The good doctor

The doctor who led me to this point a year ago by cold-turkeying me off meds prematurely, wrote me a letter during that time. This must have been written a day or two into the cold-turkey before I started getting psychotic. This is just a small excerpt explaining to me why she took me off the drugs rapidly and in the end disastrously for me:

You stopped the medications this week, because the level of total damage done to you over the years reached a point that you could no longer tolerate any more toxicity and still survive. The medications had led you to a point where they left you in poor health, and their numbing effect was no longer strong enough to mask your underlying disease.  You had to stop the medications, because there was no way to win anymore.  The medications had failed you, as they logically would for everyone, because toxins can’t truly heal.

I just looked at some of my correspondence with her for the first time last night. It was way to traumatic to process at the time. I remember thinking I was going to die—really believing it and now I see clearly that she was pretty explicit in telling me that she believed the same thing. I could not, in her mind continue taking the meds and still survive. She says it, plain as day there. And the tragedy is it’s pure fiction that she created in her imagination. It was not based on any tests she’d taken.

I reinstated the meds she recklessly cold-turkeyed me from and I’m still alive a whole 10 months or so later. What a crock pot she was.

I’m angry again. Really angry today. Sick as hell again and taking stock of the past. I may have been an idiot in many ways to trust her but those of us who go to people like her are generally grossly vulnerable, sick as hell and desperate. She almost killed me by taking me off those meds too quickly but led me to believe if I reinstated the drugs, which I truly needed to, I would die from the drugs. Jesus. I had shut out all that shit. I have lots more letters where that came from I haven’t gotten around to reading.

Just imagine what the last 48 hours of that cold-turkey was like. I honestly believed I was going to die one way or the other. My husband could no longer take care of me because I needed 24 hour care as I was psychotic from the cold-turkey withdrawal. I knew I would end up in the hospital solely because he couldn’t take care of me and I wasn’t about to take him down with me too. There I would inevitably be put on drugs that would kill me and my soul would die too.

I figured out the alternative was to go to my traditional doc and get good ol’ psych drugs to knock me out. I only needed them a few days. I was then back to withdrawing properly and slowly. But before I got there I thought my life was over.

Back to what she wrote — the last two sentences of what she writes in the above excerpt are true, but how you go about getting off those toxins makes all the difference. And this woman is a psychiatrist too. A radical one perhaps, but one who is just as deluded as anyone else who tends to carry that degree. Deluded in a different way.

Healing is an up and down journey to say the least. The light is indeed at the end of the tunnel, no doubt, but shit, the end as is often said by those who withdraw from large cocktails is the hardest. I am having very good days too, but the last three I dipped back into horrible pain again. Three days spent mostly in the fetal position with my back and arms in pain. It was gone for about a month, but it revisited me.

Soon, the toxins will be gone. I must have faith that my body will begin a real journey of healing at that point.

Oh and by the way this above doctor is very highly regarded in alternative and orthomolecular circles. That is why I trust no one anymore. I trust my gut alone (guided by tons of research) at this point (and frankly it’s proven wrong many times too, but at least I’m responsible then) and approach everyone with great skepticism. Once you’ve been screwed by all variety of medical professionals, traditional and alternative your only choice is to truly take matters into your own hands. I still work with two doctors, whom I like very much, but they listen to me and trust me and we are partners. They know they don’t really know anything and I like it that way. Beware of docs who make promises or tell you it’s always this or that way and who demand “compliance.”

The doctor who wrote the above letter later told me in another email I could come back and work with her but only if I had complete faith in her. That’s rather laughable. You would have hoped she might have learned something. But no, unfortunately, it’s always us who learn, rather than the docs who continue on their self-deluded path of healing the infirm who are unlucky enough to find them.

*if it’s not obvious, I’m aware this is a rant and I’m simply blowing off steam. It is only an honoring of my process, not a place I intend to stay.

19 thoughts on “The good doctor

  1. Gianna,
    Im right there with you sister. I have taken control of my health and you have been pivotal my friend.I am on seroquel,neurontin, paxil and the evil clonopin. I feel like Ill be spending the rest of my life getting off this shit.And I have a sister who is convinced that she is an authority and I should check in and go cold turkey. She is so mean “you’re not off that shit yet?” I go at my pace of withdrawing. My Dr. misdiagnosed me as bipolar and admitted it. I have complex PTSD. He is blown away by how educated I am now, in fact he visits your site and is learning what its REALLY frickin’ like for us!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Believe in Love,hope,hope,hope….. xoxooxx


    1. wow, tell your doc to contact me…would love to hear what he has to say…I’ve had a few docs like what I’m doing now, but they are a rare breed.

      so glad to know I reached one through you.

      thanks so much for sharing that with me.


  2. “Studying CBT is making me feel worse” and that’s exactly how I felt, when my therapist was dragging me down that primrose path!
    I will have to research this ACT thing… (thanks G)
    “condescending and insulting”= yes, let’s see how YOU feel after years of cumulative mistreatment/abuse; how could you possibly have, let’s say, TRUST issues??!!??


  3. Gianna,

    The excerpt of your psychiatrist’s letter to you is extremely provocative, regardless of what camp she orginates from.(allopathic or osteopathic, etc.) For starters, it displays lack of insight and empathy. As a professional who espouses to be in the caring business (is it even posssible, philosophically speaking?? when there is $$ and chemical restraint? Methinks not…) she obviously gave no thought to your frame of mind and seemed only to be concerned with how you perceived her reasons for abrupt discontinuation. Was she aware that you would be in a vulnerable state cold turkeying? I can’t wrap my head around that. How ironic that these two characteristics, lack of insight and empathy response, are often directed at the patients of psychiatrists as ‘symptoms’ of disease.

    As for how you are physically feeling, I wish you well. I know that no one here can guarantee that the physical aches and pains etc. will go away as we all have different body chemistry and histories, but I can relate that the chronic neuritis I was experiencing since January has completely disappeared. Also, I think your ability to confront and process this event in your life is brave and exhibits the great inner strength that you have cultivated on your journey.


  4. “…but only if I had complete faith in her.” Damn. Did she want you to start exclusively refering to her as Doctor-san, too?

    I’m also angry at the doctor who scared me onto psych drugs in the first place — she was so insistent I would spiral down into medical hell if I didn’t get with the program — and angry at myself for trusting a new doctor who was so green she had to get a senior doctor to sign off on her assessments (despite that he never saw me or significantly reviewed my case) and who was also pretty subjective given she was modelling her understanding of my one psychotic break on her rapidly cycling bipolar brother. Angry that had I trusted my gut and ignored her fear-based assessment, I might have been able to hold on to one of the two promising jobs I lost since then due to being a prescription zombie, because then today I’d have a career instead of living in poverty and social isolation.

    My anger is resurfacing for a variety of reasons, but most of it is two-pronged like that where I’m also angry at myself for how I responded (or didn’t) to other people’s actions or attitudes.

    I have to find an outlet or some better way to deal; all that internalized, suppressed anger is going to be my real undoing. Studying CBT is making me feel worse, somehow. Reading Alice Miller’s Drama of the Gifted Child is making me feel better, somehow.


    1. I personally find CBT shaming and horribly invalidating as well as condescending and insulting…some people do really well with it…but not me…
      a evolved version of CBT is ACT…I like that…it’s respectful and doesn’t have at it’s core that your feelings and/or thoughts are wrong or bad.

      it makes sense if you’re like me that you would like Alice Miller as she is profoundly validating.


  5. This dovetails with what I’ve been thinking about lately. How to come out and tell people that in many cases, doctoring oneself might be the very best path? If you’re a doc and write a book to that effect, it appears to be okay. But there are so many individuals who have the drive and the research capabilities to do a find job for themselves. I’ve been doctor-free in all I went through, though I did have the advantage of learning things through our daughter with autism’s doctors that might apply.

    The more I think about that phrase, “grassroots mental wellness,” the more it teaches me.



    1. well, when it comes to liability issues it gets really tricky Sue…

      and I need doctors right now for how I’m choosing to care for myself…it’s not always possible to do completely alone, though often I do think it’s the best way.


  6. Psychiatric drugs do indeed kill people. In that way, the psychiatrist who started that cold turkey withdrawl was right. But I guess some people might do better with more gradual withdrawls. Many psychiatrists are so corrupted and indoctrinated by the pharmaceutical industry that they can’t admit that their drugs are so toxic that they often cause more damage than healing.

    Psychiatry is more about controlling people than helping them. Even psychiatrists who are not so steeped in the biological model of psychiatry are that way. Although they might use plain old-fashioned manipulation rather than drugs.


    1. yeah, Laura, I said that…that she was right that they are toxic.

      MOST people HAVE to come off slowly for it to be safe Laura…certainly anyone who has been on drugs a number of years. the only time it’s safe to go quickly is if one has only been on drugs a very short time.

      anyone who is not clear on this should read Breggins book, Your Drug May Be Your Problem…after a certain point for some people it may not be safe to withdraw at all…

      and I’m sure there are those who question my sanity in doing what I’ve done. I never recommend people come off drugs unless they are committed to a journey that may be difficult in ways they cannot conceive…

      even if some people get off with relatively no problems…it’s still downright dangerous for many and people need to be aware of that.


  7. I should have clarified that I don’t in any way question the neurotoxicity of the drugs — I just thought it was interesting as a parallel war against medication as the easy answer. 🙂 I’m not always super coherent before my second cup of coffee; sorry about that.

    I’m often here, but not always with something pithy to say. I’m continually amazed at the generosity with which you provide resources and insights to this community.


    1. yes, David, I pretty much understood that. Felt I needed to say something for everyone here to clarify my position and didn’t want to put words in your mouth…thanks for clarifying for everyone.


  8. I understand. I feel fantastic today, but whenever my thoughts drift back to the various doctors who have messed me up over the years (physical and psychiatric) I get really pissed. I can’t stay with these thoughts for very long because I know they make my heart race and make me sick.

    You have every right to be pissed at this woman. What she wrote to you is VERY triggering, especially when one is entering such a vulnerable state as psychosis. When I was manic, I really thought I was going to die, and it was terrifying. I think you should write her a letter. Honestly, and I know her identity, so I know she’s respected, but the fact that she doesn’t go by any test results is a BIG FAT RED FLAG and makes her no better than the allopathic psychiatrists in my opinion. Maybe you should point that out to her.

    I was going to ask you if you know of any good complexes for adrenal support… slept a full 9 hours last night after my 5 hour nap yesterday. I actually feel full of energy, though, not lethargic as can sometimes happen when I sleep too much.


  9. If you are too quick to walk toward the light at the end of the tunnel, it could be the wrong light… or the light to your next life… I’d like to keep you around a while longer. But perhaps I’m just being selfish…



  10. Hi Saralynn,
    I didn’t see your comment…i must have been writing mine when you wrote yours…

    this is a post on calming substances…I call it “natural sleep” but all this stuff is simply gently calming…

    one should always be careful and as I said in the article these are not indicated for anyone in particular and I’m not a professional…so I don’t know all possible side effects…

    for example one of my friends had a bad reaction to Taurine which I mention there…so supplements too need to be tried cautiously…


  11. hi David,
    nice to have you visiting again…

    about the book you recommend:
    I have no doubt that psychosomatic issues play a part in just about all illness and pain…BUT…many of my readers and myself included have been poisoned by long term use of psych drugs. There is no doubt that the drugs are neurotoxic and along with many other enviromental toxins can cause serious physical illness, often illness that can be tested for and proven.

    that being said, the book sounds very interesting and I do believe that our minds in a myriad of ways can heal us or help us deal with health problems of all sorts. As soon as I’m reading again I will get it…I can’t read hardly anything these days because my cognition is so impaired.


  12. My situation is much less dire than yours was, but, the fact that you shared your experiences and knowledge with us has inspired me to fight the psychiatric establishment on my own behalf. Because of you, I refused to increase my dosage of lamictal, even when my doctor insisted it was necessary. Yes, I was depressed, but it was because I was in a depressing predicament, not because my brain chemicals were out of balance. It turned out very well for me. If I hadn’t learned so much from your website, I never would have had the courage or confidence to do that. Thank you. I know you will feel better, both emotionally and physically,in a relatively short period of time.

    I, too, occasionally feel angry at the first shrink who told me I had a “chemical imbalance” and led me down the medication road to Hell. Again my experience is nothing as extreme as yours, but, it makes me sputter in outrage and sometimes I just need to express my feelings, usually in writing. For me, that’s the best way to “vent” because, let’s face it, good willed as they may be, those who haven’t been through the experience grow weary of our complaints.

    I hope you don’t mind me asking you another question in regard to meds, but I quite understand if you are not up to answering it at this present time. It is not urgent.

    I am having a difficult time distinguishing between “real” anxiety and medication induced anxiety. Do you know of a natural or herbal product that might help relieve these symptoms while I’m tapering off some of the drugs I am taking? I’m a little nervous about simply going into a health food store and asking for advice because they, for the most part, are not familiar with pharmaceuticals, as you are. I don’t want to take anything that will conflict with prescribed medications. In addition to this, I am experiencing some nausea and I don’t want to take A LOT more pills. If you’ve written about this elsewhere, just direct me to the appropriate posting.

    Thanks again.


  13. Hey, sweets —

    My friend Josh, who has suffered from crippling back pain since the age of 14, recently told me about the work of John Sarno, a medical doctor who has the idea that most chronic illness is caused by trauma and internalized anger. I’m mentioning this here for two reasons — many of your readers have concomitant conditions such as CFS or fibromyalgia, and also I think some of what Sarno has to say is potentially very relevant to managing psychological and emotional disorders that are currently medicated.

    Josh is following his program for back pain, and has had incredible remission; before he started, he was taking morphine tablets on a daily basis, and had ended up in the hospital twice to get an epidural that didn’t work. There are a couple of Sarno’s books that deal specifically with healing back pain, but there’s also one about general physical/systemic dysfunction:

    The psychology in the book is often couched in Freudian terms, but only as a form of shorthand … what it’s really about is accessing and dealing with the mind’s tendency to sublimate emotion into somatic illness.


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