Monday, August 8, 2022

Comments by arlin zee

Showing 1 of 1 comments.

  • Thank you for such a wonderful piece of writing that is both saddening yet offers hope. My own story is similar but I do recognise that your father’s experiences and how they affected you and your family have been particularly difficult. I am also in the process of reducing various medications for many of the same reasons you have highlighted with regards to your father.

    My first experience of mental ill health was as a young man in my late 20’s which resulted in a 7 month stay in the local asylum some 40 years ago. Winding the clock forward my most recent crisis was 11 years ago and since then I have been under a total of 17 psychiatrists for varying lengths of time, experienced 7 hospital admissions, consumed copious amounts of medication and received ECT and had to give up employment. Ironically I had been working for the previous 13 years in both Mental Health Advocacy and as a Mental Health Support Project Co-ordinator. After 4 years of admissions and different medications, just like your father I was no better and my physical health was failing. I was so desperate it got to a point around 2012 where I actually begged for ECT in desperation for some relief from the psychological torment and physical pain and disteress I was in. The ECT, like the medications didn’t help in anyway. My mental and physical health was chronic and continued to decline even further.

    Beginning of 2016 I suffered a stroke which I now suspect may well have been brought on by the Pregabalin, one of the medications I was taking at the time to supposedly help with the various aches and pains I was experiencing along with my severe anxiety, distress and depression which saw me wanting to end my life every single day. Sleep was a huge problem – around 4 hours of light broken sleep was the best I could hope for and on one occasion, just prior to the stroke I went a full 2 weeks without any sleep at all. I will jump forward to around 18 months ago when I made the decision to somehow find the courage to taper off the medications. I have been under the same psychiatrist for over 2 years now and although she is not in agreement with the decision I made 6 months ago to slowly taper she has supported me in this decision.

    My physical condition is still quite poor but my mental health is a little better and it is early days. After beginning tapering around July 2018 I have been off the Seroquel/Quetiapine for 3 months now and am now slowly reducing my anti-depressant Sertraline. I am still taking medications for a mild heart attack which followed the stroke at the end of 2016. Progress is slow though I remain determined to see this through. I am one of the increasing numbers of people who are deeply angry at what appears to be irresponsible and dangerous practice by psychiatry who are the official sales force for the giant manufacturers and suppliers of these medications – namely the Pharmaceutical Industry. The fact that I am motivated and confident enough to compile this (very lengthy) comment is something of an achievement for me. I would never have managed this a year ago. All is far from ideal but I recognise that recognition and acceptance of progress, however slow and small, can be considered ideal in these circumstances. Thank you Roberta for lighting my fuse.