Sunday, March 24, 2019

Comments by annieblue

Showing 11 of 11 comments.

  • 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.