Did you know you are a fat head?
serotoninDiagram
As my post earlier indicated, I wasn’t looking to stop taking psych-meds. I just didn’t want to be doped up into a zombie. I had had a hell of a time with my mental health. I had been depressed, manic, sad, angry, anxious, scared, lonely, and numb.

All I knew was that “something was wrong.” And I thought something was wrong with ME. I thought that I had a bio-chemical imbalance or a genetic disease.

I was unable to hold down a professional job….heck…in the past I tried to work in the fast food industry and was told that I was too incompetent to do that.

Employers made fun of me, or questioned my memory. They told me that I could remember things when I wanted to, but at other times acted clueless. What was really happening was that I was so doped up on meds that my short-term memory was shot.

So was my self-confidence.

I was so tired that getting up in the morning was a tremendous chore. In the middle of the afternoon I could hear my bed calling out to me….It was calling like a siren, “Come to me, lay down your head and hide in the covers. You are so tired, you are exhausted, you need sleep.” I knew at the time that this was because of my psych drugs. But I thought the drugs were necessary for my sanity.

I will gloss over several years so we can get to how I made my first appointment with my holistic doctor.

Ten years ago. I went off all psych drugs except for Imprimaine and Valium. I did this for two reasons. One, I was tired of being tired and zoned out; two, those two drugs were generic and were all I could afford.

While on those two medications I held down a professional job. But because I became physically ill and I was unable to get to a pharmacy, I accidentally went off my meds cold turkey. This made me wretchedly sick. Long story short. I ended up unemployed, hospitalized and zombified again.

I tried several times to hold down a job, but always lost them. After much struggle I was finally granted disability.

I did manage to find a county doc who put me at low doses of Imipramine and Valium. He also agreed to the use of Risperdal ONLY when I felt a mania brewing up….and then only for a few days or weeks. We managed like this for a few years. I had an appointment every two weeks so he could assess my mood. We believed that this was the best way to keep me from being over-medicated.

Then my husband and I moved to a new town. It was a great move.

Now I just had to find another doctor who wouldn’t dope me up.

I found Dr. J. But I thought he was a nut, until the bonafide psychiatrists in town demonstrated to me that they were the nuts. (Read the beginning of Who told you that you needed a psychiatrist?)

The brochure I had gotten from him months previously said he believed in “non-pharmaceutical treatment.” It went on to say he had …interest in helping people recognize the connections between physical and emotional symptoms, psychological trauma, and neurotransmitter (brain chemical) disorders. His brochure also said that many anti-depressant drugs lose their effectiveness and become toxic over time.

I reluctantly made an appointment with Dr. J. I knew he was anti-med. But at least with his MD he could write my prescriptions and I could get treated for my “chemical imbalance” without being over-medicated.

He didn’t have hospital privileges. I was both kinda glad…didn’t have to worry bout hospitalizations; but I was kinda concerned that maybe he had done something naughty and been kicked out of a hospital.

Dr. J and his office worker, Linda, were very friendly. I remember asking what would happen if I did need to be hospitalized because he didn’t have hospital privileges. Linda assured me in a friendly tone that Dr. J would come and visit me in the hospital. I remember in the past when I was hospitalized my main psych-doc never came to visit. I felt so abandoned.

Linda made me some tea and I waited in the outer office. This little comfortable waiting room was filled with magazines, papers, and brochures about nutrition and toxins.

Soon I was inside of Dr. J’s office. I talked about my history and my medication. My first appointment was over 90 minutes. He began showing me scientific diagrams about the chemical makeup of psychotropic medicines, nerves and the brain

Dr. J was beaming with excitement. He couldn’t wait to tell me what he knew about the brain and chemicals.

He had filing cabinets full of studies and reports about all kinds of mental illnesses, pharmaceuticals, nutrition and supplements.

I told him I wasn’t looking to get off my meds. I just needed someone to fill my prescriptions and NOT turn me into a zombie.

He gently showed me the chemical make up of:

Abilify

Depakote

Geodon

Clozaril

Lamictal

Haldol

Risperdal

Seroquel

Thorazine

Zyprexa

He then showed me diagrams of chemical structures of antidepressants and metabolites used in studies.

The next diagram he showed me was of the chemical structures of appetite suppressants including amphetamine and Cocaine! He showed me how some of the psych meds were similar with Florine added to make them long lasting.

He said, “You might not have had a chemical imbalance when you started the psych meds, but once you start taking them you do.”

Huh!!!! My head was swimming.

But you know what? I knew that I was a smart person. I had taken chemistry in college. It was very hard for me….but I knew I could learn if I really wanted to.

And at the very least, this was the first doctor who had ever really tried to scientifically explain why those drugs were supposed to work.

All the other doctors just referred to “correcting a chemical imbalance.”

Dr. J also showed me diagrams of the serotonergic synapse and the noradrenergic synapse. And showed how the drugs like Impramine, Amitryptyline, Prozac, Zooloft were working…and how eventually they would poop out.

He gave me a photo copy of a study named “Blame in the Brain: the Truth about Drugs and Mental Health. E.S.Valenstein. NY: Free Press, 1998 xi, 292 pp. $25.00 (Hardcover) Reviewed by Charles Whitfield, M.D.

In this sheet of paper the reviewer wrote about how Valenstein had set out to write a positive treatis of the biological basis of mental illness. But in the end this scientist could not find evidence to support that theory.

Dr. J. sent me home with a whole file folder full of reviews, studies, website listings, diagrams and list of supplements and foods I should start eating.

Two papers he gave me to read and that really struck a chord with me were: “SSRI-Induced Mania is NOT Bipolar Disorder,” and “Long-Term Treatment with Antidepressant Drugs Can Worsen the Course of Depression”

He talked about amino acids for the brain and body function. He had a little chart with lists. Every visit to him included homework assignments of books, paper and websites to read. (Please be care with amino acids, read Gianna Kali’s experience here.)

No other doctor had been so concerned about really finding out what I was eating.

His other big thing was saying that most mental illness was a form of posttraumatic stress, a toxin, or poor nutrition. And that even having a psychotic episode did not make a person permanently mentally ill.

A psychotic break can be caused by extreme stress. Normal people “go crazy” if under enough stress. This had been shown in torture camps.

On being a fathead

He explained that our brains are mostly made up of fat and that we need fat for everything to work correctly good fat that the brain needs. Butter and olive oil, he said, is better for you than margarine. He talked about the Omega-3s…or fish oil.

I wasn’t convinced yet to wean off my meds. Dr. J. wrote a new Imipramine and Valium prescriptions for me and encouraged me to do some reading. He also sent me home with some sample supplements and recommended Swanson’s Vitamins as a reliable inexpensive outlet. (Please never stop your meds without a back up plan. It is very dangerous to go off cold turkey or to taper too fast. You WILL GET SICK…very sick. Read this WARNING and HERE)

I was soon hooked on the web and an open door to a new life

I wasn’t working, so I had time to explore…Soon I was hooked on the web and the wealth of information about alternative mental health. Everyday I spent hours on the web reading about people who had recovered and how they did it.

Here are some links to explore:

THE SEROTONIN CONNECTION

Conquering Anxiety, Depression and Fatigue Without Drugs – the Role of Hypoglycemia

RESEARCH EVIDENCE FOR HYPOGLYCEMIA

Omega 3 fatty acid

The page dedicated to the father of Safe Harbor’s founder Dan Stradford’s father, William Stradford’s, really touched me. “Son honors lessons learned from mentally Ill father: ... My dad, a St. Louis resident, was the old, toothless man you would see sitting in cheap coffee shops, unsmiling, lost in his thoughts, with food stains on his shirt.

I also got hooked to the Safe Harbor yahoo group, SSRI research, Mindfreedom and Gianna Kali’s “Bipolarblast,” which I still call it, but she perfers Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal and Recovery—a journey

Recently the moderator of the Safe Harbor yahoo groups, Duane Sherry, started his own blog named

Discover and Recover He updates it often with interesting news of ways people with mental health issues to cope and recover.

Fats for health

Thanks for reading and please leave comments with anything you are curious about, ideas or concepts you questions.

This is just my story…and lots of people out in cyberspace helped me….if you feel someone deserves more credit or a link mention please let me know.

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