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PTSD, whistleblowing and chemical injury: There are some human experiences that others can’t really understand


GiaK
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Not sure this is the right forum, but wanted to share this as I imagine others will resonate with it...

 

there are many links in this post...please visit the original post for those links:

 

http://beyondmeds.com/2012/01/20/ptsdwhistleblowing/

PTSD, whistleblowing and chemical injury: There are some human experiences that others can’t really understand

 

1 Boring Old Man, a very good blog penned by a retired psychiatrist, has been doing a fine job covering the Risperdal trial in Texas which was just reached a $158 million settlement Johnson & Johnson, the makers.

 

Yesterday and in other posts too he’s made some comments about whistleblowers and then extended his thoughts to others who have been victimized or pained in other ways too. I found all his insights very helpful, true and validating. I think many of my readers might appreciate what he says too.

 

From this post yesterday:

 

I got some comments on the blog and even more privately from people who’ve been medically wronged, seen things that shouldn’t have happened, had kids who were inappropriately medicated and hurt by the medications – people who haven’t found a way to get their stories told. We often hear accusations of people “playing the victim role” in derogatory ways. Sure that happens, but real victims pay the price of living in constant fear that what they say will be misinterpreted – as a trick for personal gain. It’s a double whammy for them – being the genuine object of injustice and terrified of being discounted as a trickster. They often suffer in silence as their best compromise. The reason I said that the answer to, “If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, does it make a sound?” is “No!” is that people with this kind of story who aren’t listened to are sentenced to keeping the things that happened to them always in their minds on the front burner, but not talking out loud. The alternative is to allow them to go unconscious, and they live their lives in pieces – the most important parts of their “story” missing from their “history.” Either option is painful…

I can say, as a storyteller, of both my plight and that of a great many others, that even if we get to tell our stories, we are still subject to the disbelief and recurring injury of others who make us wrong.

 

1 Boring Old Man has more to say on the topic from this earlier post:

 

There are some human experiences that others can’t really understand. I learned a bit about that half a life ago when I developed a painful back problem that never got better, even with surgery. I learned to not talk about it, because even well-meaning responses were alienating. People would recount their own back stories [but they got better]. It helped me out to understand that they had nothing in their own catalog of experiences that fit mine. They couldn’t under-stand. Then treating people with PTSD, I learned that the afflicted regularly feel misunderstood, particularly if someone says, “I understand,” or tries to relate it to their own experience. Trauma is associated with a fragmentation of cognitive and emotional function accompanied by unique features, and that’s true even of soldiers with similar military circumstances.

Many of us with protracted withdrawal syndrome have something very akin to PTSD in that the autonomic nervous system is damaged. Our symptoms, in fact can exceed that of what gets labeled PTSD quite often and then there is a large collection of physically debilitating symptoms in addition. We are suffering from systemic chemical injury and it can take years to heal. It’s a horrifying and alienating experience…yet I can’t seem to shut-the-****-up about it because, well, I know that it’s happening to other people and I want it to STOP. Believe me I often wish I could just disappear and stop sticking my neck out.

 

I think it’s helpful to understand that there are actually many human experiences that result in people feeling grossly alienated. I now make no assumptions about being able to understand someone else’s experience now that I’ve had such a radically alienating experience. I hope that my being conscious of the vast array of potential human experiences can allow me greater compassion with others as I come out of my own hell, knowing that others may have experienced something quite different still.

 

Thanks Mickey (1Boring Old Man) for your critical and cutting work.

 

If you’ve not visited the blog 1 Boring Old Man, now is the time to start.

 

(original post with links:

http://beyondmeds.com/2012/01/20/ptsdwhistleblowing/ )

Everything Matters: Beyond Meds 

https://beyondmeds.com/

withdrawn from a cocktail of 6 psychiatric drugs that included every class of psych drug.
 

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For me, I choose to pretend that large swaths of my life are not occurring when talking to friends, acquaintances and even Rx-providers.

 

For instance, I had tests for gastrointestinal problems in a nearby city. I had to make two trips and stay overnight on each occasion. I spoke to two friends on the phone while there, never mentioning I was in a hotel in another city, a former home for one, to undergo some diagnostics. To them I was in my room at home. I've even gone to alcoholics anonymous for support though I don't crave drink nor do I drink -- one shot of vodka in 18 months. I can't tell them exactly hat is happening, disbelieve probably wouldn't be overcome to even get to misunderstanding. My last visit to AA happened months go, but I consider returning. My gut issues create carb cravings that cripple me and AA folks might benefit me, so long s I remain obscure bout what I crave. Even in a therapy group, discussing my ordeal was unfeasible. Even offhand allusions to risks of psych drugs provoked defensive responses from the well-medicated co-groupies. I've lost 75 lbs and, at times, experience difficulty speaking with normal vocal range.... And nobody asked me what happened... Though that's for the best cuz they wouldn't understand.

 

I'm sure we all have examples.

 

It's so alienating and yet I can't talk about it. Partly I think this is due to the medications responsible for my injury. Maybe the effect would be less profound if it wasn't CRAZY pills that screwed me up but something else that doesn't suggest to them the problem might just be n my head... After all I must be crazy (was crazy) to need that much med in place 1...

It is really lonely in this deal.

"Well my ship's been split to splinters and it's sinking fast
I'm drowning in the poison, got no future, got no past
But my heart is not weary, it's light and it's free
I've got nothing but affection for all those who sailed with me.

Everybody's moving, if they ain't already there
Everybody's got to move somewhere
Stick with me baby, stick with me anyhow
Things should start to get interesting right about now."

- Zimmerman

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This is my life.

 

My childhood included experiences so horrendous that Stephen King wouldn't write them. If I mention the truth about my life it's, well, my usual joke is, "kind of a conversation stopper."

 

But the worst part is that people who were previously treating me like anyone else, can't handle even thinking about the kinds of things that happened to me, and they start treating me differently, or (more often) push me away and keep me at arm's length, or just refuse to believe me. (It's amazing how many people are just not willing to believe that there are sadistic pedophiles who actually enjoy hurting children and are willing to pay big bucks for the opportunity. Which of course just gives those people carte blanche to keep doing it.)

 

It's bad enough to have to survive something like that, to spend thousands of hours and tens of thousands of dollars in therapy over a lifetime, to live with all the losses that the psychological damage has caused. Now on top of that, to be pushed out of the human community for what I've suffered?

 

I'd rather just stay silent.

Started on Prozac and Xanax in 1992 for PTSD after an assault. One drug led to more, the usual story. Got sicker and sicker, but believed I needed the drugs for my "underlying disease". Long story...lost everything. Life savings, home, physical and mental health, relationships, friendships, ability to work, everything. Amitryptiline, Prozac, bupropion, buspirone, flurazepam, diazepam, alprazolam, Paxil, citalopram, lamotrigine, gabapentin...probably more I've forgotten. 

Started multidrug taper in Feb 2010.  Doing a very slow microtaper, down to low doses now and feeling SO much better, getting my old personality and my brain back! Able to work full time, have a full social life, and cope with stress better than ever. Not perfect, but much better. After 23 lost years. Big Pharma has a lot to answer for. And "medicine for profit" is just not a great idea.

 

Feb 15 2010:  300 mg Neurontin  200 Lamictal   10 Celexa      0.65 Xanax   and 5 mg Ambien 

Feb 10 2014:   62 Lamictal    1.1 Celexa         0.135 Xanax    1.8 Valium

Feb 10 2015:   50 Lamictal      0.875 Celexa    0.11 Xanax      1.5 Valium

Feb 15 2016:   47.5 Lamictal   0.75 Celexa      0.0875 Xanax    1.42 Valium    

2/12/20             12                       0.045               0.007                   1 

May 2021            7                       0.01                  0.0037                1

Feb 2022            6                      0!!!                     0.00167               0.98                2.5 mg Ambien

Oct 2022       4.5 mg Lamictal    (off Celexa, off Xanax)   0.95 Valium    Ambien, 1/4 to 1/2 of a 5 mg tablet 

 

I'm not a doctor. Any advice I give is just my civilian opinion.

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For me, I choose to pretend that large swaths of my life are not occurring when talking to friends, acquaintances and even Rx-providers.

 

For instance, I had tests for gastrointestinal problems in a nearby city. I had to make two trips and stay overnight on each occasion. I spoke to two friends on the phone while there, never mentioning I was in a hotel in another city, a former home for one, to undergo some diagnostics. To them I was in my room at home. I've even gone to alcoholics anonymous for support though I don't crave drink nor do I drink -- one shot of vodka in 18 months. I can't tell them exactly hat is happening, disbelieve probably wouldn't be overcome to even get to misunderstanding. My last visit to AA happened months go, but I consider returning. My gut issues create carb cravings that cripple me and AA folks might benefit me, so long s I remain obscure bout what I crave. Even in a therapy group, discussing my ordeal was unfeasible. Even offhand allusions to risks of psych drugs provoked defensive responses from the well-medicated co-groupies. I've lost 75 lbs and, at times, experience difficulty speaking with normal vocal range.... And nobody asked me what happened... Though that's for the best cuz they wouldn't understand.

 

I'm sure we all have examples.

 

It's so alienating and yet I can't talk about it. Partly I think this is due to the medications responsible for my injury. Maybe the effect would be less profound if it wasn't CRAZY pills that screwed me up but something else that doesn't suggest to them the problem might just be n my head... After all I must be crazy (was crazy) to need that much med in place 1...

It is really lonely in this deal.

 

I totally hear you about the therapy group thing and the "crazy drugs." You'd better believe I never talk about that stuff either.

 

I'd like to find a therapist--I do best with someone I can turn to for help from time to time when I get intrusive memories, et cetera--but when you combine the intensity of my issues with the fact that I'm aware of the dangers of neurotrophic drugs and they did steal another 20 years of my life from me, and I'm not going to softpedal that, and a lot of what I'm dealing with now is getting off of them and my anger about what they did to me, and very few mental health professionals are "out of denial" about that (they mostly believe in the validity of these drugs)--well, I'm on my own.

Started on Prozac and Xanax in 1992 for PTSD after an assault. One drug led to more, the usual story. Got sicker and sicker, but believed I needed the drugs for my "underlying disease". Long story...lost everything. Life savings, home, physical and mental health, relationships, friendships, ability to work, everything. Amitryptiline, Prozac, bupropion, buspirone, flurazepam, diazepam, alprazolam, Paxil, citalopram, lamotrigine, gabapentin...probably more I've forgotten. 

Started multidrug taper in Feb 2010.  Doing a very slow microtaper, down to low doses now and feeling SO much better, getting my old personality and my brain back! Able to work full time, have a full social life, and cope with stress better than ever. Not perfect, but much better. After 23 lost years. Big Pharma has a lot to answer for. And "medicine for profit" is just not a great idea.

 

Feb 15 2010:  300 mg Neurontin  200 Lamictal   10 Celexa      0.65 Xanax   and 5 mg Ambien 

Feb 10 2014:   62 Lamictal    1.1 Celexa         0.135 Xanax    1.8 Valium

Feb 10 2015:   50 Lamictal      0.875 Celexa    0.11 Xanax      1.5 Valium

Feb 15 2016:   47.5 Lamictal   0.75 Celexa      0.0875 Xanax    1.42 Valium    

2/12/20             12                       0.045               0.007                   1 

May 2021            7                       0.01                  0.0037                1

Feb 2022            6                      0!!!                     0.00167               0.98                2.5 mg Ambien

Oct 2022       4.5 mg Lamictal    (off Celexa, off Xanax)   0.95 Valium    Ambien, 1/4 to 1/2 of a 5 mg tablet 

 

I'm not a doctor. Any advice I give is just my civilian opinion.

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It's my belief that I have to be open and honest about my depressive episode so that others who knew me "before" can appreciate that an intelligent, hard-working and decent woman can indeed crash, and that it isn't "crazyiness" or weakness or anything else that should be treated with contempt or pity.

 

Some people who recently came out of the AD closet were, to my astonishment, David Letterman and my own pastor. They are both highly intelligent men with a good sense of humor - although I must admit that David Letterman is a lot funnier than my pastor. I don't know if there's any scientific proof of it, but my intuition tells me that a high IQ is directly correlated wtih depression. Being smart is, IMO, a "risk factor".

 

Being yourself and being honest also separates the sheep fom the goats. The people and so-called friends who back away can just keep on backing up until they reach the Pacific and fall in, for all I care. On the other hand, I have been deeply gratified by those friends who didn't treat me any differently afterward than they did before. I will never forget the coworker who, after the crash, sought me out to go to lunch with him when I expected to be treated like a leper. We did do some talking about what had happened, but my job buddy is still with me now (in spirit most of the time, as he lives in Pittburgh and I live in a northern burb of Philadelphia), and emailed me early about getting together for dinner when he gets back to this area. (God, how I love this man. He's thirty years my junior and has a wife who is very pretty and good for him. Otherwise..... ;)

Psychotropic drug history: Pristiq 50 mg. (mid-September 2010 through February 2011), Remeron (mid-September 2010 through January 2011), Lexapro 10 mg. (mid-February 2011 through mid-December 2011), Lorazepam (Ativan) 1 mg. as needed mid-September 2010 through early March 2012

"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." -Hanlon's Razor


Introduction: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1588-introducing-jemima/

 

Success Story: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6263-success-jemima-survives-lexapro-and-dr-dickhead-too/

Please note that I am not a medical professional and my advice is based on personal experience, reading, and anecdotal information posted by other sufferers.

 

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This hits home on so many levels ~thanks Gia

 

You're all awesome and im so grateful for all of the work that was done prior to my awakening ~

Pristiq tapered over 8 months ending Spring 2011 after 18 years of polydrugging that began w/Zoloft for fatigue/general malaise (not mood). CURRENT: 1mg Klonopin qhs (SSRI bruxism), 75mg trazodone qhs, various hormonesLitigation for 11 years for Work-related injury, settled 2004. Involuntary medical retirement in 2001 (age 39). 2012 - brain MRI showing diffuse, chronic cerebrovascular damage/demyelination possibly vasculitis/cerebritis. Dx w/autoimmune polyendocrine failure.<p>2013 - Dx w/CNS Sjogren's Lupus (FANA antibodies first appeared in 1997 but missed by doc).

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