Undiagnosing myself

These archives  now span close to five years. They are a record of a time in my life when I was learning and transforming at a rate unlike any other time in my life. I say this as a way of disclaimer. In the earlier years of this blog I am processing shock and dismay. In the early years I am undisputedly angry. I have worked out much of that and see things in a much less judgmental manner now. This continues to evolve. I sometimes want to take down old posts because they no longer convey how I feel, but I realize that they may still be helpful to people who are going through something similar now. The journey got me to where I am today, it’s just odd to have some of it in writing here for all to see. 

Undiagnosing myself – (first published Jan 2008)

monica cassani gianna kaliI was diagnosed twenty-three years ago as Bipolar 1 after becoming psychotically manic after ingesting hallucinogens while premenstrual. I’ve said this many times, but I want to say it now because I’m about to disown my past. Finally and completely. And grab my future.

I became psychotic a number of times and that is because I took hallucinogens a number of times. When I took them when I was premenstrual I landed in the psych ward. I got my period the next day in each case. This was drug induced mania. This was PMS on steroids and the poor judgment of a young woman excited to explore the world. That’s all. Bipolar, the mental illness construct in general, didn’t make sense to me then and it really doesn’t make sense to me now.

What I was then heavily medicated for were side effects to drugs and sometimes severe emotional distress — the result of a traumatic childhood.  In other words, I suffered on occasion, like every human being. And yes, this sort of suffering exists on a spectrum of severity. Issues of being human that are pathologized rather than recognized for just how ordinary they are is the realm of psychiatry.

Therapy and a good look at my traumatic childhood was not deemed important. According to them I had a serious bio-chemical mood disorder that would never go away and that I would have to take toxic drugs for the rest of my life. Drugs that would possibly shorten my life by 25 years while making me gain 100 lbs and lose many IQ points and make me fatigued and sexless. I lived life without passion for many years. My dysfunctional behavior never addressed. My life with trauma never recognized. I was never once asked if I had ever been abused. I’ve read a number of times that the correlation of childhood abuse and mental illness is extremely high and I can say from personal experience as a social worker with the “severe and persistently mentally ill,” that a good 80% if not more were abused in some fashion. Abuse comes in many shapes and forms and parents need not be blamed in all instances, though there is no doubt that they certainly can be in many cases but this is anathema in advocacy groups since families just don’t want to look at themselves — take NAMI for one example. Sometimes abuse seems benign. That is the hardest to call. Ordinary dysfunction counts and most people just don’t realize that. All families deal with dysfunction.  We all inherit by being human. I don’t blame my parents anymore. It doesn’t have to be about hating human frailty. It can involve forgiveness and love and healing.

I also, while manic, experienced Spiritual Emergency. I had always been prone to deeply profound spiritual experiences without drugs. Again, on hallucinogens, those experiences cranked up. But I don’t believe I was crazy. Out of control yes. Out of touch with consensual reality yes. But crazy no. I was in touch with some beauty too. I was in touch with love. From my first post on this blog the story of an experience of love and spirituality:

In this altered state I had many exceptional experiences. I will share one with you. I came out of my suite one day to the sounds of people yelling. I looked down the hall and saw a young African-American man wielding a gun pointed at someone who had done him wrong in a drug deal. A veil of peace came upon me. I calmly walked up to the man who was still yelling at his customer with gun in hand. I gently put my hand on his shoulder. He turned to look at me seemingly disarmed. I said “you don’t want to hurt anyone…come on let’s go.” I took his arm and led him away to the stairwell. We walked down to the first landing and stopped. I spoke to him about love and peace, we hugged and he left. I don’t remember exactly what I said and I know if sounds terribly cheesy, but it worked. I felt a huge sense of power and oneness with humankind.

Even in March of last year I did not completely own the beauty of that moment. I called it cheesy. It was not cheesy. It was beautiful and wondrous. That was stripped away from me when I was labeled a pathology. Later in life I would have two more experiences with psychotic men with knives. I was able to talk to them and also disarm them. I was not on psychedelic drugs. I still had that gift.

So I’m shedding my label of bipolar disorder. Loudly and publicly. I’ve tried to do this many times but no one really notices. My blog title has always said “Bipolar Blast: a thing of the past…..” I use the term bipolar so as to call out to all the other people wrongly diagnosed because I believe we are thousands and tens of thousands. The label does nothing but make it easy for a psychiatrist to put us into a box. Symptom clusters are called bipolar regardless of cause or etiology. I know people diagnosed bipolar when they are really suffering from PTSD and very often they are suffering from a drug-induced mania (as in an adverse reaction to an antidepressant that doctors claim magically proves you’re bipolar). Other times people are suffering from terrible stress or simply problems with coping with life which in the spiritually inclined can simply be a spiritual crisis. Changing life-style, coming through the crisis, and taking responsibility for your behavior could be the answer rather than blaming it all on a brain disease and succumbing to the prevailing theory of mental illness.

I want to make it clear I do not judge those who choose to take meds. They are a tool and sometimes they are the only tool someone knows to use. Too often it is not brought to light that there are other tools and that many of us recover. That many of us, labeled schizophrenic, bipolar, schizo-affective, depressed and anxious have one or several episodes and move on — the “disease” worked out. Most of us don’t get to find out that is possible. Many of us don’t want to know. We are afraid. I understand this fear intimately. I do not judge. I may seem to because I have passionate opinions, because I’m angry that I’ve been burned. But when confronted with people I know in my life and even here on the internet, as long as I’m not dismissed, I grant that it is ones right and total decision to do what they want with their body. I have many friends who accept their diagnosis’ and choose to take drugs. So be it. It’s nice to live in as free of a world as possible. I do not wish that we all be the same.

Live and let live.

But this is key. Many of us who do not wish to be drugged are forced to be drugged. We live with a mental health system that is coercive. Overtly and covertly. This must be challenged and changed.

The only thing I fight for is true informed consent. Most people are not informed. Most people do not know all the possibilities that lie behind their diagnosis. I want to save people who might become “intractable” before it’s too late because I believe that drugs are often the cause of intractability. So I’m out here saying my bit. Trying to lead by example. I’m lucky enough to have escaped the often inevitable downward spiral that never ends.

It is never wise to jump off drugs without thoroughly preparing. I have done nothing without taking very good care of myself and addressed and am addressing my emotional dysfunction—yes I still have live emotional dysfunction. No one should assume that it is safe to just stop taking drugs. It’s a huge commitment and responsibility. I would say that in my case it is a calling. I was on 11 mg of Risperdal, 200 mg Zoloft, 50 mg Seroquel, 400 mg Lamictal and 3 mg of Klonopin (up to 6 mg PRN) and in the end a variety of stimulants. You have to be called to get off all that. It is a vocation. No joke. I couldn’t do it otherwise. So no, I don’t judge—after a certain point it simply becomes behemoth.

So now I continue on my journey and I am undiagnosing myself. I am human and I have problems. That is the only diagnosis I am willing to live with now. Human problems. My life has not been easy. It has been no different from that of hundreds of thousands of people labeled bipolar. I still consider all who call themselves bipolar my brothers and sisters. And for that matter anyone else who has ever been labeled with any psychiatric disorder. We are family.

For comments on this post from when I first posted it see here.

This post was first published in 2007

For the rest of the story moving forward see these two posts:

Monica’s story: the aftermath of polypsychopharmacology

and

Everything Matters: a Memoir From Before, During and After Psychiatric Drugs

Comments

  1. Trying to navigate my way through several blogs from your site. “Furious Seasons” has an enormous amount of info.
    Thank you for such well expressed description of drug induced craziness. As you know from another website I have made my journey back to finding “me” again.
    If only I could erase all the misdiagnosing on me that’s in so many medical files. I did have the doctors’ office sign forms that they couldn’t forward ANY info on me without my notarized signed consent. Hope it works….

    Here’s to a world free of giving folks frightening labels and mega drugs instead of listening.

  2. Funy thing, I read some books, “You Mean I don’t have to feel this way?”, there was a section on Bipolar, and well my Granny was looney toons, so I thought it explained why my life wasn’t working. Instead of looking inside my heart, and soul, I chose to think I was looney instead of my marriage was a desert, my sons would soon be gone, and I had short changed myself, lived an illussion far too long. I am not a quiter, hated thinking I had done the wrong thing, staying with him, and yes I was pre menopausal, and my Mom was dying slowly over 5 years. A lot of life altering changes, but no reason for a shrink not to understand the whole person, and load me up with mine altering drugs…. Getting my weight out of hand, he then gave me more medication as I was large!
    I met a gal last fall at a NAMI meeting, who was in a weight loss program. I asked her what her meds were. First thing out of her mouth, was Zyprexa. I said hon, look at your meds, google, before you spend money on weight loss, all the dieting in the world, cannot correct some medications. I know the nutritionalist she’s working with, she should have known better, but she’s in it for the money. And I’m sure this patient s on assistance, so there’s the System for you. No checks and balances, which can indeed be harmful to your health and well being.

  3. Thank you. Dear Gods, thank you for this blog.

  4. I fully support you in your drug withdrawal as I too wish
    to be drug free of psychotropics gradually. I am sick of listening to psychiatrists and therapy doctors tell me they claim they know that “everyone has evil thoughts,””What are you guilty of!” and “you are a mean person.” “So do you want to kill anyone?” over and over again, and “Can’t you see you can’t finish college!” It is not just the drugs I need to get away from it is all the negative talk which accuses me of having evil thoughts that I clearly never had. In my opinion, it is the psychiatrists and therapists who are grossly psychotic because they go so far as to accuse people of future crimes, people who never did or say anything evil, but they can get everyone on their side, and that is one
    reason I got canned from my last job, is because of all
    the stereotypes I got labeled with that have nothing to do with my character and the good and upright life I have led. I am pretty determined to keep those liars, slanders conartists, and libelers out of my life. And I agree with you about childhood trauma too. I was a foster child, and you know how they get stereotyped too. But I got into an Ivy league school when I was 17 after going to 12 different schools and none of those loser doctors or loser therapists could ever do that, and then they had the nerve to tell me I couldn’t finish college. I had to put up with their verbal abuse for many years. They forced me to do volunteer work and wouldn’t let me go to school. But I kept fighting and graduated with high honors in an Engineering degree, against their “advice”, encouragement or faith in me. And almost all the women in the hospital had been molested as a child like me too. Then Nami goes and says that it is the molested children who grow up to suffer mentally that are “likely to commit serious violence.” I am sick of NAMI, I am sick of therapy, I am sick of psychiatrists, I am sick of drugs that caused tardive dyskinesia so bad I couldn’t read until my dose was lowered. I have to get away from them if I am going to survive, because all the things they did to me was worse than my original illness. I am determined to keep those cynical scoundrels out of my life for good. They have done more harm to me than all the abuse I endured in foster care and by my parents.

  5. WOW I surely identify with this after my 12 year sojourn with psychiatry. Thanks for the big honestly about Mental Illness in all these posts, my daughter in the last two years has sided with my ideas that the big Pharmie companies are in a bog pay out to these mental health centers having people eat meds like jelly beans out of a candy dish. Yes I have supported NAMI and have read many stories of mental illness, but in the end it seems like coat yourself with honey and then tie yourself to a tree and wait for the Bear to come and devour you….. I have a PTSD list of things that is like some ocd folks and there can never be a drug to cure this or lessen my panic attacks. I must use my own therapuetic tactics to conquer my fears. I believe that mental illness is just big business and it is an Inconvient Truth, a way to get $ from HMO’s and Medicare, just more money for profit while Human Spirit is overly medicated. I say Just no to Drooling on myself, I have seriously said NO to DRUGS, Antipsychotics.

  6. Cindy Elston says:

    My daughter was diagonised with Bipolar at 19 and is now 31, she recently took herself off all her med’s and seemed calm, she was kinda forgetful and stressed some, but I would really like to believe she can do with out the zyprexa and lythiam.

    She informed us she is PG and not taking any med’s , can anyone give us advise?

    Thanks so much, how can I help her get through the withdraws and keep baby healthy. She is unmarried and her boyfriend is not ready for baby or her mood swings currently.

    Thanks again, Cindy

  7. Cindy,
    The best thing I can recommend is that your daughter learn to care for her body and mind through things like diet, supplements, yoga, meditation and exercise…

    You can go to the “about” page on this blog (at the top of the page)

    and check out these yahoo groups to learn about alternative health care for mental health:

    http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/ALT-therapies4bipolar/

    http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/safeharbor2/

    Staying healthy is a long term commitment and your daughter is the one who needs to make it. You can’t do it for her…

    good luck.

  8. WOW!!! Thank you! I am almost in tears to find folks like me, misdiagnosed as bipolar. I have PTSD and have lived in 4 foster homes. I am a buddhist and I meditate and do yoga and get acupuncture. I am currently trying to get off of 5oo fricking mg of satans poison..yup, seroquel. I am not able to work much because I cant sleep very well. When I wake in the night I take 2ml of passion flower tincture and I go back to sleep. Passion flower is INCREDIBLE. I have researched it and it does not conflict with the 4 drugs that I am on. Screw these Dr.’s , and there one track mind. It is time to stand up for ourselves and become informed consumers. When youre feeling low go http://www.forthelittleonesinside.com.
    Peace and peace of mind to all, have compassion for yourself my brothers and sisters.
    LOVE LOVE LOVE IS THE GLUE THAT HOLDS THE UNIVERSE TOGETHER.

  9. Lisa,
    Welcome to my site and thanks for the link…

    Passion flower is indeed good stuff—I use it too.

    Good luck with your seroquel taper, contact me if you want to talk about it sometime…

    best to you.

  10. I came across and read some of your blog today. I am so glad that you are undiagnosing yourself and that you are doing it via blogging which helps others in their own efforts.

    Shed the label. Shred the label. Take it as slowly and easily as you need to at times when things get harder, you’ll get there in the end however long it takes.

    Go girl Go :)

  11. How long would you say it has taken you to be off lamictal and not experience any side effects? My daughter has finally gotten off all drugs but is dealing with anxiety and lack of concentration. I am very concerned that the doctor will add a mood stabilizer back to her regimen when I am not sure that all her drugs are truly out of her system. It has been 4-6 weeks since she completed getting off all her meds.

    Would love to hear back from you.

    Thanks!

  12. 4 – 6 weeks is certainly not enough time to get over withdrawal symptoms. You also don’t state how quickly she went off of how many drugs…

    If it was a rapid withdrawal she could be in a danger zone.

    Is she doing anything to support her body and mind with things like diet, nutrition, meditation, exercise etc?

    People can take a couple of years to recover from the effects of drugging, but they also have to be doing things to heal themselves of underlying issues…like for whatever got them on meds in the first place. And to heal the damage done by the drugs.

    Check out my About page for more information and resources and find someone who can help you…

    http://bipolarblast.wordpress.com/about/

    There is no way I can possibly tell you what is going on with your daughter.

  13. Wow. I was diagnosed a second time this year for bipolar. The first time, I felt like you – just bags upon bags of childhood crap. The second hospital stay was brought on by extreme emotional stress, and yes… I was PMS tho not taking anything.
    I hated the label the first time. The second time, i thought well, they must be right. I’m meeting my doctor Friday for my first out of the hospital meeting. I’m going to talk to her about coming off some of the medication and whether I can iron out my own “emotional dysfunction” as well.
    Thank you for what you’ve shared. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  14. I wish you the best boundbyfaith. If your name is based on anything you actually believe…do follow your faith…and trust yourself and your higher power.

  15. Sally Laing says:

    Hi Gianna
    I have just gotten to your site. Great reading here. I will be here for awhile.
    Thanks for all this wonderful sharing.
    Cheers,
    Sally

  16. Hi Gianna,

    I got here by way of your post on glutamine and other amino acids. I have never been diagnosed, but imagine my surprise, after a lifetime of mood problems and chronic fatigue, to find out that BD runs in the family — and no one ever told me. In fact, my brother, a psychiatrist, told me it was depression and once recommended I go on Paxil. What a disaster! I still don’t know why he never told me about BD except maybe he didn’t want to admit to anyone HE had it. Thank God my husband of 10 years stayed with me — and that I didn’t kill myself — until I figured it out on my own.

    That being said, I am doing a totally natural approach, working with a medical intutitive to confirm dosages. Since every program is individual, I won’t post mine here, except to say I rely heavily on amino acids and neutraceuticals for the brain. I also do homeopathic neurotransmitters and brain supplements, which seem to be very uplifting. My aim it to get as stable as possible, boost my energy, and get regular sleep, food and excercise. I also am developing a set of supplements to take prophylactically when I find myself getting unstable – either manic or depressed.

    One of the biggest breakthroughs that I’m happy to share was my initial discovery — lithium aspartate. It is a natural lithium salt (like lithium orotate) that is about 10 times more powerful than the drug lithium chloride. As a result, you can take as little as 5 or 10 mg a day (I take 10 mg 3X per day) without getting any side effects. And it works! I believe that the main action is in regulating the biological clock (now implicated in a wide variety of mood and sleep disorders) but it also blocks the arachodonic acid cascade (see the wikipedia) which is what leads to prostaglandins, the villains of PMS. My brother, who actually does know a thing or two, thinks BD may be a problem with ion channels in the brain, and yes, lithium helps there, too. Finally, lithium has been shown to be neuroprotective in that it prevents the breakdown of glial cells in the prefrontal cortex, the site of a lot of brain cell loss in untreated BD patients.

    If you’re going off drugs, I do think it might be wise to look into supplements that protect your brain from cortisol. Apparently BD people have higher levels of stress (no kidding!!) so an herbal formula like New Chapter Stress Advantage, or powdered chia seeds, or even SAMe for some can be very helpful. I’m also take supps to regenerate brain cells — these generally contain choline, such as phosphatidyl choline or Alpha-GPC, or I take phosphatidyl serine. More about these later.

    You mentioned that you were working with an orthomolecular psychiatrist. I think that’s great. Can you send me a referral? I’d love to get diagnosed properly and rule out any other causes (I’ve been on the hormone trail for about a year) and actually get help with my holistic approach, rather than getting shoved a bunch of drugs.

    Thanks for putting up a great blog and I hope to hear from you.

    Michele

  17. Hi Gianna,

    I just wanted to correct my email address.

    Good luck to everyone out there who is reading this!

    Michele

  18. Hi Michelle,
    Again thanks for all the lovely stuff you’ve posted…
    I can’t send you a referral now, but like I said before…I will write you an email when i get the chance…

    I’m really happy you stopped by.

  19. just found this blog says:

    Dear folks- thank you for sharing your experiences. I have been diagnosed with severe panic disorder since I was 30, then added in dysthymia, then added in delusion (I was cold turkeying from Ativan and had, I believe- dt’s.) Now- no delusions no panic no nothing. I am on klonopin .2X a day, seroquel 600 (yep) mg per night to sleep, and prozac, as well as a host of antihypertensives. Then add in adderal recently as I just got the additional diagnosis of ADD.

    Where to start?
    I’m 55 and have no social support, no family, live in a homeless shelter…..and just wing it day by day. I cannot stand living this way. Any advice appreciated.

  20. dear m’am or sir?? (sorry I don’t know what to call you, but you are dear)

    I am so sorry you find yourself in such a difficult situation and I really do not have any advice being that I do not know you or where you live or what kind of resources there might be in your area for someone in your circumstance.

    I guess I can suggest you try to find a sympathetic and more importantly COMPASSIONATE social worker or case worker who will LISTEN to you and figure out with you what you want and need and then help you take the necessary baby steps to change your circumstances.

    As long as we are alive there is always hope. Don’t give up and believe in yourself. You have a right to self-determination so exercise it.

    when you say you’re winging it day by day….I don’t see that as such a bad thing. We all, in every station in life, must take things one day at a time and none of us know what tomorrow will bring.

    I wish you the best and that you will find the answers you need that will help propel you forward into a life with which you can be contented.

    love to you,
    G

  21. It has been an off and on battle in my life for many years. I can definitely relate to all these posts and what Gianna has said. I don’t have much in the way of support either. I have been forced against my will many times for things that had nothing to do with mental illness. I have pleaded with my family to see me the way I really am, and to notice the reasons why I have ended up involved with the psychiatric profession. Well, when they respond to what I say they just think that what I say is something to be debated, talked about, how I don’t understand how they feel, and it’s something that is over with and in the past, etc. Well, what happened in my past is still a present concern and reality, and it has left its remains and results. I told my brother and others in the family that I need their support and not their assumptions about me. And since they are more likely to trust psychiatrists as the solution for anything I go through or face…that they should make sure that I am getting the best care possible and that my right to make decisions regarding my health care be respected. You sometimes wish that they would have had the same experiences you had with what they have done to you. Just so they could understand where you have been, and how what other people say about you, and the decisions they make; impact your life in a most painful and negative fashion. I am hoping I can break free of this oppression and find a way to support myself financially. I have made efforts in the past to start my life over again, but failed due to the lack of available resources. Most of what I tried was not effective. We are facing an empire that is well organized and financially backed by a society that tolerates and supports their regime. If more people trusted God and abided by his laws; this type of oppression would be dealt with in an effective manner that would benefit those who have been afflicted by it. Life is sacred and unfortunately, there are those who have predjudices, their own preconceived notions, and can be selfish. I pray that God will intervene and deliver all those who have been through so much with psychiatry and with those who hand them over to these people. I don’t have any animosity towards those in the psychiatric profession. I can’t say that I know what is in their hearts, altogether. But no matter what you know, nor how sincere you are…it doesn’t give you the right to force your beliefs and your knowledge on myself or other unwilling people. And… to deny them the right to make their own personal decisions regarding their health leaves one to believe that they are in this profession for underlying reasons and their own personal gain. We are uniquely created by an all knowing God. Our bodies are intricate and complex. So much so, that we are an ongoing research project for the curious and scientific community. To me, the mind is a mystery. I don’t believe that anyone will be able to completely understand how the mind works, and why people act the way they do. Each of us are a separate entity. I do believe that no one is the same in all regards, and that God broke the mold so there will never be another human being like me or anyone else. We all have our weaknesses, flaws, or whatever. That is just a part of us being human. Instead of others trying to find fault with us or looking for signs as to what is wrong with us…they should just accept us the way we are, and discover our individual potential and talents. Then, help us to use them to be an asset to society. Instead they try to hinder that and make us ineffective. They seem to be consumed with fixing what is wrong with us. It is not just what you know, but understanding human need. One thing we all have in common is that we all have the same basic needs. Today, life has become more complicated. Some of the problems we have are actually not as complex and severe as they are made out to be. Getting back to the basics in life seems hard for some, or it doesn’t jive with their agendas or interests. Some people are in a hurry to live. You can get too caught up in what you are doing and the things of this world, and end up taking your eyes off of what is really significant and of value. Like the song says from Crosby, Stills, and Nash…”We are stardust. We are golden. We are part of the devil’s bargain (with God). And we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden.” I will pray for all of you. Lots of love!! In Christ, Sylvia.

  22. Hi, I am really interested in your blog, and story. I may be in the process of undiagnosing myself. I just withdrew from celexa, and am trying to very slowly go down on clonazepam. I am still at 1200 mg of neurontin. I will come back here often. thanks for all the info!!!
    Dakota

  23. Welcome Dakota and the best to you!!

    It might be helpful for you to know that if you’re on Neurontin for mood swings it was shown a while ago that Pfizer pushed it on the market for all sorts of things for which it did absolutely nothing…one of those indications was bipolar mood swings…

    so while that does not get rid of the reality that there will most likely be withdrawals, it can give you confidence that it never did anything therapeutic for you…

    remember to take care of your mind, body and spirit through other means as you heal.

  24. Well after twenty years of suffering all levels of anguish, med-free, last week I finally went to a therapist and after three sessions was diagnosed w/bipolar I. This woman had seen me three times. And now I have been labeled.

    I have been struggling mentally and emotionally with the news, and of course she gave me a phone number for a doctor to get me on some meds. Which I still refuse to do.

    Good for you for undiagnosing yourself. I hope to do the same. I have just started a blog recently about my own journey in understanding what is happening and in healing myself. Would love it if you’d visit! http:solaceinwonderland.blogspot.com

    Thanks for the great blog, I’ve linked you to my site and will check back often.

  25. welcome chelsea,
    I’m sorry you’ve had a hard time for so long.
    remember we all suffer… and there are many different ways to heal…best to you on your journey…

  26. I’m kind of confused on a number of different things right now. I used to use drugs to self medicate. I moved to Iowa to get clean three years ago. Even when I did drugs my friends used to say “Dude, shut the fuck up, you talk to much.” or “Dude, you look really depressed, are you alright.” They put me in a “manic state”.

    For the first six months I lived in Iowa I stayed up for days straight having epiphany after epiphany, getting A’s in all my casses and then, after a day or a week of one hour of sleep a night (if that), a sudden death and hate for life and an endless sleep of a lack of motivation and the A’s soon turned to F’s and people that I thought we’re interested in me turned out to be put off by my endless rants about this that and the other thing. I thought I was being smart and interesting and thinking clearly and in reality I was on another planet.

    Everything sucked wehter I felt good or not; in fact, I should have been depressed as opposed to happy. The happiness was fake and I don’t know where it came from. I went from loving and cheresing life to hating it in ten seconds.

    After 6 or 7 months I went on Seroquel and Lamictal and am currently on 400mg of seroquel and 200mg of Lamictal. I also take a wide variety of vitamins and a healthy diet to compensate for their depletion from my body as a result of the meds.

    3 years later and I am a different person. A commited Christian (as much as I can be) graduating with a bacheloers in social work and excited and apprehensive about a future I thought I would never have.

    I can sleep and my life has turned around. Yet, I find myself recognising the hell my life used to be and wondering if it was my fault and my stupidity, or, if givin the history of alcoholism, depression and paranoia in my family, my diagnosis is real.

    Maybe I am missing something in life. What if I go off only to discover that my brain is playing tricks on me and I destroy my life all in the name of combating a disease that may be entirely legitimate.

    Thoughts and opinions?

  27. Josh,
    Life is a journey and we learn throughout it…
    Trust your journey and keep asking questions…
    That’s all any of us can ever do.

    I do relate to your story, but I don’t feel I can comment on it in a meaningful manner….you’re welcome to hang around here and see if anything else I’ve written moves you and make comments accordingly.

    my best to you…

  28. Hi there. I’m captivated and inspired by all that you write. I see myself in you, and have just now come to a realization that EVERY one of my 10+ hospitalizations have come prior to a menstrual cycle…as in, starting the day after being admitted. Never before had I thought anything of this. I have much to think on now, as a result.

    I have never wanted to be medicated. I have been over-medicated for 9 years now. I have repeatedly asked my pdoc for help in reducing/eliminating my meds, but she has flatly refused. She even told me that I was just one of those people who needs lots of medication. *sigh*

    But…the fact is I’m scared. I’m really f-ing terrified that if I stop taking my medications, the sh– will hit the fan. And it probably will. I know I need to temper the storm and such…but it still scares me. So, I will read on, and research, and talk to others. I’m not ready to take the plunge yet…but I do want to.

    Thank you for your honesty and bravery.

    -M-

  29. M,
    Take your time.
    The decision to come of meds should never be done precipitously so your caution shows wisdom.

    I believe we are associated with a group in common in our hometown, am I right? I’m familiar with your mostly from our email group. I’m not sure we’ve met, but we may have….

    If you ever want to get together let me know, though right now I’m pretty debilitated…and don’t get out super regularly.

    best to you.

  30. Thank you so much for sharing this! I didn’t get better physically (I was once dying of kidney failure now I am not) and mentally, labelled as depressed, PTSS, yadda… and I didn’t get better until I fired my Doctors and flushed all the meds they said I needed to live, when what they meant was live with illness so they could continue to get paid to keep me sick.

    I healed myself of kidney failure, depression, then later a triple ripped rotator cuff those wonderful doctors said would never heal without major surgery and months of therapy and I proved them wrong more than once. We have the power within us to heal ourselves. I am living proof. Bravo Sister for having the guts to not only listen to your higher guidance but act on it!

  31. Thank you Gianna.
    I’m very sorry you’re suffering all of this.
    After reading you I’ve found a little peace today knowing that I’m not alone.
    Thank you very much for that.

  32. you’re very welcome Ana.

  33. God, you’re awesome! Let me know (privately) if you would like assistance from an intuitive healer who I have trusted my body, soul, and spirit with for over 10 years. She can work remotely and money will not be an issue for you. I moderate all my blog Comments before posting them. xoxoxo

  34. Vaccines
    Poor Diet
    Childhood Diseases
    Molestation
    Lack of Spirituality
    School
    Peer Pressure
    Hypersensitivity
    Trusting Authority
    Life Altering Events
    Lack of Education/Information
    Ever Shifting/Changing Hormones
    An Industry, that sees you as as a Cash Cow

    Are but a few of the reasons, why we accept and are diagnosed with Bipolar, or other mental ilnesses.
    But Darlings the times they are a changing, as more and more of us awake to the truth, and heal, then allowing us to help others on their journey.
    And the Industry of Death{www.cchr.org}
    well,they are going down, slowly, but they are going, to the dark energy, the black roots of their origin.
    The last doctor I had was a kind woman, who spoke to me as an equal, allowed my research, and naturals. I warned her, to find another path,and this past spring she took a year’s leave…..Watching this for going on 5 years while I healed, vowing to do all I could to change this deplorable, vile inhumane track that vunerable people are subjected to, I have taken note, understanding things, most never notice, and now working with other committed groups we are sound the warning, the example of our misfortune, repeated over and over as examples. This will end in my life time, 14 years out of my life, luckily I survied to do what I do, and I am very grateful.
    Keep ON Keeping ON. Truth wins out everytime.
    Dona Wheeler
    CCHR

  35. raginggenius says:

    I was listening to the Christian Satelite Network to a doctor that was saying that Therapy in the 70’s was working so well that the Pschyiactirc companies were going down the drain so they came up with treatment for diseases to sell their medications. I believe him. I also believe that our “American” diet is litteraly killing us an making us crazy as well. The research that I have done just on vaccinations talks about how the food we all have been eating is ruining our immune system. Our grocery stores are killing us! I get angry when I eat too much sugar and have a poor diet and get no excersice. What we put into our mouth matters! I have been diagnosed with Bipolar too and am searching for alternatives to meds. My biggest problem is sleeping. My husband just orderd me “Gaba’ from GNC. I really don’t think that God created me to have to take a bunch of pills! As a matter of fact, I know he didn’t!

  36. I’m with you raging genius,
    our food is being systematically poisoned and it’s sometimes difficult to find wholesome food.

    though I have to say…you probably will be taking GABA in pill form. God made a NATURAL world with many ingredients that help us. GABA is natural and so are vitamins…I take a lot of pills…just not pharmaceuticals.

    Just so you know GABA doesn’t work for everyone but when it works it’s awesome…you can try taurine, tryptophan and theanine for calming too…

    I take a amino acid compound called Travacor by Neuroscience…works like a dream in helping me sleep…

    I also take Calms Forte…by Hylands…really helps tremendously! It’s basically passionflower in homeopathic mixture and SUPER CHEAP.

    but one should know what they are doing with amino acids…it’s good to check in with a naturopath or integrative doctor since amino acids can be misused and sometimes cause adverse effects too…

    Check out my about page for resources. (tab at top of page)

  37. After all these years I still don’t know what bipolar is and why people get labeled that way. My shrinks changed my label all the time, and I didn’t understand what they were talking about. One time they told me I had a “garbage bag type” mental illness in which they could just throw in anything they wanted about me into a garbage bag and come up with a label. One person who told me they were bipolar said bipolar means they go on shopping sprees and clean the house all night. I know a bunch of people like that too, only they weren’t labeled bipolar and they never took drugs, and they have never been in therapy or seen a psychiatrist or been in mental institution. Then I finally found out what it means to have hallucinations which they told me I was having, but that is a completely foreign experience too that I have never had and I guess back in those days maybe they just had too much state tax money to drug, lock people up and label them because in the beginning this was done to me with state tax money. Now I have to pay for the rest of what they did to me and figure out how to get away. I just found out recently from the National Empowerment Center dvd describing what hallucinations are. I think it is appropriate that you unlabeled yourself. The people I know personally who shop and spend too much who were never labeled seem to be in deep trouble and try to get others to pay for their shopping and all kinds of other non medical debt, but I have never known a person with a mental label to act even one percent as crazy with money as the people without the psychiatric labels. I wonder if MC Hammer would have been labeled bipolar for spending his entire multimilliondollar fortune and going into bankruptcy. I think Britney Spears looked like a good target to label since it would help Kevin get custody, alimony, and child support. I don’t think she benefitted from being labeled because she didn’t even win back custody after being such a good patient and not complaining publicly what the shrinks and hospitals were doing to her, and no one wants her perfume now that she is labeled and her fair weather friends have not stuck by her.

  38. Actually when I tried to smell and buy Britney’s perfume in the perfume shop, the saleslady told me it wasn’t any good and that they didn’t sell it anymore. I think this is probably because of her “bipolar” label. I have not noticed celebrity fundraisers to raise awareness of psychiatric harm, I think they mainly fundraise for things like AIDS, Cancer, and Gay rights and stuff like that, and the only groups I see raising awareness about psychiatric harm are the survivors mainly, and then CCHR.

  39. Thank you for this site. The world needs people like you to speak up and help to inform others about the choices they have against the pharmaceutical industry.

  40. Hi,

    Michele… I don’t get to this site very often, but I’d like more info on lithium aspartate, as well as phosphatidyl choline or Alpha-GPC, phosphatidyl serine, etc.

    Also, that other thing you mentioned… (New Stress Advantage).

    Where are good websites for ordering these things, safely and inexpensively? (I don’t drive, and have to order everything online…).

    Sorry, I’ve got a cold, and I’m “out of it”.

    I already take SAM-e, occasionally (like, once or twice a week). Any more and I get “hypomanic”, but a little helps to stabilize me, and not only that, but it really helps for my fibromyalgia pain!

    I transcend dx, but lately, my new shrink wanted to put me on “atypical antipsychotics” (though I’m not psychotic)… just to “calm me down”. I said, “No way!” I am on some Ativan and a low dose of Doxepin (and have been for a long time… I’m pretty satisfied with that combination, and I’m too old– and overwhelmed to detox, right now).

    I would love something to regulate my sleep!!! My days and nights are almost totally reversed (and have been for awhile). I’d like to get off Ambien CR, though!

    Would appreciate any help/info you can give,

    Thanks!

  41. Linette,
    chances are Michelle won’t see your comment because it was posted before people could get sign up for email updates…
    so I recommend you join the social network for info on supplements and support on alternatives

    http://beyondmeds.ning.com

    also, SAMe is dangerous for people who are not stable…you seem aware of that, but I want others to know.

    also…I would recommend Lithium Orotate from Vitamin Research Group before Lithium Asparate…aspartate is an excitory amino acid…just doesn’t sound good to me…
    I know people who take the Orotate and love it…including one person who got toxic on carbonate…if people want to use Lithium the orotate is a natural, over the counter, safe product if taken as indicated on the bottle.

    Google Vitamin Research Group for a very good value.

    for sleep I use various amino acids

    http://bipolarblast.wordpress.com/2008/05/12/amino-acids-and-mental-health/

    here’s an email I wrote to someone else seeking help sleeping as well:

    My favorite amino acid compound is called Travacor (by Neuroscience)…it’s a combination of Taurine, Theanine and 5-HTP and some other nutrients to aid absorption…you generally need a medical provider to get it for you…I get it through a friend who is a chiropractor at cost so if you want I could pass some on to you….we can work out some sort of deal where I have it shipped here with my usual order and then I’ll ship it on to you…

    you may be able to find it online without a medical provider if you hunt around a bit but you will pay more (with or without a medical provider if she’s not your friend!)….

    in the meantime if you just want to try something quickly go to a health food store and get all three amino acids separately…

    Taurine
    Theanine
    and Tryptophan (rather than 5-HTP becaues tryptophan is actually more bioavailable and the compound above has some other nutrients added that make bioavailability higher)

    anyway….just try one of those amino acids at a time….and possibly all three(but add only one at a time)…and see how you do…

    GABA sublinguals help too.

    You can get this stuff cheap online (the non-compounded stuff) at vitacost.com

    I would also strongly recommend you take 4 – 6 gms of fish oil which really is a must for anyone with a “mood disorder”…and then if you let me go crazy with you I would recommend some additional nutrients…

    anyway…that’s for starters!!

  42. Hi, Gianna; thanks for your response… I really don’t have time to do a lot on these boards (today, I’m taking it easy, but I have too much going on in my life… a lot of stuff beyond my control)… so I can’t do the other network, right now.

    However, I really appreciate the other info! I saved it… will get to it, at some point!

    BTW, how many MG. in a GRAM? I already take 1000 mg. Fish Oil (more than that seems to upset my stomach and I have a lot of GI/IBS/Gallbladder problems as it is!)

    Maybe in the Summer, I’ll have more time (and money!) to experiment with some of this stuff…

    Also– frankly, I don’t know which substance to try first! So, I’ll have to do more research, and go s-l-o-w-l-y!!!

    BTW, I didn’t receive a notice that you’d followed up to my email (even though I’d checked it); luckily, I already had this page opened, so I saw the response.

    Maybe it takes awhile… and I don’t use feeds.

    Well, right now, gotta take something for my cold!!!

    Thanks for this website!!!

    Linette

  43. 1000 mg = 1 gm

    it’s best to take several grams a day…but you can spread it out several times a day…and take it with food…to avoid stomach upset.

  44. OMG! You did hallucinogens!

    One great thing my hippy mom did for me, was to give me LSD when I was 9. Talk about a psychotic episode! I remember one minute coloring in my coloring book, and soon started to forget my own name, which drove me into a blind panic of which I otherwise have total amnesia until I woke up the next day. Something about putting and orange in your mouth or something like that!

    The one great thing that has done for me, is to make me completely afraid of any drug. I didn’t even drink alcohol until age of 25 or so! My mother smoked pot my whole life, I never wanted to touch that, either. That LSD trip scared me out of ever trying any drug, and to this day, I will not try anything very strong, especially if it is something that makes you hyper like cocaine.

    Some people say that the bad LSD trip at that age, maybe is the cause of my anxiety, but I have to wonder, if I already was predisposed to it, and had a bad trip, based on being a anxious child. I had already been physically abused quite a lot, possibly sexually abused – don’t know – only that my mother claimed it – and I’m sure that would make you more anxious as a child. My father hitting me was the reason for my parents’ divorce or the last straw, so my mother has told me. The latter I do remember.

    I come from a very artistic family, with my mother being a prodigy in piano and violin, getting straight As at Chicago Conservatory, second only to Juliard at the time. My father has a Master of Fine Art from the Chicago Conservatory in music performance.

    I started playing piano at age 3 or so, and am pretty good at drawing, but also being good in science, picked that, instead. There are not many careers for piano performance!

    I am bipolar, which, in my family was more called “the artistic temperament”. I like the latter. I’m quite sure my mother was bipolar as well.

    I’m quite sure all the drugs I’m taking for my horrible bipolar disorder, have left me without the ability to artistically express myself, except for a rare occasion when I find myself in a euphoric mania that breaks through the drugs.

    Wow, you gained 100lbs. I have gained around 30 but I constantly diet and exercise, probably to excess.

    For me, I no longer care what society expects out of me. If I am eccentric, then so be it. I am trying to also taper off many psychotropic drugs, as well, and will continue to take them only to the degree that it makes me, or my husband suffer. I will no longer take it, only to be able to conform to society’s rules and norms.

    Best,
    Ari

  45. Ari,
    your mother giving you LSD at age 9 was a horrible abuse. And your history in general sounds like it was hugely traumatic…

    my pet theory is that pretty much ALL mental illness has it’s roots in trauma and therefore all “mental illness” is some form of PTSD…the only appropriate label in my book.

    we live in a traumatic culture and society…even the best parents cannot protect us from the trauma of living in this abusive culture…

    anyway…off my soapbox now.

  46. I think that we should start taking a long hard look at the judges jusdging us. I have not inserted the studies into this questionaire for your Shrink as of yet, too busy in court protecting the damage they have done to my life. But if I had to do it over again, if I was not vulnerble from the brain injury my ex gave me as he kicked me out the door, or from the police assault when I tried to get some support in laying a legitimate charge which was refused…well the costs are too high to list, but here is what I would do now if I had a chance to save myself from the medical abused that dam near killed me and left me in a 10-day coma fighting for my life while my ex stocked me in the ICU and the police turned a blind eye and my brain injury got worse….oh and I was refused the right to see a brain injury specialist and misdiagnosised with bi=polar in the first 15 minute interview by hitlers little helper…

    Who is Shrinking the Shrinks?

    Taking back your power

    How to Interview a potential Psychiatrist.

    What school did you graduate from?

    Where did you place in your class?

    How long have you been practicing?

    Have you ever been sued by a former patient?

    Do you mind if I FOIP that?

    Have you ever suffered from depression? (I understand that the depression rates are quite high in medical school?)

    Have you ever been diagnosed with a mental illness

    Have yo ever been medicated? (I understand that self medication and medication abuse is quite high for Doctors and in particular shrinks.)

    Have you ever thought about suicide? (I understand the rates for suicide are quite high for shrinks?

    How is your marriage? I understand there is a lot of marital dissatisfaction in your profession.

    Have you ever been charged with a criminal offense?

    Have you ever molested any of your patients?

    How many of the people who come to see you are not diagnosed with a mental illness?

    Have any of your patients ever committed suicide? How many?

    Have any of your patients ever died of drug related side effects from the medication you prescribed to them?

    How many of your patients have you cured?

    Do you agree that shrinks should be paid on a results only basis?

    Do you have hospital privileges? Why did you lose them? Why not?

    Do you have a drinking problem?

    How do you deal with stress?

    How many formal complaints have been lad against you by former clients?

    Where can I verify that information?

    Would you say your children like you? Would they say they do?

    Did you beat your children?

    Where you beaten as a child?

    Who is running mental health checks on your profession to ensure you are fit to serve the public ?

    Would you ever take the drugs you are prescribing to me?

    How much money are you being paid for this visit?

    Are you comfortable with the violent and oppressive history that are the roots of your professions and that still exist today?

    Do you think people should be forcibly confined, receive electro shock treatments?

    If you were diagnosed with a mental illness or your children were, would you want ECT for them or yourself?

    What do you think of the methods that the DSMV uses to determine the criteria of a mental illness?

    How do you feel about me taping our sessions?

    I see you asked for my address, I was wondering where you live as well?

    Have you ever had a CAT scan or MRI? (I understand there are some apparent differences in them that can determine mental illness and I’d like to ensure that since you are in a high risk category for becoming mentally ill that we rule that our before I agree to work with you. Are you OK with me running a criminal check on you?

    How about a private investigator, are their things in your background that if I found out, I might get the wrong impression of you and maybe have to call 911?

    Your not addicted to anything else I should know about are you? Say, porn or the computer, TV, or judging others?

  47. I went in for mild depression two years ago. That was my diagnosis. I think the paxil didn’t work so they went to Zoloft. Not much later, I was diagnosed Bipolar because I had “spending sprees”…that was it, that is why she diagnosed me with Bipolar. I never showed any signs of the illness until they put me on all these meds. Now, I really am showing signs of it. Is it possible that if I didn’t need the medication, it would make me have the symptoms? I am now on 400mg of Lamictal, .5 mg of Klonopin 3 x a day, 125 mg Wellbutrin and 50 mg of Trazadone… I want to get off all of this crap and see if I can get back to me. I haven’t been me ever since they started me on all this stuff. My doctor is very much against this..obviously, so can anyone suggest how I do this. I have only been on these high dosages for about six months.

  48. yeah, it’s not uncommon to get worse once the drugs come into the picture…in fact it’s very common….listen to Robert Whitaker’s interview on Madness Radio where he talks about his upcoming book which is about this very fact:

    http://www.madnessradio.net/madness-radio-sane-medication-policy-robert-whitaker

  49. Hi My 20yr old daughter was diagnosed with bi polar 2yrs ago after having a depressive episode at 16 and then a manic episode at 18 which resulted in her being hospitalised for 10 weeks. She took meds for about 1yr sodium valproate and olanzipine(zyprexa) and then slowly withdrew them as she felt numbed by them. A year later she is back in hospital with another manic episode this time they gave her toally different meds for 8weeks in hospital and now she is on lithium carbonate and seroquel and is still unstable after 13 weeks in hospital. She hates taking meds and I see her worse than when she was admitted. Do you beleive that bi polar disorder is a valid diagnosis for some people or do you think that all people are misdiagnosed? My daughter is convinced she is not bipolar or indeed “mentally ill”
    but rather reacting badly to lifes stresses etc.

  50. What I believe or you believe doesn’t matter. What your daughter believes most certainly does.

    There are ways to learn how to naturally manage our energies–with diet, nutrition, meditation, exercise and sometimes a good therapist, acupuncturist, nutrional doctor etc…(some combo that makes sense for any given individual)

    My about page gives a ton of info on alternatives…I suggest you take a look there and if your daughter is interested have her start reading when she is able. She needs to make the decisions regarding her care.

    If you want her to recover then your only job is helping her find her own path and letting her know you BELIEVE she can recover and find her way. The mental health system in general does not give us this message, but it’s a lie and I know hundreds of recovered people. It’s not an easy route, however because, in general you need the right supports and discipline for caring for oneself…..again….she is the only one that can make those choices…you can only support what she sees as her path…

    that’s allowing for self-determination…help her find her own answers by supporting her gut instincts.

  51. raginggenius says:

    Diet has so much to do with what goes on in our heads and I don’t think the people take that part seriously enough at all. All of the sugar that is in our diets messes with our heads so much. When I avoid sugar, my issues with anger go away. One 20 oz soda has 16 tabel spoons of sugar in it and it is also ridiculous how many parents allow their children to drink so much juice, it’s no wonder the little ones are labeled ADD when their breakfast is garbage creal, juice and a garbage lunch. We were not created to eat all of this crap. Most everything around the outside isles of the grocery store is good for consumption (produce, fish, some dairy, but what is in the middle isles of the store is nothing but processed garbage. High fruitose corn syrup is in everything. Excersise is another important issue that affects our mind. At least take a walk. We get so mad at the doctor’s for misdiagnosing us and giving us pills, but no one want to follow the adivce that they have been telling everyone for decades which is to eat right and excercise. So take responsibily for our actions and stop bitching so much about what the doctor’s are doing because it is our choice whether or not we want to play the mental illness and pill game with them. If you don’t want to eat right and excersie than expect to continue to go through this crap. Sorry, but it’s the truth!

  52. raginggenius: “…because it is our choice whether or not we want to play the mental illness and pill game with them.”

    Uhm, may I ask, what planet you live on? At least, on this planet people aren’t given much of a choice. Usually, the “choice” people are presented with is “Play the game, or get forced to play it!” With the “choice” coming as massive indoctrination, and often enough even as coercion, involuntary treatment.

    A whole lot of people would love to take responsibility, but are not ever given the opportunity to do so.

    Read Gianna’s blog, and do some rethinking, before you judge anyone here next time!

  53. excellent points Marian,
    my journey hardly began with any choice as I was incarcerated and shot up with drugs against my will.

  54. I’m not ready to undiagnose myself. My brain does things I can sense, which I feel are better understood in the light of others experiencing similar sensations. I’m not going to psychiatrize myself, however, as the supplements I take help my body respond to the sensations and “normalize” myself whereas the drugs the doctors gave me sent me more and more out of control.

    Regarding the woman who was asking how long it takes to come off the drugs… I, too, took myself off drugs far too quickly. I could feel the improvement each week, but those drugs stay in your body a long time. I did not feel “safe” out of my apartment for about 5 months, and friends were still commenting for about 8 months. (Some friends still think I made a mistake getting off the drugs, but all of those friends are still taking their drugs like good little sheeple — and ignoring the shaking and dull affect the drugs are giving them.) Hang in there, you’ll feel it getting better… especially if you’re taking the supplements and/or getting the nutrition your body/brain needs to get well.

  55. Marian, we are being given more choices. Many therapists and even doctors are beginning to realize that the drugs aren’t HELPING anybody, and that non-drug treatments (especially when given with open, loving peer support) often result in full recovery. Recovery Innovations, Inc., of Phoenix AZ now has offices in 21 states and affiliated organizations in others, where the “hospital” is a “virtual living room” where you come in and get support from someone who knows what you’re going through. They brag that fewer than 10% of the people coming in the door ever make it to the “medication room”, and it should be noted that anyone can leave at any time (and they do not even STOCK restraints).

    When I took myself off drugs, my psychiatrist(‘s helper – the doctor was too busy to make my appointment) told me they didn’t want to see me until I relapsed and came back to them for their drugs (which he cheerfully predicted would happen any day now). It has been over 5 years, and nobody has come to drag me off to the hospital and/or force me to take drugs again.

    Things were bad. Things are still bad in lots of places. But right now, it looks like they’re getting better.

    Hugs,
    Moss

  56. most people are still not given options moss. and most people are not allowed to practice self-determination because their docs won’t let them off meds…

    I see this every day in my support groups… and on this blog

    and right now today I was told by the foremost authority and journalist covering this subject that there are so few people with my history of huge drug cocktails that even try to come off and he’s interviewing those that do and it’s not very pretty…it’s like maybe I’ve got a 50 – 50 chance of having some quality of life that others would recognize as a quality of life…

    that being said, I WILL have quality of life even if I remain bed bound.

    it may be too late for me though to recover physically…and I don’t say that with pessimism..just realism…I do everything I can to heal in the way of food, nutrients, and meditation etc…so I’m in no means giving up.

    my optimism says I’ll learn to live with whatever limitations I have as I am even now…helping people choose to get off drugs before the long-term permanent damage is done…

    many many young people have credited this blog for helping them make that decision, but many of them do it with no help from professionals…because they are few and far between and most people don’t have the means to find one.

    it may be getting better in tiny pockets here and there but over all it’s a terrible nightmare and for people like me it may never end because the toxicity of the drugs will have permanently damaged us.

    and again this is info I get from the person who has done the most in depth studies out there…I am working with him right now and he has asked not to use his name publicly…

    moss you may know who I’m talking about and I’ll certainly tell you if you don’t. just send me a note.

  57. Moss: There is some positive change happening in some – still very few – places, yes. Though, what I also see happening – and I don’t quite know, what it will lead to – is that psychiatry as a whole more and more aggressively pushes its labels and drugs on people, the more public attention is directed toward the drugs doing more harm than good, and toward non-drug alternatives being at least as, if not more, effective, without the horrible side effects of the drugs. That is, the more positive change actually is happening, the more aggressively I see psychiatry defend “treatment as usual”.

    Another thing is, that most of the change, that is happening, concerns “depression”, and what formerly went by the term “neurosis”, i.e. “anxiety”, “OCD”, etc. Those labelled “psychotic” still are regarded sort of a different race, not quite human, genetically defective, potentially dangerous, and certainly not capable of making their own decisions. Why, of course, it would be completely foolish to offer these people any choice. Especially since we all know, the vast majority of them would choose to do without drugs. In regard to these people, the trend in Denmark is: more hospital beds on more locked wards, where these “monsters” can be locked up and get drugged out of their minds, if not for their own good, then for society’s.

    I was really thrilled about Al Galves’ article, for instance. Because it shows so clearly how “depression” is nothing but a completely natural human reaction, that the “symptoms” have value and meaning, and should be explored, not suppressed. I just wonder, when and if ever this wisdom will expand to include so-called “psychosis” and its “symptoms” as well. So far, I don’t see that happening. Not at all to the extent as it is happening in regard to “depression” and “neurosis” at least. From an overall perspective, I see people labelled with “psychosis” increasingly criminalized, discriminated against, and marginalized.

    Sorry to sound pessimistic here, but I just can’t make myself cheer. Not yet at least.

  58. Gianna: You know what I really love about you? Your soul and spirit have no limitations.

  59. Brulini says:

    Well done great post haha!

  60. Have you read the works of Thomas Szasz-“The Myth Of Mental Illness,” etc? He does a wonderful job of exposing the whole psychiatric racket. I trained as a therapist and practiced for a while, but found the whole profession pretty manipulative. There are some good people out there with valuable insights who really listen. But the theories are very dehumanizing and belittling to the freedom and dignity of the individual. Congratulations on all the work you’ve done and are continuing to do to free yourself from those self-forged manacles. We’re all our own worst enemies, but we can be good friends to ourselves as well.

  61. yes, I know thomas szazs…

    have you read any Laing?? RD Laing?

    thanks for visiting, hope you come back.

  62. Hi! Thanks for visiting my blog and your encouraging words!

    Lots of what you wrote here I totally get. But, for me, it was only ONE year on meds – thank God for that! I can’t imagine living with that for over twenty years. You are a strong lady!

    Thanks for the link to those post. Sure puts a lot of stuff into perspective!

  63. Hi,

    You have a very nice blog,.. i love to read it,.. thanks.

    Komail

  64. People who have been through trauma do not have a “mental health” issue, they have an “emotional health” issue. They don’t know how to modulate their emotions.
    People who have been through trauma are commonly misdiagnosed as bipolar, BPD, and schizo-affective disorder, when it should be PTSD. It is bad enough living with the trauma, then dealing with all the labels. It’s like putting blame onto the person, that it was their fault. I hate the fact that every time I opened my mouth I got another diagnostic label.

    People who have been through trauma, in search of who they are they accept the label as their identity. Thats easier then finding who they are. The label does not define who you are. Once I finally let go of the diagnoses (misdiagnoses)/labels and focus on myself to find who I am. That I am human and I have a right to feel my emotions.

    I was on medication for ten years, did it help or hinder me. I would loudly say it hindered my recovery from trauma I suffered as a child. The medication prevented me from dealing with the emotions. Medication only covers it up, but sooner or later you have to deal with the pain of what happened. The medication side effects such as 100lb weight gain, hair loss, having it play with your mind.

    If I knew what I know now at 31, I would never gone on medication when I was 18 years old. I think the meds has taken away a lot from me and has left lasting effects on my brain that I can never get back. This is my opinion and with my situation.

  65. yup ck,
    you’re singing our song here on Beyond Meds…

    sorry you had to go through what you did…be grateful you’re 31 and not 44…
    I’m still coming off my last med and severely physically impaired. My mind and “emotions” (I frankly don’t care what we call it) are fine.

  66. I have been off medication for three years now. On top of that I had another major trauma two 1/2 years ago, which brought up stuff from my childhood and I worked through it without medication. I have a support system. I went into inpatient year and half ago but wasn’t medicated it was at http://www.wiit.com.

  67. there are others out there like me? I am in the middle of a Lamictal withdrawl Hell….tapered from 400 to o mg over 2 months and I feel like my head is gonna explode! Any support appreciated….ARRRGGGG,,,

  68. Steven,
    if you’ve read this page there is support all over it…
    you can reinstate and withdraw more slowly and learn various techniques and lifestyle changes to support your body/mind/psyche while you adjust to being without the med…

    go to my about page to start your research.
    good luck.

  69. Yes, Gianna. I agree that labels are important, and wholly support and admire your self-un-diagnosis. Words are important too in terms of helping develop mutual understanding. Human is a label, and I suppose that some would hope to un-diagnose from that label considering the way this species behaves.

    You are building a following for your work AND that is what I find important. Big Pharma has a huge hold on the human brain and the human mind-frame. The label I use for my mental challenges (all diagnosed many different ways, many different times, first hospitalized in 1967, so many different drugs, many different hallucinogens, visions, psychotic episodes, spiritual emergencies, Yes, I, too, have run the gamut.

    Currently, I find the best explanations and treatments under neurotransmitters disorders, or as I saw you recommend the other day: ecopsychiatry or ecotreatments.

    So, yes, I applaud your un-labeling, un-diagnosing, shape-shifting, or word-changing. The important thing is to get the conversation going, and sharing the stories about people’s experience with what society has labeled as crazy, or mentally ill, or a condition that requires people to get on their meds.

    Hurray for Gianna! All the best.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] This post drew me to the blog, because I was so impressed with Gianna’s courage and powers of self-examination, not to mention her determination to succeed.  Having had an experience similar to hers, I knew that she was someone I wanted to know better. [...]

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 9,007 other followers

%d bloggers like this: