Comments by Nona Yubiz

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  • Peter Breggin sparked my questioning of the SSRI mythologies/dogma. Another Dr. writer, first name Peter last name can’t remember, came out with a book extollling the virtues of Prozac/SSRIs around the same time. I read both. I found Breggin’s more compelling, the other one more appealing. The difficulty of standing up to popular orthodoxy is even harder when our own desire for a miracle cure lurks within, waiting to jump on bait like Prozac.

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  • I was put on Prozac soon after it came out, for depression that a Dr. diagnosed without taking much personal history at all, and was told at that point that I would have to be on it for the rest of my life.

    I was too depressed and insecure to speak aloud what the voice in my head was saying: how could you possibly know that, when this drug has just come out and there’s no substantial body of research on long-term effects/results? He also explained that I had a chemical imbalance. I spent the next thirty years on and off of Prozac. I was told repeatedly that if I went off it would no longer be effective, and that I would then have no other recourse, and would be permanently, forever depressed without hope of relief. He was kind of right, in a way, although not the way he believed. I look back now at the arrogance of that doctor and am freshly outraged on behalf of my younger self.

    What he didn’t mention ask about or suggest (perhaps the 15-minute appt time had something to do with this) was my diet, exersize, meditation, or therapy. Or any other ways of dealing with depression than popping a daily pill. This was the same shrink who at one point changed my diagnosis without telling me. Much to my surprise.

    Thus began a thirty-year journey into and out of an identity based on a limited and cavalier, and I believe inaccurate, diagnosis of mental illness.

    I have now been off all anti-depressants for about 5 years. I will never go on them again. I have learned other ways of coping with feeling bad–much more effective ones–that don’t mean I can’t orgasm, or have feelings other than flat ones.

    Standing up to the rhetoric of the psychiatric/pharma industries, esp when dealing with friends and family who are seeking and may have found some relief in anti-depressants is difficult. I certainly don’t want to rain on someone else’s parade. But when the parade is marching into quicksand, it’d be nice to give them a heads-up.

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  • Life is messy and full of contradictions. Paradox and mysteries abound. Life in free-market capitalism is really messy. Trying to create a mental health system in a fundamentally unhealthy system is really, really messy. So, expect the convos about it to be really, really, really messy. I give both Klein and Insler credit for taking as deep a dive as they did. Complexity and seeming contradiction are not necessarily indicators of bullshit.

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  • Doctors with years of experience opine from their book-lined studies about what’s wrong with the system they helped to develop.

    As with so many things, much of the problem lies in the inability of those tasked with providing care to suffering people to see past the ends of their own noses.

    I’ll never forget being told, after being prescribed Prozac in the late 80s, that I would have to be on anti-depressants for the rest of my life, because I had a problem with my brain chemistry and only anti-depressants could fix it. This was from a greatly-respected psychiatrist at a major hospital.

    They worked, kind of like mild speed, and then after a couple of years I began forgetting to take them, and slowly, naturally weaned off. When I began to get depressed again after a couple of years, I went back on. And so it went. They were effective each time, disproving my psychiatrist’s alarmist and dire warnings that if I kept going off them they would stop working and then I’d be doomed. He didn’t use the word “doomed” but that’s what he was getting at. I stopped seeing him at that point.

    I have been completely off anti-depressants for the last ten years.

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