There was a time, not long ago, when I would think about my experience with depression and become

irate. There were many times it kept me awake all night long. It was not the illness itself that I struggled with (in memory) but the bloody ignorance, not from the public, but within the medical community. I have been in group therapy with other wonderful people. I have seen countless psychiatrists and met countless psychiatric nurses over the years. Believe me when I tell you that the stigma associated with mental illness is most evident amongst them. To add insult to injury they are not nearly as knowledgeable about the psychiatric medication as one would hope. During one of my regular trips to the psych ward and the assessment after the fact, I had my first of many experiences with severe Paxil withdrawal. I was in for a few days and had not been given my scheduled dose of Paxil, which I had been taking for over a year at that point. I was being assessed because I felt suicidal while taking Paxil and had been riding the waves of irritability bordering rage. They attributed this feeling to severe depression, dismissing the idea that the anti-depressant had anything to do with it. In fact the question was never raised at all. The anti-depressant was eventually proven to be the cause of those haunting suicidal thoughts, but unfortunately, that came to pass many months down the road. I don’t quite understand why some people suffer so much and others very little from missed doses or withdrawal, but I suffered like hell. I really felt like I was going to die. Depending on who you believe, forty percent of Paxil users will experience the same. I believe this figure is an under-estimation. This is based solely on the fact that I have met a large number of Paxil users and they all have had the same hellish ordeal to relay. They always tell their story wide eyed as though they had been through something unimaginable. That’s because they have. They are always angry, feel betrayed and even frightened, long after their ordeal has ended. (Keep in mind that Paxil and other anti-depressants can have a paradoxical effect, making the depression much worse than it was before initiation of anti-depressants) The newbie doctor that strutted down the hall like he was King Shit, would not give me my medication until the following day. At that point, it had been 48 hours without Paxil. Paxil has a very short half life, which means the withdrawal symptoms will appear much more quickly than other anti-depressant and more severely

I am not exaggerating when I say that I could barely lift my head off the pillow. I was shaking like a fish out of the water, vomiting, hallucinating and all of the other wonderful experiences that go along with Paxil withdrawal. Every minute that went by without it seemed like an hour. My sanity was quickly slipping away and I was terrified. I did not sleep for 48 hours due to the severity of the symptoms. The anxiety attacks came and went in waves, one after the other, for hours on end. For anyone that has ever suffered through this, knows that you become extremely desperate. I felt like a heroin addict ready to kill for my next fix. Let’s be clear on this point. The initiation and withdrawal of Paxil (and many other anti-depressants)can be life threatening. Even if you happen to be one of the more fortunate ones and don’t suffer as hundreds of thousands of us have, it will still be an experience you will never forget. I kept telling the bloody nurse that what I was experiencing was withdrawal. This woman was a psychiatric nurse and should have had some knowledge of how these drugs can cause serious harm during withdrawal, or at the very least, that such a thing exists. She looked at me like she had no idea what I was talking about and said “There is no such thing as anti-depressant withdrawal”. I wanted to beat her with a stick. If I’d had the strength to go and find a stick, I just may have done that. By the way, withdrawal can also cause homicidal feelings and actions. Later that same day, Dr. King Shit, flirt of the year, told me he would not assess me in my room. He wanted to go into this closet like office down the hall where it was more private. I had a room to myself. No roommate. It was as private as private could be. Why the hell did I have to leave my room? I was sufering like hell because he had no idea what was happening though he should have. At that point I could barely walk let alone discuss much of anything. My speech had become impaired by then and loss of motor skills was evident. I had thrown up everything and was committed to the dry heaves. The room was spinning in circles. I told him this or tried to. He absolutely refused to continue the conversation unless I followed him to that bloody closet. Furthermore, he taunted me by getting up to leave me there. “I can go on to the next patient if you refuse to comply” he said. Did I look like a ten year old in detention? Shrinks are the strangest people you will ever meet, not all of them, but a lot of them. Sometimes the room is not big enough for their ego and their idiosyncrasies. They are bit nuts! I have met with about six

different psychiatrists over the years. The first one I had told me he hated his career and wished he had gone in the trades. Great! The third one could not stop picking his nose in front of me and would fall silent and stare into space for ten minutes at a time. (Those were really long appointments). Then there was the female doctor that was the most argumentative person I had ever met. She would ask me a question and then answer for me and then argue the point. Sometimes I was never quite sure which one of us should be laying on the couch. It was like the blind leading the blind. At least I could keep my finger out of my nose in public. Just as a heroin addict would do absolutely anything for relief, I managed to follow that nut case down the hall, using the wall to support myself. I told him what he wanted to hear, in as few words as possible, just to get those pills. I did not care about the assessment any more. Surviving it and him was my only driving force. Getting those pills and getting the hell out of there was my priority. Had he been more knowledgeable about the medications and less interested in his reflection in the glass, he could have prevented a potential tragedy that was set to occur six months down the road. Are we all just guinea pigs here? Have we really gained much ground with mental illness? How could we when we have narcissistic, argumentative, nose pickers that dream of being plumbers leading the way? I definitely believe that those of us that have had these experiences are far more educated and can be of greater benefit to others that are suffering the way we did/are than a psychiatrist without a personal experience. (Or a nut case with a fetish for small spaces and his own reflection) There was also a time, thankfully it was a short time, when I started self medicating with seroquel. Now seroquel is usually used for bipolar disorder but proves very effective as a sleeping aid and more to the point, a great numbing tool. I had to go to the doctor and have a prescription re-new. I had been going through them rather quickly. The idiot prescribed 400mgs/day and provided me with a year supply. As any addict would be, I was thrilled. I felt like I had just won the lottery! ”its not addictive” he told me. I could not look at him when he said this. I did not want him to see how shocked I was that he did not realize just how addictive it really is, and how easy it is to start abusing, and that I was obviously abusing it myself. I worried that if he saw that look of shock mixed with extreme delight, he might double check with a pharmacist and realized what he had just done. So I avoided eye contact. Of course then I had another problem. I had to wean off seroquil eventually and this lead to another journey through

hell. “not addictive” holly shit! I was high all day and all night long for months. I worry about those that are suffering now. I fear for those that don’t have a clue that this process is not simply about symptoms of an illness, treatment options and visiting the doctor a few times a month. Do they realize the stigma they face and the frustration they will experience, all due to a lack of education? Do they have any idea that anti-depressants are prescribed simply by trial and error and mostly error? Do they know there is no quick solution and every single decision they make could have long term, life threatening consequences? Do they understand that psychiatry is one big mystery and definitely not an exact science and never will be in our life time? Individuals whom have gained the wisdom of discontinuing antidepressants and other psychiatric medications have been frustrated to their wits end by these so called experts. This wisdom was hard earned as the experience was so awful and almost killed us. We surf the internet and read forums because we had to, because sometimes it was a last resort. We start off in withdrawal promising god that if he allows us to get through this we will become better people and when that does not work and our prayers are not answered we start the bargaining process with the devil. (probably not a good idea but individuals going through withdrawal hell are not exactly rational at that point and are willing to do just about anything to make it stop) What about those that have taken their own lives and the lives of others due to anti-depressant withdrawal? How many of them are there? How many of them have taken their own lives leaving families behind who had no idea that their loved one did not die of an illness but due to ignorance inspired and manipulated by a billion dollar industry. Why is it that the GSK and other anit-depressant manufactuers failed to inform the general public that there has been one common denominator between a large percentage of these school shootings? What is the common denominator? Anti-depressant withdrawal!! Instead we are lead to believe that it has to do with lack of discipline, bad kids that were beyond help, video games and the internet, violent movies etc… This travesty is further supported by the doctors we place our very lives and trust in. We have trained nurses who tell patients that there is no such thing as Paxil withdrawal. Can you imagine the needless suffering that has been hiding in plain sight for all these years and clearly continues to do so? I want to know why? Even if you are not taking an anti-depressant or your child is never prescribed an antidepressant he/she attends school with kids that do take them, cared

by parents and doctors that have not got a single clue about the dangers that lay ahead. For those individuals that find it difficult to believe a drug could cause such rage or make a person take their own life in a very violent way, why don’t you start taking them and then try to stop after six months? I promise you that this little experiment will make you a believer. And then, while you are rocking like a nut case on your bed, for weeks on end, screaming at the top of your lungs and crying, try to imagine a child going through this same ordeal. I am in my thirties and if push comes to shove, I have money, support, resources, a bad temper and family. Butt what about those that do not? What about the little old lady that suffers like hell and instead of recognizing that her condition is caused by an anti-depressant, she is either ignored (because little old ladies are useless and annoying) or her doctor treats the symptoms of the withdrawal as evidence of a more severe form of depression. Instead of being slowly weaned from the drug, her daily dose is increased and now she is emotionally paralyzed, wondering halls, quiet and obedient, not complaining or annoying any more. Not living, just alive in god’s waiting room or else she becomes severely suicidal and jumps out the window. Neither is acceptable. You bet I’m pissed off! Six months after this experience, I went to my regular GP. (Another village idiot) I told him I had to get off Paxil. At the time, I was still a newbie myself. But somehow I knew that what I was experiencing had everything to do with Paxil. He cut me off Paxil cold turkey. All ninety milligrams of it. Two weeks later I attempted suicide. I went into respiratory arrest and did not regain consciousness for three days. The only thing that is truly shocking about this is that I hung on for two weeks. A person has to be extremely desperate and in a great deal of pain to take their own life. It is human nature to fight for our lives not end our life (This should give you a better idea of how hopeless it can feel). I did not want to die, but I believed it would never go away and only get worse. I could not imagine another moment, let alone one that was worse. My suffering far outweighed my coping abilities. I did not stand a chance against Paxil withdrawal. If you happen to be like me, one of those that make up that forty percent, you won’t stand a chance either, without the proper guidance and support. Do NOT ever stop taking an anti-depressant medicine without being fully informed and without help from your doctor. NEVER quit cold turkey! Never Ever!!!! Even if your system is not as sensitive as what

they claim mine is, you will still suffer like hell. Always remember that a missed dose can cause equal amounts of suffering until you take that pill. Don’t go on vacation and leave your drugs at home. You might not make it back. And being locked up in a saine asylum, in Mexico is not much of a vacation! Had I died, I would have been the woman that you would have read about in a community newspaper that committed suicide because I was severely depressed. I would have not been the woman who died because of severe withdrawal from a drug that should never have been prescribed or because of a doctor that had no idea what he was doing. His lack of knowledge stemmed from putting his trust in the hands of a company whose sole purpose is to profit from our stupidity. However, I am not letting doctors off that easily. If I can figure this out then they should be able to as well. GlaxoSmithKline have admitted, in a court of law, that they intentionally withheld information that would have prevented severe suffering and countless deaths. (Lawsuits are going on as I write, and in several countries around the world.) They have been forced to put warning labels on their product but they are still limiting consumer awareness and play with words to make it sound far less dangerous than what it actually is. They refer to it as “discontinuation syndrome” because the word “withdrawal” is easily associated with imagines of junkies shaking, twitching, sweating, vomiting, suicidal, homicidal, screaming, crying, raging, desperate people willing to do anything to end their suffering. The truth is, at its worst, it is exactly like that. Consumers should associate withdrawal from illegal substances with Paxil withdrawal. The only difference is that Paxil is easier to get and legal. Shockingly Doctors are still in the dark and some of them are prescribing to children and the elderly that have less of a fighting chance than you or I. I know that I can sit here for hours, day after day, and write about how disturbing anti-depressant withdrawal can be, but my words alone will never give it the justice it deserves. Paxil is the most widely prescribed anti-depressant on the market. (some report that it is the number one selling drug on the market and others have cited it as the third) Depression will become the second leading cause of world wide suffering by 2012 (world health organization) GlaxoSmithKline is now preparing for the next generation, our children, to target with their creative and dishonest marketing as they attempt to profit from a rapidly growing illness with their unstoppable star “Paxil”. How many funerals will we host before we stop allowing these people to target the people we love and

ourselves? How long will the FDA allow these companies to manipulate an industry, target innocent people and ignore the standards we pay for and expect in this country. They are nothing more than slick drug dealers in a fancy back alley, professionally packaging their poison If you want to experience hell, and I don’t think anyone does, stop Paxil cold turkey. Hell will live up to its reputation just for you