Monday, December 11, 2017

Comments by JanCarol

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  • Nobody has answered you?

    I don’t know about the klepto stuff – but I do know that benzos and other neurotransmitter fiddlers will lower impulse control – or worse, drive compulsions up. I’ve heard of serious gambling addictions caused by SSRI’s and SNRI’s.

    Your cocktail is a dangerous one, and a difficult one to come off of. If you wish to reduce your drug load, please come to for information on how to reduce or eliminate drugs safely.

  • I’m sorry littleturtle, I wish I had something good to say. My work is about getting people off of these drugs – and so – I see the ones who have trouble. I don’t know anyone who has augmented ANY neuroleptic (marketed as “antipsychotic”) who doesn’t regret it, but that may just be the field in which I work. And the longer term they are on it, the worse it is.

    From where I stand, the risks are greater than the rewards. Peter Breggin calls them neurotoxins, and I’m inclined to agree. Rewards may be short term – but the longer you are on a drug, and the more drugs you are on, and the more drug changes you’ve been through – the harder it is to come off of them.

    And when I say harder – think about how hard it is to come off your Celexa. Make it worse by a factor of 3-10. Heroin addicts have found that a heroin withdrawal was a piece of cake compared to antidepressant and / or benzo withdrawal. And the media isn’t reporting this, they’re more concerned with the “opioid crisis” than the people dying and disabled from these drugs.

    If I were you, I’d learn how to taper the Celexa carefully and safely, and take up running or aikido or dancing or painting to express your emotions safely, and become friends with your emotions. Then at least you will be authentic, and off the rollercoaster.

  • I agree – having the Shaman shake a rattle over you and blow smoke into you

    Or having a Priest swing a censor over you with an Exorcism prayer –

    Or even having someone lay their hands on you and pray and shake the demons out of you –

    Will not have long lasting damaging side effects. It might be weird, it might even have a trauma element to it – but has the potential to be extremely cathartic. But no brain damage, no damage to nervous system or endocrine system.

    Ergo, Witch Doctory is more scientific than what the psychiatrists do. And potentially more helpful, too.

  • What this does not address is the difficulty in coming off “atypical antipsychotics” like Abilify, Zyprexa, and Seroquel. I have helped people with all three.

    All of them hit a shotgun spray of neurotransmitters, depending on the level of drug. For example, at low doses, Seroquel hits histamine receptors, then serotonin receptors, then dopamine receptors.

    At an equivalent dose, Zyprexa will be heavy on the dopamine and serotonin receptors, and Abilify will be also hitting norepineprine receptors.

    What receptors they hit are dose dependant. So here’s the rub – when tapering, all of a sudden at 75 mg of Seroquel, the dopamine action drops out – and the dopamine receptors go into full blown withdrawal. You can still sleep (because the histamine receptors will still be hit), and there may be a mild serotonin effect – but – you’ve just gone all the way off your dopamine drug – even though you are still on the drug.

    This is worse with Zyprexa, and worse still with Abilify, which hits on 11? neurotransmitter sites.

    (though, the chart here, says Seroquel is the most complex, and Abilify the simplest – but – in my work with helping people taper, the opposite seems to be true. I am not a biochemist: )

    Additionally, some of them are agonist and some of them are antagonist – complicating the neurotransmitter soup significantly.

    These drugs are hell to come off of.

  • I’ve been thinking about this for the past hour (editing too late)

    I’ve had medical catheters for surgeries – and I believe (nobody believes me) that my ureter hasn’t been the same since, that it “damaged something.” “Oh poo,” say the docs, “we do this all the time and have no complaints.” (I guess I’m just a cranky Yank in an Australian system, then). I don’t think highly of the procedure, even when it is medically necessary.

    But what I’ve been thinking about most about the **forced** catheterisation is – what is driving this?

    Apparently it is drug testing. Hello drug wars. Hello war on the poor and marginalised. Even more so.

    Recently in California I had a urinary tract infection. The California doctor, who took a urine sample, seemed to feel it was well within his rights to drug test my urine, just because. I only caught him running the test because they didn’t have a hand-washing facility at the toilets, and I had to go to a lab sink – where I found him with a chart and my urine, and he looked up and asked me, “What are you on?” (oh I had forgotten to report the Low Dose Naltrexone, was that it?) I didn’t raise a stink because I needed antibiotics in order to travel. But I was angry, and felt violated. And I imagined how violated I would’ve felt if there had been something else – something psych – or if I were a minority to begin with (this was a Spanish speaking neighborhood).

    What if I had tested positive for codeine (which was still legal in Australia) or cannabis (which is legal in California)? What was the purpose of his “fishing”? Why did he even think it was his right? I was not asking for narcotics, but antibiotics. I was a white, middle-aged tourist, from Australia, with my husband in the waiting room.

    So – now – drug testing is more important than the dignity and human rights (and privacy, in my case) of the individual?

    Is forced catheterisation a recent phenomenon? Or is this something which has been going on for 40-50 years, and folks have been to ashamed to speak of it?

    I’m sure you can’t show statistics of increases in this new form of human violation (only of the rare **reported** cases) – but I’m suspecting that it is more common now than even 20 years ago. Because we have to stop the “illegal drugs,” right?

    Do we have reports of it from the 90’s? 80’s? 70’s?

    You are both young people – and what I’ve seen from reading the comments is that the older survivors are APPALLED! Many of us have been wheeled in, restrained, shot, drugged. But this? How new is this?

    One of those rare instances where I want an emoticon on MIA, with my frowning angry red faceand steam rolling out of my ears!

  • Stephen says: “All of the famous men who sexually preyed on others and who’ve been revealed for the predators we now know them to be will be held accountable for their actions against others. ”

    That’s optimistic. A few will be paraded out. Many of them will be convenient (we wanted to get rid of him anyway). A tiny percentage will be “caught.”

    This is so obviously a culture, and the boys protect the boys. But in this you are right – at least it is something.

    Those who are buried in “mental health” get blamed for being harmed.

  • This reads like ad copy!

    When it comes to psych drug withdrawal, I have seen as many people harmed by “integrative approaches” – like rapid detoxing, use of “herbs” and “natural supplements” that agitate serotonin (tryptophan, St. John’s Wort, 5HtP). As many harmed as helped, in my reckoning. (I use “natural medicine” but I only consult with my practitioners to make my own choices – but not everybody can do the level of research that I do)

    But – I guess 50/50 is a lot better than Psychiatry’s record. I agree with all here that as long as you’re using DSM you’re causing harm. If they can provide safe, drug free places to be extreme, that would be good. In fact, that’s my BASIC CRITERION for a good “integrative mental health centre.” Safe drug free space for emergencies.

    I seem to recall that the NHS in Britain and places in Europe went this way – and it resulted in tighter regulation of supplements (some of this is good, some of it is just plain stupid, like the way Australia has “practitioner only” herbs and supplements, because they are “too strong” for the general public to handle, when they are non-toxic – especially compared to the drugs they hand out like lollies). Eventually, Britain and Europe found that the health system was being rorted by homeopathy and other “edgewise” practices, and stopped paying for them.

    I see Emma’s comment on flower essence as a first go-to in Cuba. That’s interesting, and difficult to run trials on, as, like homeopathy, the formulas are very individual. N=1 doesn’t make for a good study. Australian flower essences are very interesting – but also very subtle. Someone in a full crash emergency might find them “nice” – like eating a good meal is nice – but not a solution. If you could help 30% of people with these, and prevent drugging – that’s a start.

    Since 30% get better within a few months of their event with no intervention, however, I’d be hoping that the numbers of people kept out of “the system” could be higher.

    But – egads – God reached out and “saved me from schizophrenia?” Oh dear.

    Additionally – who pays for this? Is this a free clinic for the poor and downtrodden? Or is this a pay-for clinic for the rich and famous? Or – after reading a few links – is this just a “Clinic for Spreading the Gospel?”

  • Actually, the “vampires on the dark side of the moon” is an example from one of Jung’s case studies that I found to be curious.

    It says nothing about me.

    My point was that anyone who wants to cram their truth down my throat – like the pills – is committing a violence, too.

    Having come from a family religion which did exactly this – and their truth was consensual – they had the Bible, the congregation, and the Preacher to back it up – and then realizing that there were other truths, alternate views, was quite the culture shock.

    It is arrogant to believe that fact is the only truth. It is also arrogant to confuse “what you believe” with “what you know.” And one last arrogance (the one I suffered from) – is combining these two to believe you know what is G-d’s Will and Desire for the purpose of inflicting it on others.

  • That’s not a very big dose. Hoffer talked about GRAMS of niacin, and while NADH is better absorbed, this dose could just be a drop in the bucket.

    Good article here:

    I’ve seen a chart – maybe here in a comment in Mad In America – which compares the doses of NADH to Niacin, but I cannot find it.

    Though I do agree – if someone doesn’t want to empower themselves regarding mood and functioning, they will not be able to.

  • And their solution? “Mental health teams” who spy on you at work…funnel you into the system. Okay, maybe “spy” is strong, but knowing what I know about psychiatry, I do not want to talk to a “counselor” at work.

    The times I’ve participated in “workplace mental health” programs (I’ve always been open about my diagnosis, as my sleep patterns go askew) – they’ve been 6 sessions of CBT “think positive!” programs…worthless.

    I’m with Nomadic. I reckon that my emotional and mental state is nobody’s business. Not a doctor’s, and not my boss.

  • Likewise then, curiosity helps to engage.

    You can be curious from a neutral place, as well as non-judging.

    Curiosity is non-judgemental, and opens up the possibility of exploration.

    This discussion between Alex and Ron is one of the clearest communications of “mental and emotional diversity” and what it means for individuals and society that I have read here at MIA.

    Great writing!

  • I was drugged at the time, it’s my only excuse.

    I had a half-feral kitten, and wanted to have a home where the kitties get along. But it wasn’t possible with this fearful cat. All the natural methods – catnip, Feliway, toys, feeding routines – didn’t work.

    Additionally, the other cat, a fairly well adjusted male, couldn’t figure out what the little cat was so afraid of, so he became a behaviour problem, too – spraying and dominating to compensate.

    So we put both of them on amitryptaline.

    It didn’t do much to the big fella, except make our life hell when we wanted to give him a pill. The little cat took the pills just fine – but she was only 6 months old – the time of her life when her brain is forming. She took the drugs for 6 months, which was when the big cat went to a new home (nobody would have this freaky little cat)

    She became apathetic, would not play (she was afraid to play before the drugs, so – at least she was calm about it now), was disengaged an non-interactive. She never got properly socialised.

    I don’t know how to measure IQ on cats, but I’ve had some pretty smart cats over the years. This cat isn’t quite “dumb as a box of rocks” – but she’s nowhere near a smart cat, either. Now that she’s 11 years old, she is more interactive and communicative than ever before – but I look at her, and see what the drugs have done to her, and regret regret regret it.

    It was part of what made me look at my own psych drugs, and wonder what happened to me. It made me angry at the people who put children and adolescents on these drugs, because those formative years are so important.

    My cat is still a stress-kitty, and will jump at her own shadow. But she’s undrugged now, and I am too. The vet was just trying to help what was an untenable situation. We changed the situation, and the drugs were no longer “needed.”

    It’s hard to apply this lesson to people – but maybe we should.

  • The algorithm to tell them when to interrupt.

    To remind me that there are pills for that emotion.

    They already know what you think, they’re working on how you feel – so that they can hit the sweet spot every time! And “correct” the sour spots.

    This is some scary stuff when you look at the long term marketing / control implications of this technology!

  • This is a great article, Sarah. Thank you for sharing your stories, CatNight.

    It reminds me of times in the 80’s. Neighborhood domestic violence. Do you call the cops or not? Does she want him there or not? Is this violence? Or just another knock down drunk shouting match?

    There was hardship in making this decision. It would affect lives, someone would get hauled off to jail (still, better than the 72-hour forced “hold for observation” option, and more deserved).

    Now – in our impersonal text message era, one can call the cops on a whim, and one’s un-comfort is eased but someone else’s life is ruined. The impersonality of this era enables people to anonymously soothe their own discomfort by ruining someone else.

    And the cops are more likely to come in full riot gear. I remember when I finally called the cops in the above domestic disturbance. I said that I thought he had a gun (he had bragged as such). They surrounded the house (not in riot gear, they didn’t have riot gear in the 80’s) and approached very carefully. It was SCARY! Now – I hate to think what it would look like, with door smashers, helmets, and riot gear.

    A request – maybe this only works in Australia, but if you know someone in distress – if you can choose to call an ambulance instead of a cop – that’s always a better alternative. Medics are (somewhat) more compassionate.

    Better still – can you talk face to face? “I’m sorry you’re upset, but are you okay? Would you like a cuppa tea?” Or is that solution too 1950’s?

  • Oh YetAnother, that’s awfully young.

    If it’s “anxiety” it is likely to be: 1. Mood stabiliser (anti-seizure drug), 2. Antidepressant (really gonna be hard for him to reach sexual maturity), or 3. Neuroleptic (“anti-psychotic”) which is life destroying.

    If you can tease out the drug name, you can name the horrible side effects in the young. Only Prozac is approved for people so young, so this is bound to be off-label prescribing.

  • I find it is harder to be fat – not only for the social reasons (fat shaming) that you mention.

    I find I have to fight harder for medical treatment – because after all, my BMI is the source of “all of my health problems” according to doctors.

    The endocrinologist brought out a tape measure and humiliatingly measured me to tell me that my belly was too big. Well, duh! The reason I was seeing him was the difficulty I have losing weight, in spite of a fairly good (not perfect) diet and 3x exercise weekly with daily walks.

    I think that about 30 kilos would make my knees and hips hurt less. I think that carrying around 2 big bags of kitty litter makes it harder to climb stairs, and makes my heart work harder.

    I do believe that how fit I am is more important than how fat I am. But I do believe it would be easier on my body and my social settings to be thinner.

    This has nothing to do with eugenics, and a lot to do with iatrogenic damage. I was always so skinny before the drugs and surgeries…

    I shudder to think how damaging and difficult it would be to have this struggle from the age of 10, instead of the age of 40.

  • It really rakes my heart over the coals to see all of the media storm about “opioid crisis” when the dangerous epidemic of psych drugs is not addressed.

    It thrilled me to see this German study – I have made a note of it for when my own doctor tries again to inflict amitriptyline or duloxetine instead of the poppy.

    I’d love to see a similar study (including withdrawal effects) for gabapentin and pregabalin, which are the new “wonder drugs” that doctors seem to be fond of. After all, they can’t be bad since “they’re not opiates.”

    This study was conservative. What numbers I read and could understand did not seem to account for the suicides. Withdrawal effects were mentioned, but were skewed – possibly because of the short-term nature of these studies? (I have seen more trouble with Cymbalta and Effexor, for example, than any tri-cyclic.)

    At Surviving Antidepressants, we have people who were put on these drugs and left on them for 10-15 years. When the drugs stopped working, or the side effects become unbearable – coming off of them is incredibly difficult. While we do have people who struggle with tricyclic drugs – the suffering caused by Cymbalta (one of the most challenging) and Lexapro (escitalopram) are the worst.

    This is the first study I’ve seen that begins to address the problems which are out here in the real world.

    I was hoping to see escitalopram in this study, as it is being handed out left and right as the “best thing since sliced bread.”

  • Ouch but what an education. I had to give chlorpromazine to my husband for a physical symptom (a reaction to a steroid gave him permanent hiccups). A low dose didn’t work, so I increased the dose to maybe 1/2 of a “neuroleptic dose.” It knocked him out for 3 days, he had trouble walking, going to the toilet. He commanded me to “NEVER do that again!”

    It’s comforting to see we are on the same page, thanks for responding.

    But I do wonder – if you’ve felt akathisia, how can you call the toxic effects of SSRI/SNRI (“antidepressant”) drugs as placebo? People are fighting to get out from under these toxic drugs – and you had a 3 day understanding of them. Imagine if that had gone on for years, decades? Still placebo?

    Again, we agree that the original stressors need to be addressed. I would go one step further – these drugs NUMB one to the problems at hand, and intensify and delay the recovery from them. So – while I agree with Irving Kirsch that “recovery from depression via antidepressants is about as successful as placebo” – I do not think these drugs *are* placebos.

    I believe, with Whitaker, that they make the distress worse and more chronic.

    Have you read any Joanna Moncrief? Her expert opinions on how to view the drugs and their effects is excellent.

  • Ah. I don’t know why I thought it was you. So sorry. (think twice post once!)

    Now who was that guy? mjms?

    I’m glad to know you’ve got Whitaker’s evidence behind you. Sorry that your welcome to MIA was a little strident – but there are people who have been seriously, irredeemably harmed.

    To hear that “placebo is the main cause” of our distress was a shocking thing to hear. It’s excellent that you are thinking outside the square.

    I still hold that it might benefit your knowledge of these drugs to experience them first hand, but I truly wouldn’t recommend that to even an enemy, so – I hope you could benefit by listening to the many stories and voices here on MIA (and also on Surviving Antidepressants) before you decide how much is “placebo” and how much is chemical toxicity.

    There are a lot of survivors here. Please be gentle with us – we have been denied our truth in so many arenas, this is one of the havens we have.

  • I don’t know why, in this day of modern medicine, people still insist that a mental or emotional state is an “illness.”

    If it’s a nutritional deficiency that affects mood, then let’s call it that.

    It’s the dismissing of people’s lives under the umbrella of “illness” which is causing so much suffering.

    There is, as Richard says below – a capitalist cause for choosing the “expensive” drugs (they are not medicine) over the simples. There is also a power play involved, as people (maybe even people like you) try to tell those of us who suffer “what to do.”

    These simples also include sunshine, bare feet on grass, seeing the trees in the forest, exercise, breathing, walking, pets, gardening, and having healthy relationships. This list is not comprehensive.

    Please, if you are going to post in MIA, do not call these horrific drugs “medicine,” and do not call our suffering an “illness.” I’m even on the border when I call it “suffering,” because many of us are gifted with our differences, and wouldn’t trade them to be “normal” for anything.

  • Doctor, as someone whose thyroid was “subclinical” before the psych drugs, and whose thyroid was destroyed by lithium – I respectfully disagree.

    The doctors at are excellent at discussing the value of these labs, and how to respond appropriately to **symptoms** of subclinical thyroid, like doctors did in the days before these charts and graphs and numbers (labs). Of course the med schools don’t want you to seek a natural or inexpensive solution to a “subclinical” problem.

    With the fluoride in the water and the destruction of these drugs – more and more thyroids are being destroyed like mine.

    I had doctors who tried to treat my “treatment resistant depression” with natural thyroid – but – they also gave me antidepressants at the same time (cancelling each other out, in my book).

    Now that my thyroid is subclinical (I have none, but it is hard to get my thyroid doses “correct” and my symptoms managed) it is extremely difficult to get correct treatment, including co-factors, absorption, diet, exercise – to eliminate symptoms.

    Once a thyroid is destroyed, it’s gone. The website I referenced is full of doctors who disagree with your treatment protocols. There is a real epidemic of thyroid problems as well. (and we don’t know how much of this is caused by fluoridation, pesticides & GMO, and psych drugs – which are also in the water supply).

    Placebo is not the primary cause of this distress. Fred Abbe said what I’m going to say again: try 2 months on Paxil, then try to quit. See if you think that is placebo.

    There is no difference in what these drugs do to healthy (read: off-label) people who take the drugs, or those buried in life stresses.

  • I do agree that in order to come off the drugs successfully, one needs to address the stressors that drove them to the drugs to begin with. This is part of the reason people have difficulty withdrawing from the drugs.

    Until you’ve experienced homeostasis (which you are calling placebo) and downregulation and upregulation of these monoamine systems, you can never say how much of the horrors of withdrawal are the drug, and how much is life stressors.

    They are both vitally important. As someone whose (volunteer) job it is to help people come off of the drugs – there is more at play here than psychological factors.

    I suggest you read a few personal stories, such as Katinka Blackford Newman’s excellent, “The Pill That Steals Lives.” In it, she tells her own story of how a liver enzyme conflict caused her to go completely psychotic on the drug (not a placebo effect), tells the stories of people around the world whose lives have been damaged by these drugs, including committing homicide and suicide, as well citing studies and stories about the worldwide, largely untold catastrophe these drugs are causing.

    Oh, but those are just anecdotal, not “proof.” It is time for doctors to, as David Healy proclaims, listen to the patients, not the drug companies. Your arguments reek of ivory towers, not practical knowledge. Take the drugs, doctor. Try and withdraw from them. Or – just take ONE neuroleptic drug at a D2 hitting dose (e.g. for Seroquel, at least 150 mg). Find out the truth.

  • Richard: “Your blog denies the harmed caused by perturbing the sertonergic, dopamanergic, and/or the gaba receptor system etc. in the brain. Do you not accept the principle of “homeostasis” and “down regulation” and then acknowledge the harm caused by the alteration, disruption, and possible damaged created by the long term use of these psychiatric drugs affecting these brain systems?

    How do you explain the ENORMOUS problems millions of people are having with withdrawal problems related to these drugs, where these withdrawal symptoms are often protracted, including some lasting for years, and some residual effects that never seem to totally abate?”

    Aye, thank you for that Richard.

    I was shocked that he talked about the “horrible opiate withdrawals” (which are over in a month) and didn’t even touch upon the life changing horrible antidepressant withdrawals, which can last years, and that’s if one is successful getting off of them!

    The “bad effects” from these drugs are more than placebo effects. People are not just blaming their problems on the drugs – the drugs have real effects. If you want call them “active placebos with side effects,” and then please note that those “side effects” are damaging to brain, nervous system, endocrine, gastrointestinal, and in many cases, liver and kidneys. These effects are not placebo in nature – or else people would be quitting the drugs no problem.

    I agree with the author that we need to get away from the biological model. But his views on “placebo” and the effects of these drugs lacks understanding. Have you considered the possibility that psych drug users turn to opiates because the pain of the ****side effects**** is unbearable?

    And there is a reason that most opiate users are on the psych drugs – doctors hand out psych drugs like candy – because they claim they are “non addictive” (read: unpleasant) like opiates, and psych drugs are now the first port-of-call for chronic pain. This practice will be causing even more long term damage, and that 16% of population figure will be growing, as these drugs are thrown at every problem, without understanding how they work.

    “The opiate crisis” is a thinly veiled excuse (yes there have been deaths, but I would hazard a guess that the psych drugs have caused more deaths – epidemic, as Mr. Whitaker says, but unreported) to get more people dependant upon a different form of pharma: the psych drugs.

    The author asks Richard for “proof” and “evidence.” I believe that a prerequisite for posting here is at least familiarity with Robert Whitaker’s excellent book. THEN, with the other side of his mouth, the author claims: ” Just for the record, anyone can steer statistical data to prove any point that they like. In other words, it’s not written in stone nor is it black and white.” So – what kind of “proof” would you accept?

    I am a peer support volunteer on a patient advocacy website called Surviving Antidepressants. I have exposure to the costs of these drugs personally, and in my dealings with friends and family. But onsite, I gained experience in listening to hundreds of cases with different stories, with the same theme, all starting with the sentence: “I went to my doctor and he gave me a drug….” Does that make me an “expert working in the field?”

    Are my statistics (which are not collated, published or peer reviewed, but are “estimates” of what I see on a peer support website) any less valid? Or are they twisted by the pain and suffering which I witness on a daily basis?

    It’s convenient to blame suicide rates on “the economy.” Yes, that is a factor – but – look up the word: akathisia. Just reading the definition doesn’t give you insight into the condition, but it is so horrible that ending your life seems a blessing. These drugs cause akathisia – when you go on them, when you change them, and when you go off them. This is far more significant than a “placebo effect,” and that is just *one* side efffect; also consider chronic insomnia, agitation, restless legs, irritable bowel, cardiovascular disturbances, obsessive thoughts, sexual dysfunction, Alzheimers and Parkinson-like symptoms. In history, economy and suicide ride hand in glove. But now there are thorns in the glove, and they are psych drugs.

    Sadly, this is another case of someone telling us what is good for us top down. Take the drugs, doctor, for at least 6 weeks, then try and quit them. Then I believe you will understand better where these “statistics” are coming from.

  • Don – right! Art is the only Truth we have left.

    I don’t just mean paintings and sculptures to buy and sell – but banjos and posters, speeches and knitting circles, book clubs and fiction writing, journalism and orchestration.

    Any time you are compelled to put a piece of you – out into the world – to share. Even if that’s just whistling a tune, or doodling on a napkin – art is Truth.

    That’s why what Auntie has done is a highest Truth. All this and actual science, too!

  • Please, a name? I have friends in Bloomington Indiana, and I would like to help them. There are a lot of docs in Bloomington Indiana, most of them are in one of 2 stables: IU Medical (lots of pharma funds) and Premier Healthcare (hands tied corporation). There is only one doctor who is not in the stable – the ones in the stable have to use insurance protocols, and I lived there for 10 years and had to fight to advocate for my own health care to be “minimal.”

    Is this Lambrecht? I thought she wasn’t taking new patients.

  • Kalina, this is a most heartfelt and beautifully communicated story.

    I’d like to hear it read aloud – by you. I wonder if you can podcast it? I have friends in distress who could hear your story and benefit – but they cannot read very well. (withdrawal).

    Let us know if you do! (link on this page: “now available as podcast”)

    Your journalling shows in your writing. Those things which I have felt, too – but could never sort the threads of the feeling out enough to say – like you did :

    watercolor splash across the DM and
    he listened to me without knowing the answer (like the others had)

    This is a beautiful journey, with all the hallmarks of someone who will get better (and better!) and help the rest of us, too.

  • No studies. But I did it. And I know I’m not the only one. If you wait for the studies it won’t happen – lithium has been around for decades – and there are still no studies like this.

    And you should do it too, because while lithium can protect against alzheimers and has mood benefits in microdoses – in medical doses it destroys kidneys.

    Maybe it will take 3 years, maybe 5, maybe 10 – or maybe it will wait until that hot summer’s day when you take a long hike and get dehydrated.

    For getting off, it’s the same as any drug, really. Taper 10% of previous dose per month. If you have symptoms, stop tapering and hold until symptoms subside. It took me 2 years to taper lithium and an antidepressant. It helps to have doctors support (I gave my an ultimatum: you can help, or I will find someone else. I’d rather it be you, since you know my history, but I will do this, and I’d prefer your help to anothers. She caved.). If your tablets are XR, be prepared to take them 2x a day as trimming your doses eliminates any XR coating..

    I became interested in life again. I developed hobbies which became passions which rolled over into helping others. I could read books and retain information better (still cognitively slow from the other drugs, but much much better). Lithium had wrapped me in cotton wool, and as I gradually came out from under it, life became brighter and more worthwhile.

    I’m still probably “bipolar.” But I take responsibility for my moods, words, and actions, and don’t need to get caught by the system ever again. I rest when I’m down, I act when I’m up. I enjoy both. to help you taper.

  • Here in Australia, they have a medical measurement for cigarette smoking damage called “pack years.” How many packs for how many years.

    I think that any mention of dosage should also include time on the drug, number of switches between drugs, age when the drugs were started, and other drugs being taken.

    All of these are factors. A 13 year old started on 150 mg of seroquel and on it for 10 years will have a different profile to a 30 year old started on 150 mg of seroquel for 10 years.

    Then there’s polypharmacy, like madmom suggests. There’s no testing for polypharmacy, all we have is the anecdotal collective evidence of this gigantic experiment loosed upon the general populace.

    When someone says to me, “My drugs are working,” my first question is: how long have you been on them?

    Usually, it is less than 5 years (more often, less than a year. Sigh). After that, they are starting to get sick, or having sleep problems, or unexplained symptoms that may not be connected to the drug. My next question is, “how many other drugs have you tried?” When that starts to get up in the 3-5 drugs (not polypharmacy, but switching), then there are often problems.

    How many other drugs are you on? I include statins, PPI’s, blood pressure medication, blood thinners as possible contributors to major problems. For me, statins were as deadly as the psych drugs (even though the lithium was starting to deteriorate my kidneys)

    How old were you when you went on them? People who were put on the drugs before fully forming in adulthood often have a lot of learning to do – in order to come to healing.

    It’s complicated! We are each an experiment of N=1.

  • Samruck, that is a thorn in my side too.

    I am not a professional, I am a peer support and caring friend, with my own madness experience.

    In my work at Surviving Antidepressants, I have seen as many case studies (anecdotes) as some doctors.

    After seeing someone accelerate at 70 mph towards a brick wall, it becomes easy to predict how that crash is going to unfold. This isn’t the best example because it’s pure physics instead of the weaselly chemical actions of these drugs.

    But in general, I have noticed that people who cling to their diagnosis stay diagnosed. People who insist that doctors (or others) “fix” them, do not take responsibility for their own wellness. People who take charge of their self education and healing find ways to get better. People who cold turkey from the drugs and feel well at 1-3 months out, tend to have more experiences waiting for them, some of which will be so extreme as to send them flying back to doctor or hospital. People who bounce their doses and change drugs get destabilised / symptoms. People who carefully taper generally do better (but not always).

    These are generalisations based on an aggregate of anecdotes. But like bcharris says, I don’t have a lab (or white coat) or blood tests, clinic, MRI’s, or any “scientific” evidence to prove it. Just years (and possibly decades) of experience.

    The shocker for me is this: if I, in my limited experience, can see this (anecdotally, and in the aggregate of anecdote after anecdote after anecdote) – why don’t the doctors?

  • Hey the_cat –

    I reckon I would never have been diagnosed by psychs if there had been recognition of my Delayed Sleep Cycle. That was always listed as a “symptom of bipolar,” not a “cause for erratic behaviour” or “depression.”

    Owls and Larks – and I ain’t a lark!

    Currently, have work that I can do on my own time, but the struggle to mesh with other people’s schedules is stressful.

    I recognise that my delayed cycle sleep can contribute to diabetes, metabolic, endocrine and cardiac problems. And I’m wondering about the cardiac problems, starting a new round of diagnostics for that. That’s how stressful it is to change my sleep.

    But I moved to Australia – which is largely a daytime country. Up with the birds, down with the sun. I’ve never seen such healthy people! It’s stressful trying to keep up with them! But the stress of changing my sleep is greater….

    There’s a clinic in Chicago which does sleep deprivation. They keep you awake and “fix” your circadian rhythms. It is for “bipolars” and people like us. I reckon if I still lived in the US I might give it a go, to see if it worked.

    I do know that extreme jet lag (like flying halfway across the planet for three weeks and then flying back) – can correct my sleeping for about 1-3 months.

    I kept my Seroquel – given to me just like in this article: 25 mg at night (now I have to go look and see – how many years did I take that? Egads, gonna have to call the Chemist). The Seroquel sits in its box by the nightstand like a security blanket. I haven’t taken one since I quit.

    When I think about my brain, and think about – how little it helped my delayed cycle sleep (ah yes. So maybe I could shift it back 1 hour? And sleep 3 am – 11 am instead of 4-noon?) – I don’t miss it.

    But now I want to know – was that 3 years? or 5? That I took it every night, sometimes up to 75 mg on a “bad night.” I was a cognitive mess when I came off my drugs. Different drugs contributed different effects. I’ve always wondered – as I have watched friends fall into neuroleptic symptoms and states – how much I lost on Seroquel.

  • Please, do “drama queen cutter chicks” a favour and find an alternate way to discuss these traumatised people.

    First, using the word “cutter” or “cutting” is activating to those who want to do it. Just reading the word is enough to set a self-injurer into a tailspin.

    Second, I understand that some people do experience extreme states and exhibit borderline strategies for getting what they need. In my experience I’ve found that it is generally BECAUSE THAT’S HOW THEY GOT THEIR NEEDS MET in a situation that was traumatic, or far less than optimal.

    Yes, I agree with you the_cat, (and Breggin) it sounds like medication spellbinding/anosognosia. But I have a feeling this woman is going to wake up at some point in her life, and the weight of what has happened will be punishment enough.

    Here is an interesting phenomenon of self injury – everyone I have experienced this with – goes completely numb just before it happens. How much easier would it be for that to happen – if you were on emotionally numbing drugs?

    When are we going to pay attention and be kind to each other? This is about cyber-bullying as much as it is about drugs. In our society it’s considered fashionable to shoot from the hip in a quick, cruel text and laugh about it with your friends. This is starting to have consequences. This may be a landmark case, but it’s not the first time it’s happened. The last time I saw something like this in the news, it was done by a mob – and was not prosecutable.

    I’m mixed about the verdict. I would like to see some measures to make it less popular to be so cruel to each other in faceless texts. I agree with Breggin and most people here – the drugs – always the drugs. Look at the drugs first. I expect that – someday if she ever gets off the drugs – she will be punished enough for what she has done (if she can ever recognise her culpability).

    Until then, serving time will do. Keep in mind, the police and courts exist to put people into the profit making prison industrial complex. Mind your manners.

    And how can we better learn to be kind to each other?

  • Oh, that’s a slippery slope.

    You gonna use your truth to treat my psychosis?

    Listening to psychosis practically requires a suspension of consensual reality.

    So where is truth? What is more true – that I see vampires on the dark side of the moon? Or that a traffic light that is red means stop?

    Both are symbols or representations of truth – one agreed upon (the traffic light) one not (the vampires). But the vampires are important too, and to integrate and resolve that shadow, it needs to be acknowledged as truth, as well.

    In the safety of that truth, yes, there is resolution. But to impose objective truth upon another is to deny the reality for that person.

    There are many paths up that mountain.

    Nietzsche: “The search for truth begins with the doubt of all truths in which one has previously believed.”

  • 1. The statistic was quite conservative. There might – MAYBE be 10% of people who are drawn in to psychiatry by honest means, and are kept there without pressure or coercion. But once they take those drugs, that is questionable. The reality is probably more like 99%

    2. The source of this is my personal experience, combined with the experiences in my peer support for withdrawing from psych drugs, and reading myriads of case studies over the past 5 years.

    I include marketing in coercion. I include pressure, “You’re not cool if you don’t,” or – more likely “You’ll go crazy if you don’t.” This is coercion too.

    So – perhaps the thing you are against is violent coercion? The worst of the worst – the restraints & needles & confinement & humiliation of forced incarceration. Does that also include Treatment Orders “for the safety of the community?” Is the court a violence?

    Where does the violence end and the coercion begin?

    I reckon all psychiatry is coercive. I spotted you 10% for the benefit of the discussion.

  • It is the job of a tribe to make sure you are unsuccessful in your efforts to be free of it. That’s why conformity is such a powerful control on behaviour.

    Even worse when, as KS says, they are financially dependant upon the system for their very survival.

    FD I like your idea of iatrogenic damage payments. As a “cost of doing business,” right? Like the lawsuits?

  • Except that 90% of “treatment” is coercion.

    Coercion by the ads which drove you to the doctor – “I’m sad, I’m out of sorts, my life sucks” Try Dammitol!

    Coercion by the schools, Johnny isn’t performing very well, let’s get him some speed to stunt his growth and create a bipolar patient.

    Coercion by ignorance as the psychiatrists hold all the cards, and “know best” in the realms of “agnosia” caused by these coerced “illnesses.”

    Show me non-coercive psychiatry. I don’t think it exists.

    By “coercive” or “forced” treatment do you mean only by violence?

    What about the pressure of the poor, doctor knows best for them, too. Or the pressure to perform in a mindless corporate soul sucking job? Is that forced treatment to get help so you can still be a good worker? Is it forced treatment to take drugs to stay in a toxic marriage because you need to “save face” among the deacons?

    Oh, look – your cholesterol numbers are high. Reckon you need a statin!

    I’m even in the realm with Julie where most medicine is coercive. I hit the books before visiting a doctor, lest I be bullied into procedures, drugs, and even surgeries, without knowing what I’m in for. I have to fight with all of my doctors – even the “good” ones – for the good treatment for my health that I deserve.

    I choose to fight my doctors because I was so ruined by the drugs and surgeries that I still need care. Without pharmaceuticals (thyroid) I will die. I have to interact with them, and fight their control (coercion) at every step.

    I am a salmon swimming upstream, and you are telling me that treatment is voluntary?

  • As someone who was too poor for insurance in the USA (and was “too rich” for Medicare or Medicaid or Disability because I could work 20 hours a week) – and who has moved to Australia –

    I don’t think that medical insurance is the road to hell quite like you pave it.

    I have choices in my treatment. My private health cover that helps with acupuncture is cheaper, because there is a base which is covered by the single payer system here.

    Yes Australia has abuses just like the USA, and people are locked up and force treated. Yes, Medicaid and Medicare patients are milked and it’s criminal – scraping the bottom of the barrel so that the fat cats at the top have a bump in share price. It’s evil!

    But now that I have escaped the USA, I have choices here – because of the single payer system – that I would not have in the USA. Choice is a good thing.

    The problem in America isn’t health insurance (or lack thereof) it’s inequality. Anything which levels the playing field – like single payer health insurance – has got to be an improvement.

    Studies show that it is inequality which drives emotional distress and spikes the rates of “mental illness” and violence in a country. And the USA is one of the most unequal in the world.

    I haven’t acted pro or nay on the repeal. I see people suffering at the bottom of the barrel – like my mother, my little sister. Medicare and Medicaid take away your choices. Universal health care, single payer systems, open up choices.

    I am pro choice, when it comes to healthcare, even though I’m terrified of doctors. Maybe ESPECIALLY because I’m terrified of doctors, I want the freedom to choose which doctors and under what conditions I will see them.

  • Julie, your comment about MISUNDERSTOOD above is SO RIGHT! (sorry, I’m a little behind in time-line)

    The reason adolescents are so susceptible to crisis (besides the trauma factor) is that our Western society has no “coming of age” initiations.

    The Rite of Passages are now – drive a car (16) – go to college (18) – learn to drink (21 and, um, before), have sex (whenever??). But they are not formally acknowledged by community and society, and in fact – many of these initiations must be done on the sly, they are forbidden in our society. So they are not formal, socially acceptable initiations.

    Even the Amish have the Rumspringa, after which they are formally accepted into the community.

    Adolescence is a vital and important time, and too many people have been medicated from the “crisis of growing up” where there could have been a “coming of age initiation” to prepare them.

    There are so many things we are not taught – how to express feelings, how to communicate, how to resolve conflict – and all of these skills come into play as we try and navigate our way through college. Our initiation is like the parent who taught the kid to swim by throwing him in the river – here ya go, pup, now swim! Some of us can survive that – many of us need more support as we make the transition from childhood to adulthood. From supported (if you had it) to responsible.

    For me, college was my first time free of an oppressive religious home, and I had the equivalent of “breakdowns,” but didn’t “get caught” until much later in life. If I’d been caught then, I might still be babbling in restraints somewhere.

  • Okay anonymous case study.

    Someone with a drinking problem self-injured, took too much Zoloft and ended up in Psych Ward. There, was referred to “dual diagnosis” where the first thing they did was rip said person OFF benzo (Ativan) cold turkey because now that s/he is “dual diagnosis” no addictive drugs will be supplied.

    I guess this is happening a lot in the USA? How to help? This person is poor & without resources – all medical care etc is provided by Medicaid. Person is already sick from decades of Seroquel and antidepressants, but is too afraid – and too dependant upon “system” – to find a way out.

    This is draconian, and negligent medical practice. But s/he doesn’t have options in the medicaid system. Housing, food, also under threat from government policy.

    Just die young? Is that the answer?

  • Marketing: I would go so far as to say it’s not just psychiatry, but pharmaceuticals.

    There are pharmaceutical cascades that are killing people which have nothing to do with opoids or psych drugs.

    It often starts with a statin. Then, muscle pain – add NSAID. Stomach trouble, add PPI. This might cascade into heart drugs, or it might cascade into psych drugs, as depression sets in and sleep gets worse. Someone who was feeling fine, but had a blood test run & came back with “hypercholestemia” ends up very sick in a few short months by just listening to their doctor, who listens to Pharma.

    What about the 50 years of fluoride in the water? When will the science court decide that there is no one dose for all people, determined by levels in water?

    I think that psychiatry is an extreme symptom of a very sick system. Decisions are made for the benefit of share price, not for the benefit of anyone’s health or well-being.

    The innocent who “go along” with what they are told – are participating in a huge social and chemical experiment. For share price.

  • It’s positive that you recognize the spiritual components to distress and suffering.

    Your most astute observations were around who got well and who didn’t – how much they bought into the fatalistic psychiatry story.

    However if I were in distress and I were approached with a branded ministry geared towards a certain doctrine, I would find that just as intrusive as psychiatry.

    To me, spirituality is divorced from religion, it is something that must be discovered within, not imposed from without via proselytization. You say that the spiritual component of your working farms was optional, but there is always an element of peer pressure, and those who have been incarcerated in hospitals are acutely aware of “fitting in.” This pressure would be subtle, and not always available to the observation of those who are running the programs.

    It’s a tough line between helping the vulnerable and preying upon them. From your voice here it seems that you walk that boundary cautiously and carefully. But I have to express that I felt trepidation when I heard the phrase “faith-based residential recovery working farm.”

    On the other hand, I know people with the long term “need the meds” mindset, and what you say is very true. And the Quakers did it in the 1800’s and 1900’s with compassion, so perhaps “faith based” could help where psychiatry has failed.

    There are many of us who have been traumatized in the name of “faith” and “religion” however.

  • Hey Julie – actually there could be a connection between drugs and apnea. My occupational therapist and I were looking at why so many people on the psych drugs came up with tendon injuries. The occ therapist reckoned it was collagen. Other problems from collagen would include prolapses, apneas, and aging.

    If you think about what the drugs do to digestion and endocrine, this actually makes sense (though I can’t prove it).

  • Sadly, most nutritionists and homeopaths are as clueless as the docs, and can cause damage of their own. I was talking to a friend who is now discovering the amazing benefits of sunshine and exercise, fish oil and magnesium on mood – and we talked:

    “If you had been told this before all the crisis went down, would you have believed it?”

    Both of us answered, no. That there was something about the crisis we both had to go through, and come out on the other side. Now, sunshine is very effective – but it might not have cut through the drama in my previous state.

    PS – Mensah Medical is in Chicago. I don’t think they have the whole picture, but they can help a lot. Problem is – how rich are you? 🙁

  • I was just listening to some Peter Levine who pointed out that “medical procedure trauma” is a real thing, too. And he wasn’t talking about psych drugs, just – invasive stuff affecting our boundaries and subconscious safety – like the dentist, could set up this kind of trauma for later seemingly unrelated anxiety.

    I reckon – as GiaK says on BeyondMeds – Everything Matters.

  • Whoa Julie, I didn’t come after you at all.

    I think you’re talking to AA.

    I agree that it is an industry, but it is worse for me when hubby doesn’t use his noisy CPAP, when I lie awake listening to see if he’s breathing.

    I also agree about the addiction thing – once you start treatment, like anything, homeostasis seems to set in and the only way to keep it working is to adjust it up, just like a benzo. I don’t know ANYone who – once treated successfully on them – has gotten off.

    I do, however, know that many people with apneas can be treated with Vitamin D – as it affects the sleep paralysis balance of sleeping. See Stasha Gominek:

    Sorry you felt attacked.

  • Hey Rossa –
    I am not a medical practitioner of any sort, and can only talk about my personal experience. My research has led me away from niacinamide, which was stabilizing, but not the miracle that niacin was.

    Niacin, of course, has those awful flushes. Hoffer says at some point they go away, but they never did for me.

    I use it more for a mood stabilizer than an “anti-psychotic” effect, so take just under 1g per day. When I was more unstable, I was up to 2g per day, and have been able to reduce it over time.

    Non flush versions which “pass muster” for me are NADH (don’t have to take as much of it, as it goes directly to brain), and inositol hexanicotinate.

    Niacinamide was not used in Hoffer’s tests, nor has it been used in cardio or other tests. Based on my experience, I’m guessing it’s about 10% as effective as pure niacin.

    The other version I list here feel more like 80-90% of efficacy of pure niacin.

  • That’s the way my ortho-doc speaks. There is no way her supplements will do to me what the psych drugs did. (see below, as I address “chemical imbalance” from orthomolecular perspective).

    We have all of these blatant effects from the drugs – the akathisia, withdrawal problems, over-stimulation, emotional distress – but my problem has been with the hidden effects: internal organs, endocrine, cardiac.

    No way that niacin or fish oil could begin to do to me what the psych drugs did.

    BC I’m glad you are doing what you do – and I wish there were more of you. Orthomolecular may not be the whole answer (I also believe that trauma must be addressed) – but by golly it’s a terrific start!

  • Hey BC – yes, 40-60 years for turnover, except that this orthomolecular stuff was so suppressed upon discovery that I suspect it’s 40 years ago (as you note about Carl Pfeiffer below) – now.

    Sorry I cannot match your optimism. This technology will be buried under profit.

    They did a similar study on aggressive Australian prisoners and fish oil, reducing incidents by 50-75%. By the end of the study, they gave the placebo group the fish oil, it was so successful. So – forced fish oil for the imprisoned? Or just the violent ones?

  • Hey Desi, now that you are down to the pointy end of the taper, you might slow down.

    It takes 3 weeks for your neurotransmitters to adjust to a change, that’s why at www. we recommend changes monthly, not as often as you are doing.

    And many people react to Sam-e, as it fiddles serotonin receptors. Visit Surviving Antidepressants for more information.

    Yes, Effexor is an evil one, because of it’s multi-neurotransmitter approach and deadly short half life.

  • @desi12 – What a brave and valuable comment!

    How do we heal from the past? Maybe looking at the past helps you understand why you are how you are – but then there comes a time to let go and move forward. The past has made you who you are – and the present is bearing down on you trying to make you more, again. How can you protect your future hope? I think Letting Go is key. And you are so right – that thing called G-d – however you may perceive It – is the essence of healing.

    What is the fine line between your native stress and condition, and what have the drugs and psychiatry done to you? I do think that those of us who have been through the diagnosing and drugging are more sensitive to the life which we engage with. The “killing lifestyle” may not go away all at once, you might need to replace bits of it a little at a time. Some of my bad habits are hard to break, and we get so easily addicted to what is expected of us in society and family. After all, that’s what we’re “supposed to do,” right?

    I have taken a lot of peace from a myriad of little Practices. Right now, I like Natural Breathing, by Dennis Lewis (which might help with your digestion and cough) I have some energetic practices, as well as practical physical practices like tai chi/chi gung for pain, yoga for balance and stillness, karate for expression of anger, mental and social skills, and weightlifting for strength and rehabilitation. I walk in the sun for melatonin and vitamin D. I listen to music to uplift and feel, and heal. I love to read and learn from books and internet. I try to eat clean to prevent inflammation. I manage my daily stress to keep from getting overloaded (it happens altogether too easily sometimes!).

    NONE OF THESE stop the depression, the rumination, the palpitations. ALL of them combined – help, and the more of them I can do, and – (this is key) – express gratitude for – the better I get.

    I still “crash,” I still get depressed, and have my moments of hopelessness and helplessness. It’s probably very realistic in today’s world when we realize that it’s going to get very hard to be human very soon. So I rest, and wait until I’m able to do again. Then, as I re-engage my Practices, and my gratitude for every millimetre of growth, I find I’m growing again. The downtimes are less dramatic, less powerful, and shorter lived.

    There’s a lot to be said for the do-be-do-be-do of the Frank Sinatra School of Enlightenment.

    But I will not submit to doctors again for my emotional well-being.

  • It’s discussions like these (and Lucinda Jewell below) which are a clear pointer that the folks who did the study were not familiar with meditation and how it works.

    And then – pathologizing the experiences that come up. Instead of omg a negative emotion! You must have an underlying “disorder”!

    We should be celebrating them! LOOK! You learned a thing! It hurt? AWESOME! Learn again, learn some more! The more you learn, the better you will get at exploring these places.

    (exception: the many Eastern – and Western practices – which include abuse and trauma as part of the curriculum. I never celebrate these, even though they can make you mighty.)

  • What about that 55th day?

    I know you’re just reporting the studies. It’s shocking to see how inhumane and painful they are. Many of them just seek to substitute one addictive drug for another.

    THere are a few gems in here.
    18: “The authors conclude that histamine H1 receptors are facilitators and H3 receptors are inhibitors concerning benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome.”
    40: “This author describes symptoms of the benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome including insomnia, panic attacks, increases in anxiety, hand tremor, sweating, tension, difficulty concentrating, dry heaving and nausea, weight loss, headache, muscle tension and stiffness, perceptual changes, and seizures and psychosis at high doses. ”
    41: “This study is a case presentation of five seizures occurring after withdrawal from benzodiazepines (3% of a sample of 153 in a larger study) and found that sudden cessation and high-dose use increased risk.”
    44: attitude matters (though I disagree with the terminology): “patients reporting craving were more dependent on benzodiazepines, psychopathology, negative mood, and personality factors such as negativism, somatization, and psychopathology”
    47: “there is not currently evidence that when tapering, substitutive pharmacotherapy improves outcomes compared to gradual reduction in use.”
    49: “discontinuers had a shorter length of stay and lower levels of depression.”
    53: “many benzodiazepine users show improvements in cognitive functioning after withdrawal…There was not full restoration of cognitive functioning within the first 6 months after discontinuation and there may be aspects of cognitive functioning that are permanently impaired or take longer than 6 months to recover.”
    54: (same as 44 but with better language): “Successful withdrawal was associated with low neuroticism, low behavioral inhibition, higher numbers of positive events, and higher levels of satisfaction with social support.”
    54B: ” Participants in the Combined and Taper groups relapsed significantly less than those in the CBT group. ”
    63: “patients who underwent this rapid tapering showed more withdrawal symptoms than the clients who had gradually tapered”
    67: “tapering was more successful than usual care and that CBT had no added benefit and that success and intervention type had no association with measures of psychological functioning” So – CBT has no benefit in withdrawal! (though, that’s contradicted by 68)

    66: “This study had chronic benzodiazepine users switch to diazepam and found that after treatment for depression with paroxetine vs. placebo, approximately 2/3 were successful in tapering from benzodiazepines and 13% of all patients in the study remained benzodiazepine-free three years later.”

    SO – now they are addicted to PAXIL, one of the worst of the bunch!

    Confirmed by 70: “use of SSRI predicted becoming benzodiazepine-free after adjusting for age, gender, length of benzodiazepine use, and baseline HAM-A and HAM-D scores.”
    79: “melatonin does not appear to assist with cessation of benzodiazepine use.”

    Look to see greater use of SSRI, anti-seizure drugs, and neuroleptics as people try to come off these “controlled substance” drugs…
    Like this one:
    76: “Though pregablin showed promise in alleviating anxiety and other withdrawal symptoms” (at least it acknowledged that the long term risks and withdrawal plans are not addressed)

    I’m mostly summarizing these for my own references.

  • Mmm.

    All things in moderation.

    Decades of experience in seated and moving meditations, at least 5 types – and there are a number of factors to consider. I’ve been abused in practice before, too. I’d say it was more traumatic than any psychiatric or therapy experiences I’ve had – because it shattered everything I was before the practice.

    For example, meditation should be at dawn and/or dusk. (midday or midnight meditation can be used to disrupt your circadian rhythms as a form of mind control) Meditation should be no more than 2 x 20 minute sessions daily. The extreme experiences of meditation are usually found beyond these beneficial limitations.

    Also not discussed is meditation under a Master. Did he beat you about the head with his bamboo stick? Did he tell you that you needed to “correct” your thinking, feeling, behaviour, that you were “doing it wrong?” Were you sitting incorrectly? Did you bring the right fruit or flower to honor the guru? Did he try to destroy everything you knew before?

    There are many ways meditation can go wrong – similar to therapy. Put in appropriate places and fences, using techniques that are appropriate for you (can’t sit still? try moving or active meditation), are the ways this can be a useful tool for growth and well being.

    So – there is no “this is the perfect meditation for everybody,” which is the kind of reproduce-able results mainstream medicine would like to achieve.

    Everyone has different times, practices, methods, teachers, non-teachers, places of comfort and well being. Meditation can help one heal, but it is probably best to come from within. If you’re not compelled, it’s not for you. And if your guidance comes from within – then you are less likely to end up in a practice which is bad for you.

    Nothing is 100% “safe.” But like with anything, choose what is best for you.

  • Hey Sera – and notice that your PM’s are not private!

    But the total incompetence of Joy is exactly the kind of bogus thing that will get monetized and report on you – as well as market to you – based on what you say to KillJoy. She’s positively begging for marketing “improvements.”

    I find that incompetence can be as dangerous as competence – especially in the digital realm. Look what happened last election!

  • This doesn’t even consider the privacy issues of discussing your mental health business on Facebook. Bad enough to do it from an App on a Smart Phone (I forget what Mindfulness based and other apps there are) – but Facebook is the worst.

    Take for example, the “Private Message,” or PM, where you seemed to be communicating with Joy.

    I was getting to know a new Facebook friend in another city via PM. She was talking about Asian American issues, and racism, and how difficult it was to be accepted in either the Asian or the American communities.

    Facebook immediately decided that it was time to give me an ad for “Seeking Asian Women? Hot 18-21 yo Asian Women are ready to chat with you!”


    Taken to the Big Brother level of interaction – Facebook collects your key phrases and metadata, which the NSA (and other awful acronyms) have direct access too. Children born since 2010 will have no idea what privacy is. They will interact with health bots and emotional bots and their info will be reported to the appropriate department. A knock at the door, a syringe, a section or treatment order. Next!

    I know it is taking your scenario about 2 steps into the future – but – considering that the cyber world expands at an exponential rate, I don’t think my scenario is so far fetched.

    It will be a cold day in hell when I discuss my distress with anyone or anything on Facebook or on a Smart Phone. To find out more, investigate the PRISM program of data gathering. Ugly.

    Here: (just one example)

  • Thank you for spelling out some of the steps to taking our bodies back.

    Single payer health care is an improvement on the profit model, however, if you look at the drugging rates of socialized medicine countries: UK, Australia, New Zealand, Denmark, and some of the Scandanavian countries – you will see that they are similar, and can be as draconian as the USA.

    Australia’s single payer is really a tiered system, with the illusion of “private cover” being more affordable with the single payer base. This private cover is blatantly corporate and profit driven, with some institutions keeping “revolving doors” for their “clients.” It may not be anything more than semantic – a profit driven hospital is more likely to talk in terms of beds, turnover, services, and billable hours, than perhaps a public hospital.

    But Australia’s forced treatment policies only require the statement of one psychiatrist for “Sectioning” and CTO’s are enforced with enthusiasm.

    It will take far more than a single payer system to heal these wounds. So I guess I fall into the “until psychiatry is discredited and dung heaped – it won’t get better” camp. And with the value of social control in this Brave New World – I don’t think that the powers that be will allow this to happen without a huge battle.

  • MEPAT QUOTE: It’s carthartic for me to be a pompous ass to some of the authors and commenters here and to bombard site with YouTube videos.

    Called: Troll.
    Solution: Ban.

    Self described troll, even.

    If that’s your only purpose here – you are not promoting growth, conversation, or anything of benefit other than your own jollies. The very definition of a troll.

    PS Steve don’t feed the troll.

  • I reckon that the trainers are not making so much – one of the cult complaints about LGAT is the use of “volunteer labour” for the org. There would have been a team of unpaid volunteers at a session, doing registrations, minding the doors, etc. The paid employees” might get a percentage of the take on the room, but they wouldn’t get the full amount. That goes to running the org.

    This impoverishment keeps them hungry. Essential if you want to drum up more business.

  • Oh – this is a good starting point – but – what I’m not hearing here (that seems so obvious to me) is the suppression and oppression of the positive thinking lifestyle.

    Denying the Shadow only makes it stronger – and I think this is more the causes of depression than our constant change and rootlessness. i would hazard that the constant change and rootlessness are symptoms of this lack of integration – the denial of the dark, the bad, the evil, the unwanted sides of ourselves.

    I’ve seen whole discussions here on MIA about how inappropriate it is to express emotion in public. Emotion – sadness, fear, anger – are “inappropriate,” and can lead to sectioning if expressed in public. This is a symptom of denial of the Shadow.

    These sides are most useful when integrated and put to work. So the solution for me is not to deny the search for meaning, but to refocus the lens of our attention to include those parts that we might not like, and which might not be socially acceptable. And they are not the “positive” “happy” parts…

    Brinkmann touches on this in “Focus on the Negative,” but then his shifting his focus to Stoicism is, to me, asking for more pain and suffering. The problem with our society is not that we are ignoring our responsibilities and obligations – but that these have increased in our social structure to a practically unbearable level – so much so, that we get drugged in order to survive our responsibilities and obligations and struggle to “be a decent human being.”

    The self-help movement is an attempt to balance that (even if it swings the pendulum too far in the other direction)

  • It makes me wonder – the issue here is economic, surely.

    That in the short term it is cheaper to put the kids on drugs, rather than re-gearing our entire education system, which is always subject to cuts and incredibly tight budgets.

    And when the schools do get funding – it’s always to infrastructure – buildings, sports fields. It’s never to the arts and music program (which saved many a kid’s well being, including mine!), and never to increasing staff or training. I’m also thinking about “gym class” – which we always dreaded – but which was a structured form of play to get us to burn off some energy.

    And I’m reminded of the helicopter Health and Safety codes (and the heavy hammer of lawsuits). A local school in Australia removed the monkey bars from the playground because a child broke her arm. What? Isn’t that a normal “growing up” lesson? And what are the other hundreds of kids supposed to do with their energy? Stand around on an empty playground? Play with their devices?

    I grew up in an educational family – father Dean at a University, stepmother Principal of a High School. Education (and the economic resources we don’t devote to it) is the source of the problem, medical policies only reinforce it.

    That teacher who is happy to “diagnose” children is in an understaffed classroom, using materials that are dictated by state curriculum – any extra materials must come out of that teacher’s meager salary. Additionally that meager salary includes time/attention obligations like – showing up for sporting and social events as chaperone, grading on evening and weekends. The teacher has very little to work with, and yes, it might be a relief to numb out the exuberant, restless, or traumatized child.

    I’ve thought about my own childhood. All my report cards indicated that I had trouble paying attention, that I looked out the window or talked in class. My whole education was an effort to get me to “pay attention!” But I always had “good grades” so “I got away with it.” And that was the 1970’s, geez.

    I also remember ONE friend who was “hyperactive” and was on some sort of amphetamine. He wasn’t in my class, but he was at my school and in my neighborhood. ONE. During my entire schooling career! I wonder what the “drug to kid” ratio is in a classroom today?

    As privitization sweeps the country, the “charter schools” start filling the niche of these “kids who nobody wants” – do we expect it to get better?

    Rotten to the Core.

    Getting back to my original issue, the short term benefits – if we look at the long term cost and damage of these kids growing up to become “bipolar” and “schizophrenic” in adolescence because they’ve always depended on a pill to adjust their behaviours – and the cost to society of having chronically ill children from earlier and earlier “interventions”…

    “Intervention programs” surely don’t save the society money – but are instead means to cull out “certain types” and put them in a “useless box.” Drugging ADHD children is a huge (but invisible) societal cost and means of social control.

    How can we pitch it to our School Boards and State Boards of Education that these interventions cost more in the long run? Or does anything matter beyond their short term in office?

  • Thank you Julie! Sure, just give me a by-line “JanCarol of”

    Interestingly, I got ISP banned from wackyworldofyogibhajan shortly after posting this link. I have no idea why they would ban me, when they provide helpful information which could help prevent people from falling into belief traps, and that’s my goal, too. So read what you can before you post that link! It makes me think that the 3HO rabbit hole might go very deep indeed, if they are afraid of a stranger on MIA.

    We are beset upon all sides – the devices, media, psychiatry – 3HO is probably a better place to spend 20 years than lost in the TV set or Paxil and neuroleptics. But if I were a public figure (like Dr. Brogan), asking people to listen to me publicly, I could not say, “HERE! THIS!” to any belief system.

    Tip: any time you’re presented with a new Guru or “school” just Google the name of the school/teacher and the word “abuse” or “scam.” Something like 62% of male American yoga teachers have had sex with their students. I wouldn’t be surprised if it is similar in meditation, as well. Especially if there is a charismatic leader.

    I love yoga; I have a decades strong kundalini practice of my own. But it’s my practice, and my own body is my guru. So I’m not coming to this discussion from a place of “superstition” or “fear of Hinduism” or other xenophobic approaches. My concerns are more about the power structures, and abuse of those powers.

  • Additionally, I find your brand of kundalini to be predatory. 3HO founded by Yogi Bhajan, may have some excellent practices. But the deeper you go, the closer you come to “cult,” conversion, and corruption.

    While you are a strong woman, there are many vulnerable women who are following you. To point them to 3HO is to invite them to forgo their dreams and lives and dedicate themselves to a questionable organisation.

    Certainly, the exterior teachings have value and worth – they are adapted from centuries of yogic practice. The closer one gets to the inner circle, the more corrupt it becomes. 3HO is rife with sexual and power abuse and scandals – by the Yogi himself, and by his “Khalsas,” who are now running the organisation. Women gave up their peak childbearing years to serve the yogi, and have sued him over it, and the power and sexual abuse he (and his teachers) perpetrated on them. and

    You are a leader of women. You’re attracted to this? Like psychiatry, it is a form of sexual social control!

    Several of the standard cult practices, as written about by Robert Jay Lipton in his excellent “Thought Reform” in the 1950’s, are all present in 3HO: Mileu control (stay in the ashram, dependant upon the ashram, new name, new clothes), Mystical Manipulation (the miraculous way you FEEL when practising in the group, love bombing), Demand for Purity (again, new name, diet, practice, service to the group), Sacred Science (Our truth is the one truth, those who leave the group cease to exist), Doctrine over Person (the practice, the guru, the teacher hold precedence over the individual, even when traumatising), and Dispensing of Existence (you are only Graced when you come to us).

    The Sikh community is in an uproar over the “Sikh-like” practices and false claims of the group, which they see as a corruption of their own faith, creating the 3HO monstrosity a la carte out of Sikh and Hindu practice. The Sikh’s are distressed to be associated with such corruption, like the sex scandals, and ashram tactics and practices.

    One of the minor points of contention is that the 3HO prefers vegetarianism – which, in your own studies, leaves a vulnerable human in a high-carb, low fat volatile state. Easy to manipulate. The Sikhs disagree with this practice as well – readiness to defend the people is a spiritual obligation in Sikhism, and that requires the eating of meat, to stay strong and healthy. Your own practice for brain health advocates the grass fed meat proteins. But 3HO wants to strip people of that layer of health. Why? Because it’s “pure”? (see “Demand for Purity,” Lipton, above) Or because it makes the congregation easier to convert and control?

    When asked by his 3HO Team Leaders if he could show them the finances, Yogi Bhajan put in a tearful face, and said something like, “Oh my Beloveds, I cannot show you the books, it is too embarrassing – we are barely able to continue.” As a result, his community was shamed and fundraising efforts were doubled – all the while the Yogi was worth $14 million.

    Is this the kind of corruption you wish to associate with? Sexual predator and con man? And the Khalsas he trained up to walk in his footsteps?

    Now – your personal practice is your decision. But when you are in the business of helping vulnerable women, I recommend you keep your religion private. In following you, how easy it would be to lead women into this cult – via a simple practice – when they go to a festival, get caught up and change their whole lives because they’ve “found the answer.” The cult is designed to “love bomb” and entice. Even if just one woman sells her house, leaves her family, and joins the organisation, spends decades of her life serving the group – do you want the responsibility of knowing you led her there?

    As someone who has personally experienced cult tactics and tries to educate people about them, I recommend that you continue to keep your personal practices private, regardless of what “community” you wish to build. OR, if you insist on building community with your practice – get your own yoga teachers and start something new. Hold your own “Vital Mind Reset” Yoga festivals. Do not affiliate with a corrupt organisation.

    And for yourself, consider your own practice. It may feel blissful to give your energy to this group – but the draining of energy feels much the same as the building of energy – bliss is felt anytime the energy moves.

    “The best way to learn about a specific group is to locate a former member, or at least a former member’s written account.” (Hassan, 1990).

    I invite you to explore:

    I have the deepest of respect for what you are doing to transform women’s health, and mental wellness. But you are in an upstream battle, and what you attach to can make your work easier or more difficult. You are already considered “fringe” for your views on vaccination & psych drugs (I’ve sent people to your site, and, in the dominant paradigm style, they say, “Oh but she’s an anti-vaxxer! I couldn’t do that!”) – take care not to lose credibility by association with questionable and corrupt communities.

  • I’ve got people close to me who have struggled with Self Injury, which also manifests as suicidality in its extreme forms.

    One of the most beneficial programs for this was S.A.F.E. founded by Wendy Lader (now run by her co-founder): Self Abuse Finally Ends.

    One of the most valuable principles of S.A.F.E. was a complete ban on graphic language, images, as “triggers.” While I don’t like the idea that something “triggers” someone else (we choose how we respond) – the ban on graphic descriptions of self harm were very valuable.

    I would think that, in the case of ACE and trauma, the graphic depictions of rape could be quite traumatic, as well. I know when my trauma is addressed – sometimes quite innocently – in media – I find it too much to bear.

    On the graphic depictions of rape and suicide, and your objections to them in this series – I concur. In general I find that modern media is too edgy, in order to keep the attention of our youth. This is an extreme example of it.

    But – could it raise the issue – without the violent “hooks”? Would it get the attention and discussion that it is getting? It’s a razor’s edge.

  • Regarding the trauma of hospitalization. Steve, you say, “To suggest that traumatization by involuntary hospitalization is rare suggests a Pollyanna view of reality. Sure, clients in the hospital often express relief that they didn’t end up killing themselves, but they also learn very quickly that telling the staff you’re pissed about how the situation was handled or that you feel powerless is both pointless and dangerous.”

    And I can think of more than a few cases – where the FAILURE of suicide is a heavy, traumatic burden on the person who experienced it – and finds themselves corralled, restrained, searched, locked up, drugged.

    Heaping trauma upon trauma.

    There are a few who find hospital a relief when in this sort of crisis. There are even some who get addicted to being cared for, comforted by being numbed to their pain. But on the whole I’m with you, and put hospital in the “increase of trauma” category.

  • In that regard, shouldn’t the series be lauded for not even bringing “mental illness” into it – instead focusing on feelings, events and discussion of those conflicts?

    It’s not my cuppa tea, and I cringe at the thought of such dark media infiltrating the homes of vulnerable teenagers – but – at least they didn’t focus on the “disease” the “treatment” or “she went off her meds” as is so common in mainstream TV today.

  • Sorry for the OT

    I believe that Hubbard died with his chronic addiction to barbiturates and painkillers. At the very least, they didn’t help him live any longer. Vistaril was what he was taking at death. Sorry, I’ve lost my source on this one – so I can’t really see Hubbard as a pure believer, more a paranoid conspiracist. His final days – pursued by FBI and IRS – were quite paranoid. What has been built in his wake is possibly even worse. The purpose of the cult is an alternative to psychiatry – so they must, as part of their canon, slam it.

    Attend their museum of psychiatry in LA for a laugh. It’s better than the Creation Museum in Kentucky as far as facts and science – but – a similar level of hype and fear-based entertainment.

    In reading Scientology survivor stories, I see deep similarities to *any* other cult that I’ve studied. The CCHR Narconon, and Purif objections to psychiatry is because their “treatment” is an alternate to psychiatry. They are front groups designed to channel a person onto the Bridge. $$$,$$$

    Some of their objections to psychiatry are fascinating and in depth but every CCHR film I’ve watched is deep with undertones, manipulation and threat. If you can separate the information from the manipulation (screen switches, musical cues, pushing vocal techniques) there is value in it.

    But yes, CCHR is a front group for Scientology, and while there are techniques of value in Scientology, and I would probably recommend it before psychiatry, that is not high praise. I would not recommend anyone spending $$,$$$ to $$$,$$$ to achieve the “Bridge to Freedom” – or – adding a digit in labour hours if they want to do it more cheaply. I don’t recommend anyone give up years of their life or hard earned dollars for a “technique.”

    A true Master would not hide the technique behind hours of labour or thousands of dollars, nor would a true Master or Method require you to cut off from all of your family who don’t believe in the technique. These are just 2 of my objections.

    Further, (trying to get back to topic) if Autism were presented, some of the “treatment” can be as cruel as CBT – conformity is the game in Scientology. Conformity to the principles. No Neurodiversity there – read the story of Jett Travolta (again, one story among myriads).

  • Dr Larsen-Barr, you write:
    ” The act of asking questions is an information-bearing exercise that if done well has the power to help address the issue of our limited self-awareness; the questions we ask and the way we ask them can guide people towards perceiving things they might otherwise have overlooked or been unaware of e.g. From broad open questions into more focused questions like, What is it like to take this medication? What does it do for you? Does it cause you any problems? How does that affect your life? Has it changed your appetite or the way your body puts on weight?”

    I’m sorry, this seems so naive to me. These are the kinds of questions that my suffering friend has been asked for decades. It has not resulted in any acknowledgement or change to her treatment for her to say, “Oh, I’m gaining weight, I’ve got diabetes now, I keep shaking, I cannot hold a coffee cup without spilling.” She has interdose withdrawal anxiety, akathisia, tardive dyskinesia, and is it any wonder she is depressed and afraid to interact with her fellow humans?

    Instead each descriptive is treated – not as ‘quality of life’ issues – but a symptom, and so – an anti-seizure drug is added, or increase in antidepressant, or more anti-anxiety medicines – or a visit to the nutritionist (when really, diet and exercise do not address psych drug induced metabolic disorder), or a script for Viagra or Addyi for sexual dysfunction.

    Your questions are still talking about symptoms which are effects of the drugs. These effects are diagnosed by mainstream doctors as “disease based symptoms” (“Oh, she’s relapsing, she’s getting worse again”) and more drugs are added, more diagnoses are added, and a life is ruined.

    The drugs and their effects are like a giant elephant in the room. A whole fricking pack of elephants. A cocktail of elephants. My friend got an extensive neurological evaluation for Traumatic Brain Injury – and received a positive diagnosis for TBI – but not a word was said about what these drugs have done to her brain, her nervous system, her endocrine system, her cardiovascular system, her eyes, over the last 30 years. Not a whisper.

    Now granted, they didn’t know her (like I did) when she was young and bright – maybe they think she’s had a cognitive struggle her entire life, and her “lack of coping skills” contributed to her “biological mental illness.” – but I’ve watched it happen. I’m trying to find hope for her now, something she can hold onto to pull herself out of this morass – but she is not supported by her doctors, only drugged., and she is so deeply spellbound (as Breggin would say) by the drugs, that the terror of coming off – in the face of all her other problems right now – is frightening to the extreme. More than she can handle in addition to her full plate of problems.

    Doctors have her down as someone who has “responded well to treatment.” It has not helped her at all to have this evaluation.

  • Right now, I have a dear friend who is being killed by the drugs. She has metabolic disorder, her endocrine is shutting down (Hashimotos, adrenal fatigue), has been diagnosed with TBI, suffers huge cognitive deficits, and her opportunities and options are cascading into collapse. She has been on Seroquel for at least 20 years, and various cocktails. Her current cocktail includes 5 drugs.

    If you talk to her, she will express gratitude that she does not have intrusive delusions, that her behaviour is under control, and she is thankful for the benzo that can put her anxiety on hold for awhile, and grateful for the Z drug that helps her sleep.

    But if you get to know her, and see the 30 point IQ loss, the chronic motor dysfunctions (shaking, jerks), the thyroid difficulties, the inability to address her situation or her problems with anything more than “whatever,” and see the constant drive to suicide, self harm – you will think: this is not a well person.

    BUT HER DOCTORS AREN’T GOING THERE. They just treat her, “business as usual.”

    That’s the difference between knowing and understanding. She hears me talk about the harm of the drugs – but is so terrified (and conditioned to be so by the drugs) and has suffered akathisia, TD and cognitive decline for at least 20 years. How could she possibly go through this to a life of freedom from the drugs?

    Where are the people to help her do this while she is worried about having enough food to eat, or how to pay her bills? This is clearly the result of long term neuroleptic and benzo use – but – how do you save her from what is killing her, when she believes so firmly that she “needs” it?

    If she had done this survey, she would have expressed the sentiments and gratitude of the 2nd paragraph above, and it would be up to a clever diagnostician to connect the dots to her massive distress.

    BTW, the neurologists who tested and diagnosed her TBI ****DID NOT SAY ANYTHING ABOUT THE 20 YEARS OF NEUROLEPTIC DRUGS AND BENZOS****** instead they are giving her “memory aids” (an iPad) and “coping classes” – but no acknowledgement that the way to survive this is OUT of it.

    The drugs cause more harm than good. Especially when you take the long term view into the equation.

  • Anti Authoritarian.

    Or learned helplessness for the anti-authoritarian. It feels so hopeless and helpless for so long, that suicide becomes the first thought, the first solution to the problems when they get thick.

    I found that “suicidal ideation,” plans, thoughts, etc., became a “default pattern” over years of depression. It was like a groove which my thoughts fell into when things got uncomfortable.

    I agree that current measures are harmful and ineffective. But I’ve seen very little to address this thinking ditch or gravity well or default switch, where suicide becomes the first “solution” to the problem.

    It happens. And, I suppose, self-harm (which can accidentally result in suicide) is another gravity well like this, also.

  • Oldhead –

    I’m in the salvage business, trying to see how much of Us can be rescued from the wreckage.

    I do not not NOT recommend this path for anyone, for anyone to choose the wreck, or even submit to it! – but – so many are already on this destructive path! And most of Us had NO CHOICE, and many were drugged from CHILDHOOD. It’s criminal, evil – but –

    When this happens to a child – how can we heal what is left on the other side of the ordeal?

    I agree – more questions than answers!

  • I agree Seth. I think one of my driving motivations is to help people that I love. It breaks my heart to see how thick and total the wet steamy blanket of neuroleptics is. Harder to bear, to watch – now that I am out from under it. (my neuroleptic use was light: 25 – 75 mg Seroquel for 3-5 years – but see? even there I can’t tell you how many years or how much it was….)

    Like Plato’s cave, I see the shadows as shadows, I’ve been outside and smelled the grass and heard the birds, but have difficulty getting my loved ones to see the chains that bind them away from the light, thinking that the shadows are real. I dance and drum, crying out for them to turn around, the light is behind you!

    It’s like tilting at windmills. As the years of neuroleptic use shrink the capacity for executive decisions, and induce massive cognitive loss, the ability to see another way is narrowed significantly. I have known a few to escape neuroleptics after 20-30 years – but they are the rare ones. And to do so – functionally, engaged with the Spirit – that’s a whole other level.

    “I need my drugs,” “How will I function / cope without them?” “but I’m anxious” “I can’t sleep without them” “The bogeyman will get me if I stop taking my drugs….”

    Without a thought for what the messages are, that the symptoms are so graphically bringing to them.

    Maybe my methods will just bring me to Light, maybe that’s enough. Maybe one other will follow, maybe two. Maybe we will have a practicing group of healthy people that those who have suffered the drugs will be able to join.

    I only know that my drum is my Revolution, and I must follow it.

    Lynne, you’re welcome. It is my hope that a story like mine will add to your collection of stories.

    PS: Richard, darkness? I don’t think I used the word “darkness” anywhere in my original post? Have you never been mad?

  • Hey Oldhead – hi!

    This is one that I and quite a few others are discussing.

    Is the crippling of ones senses useful in a shamanic awakening? (yoga spends a lot of time withdrawing from the senses in a structured fashion) It was for me, I voluntarily gave those senses up for at least 10-15 years. Others, not so lucky.

    I say voluntarily because I submitted to the drugs – I was not SEEKING numbness, I was seeking survival. After my experience, I will never voluntarily give up awareness – of any sort – again.

    Shamanic death is not a symbol or even an archetype. It is a real event – and often happens in the wake of Near Death Experience. Many healers have been awakened after their own brush with death.

    We’re trying to make the best of it, because, unfortunately, and frequently involuntarily, the “post drug experience” is the hand we’ve been dealt.

  • Hey Richard,
    All good.

    I can’t speak to “religion,” which frequently offends me, as well. It does serve as social glue in a corporate society where the individual is frequently estranged from community. These are skills we are not taught in school.

    It is my firm belief that if I follow where I am passionately driven, it will be a belief system which roars, rather than one which lies down and submits.

    I can speak to “opiates of the masses”, however: Psych drugs. Media. Devices. Processed foods and dietary disruptions. Bread and circuses. We have enough numbing influences that religion is hardly needed in the Marxian sense anymore.

    Ever listen to Chris Hedges?

  • Thank you Richard.

    Please do not call another’s beliefs, “confusion.”

    For me, the connectedness and the Oneness are G-d, and include All Life. G-d is in me, in thee, all life, and everywhere. This is not confusion, but experience. Is it supernatural? Certainly. Is it common to all humanity? I hope so.

    I cannot prove it in a science lab, but I am proving it in my own life. I don’t need to distinguish between a “spirit in the sky” and the spark in our eyes as we converse. For me, the macrocosm, the microcosm are the same.

    This is not a challenge, just a clarification of your expression of duality, which I do not invest in.

  • I was raised traumatically fundamentalist evangelical Christian. Long before my drugging, I rejected that first for atheism, then adapted to match my experience for a broader view, and an exploration of hidden belief, with a sense to connect the religious practices to find the core essence of each version of relationship to G-d. During my “manic break,” I was talking to wasps. Was it a 2-way communication? I will never know, because the ability to talk to wasps hampered my ability to function in a job, pay my bills, maintain a residence, a car, a practical life. And my relationships were in tatters.

    So I submitted to the drugs, as an act of Response-ability. I anticipated that they would help me gain control of my emotional life, and because my spirituality was so integral to my Be-ing, did not anticipate any damage to my relationship with G-d.

    It’s true, I was able to hold a job, and work, albeit under severely limited hours and conditions, as my sleep went weird, my dreams went away. I was able to develop and maintain working relationships with others, and became more aware of damage I had caused and sought to make amends.

    What I did not see, was the creeping numbness and anhedonia as it gradually engulfed me in cobwebs and cotton wool. I could not pray, I could not connect, I actually became afraid of the nature that I previously loved and trusted. I stayed on my chair on the porch, reading fiction. I lost my hobbies of watercolor, music. I was wrapped in silence. (the offending drugs were: Tricyclics, SNRI, lithium, statins, a neuroleptic, and PPI’s) The silence became so deafening that suicide loomed. I had nothing left to live for. Why was I reading books? Why do anything at all?

    All of my former curiosity and engagement with the world around me was robbed by this deadly cocktail. Luckily, I was still reading books, and when Anatomy of an Epidemic crossed my lap, the scales fell from my eyes. I was still numb, anhedonic, but I saw a ray of light which would allow me to follow a path – back to my Self – or at least OUT of the deafening numbness.

    Robert Whitaker showed me the fallacy of “drug maintenance” for mental health, Will Hall showed me the possibility of escaping the drugs, while Surviving Antidepressants showed me the how to get out from under the drugs – safely.

    As I came out from the lithium blanket, it was like walking from a deep filthy polluted pond, with my legs hip deep in mud, and my vision obscured by muddy toxic water. Gradually, as the doses decreased, the mud was less sticky, and the sunlight started to come into my world. Now, a year out from the last dose of lithium, I am out of the toxic pond, standing on the shore – still knee deep in mud because of the damage I’ve suffered – but I see the sky, I see the trees, I hear the birds again.

    I’m not about defining what spirituality is for others. I only know that – I was once again curious. Why orange? What is a triangle? How do fractals relate to traditional geometry? how does my body feel in yoga asana? What is chaos? What is the animus? What is the difference between a symbol and an archetype? Why does the drum work to produce reliable shamanic response? How does it work? How can I help it work better? How can I be the best possible human I can be, and how can I use what I’ve been given to help others?

    And so, in a short year from leaving the lithium behind, I find myself in a teaching position, helping others to become aware of their inner life and how it connects to their outer life. Of finding symbols to help them learn the lessons needed to learn. I try very hard to keep it secular, but there is a numinous force at play, guiding me, guiding those I work with to a greater awareness, openness, and above all – curiosity.

    (oh, and yes, I also joined the team at Surviving Antidepressants to help teach people how to come off their drugs safely)

    So – from my perspective, the fallacy of this article is that “expectations about the drugs lead to the spiritual experience with the drug.” I expected that my relationship to “That” would never change. I underestimated the force of the numbing blanket of neurotransmitter tweaking. While we may not agree on what “That” is, Richard’s comment that these drugs cause MORE HARM THAN GOOD is a vital expression of my own healing.

    And to address why the suffering of the drugs brings people to a greater spiritual experience upon discontinuation? Oldhead said that it was the relationship with death. I will take it a step further – it is a death, a shamanic death, an ego-death, to completely lose your personality and who you thought you were – just by taking a pill. It is such an occlusion of the “soul” that you are, by all rights, dead to yourself. You stop searching for meaning, you barely make it through the day.

    Then, after the drugs, when you begin to feel again, begin to engage again – the small things – the blade of grass, the flight of a butterfly, that vivid color, that warm chord – become so much more meaningful.

    I SURVIVED! I am a Human Be-ing!

    This survival is akin to being “born again,” as we would have said in my early church.

  • You hit the nail on the head Feelin.

    The healing cannot begin until I, as a formerly diagnosed “bipolar,” take responsibility for my moods and managing them. Taking responsibility for my words and actions is the first step – becoming aware of when and how I have hurt others with my words and deeds. Acknowledging that I am not the only person in the world with feelings – and learning to be sensitive towards others.

    It is a life’s work, really – but it is possible. And it is the largest, most important step towards “undiagnosis.”

  • Ron, I agree. And the Powers That Be want compliant working slaves, and blasting open consciousness is counter productive for profits.

    I reckon Corporate will fight any opportunity for this expansion – whether by communal trance dance and drumming – or by any form of psychedelic – tooth and nail. They always have.

    After all – if all you need is one, or just a few (“you get the message, hang up the phone,” Alan Watts) – there is no repeat business.

  • Humans have been seeking expanded consciousness for millennia. Some would say that the mushroom is the missing link – why we started painting, making art and music, worshipping G-ds, seeking greater wisdom in stars and archetypal symbolism.

    Likewise, I have seen meltdowns in drug-free Zen-dos as well, from abuse of power, or just the personal challenge of facing one’s own silence. (this goes for a number of Eastern practices which can be inflicted upon an unadjusted Western Mind without a strong, well-trained Ego for the challenge of going Deep.)

    How we choose to learn and grow should be a choice, not a top down decision. It’s almost religious or spiritual in nature.

    Your voice here speaks as one with no Experience, who fears that Experience. And in that fear, you downgrade others’ very valid Experiences, because they may have started on a mushroom, a cactus, an ergotamine, a vine in South America. And yet, all of these have roots in spiritual practice.

    A yogi once said, “One hit of acid, a lifetime to integrate it.” Your Experience may be that the day, the month, the year after the psychedelic was not “integrated,” but really – in my Experience, the integration takes time, work, and further Experience. And nearly everyone I knew then (in the sun-kissed psychedelic days) – has been transformed by the Experience in some way. It’s not always positive, it’s not always definable by function in Modern society – but it is very real, indeed.

    To dispose of it as “worthless” or “addictive” is to shallowly dismiss what Humans have been seeking on Winter Nights for millennia, the ecstasy of dance, of music, of shared altered experience. To wake up the next day, and know – I am not alone, I am connected to all things.

    This is the beginning of change. And it can be well done, carefully done, even (dare I say) therapeutically done.