading my article!

      Report comment

  2. Thank you Rose.

    Honestly I should not read these stories as it is not good for my mental health. It’s my brain after all, reacting to these stories and has nothing to do with anything psychiatry or the medical system “does”, (according to psychiatry)
    And according to psychology, it has to do with mind, with the process, the trauma or injury, but how I perceive it. Again it has nothing to do with “psychology” or “psychiatry”, and everything to do with how I process abuses and lies.

    And they are correct, to fight ultimate power is self destructive. To walk away and pretend it does not happen is the best way to live.

    Report comment

  3. And Rose, I hope you realize that the alarm bells in your system are not a “disorder”, nor anything called “mental illness”.
    In fact, those sitting in the confession booth are a convenience to hide behind. The booth is an income and a tool. Absence of anxiety or distress is SO very far from anything “normal”.
    It is common to hear people whisper or talk of someone’s “mental illness”.
    “she has a “mental illness”.
    If you ever get a chance to observe the faces of people while hearing this, and especially psychiatrists, you can observe an interesting phenomena.
    It is the face of “gee, we’re living in this lie”.
    When someone sells something that is garbage, like the proverbial used car salesman, the seller prefers arguments and distrust, since THAT IS what keeps him in biz. He feels his lie has been exposed when people talk of his used bad cars as great cars, because he knows he sells only crap cars and only once in a while by chance someone got a better car than he thought.

    Report comment

    • Sam, thank you for reading my article. Your response was quite thoughtful and poignant. I love the imagery of the confession booth. I wanted to hold on to the idea that these doctors may just be “unaware” to what the patients suffer through with these medications, but that was quite naive. They know very well the brain damage that these drugs are causing and continue to prescribe these poisons to kids as young as 18 months. It is an epidemic of mass proportions. Hmm… maybe someone should write a book about it? 😉
      Thanks for reading!

      Report comment

  4. A familiar story, similar to my own. The psychiatrists and psychologists think brain zaps, a common symptom of antidepressant discontinuation syndrome, is “bipolar.” Apparently because none of them were intelligent enough to read this DSM-IV disclaimer.

    “Note: Manic-like episodes that are clearly caused by somatic antidepressant treatment (e.g., medication, electroconvulsive therapy, light therapy) should not count toward a diagnosis of Bipolar I Disorder.”

    But in the doctors’ defense, they didn’t even know brain zaps were a common symptom of antidepressant discontinuation syndrome until 2005.'Brain_shivers'_From_chat_room_to_clinic

    Don’t you just love the staggering arrogance in the concluding paragraph of that article? Let’s hope the psychiatrists and psychologists some day learn something about the common adverse effects of the drugs they force others to take.

    Like, for example, that both the antidepressants and antipsychotics can make people hallucinate and become psychotic, via anticholinergic toxidrome poisoning, which isn’t even listed in their DSM billing code “bible.”

    Good luck in weaning from the psychiatric drugs, Rose. Do be forewarned about a possible drug withdrawal induced super sensitivity manic psychosis, which will be misdiagnosed as a “return of the illness,” if you end up hospitalized.

    But you can overcome and survive that too, if it does happen. I’ve been drug free for ten years now, and definitely “there is a life beyond psychiatric medications.” I do understand your justifiable anger, frustration, and sadness regarding the psychiatrists’ crimes against you, and humanity.

    Report comment

    • Thank you for your thoughtful response and I will absolutely read the links you provided. I am quite confident I will never end up in the hospital like I did 15 years ago. I believe all of us as survivors should write advanced directives so we do not fall on such a fate. I am tapering my last drug, gabapentin, which I had to take to deal with excruciating nerve pain caused by damage from benzos. My pain was so horrific that I felt as though I was having a stroke while being shot in the head. I can only hope I will be pain free one day. Thank you for reading my article!

      Report comment

      • “Shot in the head,” yes, I know what that feels like. I did a self portrait, right after being given Risperdal. My bloody brain painting is in the art section of this website, under the name anonymous. Chaos in the brain = chaos on the canvas.

        Report comment

        • Wow! I will have to check this out. And I’m happy to know I’m not alone in feeling like I took a bullet to the brain. What a horrifying thing to have to endure. I am happy you were able to express this creatively in art form. I’m a musician as a side hobby, and I’d love to write a song about it.

          Report comment

  5. Rose

    Great blog!

    Did any one of these dozen psychiatrists ever ask you about events in your current life or past that might be causing the anxiety, or did they all just quickly diagnose and drug you?

    Your story once again reaffirms just how oppressive the Medical Model is in today’s world

    Since you play guitar and sing songs, check out my music video “Benzo Blue.”

    Many benzo survivors have found it to be cathartic in a good way. All the best in your journey’


    Report comment

        • In a very confusing world where I have to make difficult decisions, I have decided I don’t like psychiatry and western medicine because they teach me not to trust myself. They give me medicine that feels like poison and when I don’t feel better they tell me I am doing better because they told me so. Can someone tell me how something as destructive as the alliance between Big Pharma, psychiatry and state’s power to take your rights away has not yet destroyed itself with its own poison?

          Report comment

          • “Can someone tell me how something as destructive as the alliance between Big Pharma, psychiatry and state’s power to take your rights away has not yet destroyed itself with its own poison?”

            2 Thessolonians 2
            “Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.”

            “The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie,”

            “For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.”

            Nothing more wicked that using the revelations for personal gain and profit. And it is certainly delusional that the inevitable Day of Judgement can be avoided. Ask Dr Mengele.

            Report comment

  6. Hi Rose,

    Your story sounds like a good warning to anyone thinking about seeing a Psychiatrist with an ‘anxiety problem’. The warning maybe being that ‘the Psychiatrist might not have a clue’.

    As soon as I saw Zoloft I was wondering where Zantax was. But you found the right path in the end.

    I recovered, in my 20s, through a micro withdrawal process. The Consultant Psychiatrist had offered me the option of Abrupt Withdrawal from a Depot Injection but this proved ‘unsuitable’ (even though depot is supposed to leave the body very slowly).

    I’ve noticed that the generally offered abrupt withdrawal (option) from Depot Medication usually ends up badly, but I think this is because the person hasn’t been given a decent chance. So I think that what Psychiatrists describe as ‘Genuine Schizophrenia’ is more a bit of a ‘Lottery’.

    Report comment

    • I am so happy you recovered. It is not an easy road and I applaud your ability to escape this hell. You should google the Rosenhan experiment. Schizophrenia seems like it may be much more of an erroneous diagnosis than once thought. Thank you for reading my article!

      Report comment

  7. Rose, Thank you so much for sharing your story. I was deeply affected by it and find it so upsetting that what you experienced is far from uncommon. The absolute confidence of the first psychiatrist in her abilities, as she was doing you so much harm; the complete dismissal by doctors of what you knew…and tried to tell them…to be the cause of the problems (the drugs); the addition of more drugs and more diagnoses by the psychiatrists you saw subsequent to the first psychiatrist (the one who sent you down this hellish path)…this all happened to me, as I know from this website it also happened to many others. I applaud you for writing out what happened so clearly and concisely. I can imagine how much work it took.
    I’m having trouble verbalizing my thoughts at the moment, so I will just say thank you for sharing your story. I am deeply appreciative on a personal level and I believe that…eventually…these histories will gain a wider audience and lead to systemic change.

    Report comment

    • Kate, thank you so much for your thoughtful response. It was difficult to write this story and face the fact that over half my life was stolen by a single visit to a psychiatrist. I stand beside you in solidarity as a fellow psychiatric survivor. Your story is as real and valid as any other. I encourage you to share it one day if you are able to. Thank you for reading my article!

      Report comment

  8. This is a classic and similar to my own descent into psych hell with that vile drug Sertraline. The harms of Sertraline and Paxil are well known to many on here, but the trusting and unsuspecting general public…noway. Which makes this post really important. Now we have UK psych directing GP’s to screen for PTSD re covid 19:

    “Prof Neil Greenberg of the Royal College of Psychiatrists said screening would help traumatised survivors get speedy help: “Actively monitoring those with trauma-related mental health problems through a ‘screen and treat’ programme can help them access the specialist mental health support they need to recover.”

    Now guess what two drugs are UK licensed for PTSD and being prescribed by GP’s….

    Wish you all the very best with tapering off the last of the vile drugs.

    Report comment

    • I tried ONE pill of paxil. It actually might save a lot of people from going back to psych. Can you imagine how many animals suffered horribly, not killed, until their miserable death? And if the drug does not immediately kill the animal, it goes to “trial” on humans and it just stays there. Every single drug that does not immediately kill an animal gets passed on to humans.

      I cannot believe how dumb we are as a society. And how dumb people are that EVEN after you tell them what is going on, they refuse to believe it. You know why? because it did not affect them. There should be ads of every animal trial, every human treatment in psych.

      People say we should be thankful for research, you know, to save lives. We have been led astray by the promise of 20 more years.

      Report comment

        • Know how easy it is to turn a human into less than an animal? Call them a “mental patient”.

          The penalty for harming an animal in my State is double what it is for abuse of a mental patient. And the laws relating to harming an animal have actually been used in the Courts, unlike the laws relating to abuse of mental patients which with the ability to “edit” legal narratives before examination by the victims lawyers, simply “never happened” (woman has her prosthetic legs removed and left in her own faeces for hours as ‘punishment’ is ‘care’ apparently). Even with the documented proof, police will return the complaint as having “insufficient evidence”, because they simply refuse to log the proof, and leave a ‘cold trail’ for anyone who follows the matter up. Innat right Superintendent?

          Emergency services solidarity I’ve heard this called. In a land with a rule of law it’s called corruption and misconduct.

          Report comment

    • I’m so sorry you went through this experience as well. I am quite horrified to see that the industry is manipulating the public during a pandemic to believe their normal reactions are now an illness. I read somewhere that the prescription of benzodiazepines rose to 34% during the pandemic. I am appalled. Thank you reading my story and for commenting.

      Report comment

  9. Not having had the right to consent to taking benzodiazepines, and having them administered without my knowledge, I can’t really relate to how it feels to withdraw from them.

    One thought that came out of my experience with these drugs though is this.

    If I were to administer them to someone without knowledge and without the authorization to do so (ie the authority of two psychiatrists), then they are considered under law to be stupefying/intoxicating drugs (Ketamine, GHB, Rohypnol and benzodiazepines), and I would be a criminal for providing these drugs to someone.

    Give me a license though, and all of a sudden they become medications, and I get rewarded for misleading people into a severe addiction and doing them great harm? I am not considered a criminal and these drugs that are used to stupefy/intoxicate in one situation, are used to ‘reduce anxiety’?

    My claim to being tortured relies on the fact that there are two DO NOTS associated with an “acute stress reaction”. Do not force the person to talk, and do not prescribe benzos. I’ve found if you ‘spike’ someones drink with benzos, and then point weapons at them and begin screaming things like “get out of your bed, get up against the wall” (ie use ‘coercive’ methods to create acute stress reaction) you can overcome their unwillingness to talk. Combine this with a doctor prepared to sign a prescription for police and Community Nurse post hoc (12 hours after the ‘spiking’ took place) and my State has an effective means to torture citizens, and a highly effective method of concealing that torture (ie calling it ‘medicine’). Interrogations whilst ‘spiked’ all perfectly lawful I am told by authorities.

    All criminal of course, but when police can neglect their duty (“we don’t have a copy of the Criminal Code”) and ignore the “no superior authority” article of the Convention against the use of Torture ….. and doctor can sort it out with an “unintended negative outcome” (refoulment) in an Emergency Dept well, …… nothing to see here, move along or we’ll ‘do’ your family too.

    (P.S. Bugs Bunny turns 80 this year, same age as ECTs)

    Report comment

      • Yes well, we saw a rise in the popularity of ‘delousing’ just before the end of the second world war, something that seems to go hand in hand with the end of tyrannical regimes.

        My State was an easy target for changing the laws to enable huge profits to be made from this “safe and effective” treatment. An article here at MiA claiming that there has been a 195% increase in it’s use. I’m surprised they haven’t considered combining it with other ‘coercive’ methods such as waterboarding now they have public support. Well, this is another issue, I note that the Euthanasia Act they passed was done ‘between’ elections to ensure there was no uncontrolled ‘debate’ on the issue. Simply a claim that the public wants it, and we’re going to give it to them. More like doctors want it and given the lack of a right to informed consent on the part of the public, they get what they want.

        Such a shame that the “Party of the Downtrodden” is now kicking the people they claimed they were going to help in the face now they are wearing the boots. Questions of law, become questions of your sanity for asking questions of law. The claim we value a rule of law a lie told to conceal wholesale human and civil rights abuses. Like the parent too busy working to notice their child is being abused, we are leaving people to be harmed for the sake of convenience.

        Beautiful country overrun by a flood of corruption that has made my decision to leave easy in the end. I’ll go to where the corrupt individuals are coming from, they’re obviously dealing with their ‘problems’ before they get out of hand.

        Goodbye is too good a word, so I’ll just say ‘Fair thee well’ to this place. Enjoy your mass forced drugging, community treatment orders, ECTs, torture, kidnappings, convenience killings and any other ‘treatments’ that are dreamed up by these sick individuals who have been left to corrupt our ‘free’ medical system (it’s not ‘free’ in as much as the taxpayer is actually picking up the bill. And you wouldn’t dare complain about the service given what powers are available to silence critics are available. So USA when you hear it’s a good system, ask questions before assuming ‘free’ = good).

        Report comment

  10. Back in the days before DSM III (1980), which basically launched the medical model of “mental illness,” if a young person had a panic attack and sought help from a mental health professional, they would ask you what was going on in your life. They’d reassure you that the episode was an emotional reaction, not a physical illness, and that you could feel confident about moving on with your life as long as you addressed the issues that were causing the anxiety.

    I had my first panic attack in 1975 at 16 years old and that was how it was addressed. Drugs were not only not prescribed, but discouraged, because using them would be covering up pain instead of working through it. Granted, there was too much Freud thrown around then, but at least the emphasis was on growing through the struggle.

    If Rose had been born a few decades earlier she wouldn’t have been prescribed Zoloft (which didn’t even exist yet) nor had to endure an iatrogenic cascade and withdrawal. Psychiatry is the only field of medicine (sic) where instead of seeing progress we are regressing to deliberate ignorance.

    Report comment

    • Miranda,

      Thank you for your comment. The “what if” is haunting to me. How would my life have turned out if I had not been iatrogenically harmed?

      Deliberate ignorance is a spot on description of what we are seeing in psychiatry now. I can’t believe that in 2020, the same narrative continues to thrive.

      How many more will fall victim to the pathologizing of normal human behavior? How many like me will face inhumane suffering after taking psychotropic drugs? How many lives will be lost? How many families torn apart? How many kids as young as 5 will receive mind altering medication this year?
      And perhaps, most disturbingly, how many will be told their side effects are “mental illness” and not the mind altering psychiatric medications.

      I encourage everyone to catch a screening of “Medicating Normal”. This is the film the world needs to see. We need to wake up as a society, before it’s too late.


      Report comment

    • I am think the idea of “model” was being examined by the 80’s. SRI team of Jay Ogilvy and Peter Schwartz were introducing the idea of scenario planning. How could or would the customers along with the professionals for the next 40 years constantly be stuck in the framework of medical model, medical model, medical model, without ever questioning the idea of “model” . A model is just that a MODEL, not the reality(s) of what the individual may even be experiencing. What decade did the initial DSM emerge from group?

      Report comment

      • The only way psychiatry could advance was through tail riding the real doctors. Now they just use each other, mostly because they are fed up with the whole deal and are left holding onto this stuff they invented. No smart man believes any of it. Power is the only thing that wins.
        The odd thing is, many believe in “mental illness”, but it’s always the guy next to them. The shrink thinks, (well he doesn’t really) it’s everyone but him.

        Report comment

    • And “progress” includes reducing lifespans by 25 years on average for the “seriously mentally ill.” More “treatment” seems to lead to shorter lives. Where else in medicine would this be remotely acceptable?

      Just for the record, though, the “medical model” has deep roots that go back at least to Kraepelin and probably long before. I think the DSM III just codified the ‘medical model’ and launched the most complete takeover of the “mental health” industry by doctors in history. But doctors back in the 19th century still had an investment in the idea of biological causation, which meshed very tightly with the eugenics movement, of which psychiatry was always an integral part.

      Report comment

  11. I’m sorry that you had such a roller coaster of a ride. The way that psychs hand out medications like candy is just wrong and should be seen as disturbing. But, because they have degrees, no one thinks to question them.

    It’s so disturbing that this is seen as NORMAL. “Oh, you just need to find the right combination of medications. It may take a while, but you should keep taking them.”

    Like, what?

    In my own life, I’m honestly surprised that I didn’t have a horrible reaction to Paxil. That med seems to be the breaking point for so many people. Maybe it’s because I started taking 40mg when I was 6 and my brain kind of developed around it. That and 100mg of Trazadone (for sleep) were the first things I was prescribed.

    Now it’s 40mg Paxil, 200mg Anafranil, and 0.5-1mg Xanax. I was prescribed, but have never taken, 50mg Topamax, 10mg Zyprexa, and 2mg Risperdal. All to be taken together on top of the other three.

    I think towards the end they were just trying to kill me.

    I took one look at the side effects of the antipsychotics and said “No way in Hell.” I’m just glad I had that option.

    I have zero idea why the Paxil and Anafranil have not given me serotonin syndrome yet. Maybe I’m just naturally sturdy.

    Report comment

  12. I think its very interesting how incredibly dehumanizing societal pressures have become. I also found my way into psychiatric care because of inhuman professional expectations that lead to a healthy fight or flight stress response that is extreme but proportionate to the amount of stress we are put under. The irony is that then psychiatry dehumanizes us further, when there is nothing left, with treatments when we are at our worst. How more of us are not dead, is really something beyond my understanding and a testament to how durable human nature truly is.

    Thank you so much for sharing your story Rose. Your such a badass, I cant believe you managed to get your PhD through all that hell.

    Report comment

    • James, your story “Too good to be true” in MIA was truly a revolutionary tale. Everyone should read it. You are a very strong force in the survivor community.

      I don’t know how I kept pushing academically despite the gaping hole in my head that psychiatry left me with. I feel lucky to be alive. Thank you for your input and for reading my story!

      Report comment

    • I am not aware of any other drug class that causes the same level of debilitating side effects that psychiatric drugs do. They are literally harder to get off of than heroin. People are losing their entire livelihoods and we were never given informed consent by our doctors. All my doctor told me that I could expect was “nausea”. Now I have an iatrogenic injury compatible to a TBI. My nerve pain is so extreme that it feels like I’m having a stroke or being shot in the head. Do you have any idea what that is like? I hope that you or anyone you love never does.

      Report comment

    • These were drugs prescribed by doctors. In my case, and many others, I was told over and over by the doctors thatI needed to be taking these drugs because they were safe and effective and would control the symptoms of my mental illness that they had diagnosed me with. I was also coerced by friends and family and even acquaintances into continuing the medication/drugs. I was brainwashed into thinking that my belief that the drugs were doing more harm was again due to my mental illness…i.e. that I wasn’t sane enough to understand that I needed to take these drugs. When I stopped or tried to stop taking the drugs I was called non-compliant.
      Yes there are long-term effects but most people who were prescribed the drugs were not giving informed consent on the long-term effects of these drugs which was the duty of the doctors to provide.

      Report comment

        • Steve! I love that, “Misinformed consent”. Yes, it is even worse than not receiving informed consent. I was told I had a chemical balance that the drug was going to fix. There was no chemical imbalance to fix to begin with. Now I’m left with an imbalance that the drug caused.

          Report comment

      • Kate L I am so happy that this happened to you as well. I knew deep down all along it was the medication but it was difficult to validate because of the many reasons you have mentioned. It is important for the skeptical folks in the crowd to realize that the majority of our horrific symptoms happened after we were exposed to these potent neurotoxins. A original panic attack was difficult for me, yes, but 15 years of debilitating brain damage later? I would take that one panic attack in heartbeat.

        Report comment

  13. Rose, I notice you’re still using the terminology “panic attack,” which is then used as a “symptom,” needing you know what. What if that was just a normal response to whatever was going on, and if you allowed yourself to just feel that without labeling it, even if you didn’t like it, it could have just been trying to tell you that you could manage your time better than trying to stay up all night, and the quiet would have come from that, but just calling it a panic attack is how you get baited into the system. I think.

    Because it seems that along the way you had a voice trying to tell you this isn’t right, which you mentioned……

    I think you’d be surprised what peace that voice can bring in contrast to…..

    Everything is supposed to be measured in physical terms, but what if that voice comes from another place without such orders of difficulty, even though the response is to think: “no, I need fill-in-the-blank instead?

    Report comment

  14. Hi,
    Thank you for your response. I wrote this article under the narrative I was under during my 15 year experience with psychiatry. I have since distanced myself from pathology as I think the DSM is really just a way to sell someone the idea that they are sick and need to be medicated. I think that I experienced a period of high stress that was very normal given the circumstances. I wish I had understood that back then.

    Report comment

    • Thank you for your response. What I was trying to point out a bit is that it’s not just labeling feelings and responses as pathological, but teaching people to discriminate, to hate, and to feel they are being attacked by what simply could be feelings that need to be felt.

      And it’s acculturated.

      Such strange terms as inability to conform to consensual reality deportment, or statistical based norms I have come upon when people try to defend “difficulty” someone is having regarding “symptoms,” and although when I encountered those terms it was in regards medications, that same idea exists when people chose any number of means to disassociate or push those feelings to the side. Having been ingrained with the reflex that it’s pathological, or an attack, or something to get rid of.

      And what I was trying to get at before I took a side turn in the prior paragraph was that when a group of people bond together with such ideas about conformity, and that when everyone acts out a belief in whatever they use as a bonding mechanism, just moving away from that subconsciously, not being able to adapt anymore, that can bring up a feeling of discomfort, that can be labeled as a symptom of a psychiatric illness (and in many ways the system is set up that way) when in reality it’s perspective that would give true insight, albeit cause difficulty with everyone suddenly being appalled that so and so wore a strange outfit to church, or the mall or whatever happens (someone says something they are supposed to think is crazy, be ashamed of, know it’s going to be ridiculed or cause great shock so they shouldn’t etc.)…

      And that’s not just the DSM, that “statistical based norms,” or “consensual reality deportment.” It’s basic fear based patterning in society, as if everything is safe and in order would everyone adapt to set rules, rules which could be completely arbitrary, just to have something to believe in, rather than having any true logic to them.

      But the real part of being part of a community is to not push those feelings to the side, to listen to that voice, because that’s really something EVERYONE has, even when they are acting out a whole fabricated personality, an ego state trying to be something else, they won’t escape anything as involuntary and part of evolution as feelings they want to push to the side.

      I myself have had what I might term “panic attacks,” or just the feeling of extreme anxiety, when I was drinking too much coffee, and that was oh, more than twenty years ago and I should have paid it more heed for sure. Although at that time I liked the way coffee made me feel what I thought was warm, though really it was more buzzed and artificially stimulated. The “panic attacks” were just trying to maybe tell me not to do so much coffee, and so it wasn’t that I needed another drug to fix it. And I of course by that time, having been marginalized and diagnosed, was too insecure to be able to truly navigate through that whole matrix to even know I was pushing feelings to the side using coffee as a means to do so. I actually thought I liked coffee so much I felt defeated that it effected me that way. I was in Europe for four years, before all of this, where every time I went to visit a fellow student they would always offer coffee, and then when I came back to the USA and went to colleges, I always ended up in the cafeteria with a cup and a donut or something. I had also started smoking which also has its effects; but later in life when I had what I would term as extreme disturbing stuff going on I didn’t know how to process, and again caused me to feel a way that I wanted to get rid of those feelings, I ended up sitting on my parents porch the whole night smoking and drinking coffee. That’s thirty years ago. It took me thirty years of going in and out of what could be seen as psychotic episodes (fueled by coffee and cigarettes although I stopped with cigarettes 14 years ago) before I realized that the whole blanket of emotions I was avoiding were OK for me to feel. Whether that’s simply being scared I wouldn’t fit into whatever I had been programmed to believe survival was, or whether that was not seeing there were other ways, or whether that was not being used to how quiet and involuntary the real guidance was. The kind of stuff we all do for what we believe is “survival” thinking we have to do “something” because otherwise everything will fall apart. It took me thirty years to find out what was really going on, and I never was on psychiatric drugs. Just seeing the friends I had already had on such agents go through what they did, and also information from Mind Freedom, taught me early on to avoid that; but I wasn’t aware how I was pushing my own thoughts away, much the same people are taught to believe psychiatric drugs are some magic to get rid of bad feelings or behaviors. And that’s really not just coffee or cigarettes which is what I’ve mentioned so far, that’s all sorts of behaviors and ways of responding, or the desires of just frantically thinking one chance or the next was how I would fit into the system, and then having it sabotaged because I would get “psychotic” again, which really was simply feelings taking on symbolism in “psychotic” scenarios, akin to fiction and what it does to have meaning; because there is something going on there beyond it just being “psychotic.” Since I’ve learned that I was pushing those feelings away that I could just give some leg room, not push to the side, sort of surrender to, and that then there’s no need for the whole “psychosis,” machinery. It was Charlie Goldsmith pointing out how even what we call anxiety has a natural intelligence would we just allow ourselves to feel it rather than pushing it away, and then it’s had its say and can dissolve. And I can’t really describe exactly what it is I learned not to push to the side, it becomes more a realization that there’s a whole other way of responding. Even when I knew that starting to drink coffee again, which I had stopped for months, that it effected me, I would after months of “sobriety” find myself starting to drink 3, 4 or more cups a day, and after a week or so would end up in this state where something else would take over that could be labeled as psychotic. By some miracle I never was forced drugged because that would have been the end of me. I went through on and off coffee like that for four years although by far most of the time I wasn’t “psychotic,” but then I heard something Charlie Goldsmith said, and realized that was something I was pushing to the side that made me reflexively start drinking coffee, that was a conditioned reflex towards whatever it was that I was pushing to the side, and that then I started drinking too much coffee, which could have been anything (whole list of “bad” habits) to disassociate. And I can’t really put it into words other than it’s just something else besides: “Don’t do THAT!,” which then includes everything I start doing when “psychotic.” It’s really weird because I can’t put it into words, maybe it doesn’t need words, it’s just a different way of responding. More of a surrender than thinking I have to do something. I imagine if I had had a different childhood and had parents that were more interested in allowing me the space to express my feelings, my thoughts were they different than theirs, and my insights and experiences, that then I would have been more used to responding in what I call a different way I can’t really describe, but then I wouldn’t have maybe found it for myself. So it isn’t really labeling it as trauma from my youth either.

      Even at a spiritual level there’s a difference between things that are tangible enough that you think you can describe or identify them, and stuff beyond that. When I was having the crisis that got me to start drinking coffee the whole night on my parents porch, I had gotten baited by psychic people that actually used the spiritual energies to point out worldly stuff, and also stuff about past lifetimes that does no one any good unless you let go of it (as if there’s some judging authority in Heaven akin to our legal system punishing people for transgressions in past lives), but the hyped up energy of knowing things you don’t need to and making it into something else than it is, this I associated with drinking too much coffee (because it made me aggressively want to know), and then would along with just being frustrated out of my mind drink coffee the whole night buzz myself up hoping to get some vital information, as if it was some sort of ammunition. Whatever there was for me to know at such a level only came to me after I stopped acting out in such a manner, and then it was still stuff to let go of. After so many years with channels, mediums and psychics, some real spiritual healers came in my life. And incidentally, after seeing the first one, a healer from the Philippines called a psychic surgeon, which he would say is not an accurate term along the lines I just pointed out, after he treated me in a way that this world would say is impossible but with him simply happens, I somehow knew I was given 20 more years in my life, which would be the amount of time that psychiatric drugs might take off of a person’s life, in general, the lessening of life expectancy with anti psychotics. I simply knew that there also was just on this earth, a place for me to go to feel such healing, such “impossible” things rather than thinking that something so beautiful couldn’t exist, and knowing that might have given me a place to let go so that I wasn’t baited into the system by all of their provocations. But the healers and the healing energy work very differently from “psychics,” and such…

      It’s not about something the ego makes you think you need to know

      It’s simply that there is something there beyond that…

      Over the years I’ve seen and talked to quite a few healers, and Jesus has become my friend. Just that, a friend, not an object…..

      It’s difficult having gone the wrong direction, but that’s how we learn, when you go the wrong way, you only learn more why the right way works, and that’s really the only thing that could remain from it….

      Report comment

  15. Dr. Rose, thank you so much for sharing your horrible experiences with psychiatry. I’m so sorry you paid such a price for simply having understandable emotions related to mounting stressors. Your story so accurately depicts how revolting and damaging psychiatry really is, especially when more than a dozen psychiatrists all dismissed the harm of their toxic drugs and spewed the same deceptive propaganda.

    Your description of “powered specks of poison” resonates for me and many others I’m sure. I too wish I could turn the clock back and had refused to set foot in the office of a young, arrogant psychiatrist I was sent to for “help with sleep meds” due to the insomnia I developed from toxic chemo drugs and the steroid Dexamethasone. I don’t understand how most psychiatrists sleep at night, they obviously have no conscience.

    A hardy congratulations to you on managing to complete college and obtain your doctoral degree and best of wishes on your final taper and ongoing healing.

    Report comment

    • Rosalee,

      Thank you so much for reading my story. I am sorry you fell victim to this epidemic. I actually received Dexamethasone during my surgery which caused a severe reaction due to previous iatrogenic Injury from benzos. Once you are injured by psychotropics, you may always be susceptible to another medications. I wish had known that before!

      I hope your healing is on the right path. Don’t hesitate to reach out in the future!


      Report comment

      • Thanks for your kind offer Dr. Rose! I hope you will keep writing on this topic. I have been battling the corruption I was dealt in cancer treatment due to the psychiatrist but it’s been eye opening to realize how the system sticks together to cover-up and silence those who it has harmed.

        Also I see I made a typo and misquoted you, sorry about that, the quote should read “powdered specs of poison”….although I guess the specs are also ‘powered’ to do lots of damage. Take care, Best wishes, Rosalee

        Report comment