I felt sucker-punched when I learned about the research on psych-meds.

I felt sucker-punched when I learned about the research on psych-meds.

This can be a loaded topic because you may remember when you were in so much mental anguish, so much pain that you just wanted to crawl in a hole or stop the world so you could jump off, but do you remember when someone told you that your problems were NOT all in your head? Do you remember what a relief that was? Do you remember that, possibly your family became more understanding. And if they did not…how frustrated you were that they couldn’t understand that you had a biochemical chronic disease?

Cognitive restructuring is a type of counseling developed by  Aaron Beck and expanded by Albert Ellis; and it made me well. I remember learning about this type of thinking or counseling in psychology courses in college, yet if you do an Internet search on “cognitive restructuring + psychiatry” the only thing that will pop up is a book for learning disabled ….I am not knocking that. I am just pointing out that it isn’t even a result for help with mental illness on a “Google search,”  even though many in my circle of blogging friends have found that cognitive restructuring is what made them well.

Susan, of Wellness Writer, wrote something a couple days ago that inspired this post. She talked about how she journeyed through the path to wellness and how she felt “sucker-punched” when she found out many of the medications she had been taking had never been clinically tested for their efficacy.  Read her Aug.7 post “Why I am well”.

When I read Susan’s words I could totally relate! I too felt duped, lied-to, sucker-punched.

For the past couple years, my best friend told me, “You are sooo angry!” She didn’t think I should be so angry….which caused more problems our relationship. You bet I am angry! These drugs ruined my life! I have spent thousands of dollars on prescription drugs, doctors and hospitalization…and where did it get me? Down a spiralling path of Hell.  It helped me lose everything I loved. Career, husband, nice home, family…and my belief in myself.  We pay these doctors and counselors to help us and what they have done to us is terrible. They might have well sold us snake oil, or attached leaches to us to bleed us like they used to do to sick people.

A few months ago best friend finally told me that she never bought my view that the drugs didn’t work because of all my crazy behavior. I am glad she finally told me that. I told her that I took my psych drugs religiously and that all those crazy behavior she experienced from me were done while I faithfully took my psych medication. I never had any of the manic behaviors before I took the psych drugs. I never had the inappropriate behaviors. I will admit I had the depression and and the anxiety…but never like I had it after I went for help. This revelation and new understanding repaired the damage in our relationship. She told me she could understand why I was so angry and thinks I should someday write a book.

The following is an edited comment I posted on Susan’s Wellness Writer’s blog in reaction to getting rid of books and materials on bipolar illness,  stopping the search to cure bipolar and focusing on something else. This is what I refer to as cognitive restructuring. Here is the post:

I love my mom, but she also was obsessed with treating the bipolar and talked about every time we met or talked. I found it to be impossible to get well with her reminding me all the time that I was sick. Some days would be going along fine. I would feel “normal” happy, calm and my mom would bring up something about bipolar…it just got me to thinking about mental illness again. It was like a broken record in my brain. I got better when I moved away and when I didn’t talke to her so often. (Now that I have been off meds for a while….she is now coming to see me as a healthy person.)

Also, I am just remembering that in 1997 I did something similar to you in that rather than join a support group my psych-doc wanted me to join, I took two university courses, joined the church choir and hand bell choir and began submitting writing and photography to publications. I took only a low dose of Impramine.

I had a backslide in 1999…what I and everyone else thought was a terrible backslide into mania followed by a hospitalization, more psych drugs and depression. After this experience, my mom tried to get me to sign a piece of paper that I would never give up my medication again.

The truth was that three extremely stressful events happened within weeks of one another (including an accidental withdrawal of a low dose of Imprimane). I phoned my psych-doc who put me on gabatinten or Nuertion and my mania escalated. But of course my family, doctor and I all thought I had a very bad case of mania. Neurontin can make mania worse. You can read about the fraud of Neurontin here

Wow the things we have learned by being “non-compliant” !

Hey, if you are sick and you have been following doctors orders…and for years you don’t get better and you continue to get worse you know something is wrong. Some people say insanity is when you do the same thing over and over again expecting different results.

I have seen some blogs of people with photos of themselves before their diagnosis, during while on the pharmaceuticals and after. And the during photos look horrendous. Maybe some day I will share mine too. You wouldn’t believe how terrible and out-of-it I look like with my “disabled” photo ID for a bus passed from the 1990s. You would not believe that I am even the same person.

How about you? What prescription medications are you taking for psychiatric problems? How long have you taken it? If you are off how long have you been off and what are you using for a safety net?

Remember going cold turkey off meds is dangerous….I learned the hard way and had a mania attack. Please read this warning.