This post by Steindór Erlingsson asks awkward questions in the week when the jury is likely to deliver a verdict in the sentencing part of James Holmes’ trial for the shooting dead of twelve people in Aurora Colorado at the premiere of the Batman movie, Dark Knight Rises, Holmes had no intentions of harming anyone before being put on Zoloft. His dose was increased twice and after each increase his thoughts became more malignant.
I have been haunted by serious emotional distress and suicidal thoughts for almost thirty years. This nightmarish existence has its genesis in traumatic experiences I had as a young man while working for several months as a volunteer for the Icelandic Red Cross in Ethiopia. (The worst was witnessing a passenger jet crash outside my town, working on the rescue and having to photograph the dead bodies while relatives were trying to identify their loved ones.) I arrived in Ethiopia a somewhat emotionally fragile individual, which might explain why on returning to my native Iceland I was suddenly living in a universe “divested of illusions and lights”, to quote Albert Camus, and felt like an “alien, a stranger”.
A two-year subsequent battle with diseases I contracted in Ethiopia (I had to leave the country seriously ill) and their consequences only increased my alienation. During this period I gradually sank into the realm of suicidal thoughts and entered the problematic world of psychiatry. Instead of asking me about the Ethiopian experience and what followed in its wake, I was given psychotropic drugs and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).
Seven years after my return, I had an experience which made the Ethiopian traumas pale in comparison. At that time my emotional life had stabilized. I was living with my wife and new-born son and about to graduate from the University of Iceland. But a dark echo from the previous years sometimes reared its head in the form of spontaneous dizziness, rapid heartbeat and rapid breath. My psychiatrist at that time had the perfect solution: Cipramil, an SSRI antidepressant. (Note: This is citalopram, also sold as Celexa.) He told me this drug would make these symptoms disappear, while emphasizing that it had “no side effects.”
A few days after I started taking Cipramil, terrible thoughts came into my mind. I wanted to harm my wife and new-born son. Every time I saw a knife or thought about one an incredibly strong urge to injure them erupted. As a non-violent individual by nature, I had never experienced anything like this before. Even the death and destruction I’d witnessed in Ethiopia had never put such thoughts in my head. This went on for some time and I obviously did not dare to tell anyone, neither my psychiatrist nor family. I continued taking the drug and suffered in isolation. The feeling gradually disappeared.
I had the same experience eight years later. At that time my emotional life was extremely chaotic and I was in and out of hospital. The doctors who were treating me had no idea of how to relieve my suffering. Instead of trying extensive psychotherapy, among other things, I literally became a guinea pig. I was given numerous drugs. New drugs were regularly tried or the dosages changed. These included Effexor and Zyban (bupropion, also sold as Wellbutrin). My wife, who is a scientist, was very worried about all the drugs I was ingesting. By looking at the scientific literature she realized that some of them were being prescribed way above the recommended dosage. I did not listen to her.
The violent thoughts struck me during the summer. As before, seeing or thinking about knives created an almost irresistible urge to harm my wife and two children. I was terrified. My wife sensed that something was seriously wrong when I asked her to hide all the knives in the apartment. I was able to tell her in a roundabout way what was going on in my mind. I also alerted some of my friends. I was finally hospitalized at the end of the summer. And the solution to stopping my thoughts was … yes, you guessed correctly: bilateral ECT. As a result big sections of my memory from this year were permanently erased. I was able to piece it together by talking to my wife and reading emails I sent.
These two harrowing episodes, that brought me almost into a devilish domain, have in many ways trivialised the Ethiopian traumas. The crushing guilt that the violent thoughts created, which is indescribable, extended the suffering way beyond the episodes themselves.
That guilt haunted me until June 2009, when I read a book that has gradually enabled me to escape it. I cried when I read these lines in Peter R. Breggin’s book Medication Madness (2008):
Within a week of starting Prozac, Emily began to become obsessed with killing her mother. Never before had thoughts like these entered her mind. She imagined taking the eight-inch chef’s knife from the kitchen. She saw herself sneaking up on her mother at an unsuspecting moment … and plunging it into her back. The drive to kill wasn’t wrapped in any reason, excuses, or rationalization. Emily didn’t feel upset with her mother. In her words: ‘It came out of nowhere’ (p. 58).
This is exactly what I experienced during the Cipramil incident. Now I felt absolved. But Emily’s story did not fully explain what happened to me during the latter incident. I had to read further into Breggin’s book to find a convincing explanation:
Consistent with most of the cases in this book, severe adverse psychiatric reactions often take place within a day or two of starting or changing a dose of SSRI antidepressant, or adding other drugs (p. 135).
This is exactly what I experienced. I felt absolved again.
Two years prior to making this enlightening discovery I had stopped taking psychotropic drugs. I have had my share of difficult withdrawal symptoms. My newfound knowledge only increased my resolve to continue my journey through life without resorting to The Emperor’s New Drugs.
As I dug deeper, I came across a paper by Yolande Lucire and Christopher Crotty that lists diverse drugs that “all induce suicidal and homicidal thinking as an occasional side effect.” More specifically, Thomas J. Moore, Joseph Glenmullen, and Curt D. Furberg list 11 antidepressants that have consistently been tied to an elevated risk of violence, “even when compared with antipsychotics and mood stabilizers, which are used in psychiatric patient populations in which violent acts may occur.” Cipramil, Effexor and Zyban are all on this list.
I feel violated by psychiatry. I have longed for justice after I realized that Cipramil, Effexor and Zyban were most likely responsible for the violent thoughts that I had towards the people I love most dearly. Why didn’t anyone tell me about this possibility? Even though reading Breggin’s book relieved me of most of the guilt, it did not make me very optimistic that difficult subjects like these would eventually be discussed openly.
Shortly after reading Medication Madness I became conscious that difficult subjects would ever be discussed openly. It was David Healy’s book Let Them Eat Prozac (2004) that made me realize this:
No matter how many physicians or others reported to SmithKline suicides or homicides they thought related to [Paxil/Seroxat], SmithKline would deny any evidence for causation while there was no randomized controlled trial evidence. The fact that they had never undertaken any trials and had no plans to do so smacked of washing their hands in the face of crucifixion (p. 222).
We all remember accounts in the news of individuals who committed unspeakable acts of violence against their loved ones. As an individual who has never so much as hit another human being, I am now, at the invitation of Big Pharma, in the horrible position of understanding what was going on in the mind of some of these individuals. I assume that there are many more of us who did not give in to this terrible urge. I hope my story will relieve the crushing guilt of some of these individuals.
I did this, I hid knives, forks, anything sharp. Every night I stuffed them down the backs of chairs and sofas, under the loose edges of carpet. My then partner was taking Anafranil.
Once I would have trusted him with my life. When he began taking Anafranil, life changed. Night after night he was sleepless, going outside to repeatedly throw a ball onto the roof for our dog Bess to retrieve.
One day he confronted me with a knife, saying “I’m going to kill you”. There was no way out, save jumping from a second storey window. It was my neighbour, hearing my screams for help, who ran to the front of the house and beat on the door. That distraction was enough to make my partner turn, allowing me to rush into the kitchen and out the back.
It was a descent into hell and one neither of us ever recovered from. A month later, his job was gone as a result of Anafranil-induced madness. I went on to take increasing doses of antidepressants, ultimately developing tardive dystonia.
This I will say: Trying to get a psychiatrist to listen, to take on board that our medications were doing more harm than good was like screaming into a vacuum. So many platitudes, so many verbal pats on the head. Any clinician who reads this story should take heed.
Dear Lindy, this must have been a terrifying experience. My wife was unaware of what was going on inside my head during the Cypramil-episode, but I still wonder how she was able to cope during the latter episode, even though I never confronted directly as your partner did. Somehow she did as we are still married. I owe her my life.
Steindor, don’t beat yourself up. You are indeed lucky. Your wife coped because in the middle of the madness, you retained a degree of insight…a remarkable degree. You spoke out and in doing so ensured no one was hurt.y ex was so badly affected that he had no insight. Thank you for your courage.
There may be a lot more people in your shoes, Steindor, who never told a soul what was going on! And that’s really serious, because knowing the source of these awful thoughts and images can literally be life-saving. An early story on RxISK concerned gory nightmares triggered by withdrawal from Cymbalta:
Almost 3 years later we continue to get comments on this story, like this one from December 2014: “Oh my goodness. Thank you all for posting your stories. I had no idea the violent nightmares, brain zaps, etc. were all part of coming off Cymbalta. I’m disturbed but sadly feel better knowing I’m not alone in this. When I am able to sleep I’m having very disturbing nightmares—like pulling body parts out of a body farm. Not normal for me at all.” While most reported gory, violent dreams I’ve heard from a few who got these thoughts and urges while wide awake.
We’re all raised with the vague idea of a subconscious mind that holds our “real” feelings, buried underneath the rules and values we were brought up with. What could be more horrible than to have these weird violent thoughts, and believe they were part of your real self breaking through? That alone might account for some suicides on SSRI’s. Not to mention those less strong or lucky who may actually give in to these urges.
I hope I we will be able to reach some of these individuals, if for no other reason than to reduce their guilt. Posting my story here has enabled my to get rid of the last vestiges of the crushing guilt that started to ease in June 2009.
Steindór, Thank you for telling your story and alerting others to awful consequences of SSRI medication/poison. Somehow it appears that some people can tolerate these medications whilst others suffer serious reactions. Why don’t doctors understand this?
I’m glad that you have uncovered the lie and have lived to enlighten others.
“What could be more horrible than to have these weird violent thoughts, and believe they were part of your real self breaking through? That alone might account for some suicides on SSRI’s. ”
Johanna, I have long thought that an explanation like that caused my daughter to take her own life. She was just 20 and had been prescribed Cipramil at 17 for “it might be depression” When I objected to medication I was reminded that I take medication for asthma inferring that “might be depression” was an equally valid ailment. I expressed concern about the stupefying effect of these drugs but was told that older antidepressants caused problems and addiction but Cipramil was completely safe and if it wasn’t depression Cipramil would do nothing. My daughter and I were told that it would take the medication about 2 weeks to begin working and to stick with it. She did and at the magic two week review the prescription was increased from 10mg to 20mg. There was never any indication that there might be an emergency. The most “in depth” question was “How are you feeling?” The medication continued for close to 3 years and a number of problems arose which I now realize were adverse effects. These were never addressed as such. At one stage Xanan was added in – I only discovered this after my daughter’s death from her pharmacy prescription record. There is no indication on the surgery notes as to why this was added. I suspect Cipramil withdrawal.
A few months before her death my daughter asked again to discontinue Cipramil. She was on 30mg. The recommended method was 30mg one day and 20mg the next for a few weeks, then 20mg and 10mg similarly finishing with 10mg 0mg as before. I now realise this method probably caused my daughter’s death. The day before she died she returned to the GP and was prescribed Cipramil 20mg for “clinical depression”with the comment that it should be alright as she had been on it before. We were told that it could be like this for the rest of her life.
We need to see GPs, regulators, psychiatrists and pharma personnel jailed for murder or at least manslaughter. That might encourage them to actually listen, discuss and evaluate properly instead of blithely scribbling “Citalopram 10mg ” etc.
RxISK – can you make available an explanation of HOW and WHY these reactions occur with some people with SSRIs? What EXACTLY is the bio-chemical explanation! If this is already on your website please can you direct me to the appropriate page. With the knowledge I now have it is completely clear to me that I suffered a very nasty iatrogenic reaction to a number of SSRIs on & off over a period of several years – fortunately in my case, not violent thoughts but very definately suicidal ones and severe agitation, insomnia etc. I really do want to understand the HOW and WHY of all this as best I can …… what is in these drugs and how they impact on your brain, your thoughts etc …..
Julie Wood on SSRI stories is going to make available what you asking for fairly soon
Any news on this from Julie as yet?
Than you Steindór for writing this very harrowing account of your time on Citalopram – I often wonder what went on in my own son’s head as he lay dying. Psychiatrists (with the notable exception of David Healy and a few others) still seem to be oblivious to the dangerous side effects of SSRIs. They consistently deny that antidepressants can cause suicide or violence, despite what it says on the patient information leaflets.
My son Shane had a similar experience on Citalopram. 17 days after his first encounter with an SSRI (prescribed for a relationship break-up), he killed a young man and then himself. My son, who never suffered from any ‘mental illness’ had stabbed himself 19 times, ending his own life in the worst conceivable way. I’m just very glad that you and your family had a different outcome and survived to tell this tale. I remember repeatedly asking the same thing “why didn’t anyone warn us that this could happen?”
Dear Leonie, I know about your son’s tragedy from Healy’s chapter in De-medicalizing Misery II (2014). Reading about his encounter with Cypramil about two weeks ago was the final push I needed to get the courage to post my story on Rxisk. You have my deepest sympathy.
Well done to Steindór for speaking out. I have never written on a public forum and had only today (post Lexapro withdrawal) felt compelled to write about the same thing.
I was one of those patients prescribed Seroxat (after mentioning stress at work), years before there were any warnings regarding the whole plethora of severe onset or withdrawal effects. Years before Dr. Healy was allowed access to GSK archives. The whistle-blowing.
The BBC Panorama programme. The Black Box warnings. The budding Hugh James case on behalf on claimants against GSK (under which I had been a claimant). The publicised suicides, murders. The school shootings.
I was considering, firstly, how the best description I have ever come across of why some people die by suicide which may go some way to help people understand- especially those angry, devastated and confused by the loss of a loved one to SSRIs – is by David Foster Wallace (who was treated for years with Nardil; some surmising that it may have been withdrawal from Nardil which led to his suicide):
“The so-called ‘psychotically depressed’ person who tries to kill herself doesn’t do so out of quote ‘hopelessness’ or any abstract conviction that life’s assets and debits do not square. And surely not because death seems suddenly appealing. The person in whom its invisible agony reaches a certain unendurable level will kill herself the same way a trapped person will eventually jump from the window of a burning high-rise. Make no mistake about people who leap from burning windows. Their terror of falling from a great height is still just as great as it would be for you or me standing speculatively at the same window just checking out the view; i.e. the fear of falling remains a constant. The variable here is the other terror, the fire’s flames: when the flames get close enough, falling to death becomes the slightly less terrible of two terrors. It’s not desiring the fall; it’s terror of the flames. And yet nobody down on the sidewalk, looking up and yelling ‘Don’t!’ and ‘Hang on!’, can understand the jump. Not really. You’d have to have personally been trapped and felt flames to really understand a terror way beyond falling.”
Although Wallace was presumably speaking of the “so-called ‘psychotically depressed’ person” who tries to kill herself in general and not in the context of adverse onset symptoms or adverse withdrawal from an anti-depressant, Seroxat suddenly trapped so many patients advised their ‘medicine’ was safe by trusted authorities in a burning building. And the invisible agony, the unendurable level of suffering for those patients who were prescribed Seroxat with no warnings as to the possible onset effects and withdrawal effects of their ‘medicine’ was compounded by not knowing what was wrong with them. Any doctors had been kept in the dark (and far as I know, to this day, doctors do not have the diagnostic tools to identify signs of SSRI withdrawal). The internet was in its infancy. To die by suicide in that context; feeling you have lost your mind, you’re psychotic, it’s the only way to stop the flames burning you alive, seems perfectly rational even if the chemical trigger didn’t put itself to your head and make you jump from the building instantly.
You also have to been trapped in the burning building and to have personally felt the flames of barely controllable agitation and rage either on the onset of SSRIs or in withdrawal; where there is ‘no spiral that precipitates the uncontrollable rage, it springs fully formed in the mind and propels itself without any input from the person experiencing it’ (npanth; https://npanth.wordpress.com/2012/03/14/phases-of-ssri-withdrawal/) to suspect, in many cases, the otherwise most calm, peaceful, people ‘jump’ to protect not just their self identity, but their loved ones, their friends, the people on the pavement.
Shocked and disturbed, I have felt those flames a number of times with regard to other SSRIs I was prescribed for relapse anxiety and depression after severe withdrawal from Seroxat (even though I had never suffered depression and anxiety in the first place). Those five minutes in my GP’s office just as unwittingly locked me into the SSRI roller-coasters and round-a-bouts cycle for almost fifteen years. What started out as minor, short term, stress became a diagnosis of chronic anxiety and depression. With the recklessness and rate at which these prescriptions are handed out, it could happen to anyone – mentally well or not.
Before I had prescribed SSRIs, I wouldn’t have believed myself capable of such agitation and rage. And no one would of me. Nor would I have had any sympathy for those who committed heinous crimes under the influence of any drug (particularly legal drugs or ‘medicine’ in our “pharmaceutical rape” culture). I would felt the same way about the James Holmes trial, if hadn’t expended all my energy in withdrawal from Lexapro preventing the Incredible Bucking Hulk from bursting from my seams. If I had never felt that I had to lock myself away; loathe as I would be to risk damaging someone even verbally. At the time – despite practising mindfulness – unsure the monstrous rage wouldn’t eventually overwhelm. (It does dissipate. Then you’ll want to head off to a little Buddhist retreat in the hills of Tibet to be cleansed, forgiven even, for the sheer amount of negative energy you must have emitted into the universe).
In the same way a man infected with a raging virus so powerful he believes it could harm those around him, some may jump simply ensure it doesn’t. Some, especially younger developing minds may well become overwhelmed. Even compelled.
The suicides, murders and school shootings, the ‘rare’ levels of violence SSRIs are capable of causing we hear about. And although some can bring themselves to confess their monstrous thoughts or actions (on the onset of SSRIS or in withdrawal) and make shocked and devastated confessions on some SSRI support sites, we don’t hear about the smaller crimes; the road rage; public brawls; the emotional and/or physical violence behind closed doors; the broken marriages and lost jobs.
If the full extent could be known and in a saner system, there would be a demand for a number of Pharmaceutical Drug support clinics for those suffering from severe adverse early effects from an SSRI or adverse withdrawal effects. A welcoming and non judgemental service which would encourage and prioritise those patients who can admit (in confidence), any concerns they may have that they could pose a danger to others along with those at risk of suicide. Though perhaps not in the same ward…
But then, in a saner system, some demonstrably psychopathic pharmaceutical companies, (ticking at least twelve boxes on the Hare Checklist); absolving themselves even of their own code of ethics, would have been legally required (as most lay people like me already imagined) to make all research studies available to the medical community in the first place.
I was put on seems at about 20 yrs ago and the terrors began . Luckily I had a decent female GP who believed me and admitted I didn’t have those symptoms prior to
Taking it ! Absolutely shocking it’s still not being recognised and prescribed !
Just to say to Leonie, to hear what happened to your son took my breath away, I am so sorry.
Deirdre, Your powerful piece resonated with me so much I felt compelled to reply.
I also thank Steindór and all those who have the courage to write publicly about this, and cry for those who have died.
I have recently posted a couple of times on Rxisk and David Healy’s blog but this is the hardest by far. It gives me no pleasure to write it.
I have never ‘confessed my monstrous thoughts and actions’ before to anyone. I have nothing left to lose by doing so now, yet still I hide behind Anne Ekdoat.
It’s hard to know which drugs or combination of drugs precipitated my episodes of violent thoughts. But they have occurred during two ‘drug periods’ that I recall, when I was taking and/or withdrawing from Effexor PLUS an atypical antipsychotic.
Like you, I was started on psychiatric medications long before the age of the internet and warnings.
In 1989 I began three years of the ‘old’ tricyclic antidepressants plus masses of what I only knew then to be sedatives, to ‘calm’ me, but now know were the ‘old’ typical antipsychotics. I wasn’t psychotic. But that’s another Rxisk story or 10.
I had been a quiet, unassuming 30year-old professional. The treatment didn’t work and, worse still, during that period my behaviour became increasingly ‘irrational’, hostile’, ‘aggressive’, ‘self-destructive’
Until very recently I still believed the fault lay with me. I never gave much thought to the drugs I’d been on.
Fast forward to 1997 and the SSRI era began for me, actually an SNRI (Effexor). The effect of it was astonishing and earned me a ’bipolar’ label. Yet stability eluded me.
By October 2006 I was a pet project of the psychiatrist I now found myself under. He explained my ‘chemical imbalance’, tweaked the meds multiple times, changed SSRISs back and forth, added mood stabilisers and antipsychotics. To get ‘just the right mix’.
Most notable at this time was that, for some reason, I was restarting Effexor, though I’ve no idea why it was stopped. I was also at that point taking carbamazepine, chlorpromazine, diazepam, Temazepam and Propanalol. I continued to have regular self-destructive impulses which I acted on.
At that stage I’d never yet felt like hurting someone else.
Into the mix came Seroquel. The effect was appalling. I find many new references in my diaries of the time to ‘agitated’, ‘angry’, ‘empty’, ‘indifferent’.
By March 2007 according to my diaries I was now off Seroquel and on Risperidone (plus Effexor etc). I find references to ‘aggressive feelings’, ‘irritable’, ‘angry inside’, ‘bad-tempered’, ‘edgy’, ‘paranoid’.
It came to a head in April that year. In my diary I simply wrote ‘Also bad thoughts a couple of times have frightened me’. (I couldn’t even commit the thoughts to paper).
I recall vividly what this refers to. I had had an overwhelming urge one day to pick up the carving knife in the kitchen and stab my dad in the back. I quickly left my dad’s house and stayed away for a couple of days. My dad was the world to me.
At the time I simply put this down to exhaustion as I’d been staying at my dad’s for weeks looking after him as he recuperated from a critical illness. I do remember ‘sort of’ mentioning it to the psychiatrist when I saw him next. His response was to increase the Risperidone and Effexor.
I finally stopped Effexor in 2014 and all urges of violence towards myself stopped.
After stopping atypical antipsychotics in 2009 all urges of violence towards others stopped, until I found myself back on quetiapine (Seroquel) this year.
All of this has now earned me a DSM-IV Axis II diagnosis, with the finger pointed (un)fairly and squarely at my inherent disorder.
I no longer know who I am and am standing on that ledge with the flames licking at my back.
Anne, I think it’s pretty clear who you are … a very thoughtful and bright person, and NOT the Red Hot Mess you feel like on this drug. It IS the drug, not you.
I want to give you some rather wonky reading, but don’t worry, you’ll understand it perfectly. Just skip right to the second page, where it says RESULTS.
It’s an experiment David Healy did almost twenty years ago, in which a group of totally normal people (many of them doctors!) each got a glass of juice spiked with a drug – either a benzo tranquilizer, or an anti-psychotic drug called Droperidol.
All these completely normal people felt AWFUL on the anti-psychotic. Three-fourths of them got “irritable and belligerent”! Two of them felt seriously suicidal, and a couple others broke down in tears for no particular reason. And even though some of them were supposed to be experts on these drugs, they still could not just “rise above it,” or even explain how they felt.
They’re just like you. You’re just like them. So am I — this story helped me tremendously at a very weird and terrible point in my life. Hope it helps you a bit!
Thank you Johanna,
Reading the results has helped in that pretty much every single symptom described is me, for the last 6 months, on a low dose ‘safer’ neuroleptic. Especially the akathisia and dysphoria, along with catastrophic change to cognitive abilities. Delaying the dose or trying a reduction makes it worse.
It explains everything. I am Jekyll and Hyde at the same time.
I stopped any attempts at social interaction three months ago after a terrifying frenzy at home. At that point I knew I could hurt anyone who got in the way. Nothing has changed but this way I avoid hurting anyone.
Deidre’s words so aptly describe my own reaction to reading what happened to Shane – mere words are not adequate – am so very sorry for you.
Thanks for the kind comments here. I wasn’t trying to shock or look for sympathy but thank-you very much all the same. It’s strange to be living this life, a world we never knew existed until Shane died. What followed Shane’s death was equally shocking. Irish Psychiatry disgraced themselves by involving themselves before, during and after his inquest – all because I blamed the drug. They were apoplectic when David Healy testified that in his opinion the drug caused Shane to kill himself and the other young man. My lovely son was dead and yet Irish Psychiatry, who supposedly represent a ‘caring’ profession, stomped all over his dead body. Unfortunately for them, their actions proved to have a ‘Streisand effect’ and thanks to David Healy, there is now very few people in Ireland who haven’t heard of Shane and how antidepressants affected him.
Anne, I agree wholeheartedly with Johanna.
I’m so glad Johanna said what she did. I really struggle with words (and as an emerging poet!; the reason I eventually refused any more SSRIs was because my level of cognitive degeneration is well beyond what a doctor or neurologist might expect of a sufferer of anxiety and/or depression and at my age. I’m frantically trying to find research in this area (that some in the medical community feel these problems could be permanent is not something, beyond other other long term effects, as a writer and teacher seeking work I can be sure I could live with).
It IS pretty clear who you are … a thoughtful, bright person, and NOT the Red Hot Mess you feel like on the drugs.
But I know, as mentioned by Sarah “What could be more horrible than to have these weird violent thoughts, and believe they were part of your real self breaking through?
A pharmaceutical company citing ‘agitation’ as a possible side effect of some of their products is like warning a man of “a state of anxiety or nervous excitement” when in fact, like Steindór said, he may have thoughts of harming his wife and children.
I think, as Dr. Healy said, Julie Wood on SSRI stories is going to make ‘the science’ of what happens in the brain in those states available (I have only read other lay people’s explanations of the science) and we should all take consolation that it was never particular to us.
Do you have some support at the moment?
I don’t want sound twee (she says about to be twee) but I like this little quote by Cynthia Occelli
“for a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn’t understand growth, it would look like complete destruction.”
Even to ourselves at the time.
And thanks to Johanna for the link to the experiment Dr. Healy conducted twenty years ago; reminds me a little of the Rosenhan experiments you might want to look up if you don’t know of them http://www.sott.net/article/221507-Modern-Psychiatry-The-Thud-Experiment.
I think Dr. Healy should lower himself to making a docu-reality show of his own experiment.
That, I would watch. Who wouldn’t?
People truly don’t realise just how vulnerable they are (nor are they aware of the incredible work Dr. Healy in particular has done to try to keep their medicines safe).
To Leonie, if you pass this comment, I must be one of the only people in Ireland who hadn’t heard your story, I’ve read up since.
I’ll be trying to make sure anyone in Ireland who hasn’t heard it, does.
Thank you Deirdre,
I have no support, despite my best efforts.
In March I tried to explain to the prescribing psychiatrist that quetiapine instant release twice a day was intolerable. I don’t recall what I was saying as I was rambling on and on non-stop. Psychiatrist stopped me abruptly, and said “side-effects”. Psychiatrist switched the script to modified release and discharged me. The effects are the same but slightly more tolerable, possibly as I have worked out a system of existing around them.
The discharge letter stated that quetiapine instant release made me feel ‘not myself’. Period.
I’m sick of seeing ‘yet-another-inquest’ reports in the newspapers, where some spokesperson for mental health states “If only they’d asked for help” and “Help is available”. It’s not.
It’s hard to know where to jump in with a reply to these honest and empathic communications.
I didn’t keep a diary but I do not delete email, sent or received. I have therefore a document (my outbox) of writings that were any combination of embarrassing, humiliating, incriminating, exculpatory, pathetic, or ruinous, professionally or financially, in their effects. I always thought it was “me” writing. Now I realize I don’t know if I am “me” now, or ever have been.
Thanks to the author, and Deirdre, Leonie, “Anne” and Johanna for contributing to the literature of the Shameful Era.
I have taken up blogging about the individuals who support the Shameful Era with their big, stupid voices. I was disgusted at what happened to James Holmes, and wrote a post that names a high-profile American professor as a possible contributor to the failure of the insanity defense, despite his having no (known) connection to the case. I did not mince words about Holmes’s doctors.
The American professor is my next object; what I see as his sociopathy is supported by bits and pieces I have found during weeks of on-and-off web searches. All in one place, they are almost a diagnosis.
I lost my reputation already and can’t worsen it by aggressively mocking the “experts.” I normally stick with humor, but in the case of Holmes there is no place for it. The pain and loss of others is direct and unending.
(My memory’s shot. Please forgive me if I already added this link to rxisk.org.)
“Holmes’s Untouchable Drug-Dealing Shrink”
I love your suggestion of a docu-reality show – brilliant idea! And to bring it up to date it would be interesting to see how many of the group might go on to be diagnosed Bi-Polar and prescribed antipsychotics to ‘alleviate’ their symptoms……….(‘cos thats what happened to me)
As an aside….
Slowly some truth seeps through into the mainstream media:
There is a great difference in telling someone about thoughts like these when you know the listeners suspect the drug.
Telling someone else, right out in the open, is not as easy…
Mistrust and disbelief leaves room for many who holds these thoughts to themselves.
So many stories, so much pain, sorrow, horror. It grieves me.
There are little comments that make me wonder what, in the make up of SSRIs and SNRIs make our wiring go so terribly awry.
Brain zaps – so often I was pooh-poohed over this symptom, yet thousands of consumers report it. Harmless? How so? If a patient willingly exposed himself or herself to an external stimulus that caused repeated shocks to the brain, they’d be deemed to be self-harming. What are brain zaps? Are they an early warning that all is not well? Why do they appear or worsen when a dose is just a few hours overdue, become overwhelming during withdrawal?
Why do sad, depressed and anxious patients become chemically induced sociopaths? Why is vision affected? Why are these drugs being prescribed at increasing rates globally when the harms are so evident? So many whys, so few answers from Big Pharma. So little transparency. Don’t blame your doctors. It took me many, many months of research to discover that those with the prescription pads are often the ones most in the dark. Post-marketing data is owned by the pharmaceutical companies and they are very, very reluctant to share. Worse, they wave such a big economic stick that Governments are not prepared to challenge them.
That you for writing that descriptive and personal account of what happened to you. You are not alone, not at all. I have my own story of my nightmare relationship with psychiatry. It is a Rxisk story “My trip through the polypharmacy blender”,, posted last month.
I too was releived of much guilt when I learned that my behavior and thoughts were entirely due to the toxic chemicals administred to me by “doctors” who are woefully uneducated, miseducated, and frankly ignorant. Ignorant and blind to the evidence that is so easily available and true about what these awful drugs do.
I am not completely free of the emotional changes and scares. I may never be. I have also been able to see how psychiatry ruined my dad and caused him and our family great despair for three decades. I cannot and will not forgive those who are responsible for the damage. They should be prosecuted, not forgiven.
I am going to continue to speak out every chance I get about this preventable travesty. The only way to stop it is educate as many as we can and bond together to force change.
i suffered homicidal thoughts and urges after stopping 40mgs prozac cold turkey.on the stupid advice that there was no such thing as withdrawal from prozac. my descent into hell was indescribable.
i was suffering muscle stiffness,neausea,migraines,incredible body pain,muscle spasms,burning skin,visual disturbance,sexual dysfunction,extremely violent nightmares,shivering,the list gos on and on.
but worst of all was the constant thoughts and fears i would kill my mum or my brother.or anyone near me.i had to lock myself away.
urges to kill with knives scissors or screwdrivers.
or anything pointy.even pens became weapons in my twisted thoughts .thoughts of stabbing in the eyes or throat.i had urges more than thoughts.to kill,to hurt.to punch,kick.hit with anything near me.i couldnt be near anything sharp.
ive never been violent.i dont drink,take drugs or have a criminal record.
i had such severe psychosis.severe anxiety.i developed severe ocd.i had chronic jumpiness and nervousness.where if the phone rang or there was a noise or even if someone touched me i would jump out my skin.
i ended up taking the prozac again.but not much changed.ive suffered ever since.
that was in 2007.i tapered off over years without my gps help.
i broke the capsules open and cut small amounts out.
my life has been a living hell for nearly 8 years.i still have severe body pain,muscle twitches,anxiety and depression.as well as physical numbness in my entire body,pins and needles etc.
i sometimes feel like i might hit people stood next to me still.
my anxiety can be so bad it feels like the world will end.
i never had anything wrong before i took the shit.i was totally healthy.
psychiatric drugs are poison.theres no other word for them.
Ove is absolutely right. If you see something and say something, they will point the finger at you and say that you are the ‘crazy’ one! : (
I am thankfull for reading this, my life was destroyed by seertralene and seroxat. I have spent years terfied of knives terrfied of hirting people due to the thoughts that had started on anti depressants. I lost everything… my home my family and freinds, my partner…. my best freind also took anti depressants and i watched him go down and down untill he eventualy commitied suiside. Once i brought up the fact and by that I mean “fact” , that all my ishues were brought on by anti depressants, i sudenly had the finger pointed and was told it was ok, it was my “illness” that was casing all of this ajd inneed to take my medication. Sunsequently i have seen noone but support workers for 8 years, pusing medications ate and telling me that i am going to die and have multiple personality disorder… yoy csn only imagen what that does to somone who is now segated fr0m society due to feer from these events.
… for somne who just went to the doctor because of a “phobia of wasps” this is where it has taken me.
So… i stoped alll medications 3 years ago and i am vonsidering stuying law and specialising in malpractice and medical neglagence.
That is if i can improve my grammar…
In a real dilemma and crisis. I am 49 years old. I have 2 young children and a lovely wife. First prescribed high dose of tricyclics and MAOI medication for 2.5 years (1st depressive episode). Managed to come off these then had to re-start same meds few months later for same period of time. Came off these similar time period. Then was prescribed Seroxat 40mg – cold turkey off that and had dreadful withdrawal effects becoming a psychotic mess. Saw a psychiatrist who advised Cipramil – occasionally on this drug I had violent intrusive thoughts and urges to be destructive and violent towards others. Thankfully never acted on them but I was on Cipramil for 20 years before I relapsed very recently. I find myself in a situation where I daily have violent and really base thoughts towards my children and wife and urges. I have been
Prescribed loads of differing anti-depressants since Cipramil 40 mg stopped working. All
have made me few this terrible agitation inside and these violent thoughts and urges continue. I did think it is harm OCD I have but Inthink it’s the prescribed drugs I have taken since 18. Dr Healy – what do I do – I have suffered from debilitating depression since 18 and yet these anti-depressants are possibly causing me such distress. I must add I am a qualified mental health nurse. I have attempted suicide 4 times now and I need advice. A
From my experience from many years on Citalopram; I believe it raises the physical anxiety somehow. perhaps by lowering the adrenaline so much.
What helps me is combining with ritalin. Even better is to stop Citalopram and use a counter medicine like Abilify or Seroquel. Abilify have stiffness and akhatesia though as side effects so be aware! Mirtazapine helps a little. Discuess it with your doctor please 🙂
In my opinion, Citalopram is pure crap. It is poison in the long run, to brain and body.
I have tapared off of it to almost zero and hope I will be completely off soon.
Best of luck to you! 🙂👍