Comments by Jeff Fisher

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  • “Heed his warning?” Are you kidding me… I’m so done with the mental health system. I was on a very low dose of Lamictal (100mgs) last year. This combined with 1-2 mgs of Xanax for sleep and still I was having mood swings and difficulty in my life. I knew the meds were wrong from day 1… but chose to “heed” the warnings of professionals. The same professionals that told me I would need to be on medication for life… same professionals that prescribed up to 6 different psychotropic medications at a time. Not sure the FDA has done any studies on how all these meds interact… but it is a prescription for bipolar.

    Do not listen to psychiatrists… I have yet to meet any that I trust. The most competent of the ones I dealt with was far from perfect. He told me he would help me get off meds and in the end, his recommendation was to up the mood stabilizer… he actually wrote a letter to the court during a tough time with my kids that I had gone against his judgement and stopped medication. My ex wife now sees the light. She completely agrees that it was medication causing me so many mood swings. We spent about $100,000 in court because of my mood swings… because I heeded the warnings of the system.

    One thing I will say is the road to recovery is long. You may think you feel better cutting down your meds, and once you are off everything, things may seem normal… but I eventually had all the standard side effects from stopping meds. Lots of swings, then deep depression… followed by a year of apathy. I had no direction… no drive or ambition. I felt no love… my feelings were dull at best. Depending on how long you take the meds… and what type of personality you have… recovery will reflect this. I am so thankful to be feeling like the old me. For those people that have never known the old you… my best guess is there is a great person inside waiting to enjoy all that the world has to offer. Hope I can help others now.

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  • Bonjour… Je parle le francais un petit peu..

    Ok.. I can fake an accent and I did spend a few months immersed in French. Peace Corps days..

    I do keep looking back at things. I reread my story a lot… and think there is so much more to tell. I basically gave a timeline of the events, but the actual events themselves were so much more interesting. The things you do while manic or depressed… euphoria is the most story worthy. Talking to God… cures for Cancer. I wonder at times if I could have really helped in that endeavor… As “crazy” as it seems, I know there were some brilliant ideas that came from the mania.

    Happy to report that 13 months after stopping meds, I am not symptom free. Depression is gone… mania is non existent. The toughest obstacle I had lately is apathy. That is now gone as well and I am once again focused and working full time. My guess is things will continue to get better…

    I’m trying to help others now… enjoying a local support group, and trying to help others online… via text and email. Hoping that this can grow…

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  • Aria,

    So happy to hear of your years without meds. I am now 13+ months off meds and the old me is almost back. I have energy again (not manic) and I no longer have mood swings. It takes a while to overcome the effects of these drugs.

    I am planning a visit to both past psychiatrists… I’d like to ask them what they think. I was very adamant to both of them that I was not bipolar and that the medication was causing the issues. My ex wife is once again behind me… she refused to talk to me while I was on meds… and she sees a big change in me since stopping. Scary to think that psychs don’t see this. I am 100% sure that I would be considered very normal right now if I talked to a new psych that did not know my history. Also think it’s interesting that psychs consider mental illness as genetic. My mother was messed up by the mental health system… meds caused her so many problems in her life. I have seen my sisters get messed up on pills as well… sad to say they don’t heed my warnings. Thanks for the reply.


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  • Having been off meds for a full year now, I am so looking forward to complete recovery. I spent much of the past year angry… at my doctor, my psychiatrist and my situation. Thus far, my anger has not helped in my recovery. Educating myself by reading books, websites and joining support groups has been good therapy. Recovery is ever so slow. Lately I am trying to look at it monthly, as I don’t see it daily. I know I’m better this month compared to last. My anger has turned to apathy… which is at times worse. When I was angry, I was more energetic… apathy is like purgatory. No matter who is to blame… we can all earn the credit by helping ourselves… or better yet, helping others. Thank you for all your posts. It motivates me.

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  • That mother on the beach could have been my mother, or one of my sisters. In fact, she could have been my psychotherapist, or my lawyer, accountant or child’s principal. I have heard the same from the masses. There are far too many people that claim they are not pill people, but willingly accept the “professional’s” opinion. Finding a good psychiatrist is more difficult than finding a good mechanic. People look for professional advice and rely on the system to provide it. I understand why you would not want to be a psychiatrist anymore. You are intelligent enough to understand what is wrong with the system, and now you are trying to find out how to fix it.

    Your simple observations are great… we all relate to that woman on the beach. How does change occur… real change. I think of the AIDS epidemic and how it consumed us for years. We did not cure AIDS or eliminate HIV infections, but we did educate. The power of the media and celebrities helped, public service ads… How can we create such an outcry? That is the real question. There seem to be lots of movements… you yourself said you were starting to sound like a conspiracy theorist. It is not a theory… there is proof. Whitaker’s book… countless ex pharmaceutical reps… but how do we get the message to the masses? That’s what I’m trying to figure out.

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  • So happy to hear a good recovery story. I was messed up due to psychotropic medications for almost 3 years. I was earning a very good income at the time… had to go thru a bankruptcy, hospital stay, and countless trips to therapy and psychiatrists. I’d like to know how much my bill would have been… especially the opportunity cost. I was also employing about 12 people that eventually lost lots of wages as well…

    My guess is the overall cost of my psychotropic trip on meds cost over a $million… and it has put a damper on my current earning capability. These costs should be put on the potential side effects labels (black box?)

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  • Whoa… too familiar. I read these stories and they are all so similar to what I experienced/continue to experience. I stopped meds almost 9 months ago and though I am certainly better, there are still many moments that I feel such apathy. I refrain from calling it depression because I don’t feel the overwhelming sadness or hopelessness. Apathy… disinterested, lack of drive and motivation are what seem to be a lingering effect of these meds. For years I was goal driven, determined to succeed in business, sports and life. Right now, I’m struggling to find my way again. Each month seems to bring a slight improvement…

    I too struggled with sleep… instead of the Xanax, which I was taking for almost 3 years, I started using Nyquil and ZZZquil… only as needed in extreme situations. Eventually, my normal sleep pattern returned. 3 years on meds, needing a pill to sleep… now it’s such a luxury to doze off so naturally. I corresponded with others that had similar side effects, they all said to be patient and you will recover.

    I believe we are all with you on the need for change… Whitaker’s book helped me as well, such simple logic… common sense. I hope we figure it out. If you ever need to talk to someone that is going thru a similar experience, look me up. It helps me to hear about survivors struggles and successes… I hope to help others along the way.

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  • Thanks for sharing Matt. It is inspiring to know that recovery is possible. Reading these blogs and interacting with others that have had similar experiences really helps. Family and friends just don’t get it. I am now 8 months free from meds and feeling better.

    I think there are many phases to recovery. The initial side effects of pain, depression, confusion and lack of sleep are the most difficult to deal with. Having gotten thru this stage, I’m now functioning at a much lower expectation level. I’m happy to read your amazing story and look forward to getting myself to a better place. Looking forward to reading your book…

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  • Ha… mania can be helpful. I think my last mania allowed me to process the fact that the drugs were causing my mood swings. I was told I had bipolar and the drugs would help regulate my moods. Mozart wrote some of his greatest symphonies when manic…

    I stopped all meds when I was elevated. I swore I knew it all, had so many answers to any question. Truth is, I was probably using more of my brain than ever before. I am fairly certain that my IQ would have registered off the charts (I took a few tests at the time, online… it said 155,151,157… I have since taken the tests and when I was depressed it was 117, 119… my guess is my real IQ is in between. Mania allowed me to see the truth. I stopped the pills, and caused euphoria/psychosis… but was in touch with my brain so much that I anticipated the psychosis, so I knew it would pass. It did… but I didn’t know a depression would follow. I’m now past the depression… 8 months free from meds, and happy to say that I feel much better.

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  • My last psychiatrist told me he is no longer needed since I stopped taking medication. I too became that 15 minute fast lane appointment. I have not sought out a formal diagnosis since, but I have talked to a lawyer/psychologist from the court that believes in psychiatry. His opinion is there is a history of mental illness in my family… (which I need to challenge since my mother was given shock treatments in the 50s, then Thorazine… so is it a history or another psychiatric horror story?)

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  • I’ve talked at length with other individuals and feel that I do want to be part of the movement. I have yet to figure out which part… so I’m trying to do as much reading as possible. I’ll check out MindFreedom… I have been to the website, but I don’t think I’m a member. I like MIA, but there are many times the subject matter is way over my head.

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  • Who told you that your were not mentally ill? I have yet to meet a professional that agrees with me about my own misdiagnosis. Even when I explain that the condition was induced by medication, they point to the fact that my biology caused the pill to induce mania.

    For 2+ years I had mood swings… slurred speech, rapid thoughts, depression, and confusion. Most of these side effects have stopped… though I think there is still some memory loss. I’m not back to the old me just yet, but I have seen signs. Just hope I remember how to golf.

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  • The most recent deep depression subsided after 2 months or so… but there is a lingering feeling of apathy/exhaustion. I have read that it can take a year or more to feel normal… so I’m taking the advice of others and cutting myself some slack. I used to be very active physically, but I’m reading more now, resting (feels very strange to do so… guilty at times)

    I checked out the case histories… amazing how many people have gone through similar experiences. I consider myself fairly educated and computer literate/web savvy. It took me almost 2 years to find MIA and other sites that helped to free me from the “system.” In the beginning, I remember wondering if, or WebMD were controlled by Pharmacological Companies. That is where I got my information initially. I spent months on search engines looking for ways to overcome bipolar without meds. Most of the results lead me back to the system. The peer support groups simply agreed with psychiatry and asked you to accept it and the treatments offered.

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  • It’s quite a racket… prescribe a pill, then treat the side effects… convince the patient that it’s mental illness or a chemical imbalance. I’m now dealing with a liver problem… doc said something was toxic in my system.

    Who is responsible for the side effects… I was told I could not seek legal action because I didn’t die… or suffer something permanent. I lost a $3 million dollar company…

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  • Emily, Thanks for the compliment… have to give the folks at MIA some props for good editing.

    Jay Bonnar was not my doc at McLean. My psych there was actually good in comparison to the others I met. He seemed to agree with me about not being bipolar… and even talked about getting me off meds. He initially weened me off almost everything, but insisted on shifting me to Lamictal and he did not think Xanax was a problem. He said I was adverse to medication… but recommended upping my dosage on a few occasions… I resisted and he was reluctantly supportive.

    I was most disappointed by the support groups at McLean. I was always amazed at how they preached for everyone to stay on their meds. Take your meds… that is how they started and finished a meeting. McLean is the Harvard of Mental Health. Having read some recent books and truths about Harvard Educated “expert” psychiatrists… I no longer hold them in such high esteem. Happy you are “emancipated” from psychiatry… we should start a local network of survivors.

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  • Well said… wonderfully articulate. Makes me wish I paid attention in English Class.

    I think we all agree on this concept of cult. Many of us here, having sampled the pharmacological kool aid, were successful in breaking free and living to tell our tales. When I think of a cult, I think of a small/idealistic/dangerous group of individuals… trying to coerce weaker minded members of a civilized society. Unfortunately, the cult of psychiatry is the masses, and we are looked at as the so called “cult” of psychiatric survivors/anti psychiatry activists.

    The world is broken, and the inmates are running the asylum. We are the resistance… a movement… or better yet, a group or sect bound together by veneration of the same thing, person, ideal, etc.

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  • Your damned either way… I was told it was the pill that caused my mania… I was also told by lawyers that because I didn’t die… I had no case against the drug companies or my doctor. Is there a way to launch a class action lawsuit against the system… unite all the psychiatric survivors.

    Not sure “a short time on any psychiatric drug is possible.” Eventually there are side effects, which are usually associated with a new condition… and more meds are prescribed.

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  • Chrys… Thanks for the support.. my mother was also abused by the system. 60 years ago she had her first depression at 19… no therapy, just a trip to an institution and shock treatments. This set her on a path for a very difficult life. 3 more times she was admitted, then thorazine came along and a life of filling prescriptions ensued.

    Saving the world is a noble pursuit. I know changing the world can mean simply helping one person. I have ideas about changing the system, those ideas need to brew or stew for a bit. My hope is to educate the masses… via reality TV, media, and web campaigns. Lofty goals.

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  • A psych once told me that he thought I had something called a “hyperthymic temperament” I read the definition and it sure sounded like me. As I kept reading, it then tried to relate it to an affective disorder. I always thought my positive attitude was a good thing… my high energy made me successful. Leave it up to psychiatry to find a way to label exceptional people.

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  • Thanks Duane, the semantics of my story seem pretty common. I know that it’s highly improbable for a person to experience mania due to an antidepressant/SSRI, but the real injustice was being diagnosed bipolar and labeled mentally ill. I would have taken anything to feel better after the mania… especially when the depression came. This is when a person is most vulnerable. My guess is most people accept what the “professionals’ say and fall in line.

    For the first year or so, I did just that. I accepted the bipolar label… even carried a list of famous people that were bipolar. (If I had this disorder, I was going to make the most of it.) Luckily, I never truly believed I was mentally ill. It’s funny, I was manic when I realized that medication was causing my mood swings. At this time, my brain was incredibly efficient, my memory almost photographic… much like Mozart writing a symphony… the mania actually afforded me the opportunity to question my diagnosis. I started reading more. I first read Anatomy of an Epidemic, then Gwen Olsen’s Confessions of an Rx Drug Pusher. Then Bruce Levine, Peter Breggin and countless websites. I now wonder why I didn’t find these sites when I first started looking 2 years ago. I guess we just have to keep spreading the word… thanks for reading. Jeff

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