Sunday, July 21, 2019

Comments by Ann Bracken

Showing 34 of 34 comments.

  • Dear James, thank you for posting your compelling story about the great difficulties you are experiencing with getting off of psychiatric medications. My heart goes out to you and to everyone else who finds themselves trapped in the vortex of drug withdrawal. Stories like yours help others to know about the dangers lurking behind the simple directions to take pills to manage intense feelings of pain and despair. I will be sharing your story with many friends. Thank you and all the best with your journey.

  • Lauren, thank you for sharing your story. You are very brave and are definitely doing the right thing to get off of drugs slowly and to tell your story. Everyone needs to know of the incredible harm that can come from taking psych drugs which are presented to us as benign pills meant to soothe and calm us or restore some kind of imbalance that was never there to begin with. Many blessings on your journey!

  • Dr. Gordon seems to have experienced the game that psychiatry frequently plays with patients who question the treatment–his sanity is questioned and he’s told he’s unwell because of course, the drugs are good for him. He’s a truth-teller who is being discredited and marginalized by those who want to protect the status quo. Everyone deserves the choice of how they want to live—with or without medication–and should be believed when they report adverse effects. He’s got my full support for his courage and honesty.

  • Michael, I also wanted to say that schools do a very effective job of scaring parents, and so many teachers just accept the drugs as the way to go. In all the years I worked as a special ed teacher, I never had an in-serivce on the use of amphetamines for managing ADHD, but the drug’s use was very common in all the schools where I worked. Once I read Anatomy of an Epidemic, I became firmly opposed to using the drugs. There are so many better methods to offer to children and families–but it takes more time and more skilled people. Kudos to you for your work.

  • This is one of the most frightening articles I’ve read in a vey long time. And the wording is so wishy-washy—-why do people fall for this crap? I was a special education teacher for many years and worked with a lot of students who were on medication before I knew of all the harm. Even then, I would often tell parents that pills would not “fix” the attention issue and that more was needed to help the child process what was going on inside. I believe that schools will change everything but the environment—-and then kids suffer because so many teachers don’t have the knowledge and training to offer appropriate guidance. But electrical current to the brain all night? I am heartsick over this. How did this ever get approved? Oh, yeah, same way Esketamnie did……

  • Thank you, Rosalee, for your kind words. I am stunned that a psychiatrist would mock you for side effects and describe you as noncompliant. From all the reading and research I’ve done, I believe that they fully embrace their paradigm of chemical imbalance and therefore, chemical cure. They lose sight of the person across from them that has a real life with real pain and distress. I honestly don’t know what doctors don’t believe their patients–I think they are truly acculturated to believe that if someone objects to the meds, it’s because they are “crazy” and not in their right minds. For all of those reasons, when I discontinued my meds, I worked with my therapist to taper and never mentioned it to the doctor until I was off the meds. Believe in yourself and all the best to you!

  • Thank you for writing this powerful article. I am deeply disturbed that now many people who don’t respond to two antidepressants are considered “treatment resistant” and immediately recommended for ECT. When I begged for it in 1995, I thought it was my last hope to get out of depression–now I cringe inside that I was every willing to subject myself to such a thing. But of course, everyone told me how safe it was. All of us need to join together and stop this horrendous practice.

  • HI Lily Pad, thanks for your kind words. I’m very sorry you’ve taken multiple meds and experienced ECT multiple times–I did as well and it was quite terrifying. At the time I thought it was my only way out of depression, Now I think I felt so dead inside due to the multiple meds I was taking—they call is psychic numbing. I kept telling my doctors I couldn’t feel anything–none of them blinked ar told me that such a feeling could be due to the meds. I’m telling my story and my mother’s for all those who are on the same dark road. They deserve to know there’s another way out.

  • Thanks, Julie. I’m so grateful to be able to tell my story and to offer hope for life after meds. I appreciate your story as well about your awful experiences with Lithium and look forward to your book. I think it’s vital that people know that choices exist to help with mood swings besides the dangerous drugs so often prescribed.

    When friends bemoan how some people with manic-depression don’t want to the the drugs–I tell them “With good reason” and then I describe my expires with Depakote—shaking, word-finding difficulties, weight gain, and feeling like my personality was weighted down with a wet army blanket. My doctor wouldn’t listen to me and kept me on Depakote for two years.
    Please send me a message on FB so we can talk off line. All the best!

  • Dear Rachel, I’m so sorry to hear what happened to you with medication. Stories like ours need to be shared so that more people can begin to learn to ask serious questions about psych drugs. I also had the experience of doctors not believing me when I talked about drug effects. There are two kinds of people who are easy to dismiss: imprisoned people and people with “mental illness”–which I prefer to call emotional distress. We’ve got to work to change that situation. I hope you are doing better now. Blessings to you and thanks for sharing your story.

  • Hi Catnight, thanks for you thoughtful comments. Both of my parents are dead and so are their siblings, so I am left with letters and memories. From all that I’ve discovered by looking at my dad’s files, he did the best he could to help my mother. The medical treatments of the time were crude and my mother and many people like her suffered at their hands. Doing the research on the treatments of the time (50s, 60s, 70s) was very painful for me. But my hope is that by shining a light on our stories, more people will seek an alternative path to healing.

  • Hello Someone Else, thanks for your thoughtful comments. I’m sorry for the difficult road you’ve had to travel and hope that life is better for you now. I hope that by sharing my story, the issues of overmedication and iatragenic illnesses become more than ideas discussed in journals. Real people are harmed by drugs and by a model of care that neglects the human aspects of suffering.

  • Thanks, Julie, for sharing this powerful warning. When people are in desperate situations, they will follow what the so-called experts tell them, especially if a child is having an emotional crisis. I appreciate you sharing your story and good luck to you in everything.

  • Dr. Coleman, I am so happy that I’ve found your work. I had the challenge of a lifetime about 25 years ago when I tried to tell psychiatrists that my severe migraine was a symptom of emotional distress—-instead of working with me, they dosed me with numerous drugs, including OxyContin and Methadone, alone with psych drugs. I was so over-medicated that I had two car crashes and finally found real help with an energy healer. The greatest help for me emotionally came from poetry–from the metaphors of dealing with darkness and having a fierce determination to keep struggling towards what my soul directed.

    I have not had any depression since 1997 and have been drug free since 2002. My last psychiatrist told me I had a damaged brain….luckily, I’d read Glenmullen;s book Prozac Backlash, and I did not listen to him. I’ve been fine ever since. But due to my awful experiences with overmedication and doctors not believing me, I have major skepticism when it comes to Western medical treatments.

    Keep up your great work and I hope more doctors will hear your words and wake up. Is there any way to email you offline? I am working on a book and would love to consult with you.

    Thanks for your work!

  • Yes, ECT damages the brain. On the other side, no one thinks that people with epilepsy are helped by having grand mal seizures, so why should such a seizure help anyone with depression? The problem of emotional distress is not a malfunction of the brain—it is a problem of some kind of injury to the spirit. No electricity or drug can help that. Sadly, the medical paradigm is pretty solidly believed, except by some of us who have experienced it and come to believe in another way to wellness.

  • Thank you, Dr. Breggin. My mother and I both had many ECT treatments—My mother said they helped her, but she was also very drugged and over-medicated. I agreed to them for one reason: I was desperately tired of suicidal thoughts; no medication had worked for me after trying many, many kinds. Now I honestly believe that I felt suicidal because of the numbing effects of the drugs—and no one told me that they could cause psychic numbing. Once a person enters the rabbit hole of western psychiatric care, they are in a perilous place. Now I tell everyone how dangerous ECT is and that I would never do it again—-I still don’t know if people believe me when I talk about harm.

  • Well, I did have many ECT treatments because I felt so desperately suicidal for a number of years—a feeling which I also attribute to the over-drugging. My mother had 39 ECT treatments in 2 years with a doctor who gave them in his office—all of this I describe in the book. I could barely read some of the historical documents because fo the callous attitudes expressed by doctors.

    Now I am very much opposed to ECT and am beyond furious that the medical profession keeps situating the problems in some kind of brain disfunction, despite all of the research to the contrary.

    I have a couple of advanced degrees, but they are not in the medical field. All of that to say that if someone like me can find and understand the research, why can’t doctors? They seem to be so stuck in their model that they cannot see any way out.

    What really helped me to have a breakthrough was a CD by the poet David Whyte called The Poetry of Self Compassion. Mary Oliver’s fabulous poem, The Journey” spoke to what I was experiencing –not a chemical imbalance, but a soul-journey to save “the only life I could save.” Check it out! I eventually did training as a poetry therapist. My poetry book about my journey though my childhood and depression experience is called The Altar of Innocence. The artwork on the cover is by my mother. I believe that I had all of those experiences so that I could reshape them into art that other people could relate to. You as well!

    Blessings to you, Starr.

  • Thank you, Starr, for your kind response. I am working on a memoir about my experiences and awakening about depression and telling my mother’s story in tandem. Last summer I found my father’s records for 30 years of my mother’s psychiatric treatment, and it provided nearly all of the answers for why she never recovered. It’s shocking to me to see that we were both treated in nearly the same fashion despite the intervening years. I’ve done a lot of research on the doctors attitudes towards mental health treatment in the 50s and 60s and it’s been a very enlightening journey. I am hoping that by telling our stories, I can reach back in time to heal her and reach forward to offer hope to others.

    One thing that really burns me is the term “treatment resistant depression” which was even used back then. No one asked–or asks now– if the treatment was correct–the problem was always situated in the patient–as if we wanted to resist. I could go on, but you get the idea.

    I think of people like us as the scouts—like in frontier days. The scouts would ride ahead and see the dangers that were out there and ride back and tell the rest of the people. So often they were dismissed. We just need to keep riding!

  • Bravo to you and screw the JHU Mood Disorders Clinic. I volunteered at JHU in a depression support program back in the 90s and all they cared about was finding a gene for each illness. Now that we know the DSM is bs, the challenge is to come up with a new label—–I hate the term mental illness–which implies some kind of brokenness……I think emotional distress or appropriate sadness/confusion is a much more apt description. I never met anyone with any kind of emotional struggle who didn’t have a darn good reason for feeling the way they do.

    I am more and more on the side of a humanistic approach to trauma and distress. We need to support each other and care for each other, not drug each other.

    And yes, I can think again and feel again as well. My biggest complaint when I was on psych meds was that I couldn’t feel—no one told me that was due to the drugs—I thought I was just too depressed to feel anything. Just awful what docs do to people. And what drugs do.

  • I saw a doctor at Johns Hopkins back in the 90s. My psychiatrist sent me there because I’d taken a number of antidepressants and none of them were working. My shrink threw my file onto a table and said, “I’m sending you to Hopkins. They deal with people like you all the time.” So the Hopkins doc read my file, asked me questions for about 30 minutes, and when he found out that Elavil made me feel really good for a few days after a previous 18 month depression, he diagnosed me with “mild, atypical hypomania.” That’s all it took for everyone else to treat me for bipolar I…….After I read Glenmullen’s book Prozac Backlash, I decided to discontinue all psych drugs and got off of them. I’ve been drug-free for 17 years with no occurrence of depression. I think the docs had me on so many drugs that it was impossible to tell a drug reaction from my real personality. They did the same thing to my mother back in the 1950s, so not much has really changed.

    The worst part for me? No doctor believed anything I had to say because who has to believe a psych patient? I can’t wait to read your book, Bruce. Bravo for your work. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I am an anti-authoritarian, which is why I had so much trouble in the mental health industrial complex.

  • HI Starr! Thank you for sharing your very courageous story. I resonated with your experience, especially the part about feeling like you never fit in or weren’t good enough. So many of us feel this way, and it helps to know that fact alone. The goal is to learn how to activate your inner resources, usually with the help of a kind mentor, so that you can undertake the very human journey of blossoming into wholeness.

    I went through an experience very similar to yours in the 1990s as did my mother back in the 1950s. Both of us were so severely overmedicated that it became impossible to tell what was a result of the drugs and what was a result of inner struggles. I was also medicated with opioids for a migraine along with taking psych drugs—mind-altering drugs. When I read Joseph Glenmullen’s book Prozac Backlash, I decided to discontinue all of my psych drugs and tapered off easily from them, except for an older tricyclic. That took me almost a year and I had lots of rebound symptoms. I got off opioids with the help of an energy healer in 4 months and the headache disappeared.

    When I had tapered off the drugs and told my psychiatrist, he told me I had a damaged brain and would get more depressed than ever without the drugs. Now I know that may have happened, but it would not have been depression returning, it would have been withdrawal symptoms. Seventeen years later, I am drug and depression free. I am so grateful to be well!!!!

    It is hard for anyone to speak out against the drug paradigm—even though the chemical imbalance myth has been thoroughly debunked–it persists in society at large. Most people think I’m on the fringe when I talk about the harms of the drugs…..I am so grateful that you made it out of drug hell and can help people in a more holistic way—-and sorry that your job has such constraints around the drug issue—–which is all about money anyway.

    I am taking the webinar offered on MIA on informed consent…..maybe you could advocate for that in your workplace. Bravo for you and for all the good work you are doing!

  • How did you get from financial stream and insomnia to bipolar??? Oh, wait, you must have seen a psychiatrist. I have never heard of full moral status before, but I applaud your decision to go through the process and have your diagnosis formally removed. As Paula Caplan says, the problems begin once you have a diagnosis. I had a diagnosis of mild, atypical hypomania because I felt really happy for a few days when the depression lifted and the doctor told me that I was too happy for too many days. As if there is an arbitrary normal. I stopped taking maintenance psych drugs in 2002 and have been free of depression since 1997. I think my story stands as an example of how the chemical imbalance theory is deeply flawed. When I told my doc I was discontinuing the drugs, he told me I had a damaged brain and would get sicker than ever without drugs. Wrong again. Thanks again for your story and for your courage. No one should have to fear a diagnosis, but sadly, the mental health diagnoses are fraught with tremendous peril for those who carry them.

  • Wow, thanks so much, Sarah. I love that you take the language of psychology and break it down with a very clear analogy to explain what’s going on. As I read, I thought about many years ago when I was in an out-patient program and met a woman who was catatonic….it seems to me that maybe catatonia fits into fright. But instead of any kind of holistic treatment, she had some ECT treatments and then got “better.” I could cry at the thought of what might have been for her had anyone seen her in a different light.

    Yes, we all have agency and are not at the mercy of imbalanced brain chemicals. Keep writing to create a new paradigm!

  • I found this interview to be very hopeful for the future treatment of emotional distress- the idea of learning to manage your feelings and symptoms and learning how to live with your circumstances is really the key to full recovery as opposed to symptom relief. I found a few professionals who were willing to really assist me, but the others kept throwing pills in my direction. Dr. Van Os may sound radical because his voice is far outside the mainstream, but I’d put my ship in with his any day rather than trust the traditional practitioners. Thanks for a great interview.