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“I Was Told My Brain Was Broken”

"I Was Told My Brain Was Broken"

In November, I put up blog entry titled The Repercussions of Going on Antidepressants, and I received a comment on this post the other day that both disturbed me and confirmed what I already knew. I thought it merited its own discussion here. The woman who wrote the comment calls herself NoRx4Me and left the […]

Antidepressants Personal Issues
LivingMaxwell.com

In November, I put up blog entry titled The Repercussions of Going on Antidepressants, and I received a comment on this post the other day that both disturbed me and confirmed what I already knew. I thought it merited its own discussion here.

The woman who wrote the comment calls herself NoRx4Me and left the following information:

I was put on an SSRI at 24 years old during a bad marriage. I needed guidance and support, instead I was told my brain was broken.

SSRI’s led to stimulants, mood stabilizers, SNRI’s, and lithium for a short time. I was a mess. I lost 13 years. I have little memory of those years (especially sad, because I was raising two boys). I didn’t grow as a person at all. I quit dating in 2003 and never developed knew friendships either. I didn’t even realize this was odd until I was off meds.

I probably would have responded like some others on here while I was still under the influence and told you the meds were great. With a clear mind and 20/20 hindsight, I know the facts, my life was destroyed.

And they do cause physical problems; I lost a ton of hair, and my teeth are a mess. I look like I’ve aged 20 years instead of 10.

You probably now understand why I was so bothered by what I read. This woman’s life was ruined, and the fact that she was raising two boys at the time makes it even more troublesome.

I had another reaction to this as well.

While there were only four people who left a comment (myself included) and this is by no means an adequate sample size, the feedback paints an interesting picture.

The people who seemed the most sympathetic to meds were: (1) the man who has been on meds for 4 months; and (2) a woman who is bipolar (she has her own bipolar blog). I don’t know if she is on antidepressants or not but my guess is that she is on some type of medication. I cannot say for sure, however.

The two people adamantly against meds were me and this woman above, NoRx4Me. The common thread that we both have is that we each were on medication for a long time, more than a decade, and both realized how harmful the medication was after we went off the drugs– not when we were on the drugs but after.

In today’s world, we live in a drug culture and doctors are giving out antidepressants as if they were candy. This is absolutely irrefutable — roughly 33 million people or more than 10% of our population take them.

And, a very high percentage of these doctors have no interest whatsoever of taking their patients off of medication because it means that they will no longer have them as paying clients. Additionally, the drugs do improve a person’s mood in the beginning, which lessens the incentive even further for a doctor to take a person off of the medication.

This leads to people being on medication for decades, and long-term usage is where the real carnage takes place.

People tell me all of the time “antidepressants help a lot of individuals” and they expect me to become very sympathetic towards these drugs. I’m sorry, I’m just not.

I say “Find me some people who have been on antidepressants for many years, have gone off of the medication and still think the drug is wonderful.”

The tragic story of NoRx4Me was just more confirmation of what I already knew.

Long-term antidepressant usage wreaks havoc on a person’s life but it is only after someone goes off of them can you get a clear picture of the true damage.


20 Comments

  • Daniel says:

    I agree. Its like they just prescribe them when they hear theyre just depressed. They cannot tell the excact cause to the depression because there could be millions. And do they treat the millions of causes? No! They’re just doing the one size fits all method without even knowing whats really wrong.

    • Max Goldberg says:

      Hi Daniel,

      I could not agree with you more. Getting at the root cause of the problem does not seem to be on their agenda – just putting a band-aid on the problem is.

      Live well,
      Max

  • Laura says:

    Very Interesting, I was on anti depressants for 2 years, got off for about a year or so and got back on because I had a break down. So for me I think they work. But I am interested in reading about what you did & how you got off them.

    • Max Goldberg says:

      Hi Laura,

      Everyone has their own opinion and experience with antidepressants, and I fully respect that.

      Stay tuned for my book – either later this year or early next year.

      Live well,
      Max

  • Michael says:

    “I tried again in 2007, she had me reduce the dose way to fast and it caused horrific withdrawal so I was told, “see you NEED the meds”.”

    This is worse than drug dealers. Dealers don’t hide what they’re after and usually make money off people who know what they’re getting. You wouldn’t get this sort of doubletalk from a dealer.

    As I mentioned earlier, I do have serious seizures and those need to be treated. However, I can remember the person I was as a child – a troublesome and a little bit off child but still one with a great smile and a body that felt normal.

    • Max Goldberg says:

      Hi Michael,

      Thanks so much for sharing your story. It sounds like you went through A LOT.

      The general public never hears these type of stories but they hear from the celebrities who go on psychotropic drugs and are so thankful for them. That’s fine. If it works for them, that is great and it is their life.

      But there are far too many people out there who don’t do well with them and don’t want to be on them. Unfortunately, those stories don’t get told and the public would rather remain in the dark about these issues.

      Hang in there and best of luck with everything.

      Live well,
      Max

  • Michael says:

    I came off of Effexor while visiting extended family. It resulted in about a month and a half of madness, drinking and a seizure. I had a history of seizures but this was particularly disturbing.

    When I got back home, the doctor said all my vitals were fine. I hadn’t destroyed myself completely. I didn’t directly attempt suicide when I came off of Effexor but I did quickly lose my mind. The people I was around had no experience with this and didn’t really know how to deal with it.

    Back home, nobody really wants to hear this story. Despite how I may have been put on this stuff as a teenager or by a doctor, my story sounds identical to that of a crack or LSD addict. I grew up looking at narcotics as something to avoid and ended up becoming a junkie without ever consulting a drug dealer or seeking it out.

    I was a really troublesome kid. I got in alot of trouble. However, alot of the trouble – fights, anger, tantrums – these things would have been handled with juvenile detention, discipline, etc. years ago. There are old movies of kids who become involved with gangsters and are taken in and given care and empathy and told sternly that what they are doing is unacceptable. I also have epilepsy and needing to take medication for that makes it easier to prescribe other drugs.

    Instead with this past generation, we have simultaneously babied alot of boys (primarily, though this affects girls too) while also hooking them on drugs. Parents and schools created monsters without ever realizing it. The result is infantilization and mania.

  • Dina says:

    Dear Max,

    I would like to thank you for this post and comment thread. I am in the thick of withdrawal symptoms from short term use of an SSRI and all I can think of is, thank goodness I didn’t use them long term. Whilst I feel I have gained some insight to what it must be like to feel normal, as I am far removed from that particular feeling at this moment; I also rue the day I decided I had no other options but to take the drug. Please remind your readers, for those that feel the same or are in need of relief given by a medication, PLEASE conduct much research before you begin the process; I recommend reading of the withdrawal symptoms first. Also as you so righty tout, learn of the many natural options i.e. foods, exercise, meditation and natural anti-depressants. These natural methods may not provide the overly dramatic results of the SSRI’s but will they will not take your life in exchange. Remind them these drugs are prescribed in an attempt to trick your brain into thinking all is well but any intelligent human being knows you can not fool nature, not without consequences. Again, I thank you for your visionary approach to such an unsightly topic.

    Naturally,

    Dina

    • Max Goldberg says:

      Hi Dina,

      Thank you so much for your comment. It is fantastic when other people share their stories with SSRIs and let the world know what is going on with them.

      I sincerely appreciate your writing here, and there is lots more to come. Stay tuned and please sign up for my email list so I can keep you up-to-date.

      Live well,
      Max

  • Just Another Victim says:

    You are so right. I’ve been there and done it. SSRIs etc destroy your mind and your life and you never realise what they have done until you try to come off them. The longer you manage to come off them, the harder you try to remember what the hell happened to you, the more you realise the terrible truth; you have been damaged beyond repair by those poisonous, life destroying drugs, and you are alone, because the Docs will not believe a word you say and all they will do is try to push the next chemical concoction into you. The anti-depressant, SSRI extravaganza is one of the greatest tragedies of our times in terms of lives destroyed, but the clinical mainstream won’t even start to listen to the truth, won’t listen to the best evidence there is of the reality of the effects of SSRIs etc, the evidence which comes from ex-users, those people like myself, who have had their brains and emotions completley burned out by these evil, damaging, life destroying poisons.

    • Max Goldberg says:

      Thanks so much for your words and I agree with what you are saying here.

      The evidence does come from ex-users of antidepressants. Find me someone who has been on meds for 10+ years, has gone off and still speaks very highly of the drugs. There aren’t any.

      The people who speak highly of the drugs are the doctors and the people who are on them. The truth comes out once someone goes off of the meds, as you correctly said.

      I sincerely appreciate your feedback here!

      Live well,
      Max

  • j322 says:

    I found this blog via a comment by norx4me on another site; this is a vital conversation here. First – I wanted to tell Louanne – I am so sorry for your loss. This is a common thing with these drugs that many use to say “see – this person was mentally ill”. The reality is that it’s the drugs that cause the suicidal ideation and acting out but we don’t hear about this and doctors are not trained to support this. Like Max; I and many others have experienced this and while we survived, for me personally, it was a year of hell and no doctor or therapist knew how to help me. But after losing 15 years of my life, my family, my brain my body….it was worth it to regain my brain and the ability to think for myself.

    When I was on the drugs I believed and would fight tooth and nail to defend my “diagnosis” and the use of these drugs. After 3.5 years drug free – I can only say that these drugs are poison.

    • Max Goldberg says:

      Thanks so much for sharing your story here. These drugs have caused a lot of problems for people and it is important that we all share our own experience.

      Also, it is interesting how our perspective of these drugs changes once we go off of them. We defend them fiercely when we’re on them. When we go off, it becomes a different story.

      Again, thanks for checking in here.

      Live well,
      Max

  • NoRx4Me says:

    “The responsibility of the doctor lies in prescribing appropriate medication if it is required.”

    The problem is, it ISN’T required. But no one is being told that. Depression being a chemical imbalance is a theory promoted by drug companies, not a proven fact.

    “We live in a culture where we judge and label people as though they are not spiritual beings”.

    We live in a culture where DOCTORS label and MEDICATE as if we are not spiritual beings.

    A HUGE problem is that people don’t realize how dangerous and damaging these drugs are. Read the labels and you’ll be shocked. You may need a medical dictionary (I did), but then you’ll be shocked. The risks DON’T outweigh the benefits.

    By the end of my med use, I was covered in bruises, my eyes were turning yellow, I had headaches daily, I told the doctor, it was ignored. Side effects were always dismissed. I was told it couldn’t be the drugs.

    Finding the appropriate drug isn’t the answer. Finding the cause (spiritual, emotional; past trauma, physical: hypothyroidism, poor diet etc.) and changing your life circumstances or diet or talking to someone is.

    I wasted 13 years letting the doctors try to find the right drug for what wasn’t a physical ailment that needed drug treatment;

    Zoloft, Prozac, Paxil, Wellbutrin, Lexapro, Celexa, Effexor, Cymbalta, Ritalin, Vyvanse, Daytrana, Lamictal, Trileptal, Topamax, Lithium…

    Those are what I can remember off the top of my head. I’m drug free and fine now, so what was all that for? Oh… and I’m not drug free because the doctor said it was okay. I tried to get off in 2005, she advised against it, said the hair loss couldnt be due to meds, I tried again in 2007, she had me reduce the dose way to fast and it caused horrific withdrawal so I was told, “see you NEED the meds”. No… she needed my business. I finally, had enough in 2008. I went to the dentist and had to list all my current meds; Cymbalta, Lamictal, Vyvanse and Lithium.

    I thought, “Oh my goodness, they’re going to think I’m nuts! Why am I taking all these powerful meds? I’m not crazy?!” Despite picking up these prescriptions every month and putting them in my mouth everyday, I hadn’t even realized what I was doing and that it wasn’t the norm.

    I also didn’t realize that I had become a different person, a crazy person. One example: I used to drive 80mph, weaving in and out of traffic with my kids in the car all the time. I didn’t realize this until 9 months off the meds, one of my sons mentioned that he’s not scared getting in the car with me anymore. They feared for their lives and I didn’t even know it. What was going on around me didn’t even register.

    There is just so much that people don’t know that these drugs do to you. People ON the drugs don’t even know sometimes.

    There is no pill that will make you happy and healthy. And there is nothing physically wrong with anyone’s brain that can be corrected with a pill. All the med labels say; “the mechanism of action ie: how they work, is unknown”.

  • Max Goldberg says:

    Hi Lisa,

    Your comment about labeling people not as spiritual beings was very interesting. Antidepressants make spirituality impossible, in my view, because it prevents a person from truly knowing who they are.

    Thanks so much for your feedback from England. It is always appreciated!!!

    Live well,
    Max

  • Having lived and worked in a house with people who suffered from clinical depression I cannot say that anti-depressants should not be taken absolutely.
    The responsibility of the doctor lies in prescribing appropriate medication if it is required. The responsibility of friends and family is to protect any adult or child who is vulnerable, either temporarily or on a more long term basis so that he /she finds the strength and faith in himself to live the greatest life he is able, with the minimum drugs realistically possible.
    We live in a culture where we judge and label people as though they are not spiritual beings.

  • Max Goldberg says:

    Hi Sylvia,

    I couldn’t agree with you more. We CANNOT just follow the doctors orders. We must do our own research and take the doctors’ info as one point of information.

    There are 33 million people in the U.S. who take antidepressants, and I do not believe that ALL of these 33 million people truly need them. The pharma companies have tremendous influence over the actions of the doctors and it is a system that just feeds on itself to the detriment of the patient.

    As you said, we must be very knowledgeable about everything that is going on with our health.

    Live well,
    Max

  • Max Goldberg says:

    Hi Luanne,

    That is very tragic. I am so, so sorry to hear about your cousin and your loss. I almost suffered the same fate when I went off of antidepressants but fortunately made it through.

    Live well,
    Max

  • Sylvia Lim says:

    I’m not familiar with antidepressant. But just want to comment that it is such a sad reality that doctors often prescribe drugs and order X-rays so casually! Sure, drugs can help people but they also come with a whole host of side effects and can cause irreversible damages. We cannot passively do whatever the doctor orders. We have to do our own research! Mostly, conventional doctors just care about what is the easiest way to deal with you and how profitable is it. In my personal experience, the majority of the time, doctors prescribed drugs and ordered X-rays for me that were completely unnecessary!!

  • Luanne says:

    My cousin was 17 years old when she stopped taking antidepressants.  She commited suicide by hanging herself after she stopped.

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