This was at first a comment which I have greatly embellished that I left for Susan at Wellness Writer on a post she wrote in response to one I had written.

I’m sorry this brought up so much pain for you, but I’m glad you were able to write about it.

Today I am filled with despair and will probably write a post once I feel a bit better.

I spent a good hour on the phone yesterday with the foremost journalist and author on the topic of psychotropic iatrogenic illness (drug induced illness). I am a subject in his upcoming book.

It was terribly traumatic speaking with him. He is a profoundly kind man. He is also honest and I called him to ask what his opinion is as to why I’ve been so grossly ill. Physically crippled to such a great extent it’s hard for me to believe it was the “just” the psychotropic drugs sometimes. Maybe I have MS or some other horrible chronic illness that leaves people bed bound?? I’ve been tested for a multitude of these sorts of conditions and they’ve come back negative.

I’m getting an MRI set up to rule out MS which this journalist said he thought was a good idea, but he also said he sees this again and again with people who have been on drugs at the amounts I was on. As you know I was on a massive cocktail of multiple drugs. For those who might not know I will list the cocktail here:

84 mg of Concerta
11mg of Risperdal
400 mg of Lamictal
3 mg of Klonopin and somtimes up to 6 mg PRN (as needed)
50 mg Seroquel
200 mg Zoloft

I was on the bulk of that heavy cocktail for a good 10 years. I was on psychotropics in general for over 20 now.

Anyway, this journalist DOES NOT see terribly encouraging results from cases such as my own and he’s now talked to and studied hundreds. I too, through my blogs and email groups have studied hundreds, even thousands. We both know of a small few separate cases of people who have similar prolonged histories of massive drugging like my own who are at least somewhat recovered but over all there is a paucity of people who even try to detox after so many years and the detox itself is what often triggers the physical debilitation. I was physically basically okay before the detox. Besides great sedation and needing to sleep 14 hours a day, I used to go on 3 to 4 hour hikes in the mountains where I live with some frequency.

The detox has ruined me physically even while taking 5 years to do it which is recommended by those supposedly in the “know.” The reality though is NO ONE KNOWS.

Mentally in some respects I feel better than ever. I am clear. I feel my emotions. I am productive. More productive than ever, ironically as I lie in bed unable to function physically. My creativity has been unleashed and I produce this blog and offer inspiration to others daily. This is spite of atrocious cognitive impairment, invisible to most everyone. No one sees me get stuck in mid-sentence having forgotten what I was saying. No one sees me out there in virtual land not being able to come up with some simple word while conversing with others that has been part of my vocabulary since I was four years old.

Sometimes it’s like I have early dementia. And, indeed, my journalist friend says they see actual dementia caused by these drugs in kids as young as their early 20’s if they started these drugs as adolescents.

In any case the journalist was honest with me and said he simply could not be sure I will recover—this is devastating. It does not leave me feeling mentally okay. I may be mentally strong in some regards but who at age 44 takes the prospect of permanent physical disability lightly? So no, I am not mentally okay. I may have no psychiatric problems but you better believe I deal with despair. Real, honest, SITUATIONAL despair that ANY human being would feel at the loss of the use of their bodies.

And so I lay in bed most days all day long with a laptop in my lap hoping I can reach younger people before they cross that line for which it may be too late, as it may be for me. Young people or people on much lower doses of drugs, or older people on only one or two drugs, have a much better chance of recovery if withdrawal is done safely and carefully.

My mission in life right now when I cannot leave my bedroom most of the time is to reach some of these people who may otherwise be destined for my plight.

I will find a way to get through the mourning process of the loss of my physical well-being and find meaning in my life whether or not I recover physically. Indeed, I have great meaning in my life even now, but the pain of my disability is not an easy burden and I have much to mourn.

Several months ago a mother asked me how to help her young 13 year old son who was being medicated and had gained a ton of weight on the poisons (neuroleptics) they gave him. I gave her a list of things to research and do and a diet to follow.

Just a few months later the boy was off all drugs and doing well with NONE of the behavioral problems that had labeled him bipolar!! I am not a doctor and yet I knew how to help this child. A child I had never met. What profound sickness our society is immersed in that I could lead this woman and her son to health when the doctors were making him profoundly worse.

If I can do that just once a month. Save one soul a month from a future similar to mine…then my life will have been worth it. And so I plug along.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t mourn the loss of my autonomy and the inability to walk, drive, and do normal things.

Wanted to add one thing that I wrote yesterday in a comment regarding being disabled:

Having said all the above still, 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…BEFORE they end up like me crippled with iatrogenic illness (treatment or drug induced illness)

Update: Since Jason left a comment and made it very clear not only did he not carefully read this post, he also doesn’t know the first thing about what this blog is about. This blog, among other things is a guide to healing. Using food, nutrients, exercise, meditation and all sorts of things. Before you think about leaving a “holier than thou” comment read more of the blog or please just go away. I will not post anymore insulting comments when it’s clear you’ve not read my work or even this piece carefully.

And yes!! Even I exercise! In bed! My physical therapist taught me how. I cannot always stand. I have such severe low blood pressure I can pass out upon standing. Really folks. No emails or comments about what I should be doing. I am the most proactive health freak I’ve ever met. It gets irritating to be told to do things I’m already doing. Advice needs to be reserved for when one asks for it. I’m not asking for advice. Thanks for all the good intentions though.

55 thoughts on “Ramble

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  1. I did not know this was possible. I’ve been on psychiatric drugs for over 10 years myself. I thought that going off them would be an option for me, once I became self sufficient. I too am a health nut, and although, of course, I know why you went off drugs, your blog just scared the hell out of me. Either live with the spiritual, mental and emotional consequences of drugs, or become permanently physically ill and disabled? Is that the CHOICE that the mental health system of our supposedly free country has given me?

    1. not everyone gets this sick Mylene…and you’ve been on the drugs 1/2 the time I’ve been on them…but yes…this is our psychiatric system at work….

      you don’t have to expect this degree of illness though, no!!

      there are tons of resources on this site to minimize risk…study and prepare and you don’t have to be terrified…though caution is good.

  2. Our bodies are not made to have toxic agents put in them.

    When I finally got off all my psyche drugs after 17 years I found I wasn’t physically well. After seeing an excellent neurologist I was diagnosed with severe progressive nerve/muscular deterioration.These disease can be caused by toxicity. Please have your neuro give you full nerve testing. The “nerve conduction test” shows how well the nerve carry brain messages to the muscles.

    All the years messed up on drugs are gone. I only talk about this on your site. No one understands who hasn’t been there.

  3. I don’t really know what to say, except that I love you, and I think about you, at some point, every day. I am grateful that you, and your work, exist.

  4. Reading this post strengthens my resolve to continue informing just about anyone who will listen about the dangers of psychotropic medications. Iatrogenic illness from long-term psychotropic drug-use is a devastating reality. I cannot really fathom or imagine what you have gone through and go through, Gianna… but it has made you very, very wise and your experience carries real spiritual weight and depth. You are perhaps travelling the path of the wounded healer, if that fits right for you. I really honour and respect you and your experience.

    Countless hours, particularly after reading Peter Breggin’s incredible ‘Toxic Psychiatry’, I have worried about John on his lethal psychiatric drug cocktails, particularly when he developed tardive dyskinesia after going cold-turkey (not a good move) off clozaril and other meds. He has always known that the drugs were dangerous but no-one listened to him. He used to unintentionally vomit them up most days… his body’s wise response. He has been on meds for about four years straight now (on a changeover as I write this). Our dream is that he successfully gets off them, the sooner the better. A long haul ahead, I know.

    It’s a cover-up of enormous proportions that needs to be exposed and stopped. Problem is, there are many insideous layers.

  5. Gianna,

    I read this and I think you know how I personally feel about you. You are a friend, you have taught me so much as I am learning about tapering off my cocktail, and given me strength to deal with my docs who I don’t believe are bad people, just never taught about these things in med school. You have opened my eyes to a lot of great books I didn’t know about, concepts and people who I take great courage in reading their blogs and their movements.

    I look at you as a sister /family member and you know I would do just about anything for you. Even cleaning cat boxes and walking the dog….



  6. hi gianna,
    thanks for the facebook friending – it brought me here again, and i needed to read your post and the comments. it’s been a hard couple months (hell, hard most of my life much of the time, really). and i don’t really think of myself as “medicated” anymore although i do take 20 mg adderall and something to help me sleep at night, klonopin or ambien. none of that helps the swinging moods but they don’t give me horrible side effects either. i’ve kind of resigned myself to them for the time being. yesterday i felt like i hit a bottom again – the awful place where death is the only option that comes to mind, again and again, although i felt the strength to keep going. last night i had a melt down, uncontrollable sobbing and just blackness. i have an appt to see my doctor next week and i thought i would consider medications again. this morning i woke up calm, peaceful. not happy or giddy or excited, just calm and not depressed. i was able to work without crying or pushing myself. i just did things, it felt quite remarkable. so now, after reading your post, i’m thinking maybe i can continue along as i’m doing, no new meds, and when i feel ready, even let go of the ones i’m on maybe. i’ve taken enough of the drugs to feel disgusted, they didn’t work and some made me very sick. i don’t need that again. i feel this post and my mood change, albeit for one day at a time, is enough to keep me going. i’d like to think i can be someone who doesn’t have these huge swings but i really find that hard to imagine – i’m 51 years old and have had them for as long as i can remember, on or off medications. thank you gianna for all you do here, for all you share.

  7. Gianna, just want to throw my support into the ring. I understand now not to “make suggestions.” And it is understandable. It’s been said over and over but gal, you are phenomenal.

    Best, Sue

  8. Gianna,

    You are a light and your courage, comprehensive knowledge, warm feeling and awareness guide me. I am sorry for your suffering and I want so to help those who are going down the path of iatrogenic illness and seem not to be aware or don’t believe what is happening to them.

    I suffer so for my son who has been harmed by neuroleptics and in particular I experience anxiety when I see that he is not ready yet to embrace the alternatives that might help him (though he is off all neuroleptics if he can manage to stay away from the system, which it is his desire to do).

    I think there is nothing like having your life literally slowly stolen when those who are administering the drugs are not admitting to what they are doing when they use coercion or prescribe without informed consent.

    You are doing so much for so many. You have my love and support always.


  9. Being out of the loop, I just got to this whole chain of events. I want to say one thing to begin with – you are, by far, the most accomplished, highly motivated, and successful (in all aspects that I can call success) person that I know.

    I’m frankly blow away by what you’ve faced and what you do on a daily basis. You accomplish more in one day, facing everything you have do, than I ever will.

    >Mentally in some respects I feel better than ever. I am clear. I feel my emotions. I am productive. <

    Having recently come off meds, while still dealing with depression, I feel exactly the same way. More productive, focused… capable.

    If I look how you have positively impacted my life, I can only guess how many others you’ve touched. Thanks for doing what you do, Gianna. I wouldn’t with your condition on anyone, but taking your experiences and insight… sharing it with the world… has made more of a difference than you will ever know.

  10. Svasti,
    my detox is not complete…I’m still coming off the last bit of benzos…and I do have a lot of plans of what I will do once I’m off…things that are not safe right now…

    like heavy veggie juicing and other detoxifying supplements… but if I took them now while I’m still on the drug it would make me worse…

    I know all about dozens of ways to detox…and I’m still doing stuff to improve my diet….

    cut out gluten yesterday, though I hardly ever ate it, now it’s religion.

    anyway…heavy duty detoxing should NOT be done while one is still on a drug…so yeah…that might help…

    but the fact remains that brain structures changes, neurotransmitters change…and one never knows just how neuroplastic one’s brain will end up being…

    also as I’ve said before….each post I write is a moment in time, a snapshot…

    it never can and never will contain everything that is going on…that is why I don’t like it when people assume shit and make suggestions…because in general they don’t know what they are talking about and haven’t read enough of my work.

    and in fact, while I’m not annoyed at all with you, (I adore you Svasti) I have spoken about this detox issue before many times.


  11. Gianna, I get that you don’t want to be told what to do or how to heal. I do. I really hate that myself. Telling people about depression or PTSD, they want to tell me how a course really changed things for them, so perhaps I should do it. Or to ‘just get out of the house’ when I’m feeling bad. Geez, if it was that simple, I would have done so already!!

    But something did spring to mind while I read your post, especially the bit about the detox. Please don’t take this as me telling you what you should do!

    What occured to me is that perhaps the detox wasn’t thorough enough. You may have already thought of that yourself. All that stuff lying deeply in your body was brought to the surface but then perhaps not purged enough/properly?

    Your predicment as a result, is very sad.

    I find myself wanting to ask if you’ve ever heard of Panchakarma? Its a very ancient tradition in India, using the science of Ayurveda. Usually people go and stay at the home of the Ayurvedic doctor for 5-6 weeks and they are observed, fed, given various treatments and massages.

    Its something I want to do for myself some day. Many friends who’ve had this kind of treatment and I’ve heard of so many amazing things happen for those who undergo such a treatment.

    Okay, I’m hoping I haven’t come off as preaching or trying to tell you what to do. I just wanted to make sure you’d heard about this, is all.

  12. I am deeply moved and touched by this story and all contributing letters.
    I work on the “inside” as well and actually i am glad that I took that job long ago in 1997 because if I never took that job I would never be where I am at today. Namely in complete and total agreement with all of the above and this web site.
    I have seen an witnessed the damage first hand from psychotropic drugs, ECT and the commitment of people in state psychiatric systems. Not only in my professional life but as a sister of two sisters long imprisoned in the bondage of the mental health system.
    I have tried to educate my sisters and my family but for most it is like hitting a brick wall.
    Please everyone keep up the good work. Keep talking and doing what you are all doing.
    Here is something I recently wrote and posted on anotehr site and it is just as applicable on this site:
    A Reformation of Life

    A Reformation of life involves and absolutely requires mental, emotional, and spiritual reformation.
    It is easy to have a cerebral experience but to apply the knowledge of your cerebral beliefs requires years of experiences and a solid commitment to ” be the change you wish to see”.
    It involves not being content with milk, but moving to eat the meat of spirituality. Which i believe requires the holistic , or whole person. IE emotional, spiritual, mental and even physical transformation.
    It involves being a hologram. Seeing in multidimensions and multi colors.
    We are not just mind. Not just spirit. Not just body. We are multidimensional which requires a multidimensional experience.
    It involves living your life with integrity when it comes to moral, ethical, spiritual rules. I am a gleaner… I glean truths from various walks and paths.The Budhist teachings talk about ten basic non virtues to be avoided: sexual misconduct, lying, gossip, slander, using harsh words, engaging in covetness, harmful intent, and wrong view. When attachment, jealousy, anger, competiveness creep in fueled by a weak ego and a person who is not grounded with feet planted firmly on the ground it is easy to allow yourself to be swayed into the above.
    Admittedly we all have our beliefs but when our beliefs seep from the mind into the heart and become owned by us then we will be the “change we wish to see”.
    Whether our path is christian, budhist, metaphysics, native american indian or hindu. We all agree on one thing, that we are here to perfect the learning of love. For God, ourselves and others.
    BUT… how do we reflect that love for God? For ourselves and others?
    Remember we prepare for death by being mindful of how we live.

    My Mantra today is” I am OPEN to a new experience with myself, others and with God”.
    I pray my conciousness is always evolving and open to embracing new ideas of what truth is.
    Because we shall know the truth and the truth itself will set us free and as paul said “he wished that all men would grow up….”
    I remember when I first read that I realized that perhaps he knew something we did not. Like maybe we were all babies still drinking milk and if that be the case what was the meat he referred too”. Could it have something to do with growing up, being balanced and not being content with the surface of truth?
    I have no fear of death. I take myself, dark and light to implode upon the vastness of eternity.

    With love and peace
    Mary Jo

  13. “Mentally in some respects I feel better than ever. I am clear. I feel my emotions. I am productive. More productive than ever, ironically as I lie in bed unable to function physically. My creativity has been unleashed and I produce this blog and offer inspiration to others daily. This is spite of atrocious cognitive impairment, invisible to most everyone. No one sees me get stuck in mid-sentence having forgotten what I was saying. No one sees me out there in virtual land not being able to come up with some simple word while conversing with others that has been part of my vocabulary since I was four years old. Sometimes it’s like I have early dementia.”

    I know exactly what you mean. I forget common words, too. If someone interrupts me when I’m talking, it’s gone. It’s good to know I’m not alone with that problem, but it’s also sad because I’m sure there are so many more people than you would think that are like that.

  14. My experience is nowhere near as drastic as yours but about 2 years ago I was put on the anti depressant fluoxetine and it totally changed my personality – was suicidal when had never been suicidal before, no joy, a profond change. I stopped taking the tablets and it continued, like my brain had been permanently altered. I really thought I’d never recover and my brain was changed completely – but my brain has recovered and I feel normal again now. So don’t give up. Doctors told me they didn’t know whether I could recover. Even though yours is body wise I think its probably similar to what happened to me. I’ve read some of your more recent posts and you’ve seemed to be recovering a bit, sometimes when people get over the hardest part of the hill a psychological mechanism “I cant fight anymore” kicks in, maybe that might be happening a bit, maybe not its just a guess. Anyway keep going, all the best

    1. I have by no means stopped fighting. If you read that here you don’t understand me…anyone dealing with chronic illness must face moments of despair…that is only being honest…it is not giving up…

      HELL NO! I have not given up. I really don’t understand how you can possibly read that in what I’ve written here, frankly.

  15. Gianna,
    I can not add anymore to what has already poured from the hearts of all those whose lives you have touched. I hope the words give you strength, a sense of how much you have enriched, informed, supported, and cared for others. As you have sought to educate and heal yourself, the sharing of your experiences has empowered others. You have given so much. I can only add my name, as another who supports and cares about you. Every good wish, especially at this time.

  16. Jason: It is absolutely mind-boggling to me to, over and over again, hear wise guys like you tell others what’s wrong with them, and what’s good and right for them.

    You threw out the chemical poison. Fine. But obviously you failed to also throw out the ideological poison: “I know what’s right for you.” It’s the system’s thoroughly disrespecting mantra, you’re reiterating here. Think about it.

  17. Nicholas E. Stratas: “I am happy to say that I have only hospitalized 6 or less patients. This is not to say that hospitalization is bad but must be appropriate and in situations where outpatient therapy either has been tried and failed or is not possible. In fact I am currently seeing a professional who has been twice hospitalized for ECT — both times with great success. Thus even ECT has a place. Medications have a place. Trance magnetic stimulation has a place. Analytic therapy has and finds. CBT has a place. Hypnosis as a place. And so on and so on.

    What is most important is to help a person get a direction and get their life.”

    What are you trying to convince people of? What a nice guy you are, having “only hospitalized 6 or less patients”? You know, imho, one person incarcerated, having his/her brains fried – if it is with ECT or drugs or whatever doesn’t matter, and being trained like a rat to remember take their “meds”, is one person too many subjected to these human rights violations.

    ECT has a place, yes. So have “medications” – uhm, let’s face it: poisons – and so on and so on. All of these have a place in a totalitarian society, that feeds on the exploitation and abuse of nature, and therefor can’t and won’t allow any perfectly natural reaction to its abusiveness, but has to “treat” (read: suppress) it.

    And yeah, it’s a law of nature that suppressed, instead of made conscious and worked out, abuse gets passed on to the next generation – or, in case the abused is a professional, to his/her clients. The abused turns into the abuser. With “abuser” being the complete contrast to “healer”.

    I’d say, what is most important is to set a person free. It is to set life, that has been imprisoned by exploitation and abuse free.

  18. Haakon R. Ueland: I’ve read I morgen var jeg alltid en løve, and I wondered. Because Arnhild Lauveng tells about having been on psych drugs for a few years, which she doesn’t remember anything clearly of, but she doesn’t tell explicitly that she threw out the poison at some point, and she doesn’t tell what exactly helped her recover. At least not in this book (I haven’t yet read the other one).

    I was actually disappointed that she doesn’t take a stronger stand against psych drugs in I morgen var jeg alltid en løve than she does. And yeah, I was wondering, if she was afraid to do so, because she’s working inside, i.e. for, the system today.

  19. Hey Gianna just been reading pretty much all of your posts that I can and this one is very important to me. First off let me say how great what you are doing is. You offer a ray of hope in a desolate dark area that many have not trodden before.

    I am 22 years old, recently put on 4mg of risperdal for what I believe was a bromide induced psychosis. Bromide is a chemical that is found in alot of food in America (as it is banned everywhere else) and is a dopamine agonist and known to cause psychosis. I was supplementing iodine which is known to dislodge this chemical in great amounts and didnt do the accompanying bromide detox which is as simple as drinking 1/4tsp sea salt with 1/4cup of water. This lead me to go off the deep end and experience a host of delusions.

    Regardless, I am currently on 4mg of risperdal trying to taper down to 3.5mg and experiencing a lot of withdrawal symptoms or maybe even permanent damage from my short stay on these meds (7 months so far). The symptoms I experience are sensitivity to sound, irritability, reduced impulse control, lightheaded-ness and dizziness. I never experienced any of these symptoms before I became ill and that is why i believe they are drug induced. I am wondering do these symptoms ever go away or get less strong?

    I am also wondering if you have ever considered iodine supplementation as a method of detox as it is a known detox of flouride – a chemical found in a lot of psychiatric meds. It is also a very overlooked nutrient that our body needs.

    1. Brian….
      the good news is you’re 22 and you’ve only been on this stuff for 7 months. When we are young we are resilient. I am fully confident that if you research and take special care in coming off this drug there is no reason to expect any permanent damage at all…I know hundreds of people who figured this stuff was poison within the first few years of being on them and they are fine.

      So your only task is doing it SAFELY…7 months is long enough to have brain changes and if you don’t go slowly it’s long enough that a rebound effect could be psychosis…

      I suggest you read my About page carefully at the top of the page and attack this from all sides. Get social/psycho/spiritual support, dietary support, nutritional support, body movement….do everything you can to maximize your chances for success…

      When all your supports are in place come off the drug very, very slowly…at the dose you’re on, even though you’ve only been on for 7 months it might take a year to get off…be patient.

      Please study my about page
      …read it all and buy some of the books I recommend.
      peace, you have great reason to expect great success, but caution is always warranted.

      If you want support with others you can join the social network as well.

  20. Oh!!! forgive me Gianna, I have just come back from our Wednesday support group and have done some work for our electroshock protest in May.

    I thought it was someone who had a very similar story to your own!! I knew you had some physical reactions but did not realize they were so bad.

    You are out on your own and thankfully your mind and spirit are shining and outstanding.

  21. Many of us have been destroyed by psychiatric drugs worldwide. Thank you, Susan, for sharing your courageous story with us. I join with you in your spiritual freedom. This is something I would die for today. May you find physical freedom also.
    You have inspired me to share a small section from our book ‘Soul Survivor—A Personal Encounter with Psychiatry’

    “The key factor in my personal recovery was the slow reduction of my ‘medication’ over the years. Gradually, my mind and spirit returned and I was able to think and feel again. But after all the years of being abused with the drugs, my body was in terrible shape. I began to walk a little every day and as my fitness improved, I increased the distance. It was difficult to motivate myself at the beginning but the more I persevered, the easier it became. At the time, I also began to attend a practical philosophy course where I discovered the importance of ‘living in the now’. I began to go to the swimming pool and take part in aqua aerobics classes under the guidance of the inspirational Valerie. With her help, I learned how to use my whole body in the water and to love the sensation of it. I was really learning how to relax for the first time in my life and particularly re-discovered my sense of touch, a primary sense we all have at birth when we snuggle up to our mother’s breast. I became more conscious too of my breathing. I realised that this was shallow which, in turn, can lead to fear and tension. Every day in the steam room, I worked on a deep breathing technique and it greatly helped me to eliminate a catarrh problem I had suffered fro because of the abuse of my body over the years. It was a great feeling to know that I had achieved this myself, that I was in control over my own body. Years of psychiatric abuse had only led me to being more and more dis-empowered. All the negatives were beginning to turn into positives and I was discovering talents I never knew I possessed. I wanted to tell the whole world about the joys of my new life. Jim, Claire and Sheena began to take an interest in swimming and exercise again and many of my friends came along to join me in the pool from time to time. When I got to know Greg White, the psychotherapist from West Cork, we had lots of interesting conversations. He too had discovered the importance of breathing exercises and ‘living in the now’ in his own personal growth. He understood exactly my experience. His clear insights into life increased and enriched mine and mine his, I hope!

    Another milestone in my recovery was knowledge. It had been ignorance that had led me into the horrific world of psychiatry and now knowledge was leading me out. I began to read. Some of the books that enlightened me were:

    “Toxic Psychiatry” by Peter Breggin

    “Beyond Prozac” by Terry Lynch

    “Users and Abusers of Psychiatry” by Lucy Johnson

    “Beyond Fear” by Dorothy Rowe

    “Insanity” by Thomas Szasz

    “Coming Off Psychiatric Drugs” by Peter Lehmann

    “Mad in America” by Robert Whitaker

    “Choice Theory” by William Glasser

    “They Say You’re Crazy” by Paula Caplan

    “Depression – an Emotion not a Disease” by Michael Corry and Aine Tubridy

    The title of this last book is excellent. It was because I was convinced by the so-
    called experts that I had a disease – a chemical imbalance in my brain – that I got
    into such trouble and lost twenty years of my life but when I discovered it was an
    emotion based on fear, I began my recovery. When I was deep in the ‘medical
    model’, I remember with pain my psychiatrist advising Jim to treat me “as an invalid” not realising that he was giving me a disability. I was becoming more and more dependent because of him and his ‘treatment’. He was turning Jim into my carer, not my supporter. Only when I was drug free did I slowly began to regain my independence. Jim, the girls and my friends were now my supporters and I received encouragement from them all by word of mouth and texts on my mobile phone. ‘Great stuff’ was a favourite of Terry Lynch and I really appreciated all the messages I received from people like Greg White, Joan Hamilton, Lydia Sapouna, Orla O’Farrell, Orla O’Donovan and Nuria O’Mahony. Pat O’Callaghan, and Brendan O’Callaghan were two other service providers who helped me greatly. of all, I was supported by my fellow survivors. I had made contact with many of them at the World Conference in Denmark and through joining MindFreedom, International came into contact with many more. The internet was a tremendous asset in networking around the globe and it was wonderful to feel part of such a universal movement. Jimmy McCarthy puts it very well in his song ‘No Frontiers’. “When fear will lose its grip and heaven have its way.” For me, fear was more and more a thing of the past. There was a time when I was scared of heights. Last summer, it gave me great pleasure to walk along Beachy Head on the south coast of England and look down, a fearless woman. The more I saw myself responsible for my own destiny and less dependent on others, the more I advanced along the road of recovery. We can choose own own recovery. It can’t be forced on us for our own good. This is why forced treatments seldom work. We were born with free will and it is a necessary component in becoming strong, confident, independent human beings. Using force only increases fear and we remain dependent and unhappy.

    Every time “care” is forced on a vulnerable person by a service provider, it fails
    miserably. We need love and encouragement, not force and criticism.

  22. Hey Gianna,
    Just wanted to check in with you and say great post! Hang in there, you are helping so many people.

    You are always in my thoughts and I am so glad that we do have Internet so that you can spread the word from home. I think it adds to the sincerity, honesty and seriousness of your blog by the fact that you do write from home while you personally go thru this.

    We all know that you are taking every positive step possible to help yourself, and like you, I know it’s hard as hell to do so when you feel like crap! Keep up the great work!

  23. It is good to see that, in spite of your pain you manage to see the sunrise.

    My mother is a psychologist (her site is at http://reidunueland.com – use translate.google.com to translate her articles from norwegian to english, if you wish).

    One of her patients had been on massive doses of neuros and benzos. She had a schizophrenia-diagnosis – and had spent several years in closed wards. Notice the “had”.

    After the first time she talked with my mother, she quit all her meds. Cold turkey. In spite of what my mum said.

    She was in therapy with mum two hours every week for nine years.

    Now she has written two books about her life – and has become a clinical psychologist herself.

    Her name is Arnhild Lauveng.

    Namaste, Giannakali. I am looking forward to reading your posts in the future.

  24. Gianna,

    I just want to add my voices to the others applauding your strength and courage to keep going through the despair and moments of hopelessness.

    It is worth it to help just one person (especially children) to get off the drugs and avoid the struggle you deal with today. While I feel strongly that our beliefs (whether full recovery is possible or not) play a large part in shaping our reality, in life we sometimes have to face circumstances that are beyond our control.

    I believe in promoting hope that people can get off these drugs and get their lives back again, but there are the harsh realities about the damage these drugs cause in the long term, as your journalist colleague pointed out.

    It is the knowledge that my parents were killed from years toxic drug cocktails like the ones you endured that keeps me in this struggle, sharing your mission to help others to avoid these terrible fates of death and disability. Your blog goes a long way to helping people learn the truth – hopefully before it is too late.

    Your comrade in the cause,

  25. thanks for posting this, gianna—
    as a therapist who is willing to work with people who are coming off psych drugs (and sometimes lots of them), i’ve seen people go through the process, and often it seems there’s no rhyme or reason to it. it seems to be such an individual thing in a lot of cases. it seems easier for some people in some cases and tough or even seemingly impossible in other cases—and often it’s hard to predict.

    and i’ve seen people come off a drug easily one time, then get back on the same drug and later have a hell of a difficult time withdrawing from it. it seems there are so many factors involved, and i’m sure in many ways you know a lot more about this than i do.

    (as an aside, what makes me sick is mental health “professionals” who are afraid of what “might” happen during a tapering process and as such don’t want to support people tapering. as if it’s not a person’s right to TRY to taper if they wish!!! it also makes me sick that the “professionals” don’t even try to LEARN anything about the tapering process—not even the most primitive basics, like GO SLOWLY.)

    thanks again for posting—

  26. I was writing a comment when some of these comments came in…I’m grateful for all your good wishes…


    so glad to hear you are writing that story!! Looking forward to it!

    love to you.

  27. Great Post.

    I went to the doctor today to get a prescription for oral drops of cipralex to being tapering off.

    I had to almost demand that she prescribe them after having a disagreement about the amount of time they should be prescribed. I pointed out that they generally shouldn’t be prescribed for more that two years and was told “if you have severe depression that reoccurs, you should be on them for life”

    For life.

    This is the mentality of a lot of doctors and psychiatrists.

    I’m glad I found this website as it gave me the extra bit of a push to get off these damm drugs for good.

    I honestly believe that if I didn’t say anything I would be on them until I die.

    I start my taper tomorrow! Hopefully in 3 months I will be of all the drugs I am taking.

    Thank you Gianna and keep on struggling, the power of neroplasticity is greater than most doctors and psychiatrists can ever dream of………

  28. Dear Gianna,

    I will print out your story and put it out with my other handouts re the dangers of psych drugs. As a psychologist, I am trying to inform people about the terrible effects of the drugs, but to my great dismay, most don’t want to know, don’t believe it, and listen to the crazy stuff the psychiatrist tells them instead. For instance, I have one elderly woman client whose psychiatrist has her on Zyprexa supposedly to stimulate her appetite… plus she’s already on Paxil and Lorazepam. I watch her shuffle into my office every week. She missed a bunch of appointments (with me) because of dizziness, yet her psychiatrist refused to admit that her psych drugs could be causing it. I’m tired of psychiatrists who think they know it all and refuse to even acknowledge me as a person or a professional. Occasionally I do help someone… another elderly woman came into my office who had been hospitalized and put on 4 psych drugs. When I reviewed her history, it was clear what had precipitated the hospitalization was a Paxil induced drug reaction, something she had been prescribed only a month earlier. No other psych. issues her whole life. Neither the psychiatrist nor the husband (who was also on psych meds) believed it. But luckily, she was receptive to the articles I gave her and she insisted over and over again to the psychiatrist that she wanted off the meds… and finally did get off them and is doing great.

    What is the one best thing you think I could give someone to read (an article) that would convince them of the dangers of psych drugs?

    1. thanks so much Sarah…
      that’s the sort of thing I love to hear…reaching the professionals is a high priority. I am in fact an ex-social worker in mental health too…keep on fighting the good fight.

      1. I wanted to let people know I added this to the end of my post as a result of Jason’s comment:

        Update: Since Jason left a comment and made it very clear not only did he not carefully read the post, he also doesn’t know the first thing about what this blog is about. This blog, among other things is a guide to healing. Using food, nutrients, exercise, meditation and all sorts of things. Before you think about leaving a “holier than thou” comment read more of the blog or please just go away. I will not post anymore insulting comments when it’s clear you’ve not read my work or even this piece carefully.

  29. As the mother of said 13 year old child, I am immensely grateful for your support, guidance, and knowledge. I am still working on that story you asked me for, but in the process of moving, and dealing with my own emotional issues, I haven’t made as much progress as I would like.

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. It really sucks that you have to endure what you have in order to help others.


  30. Thanks for this. I’m afraid I’m more bitter than you about what has been taken away from me by biopsychiatry. You’re an inspiration.

  31. I’m sorry, but I don’t agree this journalist…

    I was on psych drugs for almost 30 years:

    Xanax, Seroquel, Risperdal, Prozac, Effexor, Paxil, Lexapro, Klonopin, Remeron, Lithium, Buspar, and more… usually on 3 or more at the same time. There were days I couldn’t even wake up… or talk to people. 30 damn years of this…

    I spent a year getting off the meds, because they were physically KILLING me and when I was off, I was in such a state that death would be welcome each and every day for almost five years. If I hadn’t had my family, I don’t know what I would have done (actually, I do know what I would have done and believe me, I wouldn’t be typing if this were the case).

    During that period of time, I had to work, I had to take care of my family, yet could barely move, get out of bed, talk, do simple tasks. It was HELL. Nothing short of it. I was bed bound for about a month, reeling from physical symptoms that were worse than anything I had ever experienced. I had leg/arm/back pain, weakness, dizziness, puking constantly, joint pain, headaches, toothaches… every possible symptoms, I had.

    but you know what?

    I got out of bed and worked WITH the symptoms. I didn’t care that I felt I couldn’t function, because I knew deep down inside that I HAD to function. On top of that, lying in bed feeling bad and posting on the withdrawal forums (will not name them here) only helped keep me chained to the bed or my couch. It was a nightmare.

    I’m now a year off of all of these meds and the heavy use I was under. I’m not perfect, I still have some mental issues, I still have dizziness and pain, but they are something I can live with. I think within a year, they will pass – as most of my symptoms have done – but I have had to fight for them. People argue that eating right will help and it does, but it’s getting out of bed and doing as much as you can and more, in spite of the symptoms, that gives you the ability to heal. The body CANNOT heal if it is dormant, plain and simple, and yes, people do get over this and get through it. THAT is a promise.

    Your journalist friend hasn’t a clue, because people do heal from these things, plain and simple. However, sitting around waiting for healing won’t do anything. Sorry to sound crass, but that’s the simple truth. Eat well and get your body moving EVEN if you feel it can’t… that’s the secret.

    1. Jason,
      I never said people don’t heal and neither does this journalist…read the goddamn post before making such pronouncements…

      having put that aside I’m grateful for one more person to add to the very short list of people with histories like mine who have recovered…

      you’d think though that someone who has gone through what you’ve gone through would have a bit more insight, delicacy and compassion.

      and you might take a look around the blog to see how many people I’ve helped avoid this problem.

      you’ve obviously read none of this blog if you think you have to tell me to eat well and exercise…please go patronize someone else

  32. A friend, and fellow psychotropic-riddled friend, sent me a link to this post this morning. While I get so weary of saying this, your story is sadly familiar. How could it not be familiar, considering the massive number of prescriptions written every year for psychotropics in the U.S. ? In the dismal wake of psychotropics are hundreds of thousands of suffering members of our society who have no idea how their downward spiral began. And since their own doctors, including psychiatrists, are not ken to educate themselves so they can differentiate between a drug side effect and their patient’s presenting symptoms, these patients go on to endure years of needless suffering, worsening symptoms and myriad diagnostic tests. All of this suffering, fear and loss would simply be unnecessary if the “experts” charged with doing no harm would take that mandate seriously and acknowledge that the psychotropics are to blame in untold number of cases.

    I will read your site with interest. Thank you all for undertaking the seeming uphill battle against this epidemic. An epidemic that with all of us together will no longer be a silent one. I invite you to my fledgling site http://www.stopbenzos.com. and hope that our combined voices and collaboration will shine the line of truth on this problem.

    Chase Montara

  33. Gianna,
    You are a brave person, and it sounds like this is your soul’s work,
    I know that I am grateful for having ‘stumbled’ upon your blog and discussion community, it is because of your activism and drive that I have started on the journey to becoming med free, and not just med free, but more aware of what I can do to support my mental health,
    so Thank You.

    Peace to you

  34. Dear Gianna,
    When I was so sick that I didn’t feel I could survive, I used to say, “I have no more tears left.” Yet, last night as I was writing my post, tears streamed down my face. And this morning as I am reading yours, once again tears are streaming down my face.

    Sometimes, there are no words to capture the sadness I feel–for myself and you and so many others. And when I think of all of us and consider the high rate of bipolar suicides (people who are no longer with us because they couldn’t withstand the pain and suffering, or live with such debilitating after-effects) my sadness is replaced by anger…and I can feel the rage building up inside me.

    I only can feel grateful that I didn’t start taking the medication until I was 43 years old (and my son was four). And while I have taken 26 different medications in different dosages and different combinations, I didn’t stay on any of it for as prolonged a period as you did.

    I used to feel so sorry for myself that none of the medication worked, and that the side effects were so debilitating that I couldn’t remain on the drugs and function at any level. I felt awful when I stopped being able to work. I felt terrible when the financial burden and emotional toll began affecting my husband’s health, and undoubtedly was a causal factor in his heart problems. I still feel an innate sadness about all that my son (whom I love more than life itself) missed because I was so sick during most of his childhood.

    But, now I am grateful that I was medication-resistant. Perhaps if anything had worked, I would feel as debilitated as you do now. Know that I am always with you in spirit. And while I’m not religious, I am praying for your recovery. When words fail me, it seems like only tears and prayers remain.

    With love,

  35. You are MUCH needed in our world to lead those who are in darkness into the light of no meds – and as your friend said – BEFORE it’s too late for most.

    THANK GOD for the internet – b’c then you would NOT have the laptop to communicate your most precious message to those who will listen.

    Thank you for sharing that which others have NO idea what to do.

    I think that following drs orders can be that which will put you in an early grave.

    I’m so thankful that you have found a way out.
    God bless you all.

  36. I also can feel the pain coming through this but at the same time an incredible and HUGE desire to stop the madness that is happening with others. Your sharing your spirit with us gives us determination and hope where there seems to be none.

    I despair that psychiatry is becoming a medication management specialty. I have for over 40 years of practice developed a goal oriented, inner directed, growth oriented form of therapy. Once I have the initial information I get from the “patient” and family where a family is involved, I ask the patient for a description of how she or he would want to be and a if I had a magic wand and tapped her or him on the shoulder and they would become exactly that. That becomes the driving force of our therapy work. Medications are discussed at the first session if they seem to be relevant. Since many patients feel better at the end of the first session I do not want to start medications although sometimes I do. when I do use medications I make it clear that they are not the substitute for learning about your own resources and using them to get a handle on your life in the direction towards which you want to be. I also indicate that if there are impediments we will certainly look into those, such as past early growth and development events, past traumata, etc.

    for me the metaphor of the seed which becomes a flower is very helpful! Everything the seed needs to become the flower is already inside. all it needs is light, nutrition and water So it is with most human beings.

    I am happy to say that I have only hospitalized 6 or less patients. This is not to say that hospitalization is bad but must be appropriate and in situations where outpatient therapy either has been tried and failed or is not possible. In fact I am currently seeing a professional who has been twice hospitalized for ECT — both times with great success. Thus even ECT has a place. Medications have a place. Trance magnetic stimulation has a place. Analytic therapy has and finds. CBT has a place. Hypnosis as a place. And so on and so on.

    What is most important is to help a person get a direction and get their life.

  38. As Mira from MeTZelf noted:

    “At some point, this mental health Horse S**t is going to have So many people bedridden or in wheelchairs, that there won’t be enough Un-crippled people Left to Pay for their care.”

    God Bless

  39. I wrote this in a comment yesterday in relation to being disabled and wanted to share it here too:

    All the above 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…BEFORE they end up like me crippled with iatrogenic illness (treatment or drug induced illness)

  40. I got goosebumps reading this. I can feel the pain through the screen. but I see your incredible strength and determination also. ((hug))

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