Mania Zoloft 2011-01-19 U.S.A. Woman Develops Mania on Zoloft: Ruins Her Life
Summary:

Paragraph four reads:  "I was begging for help, but no doctor, no nurse, or no one in my life was able to provide it. I was prescribed anti-depressants, patted on my head and sent on my way. Doctors were convinced I was merely depressed, stemming from the frequent need to relocate military spouses. No one dug any deeper, and it seemed as if Zoloft was the catchall answer to everything. There were no psychiatric evaluations and no questions -- just this mantra:  'You're depressed, have a pill'."

Paragraphs five through seven read:  "In my late 20s, we were stationed in San Antonio when my husband got out of the military. It was the first time I had roots. I had built a successful career in sales, earning well more than $100,000 per year. But I was still struggling with a darkness in me I couldn't contain. I turned to alcohol as a method of (what I know now to be) self-medicating. I drank impulsively, and I spent impulsively. I bought everything I could find -- shoes, clothes, even two vehicles. I was out of control. I was eating out, buying food for others and funding others' bar tabs. It was a mess. I did everything to excess.

I neglected my family. I alienated myself from my husband of 10 years, I shut down on my 12-year-old twin daughters, and I ignored my 6-year-old. There were days I didn't come home at all and instead slept in my car. I was delusional, required little sleep and wasn't even a shadow of the person I knew myself to be. What's more, I didn't know why. I knew I needed help, but had no clue where to get it or even how.

It wasn't until after I lost my 5-year-old job as a educational director and nearly lost my family that my doctors were able to correctly diagnose me with bipolar I disorder and inform me I was cycling through manic and depressive phases rapidly due to having doctors prescribe me anti-depressants. For the six years I was on drugs for depression; I now knew those drugs made my condition even worse and explained away my impulsive behavior and fits of highs and lows. I learned the antidepressants made my symptoms worse, not better -- all because no one asked the right questions.




http://news.yahoo.com/s/ac/20110119/hl_ac/7620388_first_person_struggling_for_normalcy_while_living_with_bipolar_disorder



First Person: Living with bipolar disorder, struggling for normalcy

Shauna Zamarripa Shauna Zamarripa – Wed Jan 19, 1:12 pm ET


It seems we see medical advances treating numerous physical ailments every day. Yet, when it comes to mental health, it seems doctors push anti-depressants on patients without evaluating completely their state of mind or if depression really is the issue. Mental illness frightens because it is difficult to comprehend. Mental wellness takes a back seat to other ailments. Those with
mental health disorders are often pushed to the side, treated like society's dirty little secrets.

In the blink of an eye, depression sets in

I probably should have seen it coming; after all, my mother suffers from bipolar disorder. I suppose I assumed it would never happen to me, that I would never be a victim of an "injured" brain. Yet, in my early 20s in 2001, the symptoms began. We were a military family with military health care. When going to the doctor and describing my symptoms, I was brushed aside and essentially given the military tag line of "suck it up." It was the equivalent to "take a Motrin and go home." That was TRICARE -- the health care program for active-duty military -- back then.

I was restless and impulsive and then, in the blink of an eye, I was depressed, sad and near suicide. I attempted suicide twice in my early 20s -- once with pills and once by cutting my wrists. I will carry those scars always.

I was begging for help, but no doctor, no nurse, or no one in my life was able to provide it. I was prescribed anti-depressants, patted on my head and sent on my way. Doctors were convinced I was merely depressed, stemming from the frequent need to relocate military spouses. No one dug any deeper, and it seemed as if
Zoloft was the catchall answer to everything. There were no psychiatric evaluations and no questions -- just this mantra: "You're depressed, have a pill."

From there it only got worse

In my late 20s, we were stationed in San Antonio when my husband got out of the military. It was the first time I had roots. I had built a successful career in sales, earning well more than $100,000 per year. But I was still struggling with a darkness in me I couldn't contain. I turned to alcohol as a method of (what I know now to be) self-medicating. I drank impulsively, and I spent impulsively. I bought everything I could find -- shoes, clothes, even two vehicles. I was out of control. I was eating out, buying food for others and funding others' bar tabs. It was a mess. I did everything to excess.

I neglected my family. I alienated myself from my husband of 10 years, I shut down on my 12-year-old twin daughters, and I ignored my 6-year-old. There were days I didn't come home at all and instead slept in my car. I was delusional, required little sleep and wasn't even a shadow of the person I knew myself to be. What's more, I didn't know why. I knew I needed help, but had no clue where to get it or even how.

It wasn't until after I lost my 5-year-old job as a educational director and nearly lost my family that my doctors were able to correctly diagnose me with bipolar I disorder and inform me I was cycling through manic and depressive phases rapidly due to having doctors prescribe me anti-depressants. For the six years I was on drugs for depression; I now knew those drugs made my condition even worse and explained away my impulsive behavior and fits of highs and lows. I learned the antidepressants made my symptoms worse, not better -- all because no one asked the right questions.

Putting it back together

Treatment began shortly after my 28th birthday. I was on Lamictal and seeing a psychiatrist. I felt better. As many other bipolar patients do when they see marked improvement, I stopped taking my pills. Why did I need them?

The vicious cycles continued until I turned 29, all because I convinced myself that I was fine. I honestly do not know what the turning point was exactly, but I hit one. I realized that my disease was chronic, and that without medication and treatment I would never be able to live and maintain a "normal life."

Now, at 31, I have been on my a 400mg per day dose of
Lamictal faithfully and am working hard each day to reach normalcy. Yet, it's not just my own efforts; my family has to help, and I need the assistance of my psychiatrist, my family physician and my therapist all working together to provide firm support system.

I see a therapist twice per month, a psychiatrist once every four months for medication adjustments and participate in on line support groups. I check in with my family on my condition, and ask questions about how I am reacting and relating to them in order to get the feedback I need.

What others see and some advice

Mental health issues and those with them quickly become the black sheep of society. Much fear surrounds someone with a "diseased" brain. I have been shunned and treated as less of a human being when coming out of the closet with my disorder to friends and family. I have been put in a position where my feelings are belittled and downplayed or dismissed altogether because I'm mentally unstable. Some people cannot get past seeing you as a disease instead of a human being.

For those suffering with any type of
mental health issue, my best advice is to first seek help from medical professionals. Be careful with whom you share your condition, as it will not often be met with understanding and gossip runs rampant even among adults. Never share your mental health condition with potential employers or co-workers and manage a treatment plan given to you only by a psychiatrist. Have a support system, join a support group and join online forums. Trust me, there are plenty of resources to help you cope with a disorder like this, and by no means do you have to give up a "normal" life because your brain is programmed a little differently.