April 22, 2012 at 3:15 pm (Anxiety/Stress, Depression, Personal, Suicide)
Tags: anxiety, Depression, mental health, suicidal thoughts, Suicide
Anxiety. Depression. Suicidal thoughts. They are all rolled up in one.
I am anxious about a lot of things these days. From something as mundane as sitting here typing on the computer to driving to cold calling a prospective client (which may never pan out because I’m too anxious to call right now). My anxiety has been debilitating in the past where I didn’t want to leave my home, and I fear it’s getting to the point of debilitation again on some days.
My anxiety depresses me. It keeps me from doing things that no one would think twice about. But here I sit, a prisoner in my own body, freaking out about nearly everything. To escape this, combined with my severe lethargy, I crawl into bed and sleep, hoping that when I wake up, things will be better. But they usually are not.
Please don’t get me wrong. I have a life many people would envy: a loving husband, a supportive family, and a steady job. I am thankful for the good things in my life. But this attitude of thankfulness and gratefulness doesn’t take away the depression inside of me.
I do not want to go back to the hospital. If I fear anything worse than death, it may be going back to a psych hospital. I have passing suicidal thoughts about hanging myself, but I haven’t been able to act upon it. I can’t determine whether I am a harm to myself in which case I would need to go to the hospital. The point of the hospital (for me) is to get me away from things that would cause immediate harm to myself. But I can’t be locked up in a hospital forever. (I guess I could in a state institution but that would be a nightmare.)
Somehow, existing in this jumbled mix is me. Somewhere inside, I am bubbly, wonderfully wacky, and beautifully strange. The depression and anxiety fuzz all of that. I am only some of what I used to be. I go to sleep, hoping for some kind of reprieve from this dark cloud that hangs over me.
April 14, 2011 at 9:55 pm (Depression, Suicide)
Tags: dark passenger, Depression, Dexter, postayear2011, suicidal thoughts, Suicide
Image from zazzle.com
Although I’m not a fan of the Dexter books or TV series, I’ve been introduced to both by way of my husband who enjoys both forms of Dexter media.
The other day I flipped through Jeff Lindsay’s latest, Dexter Is Delicious, and read a little bit about the part of Dexter that he calls his “Dark Passenger,” the voice inside of him that compels him to kill. (But he justifies this by killing murderers. An interesting twist on the anti-hero.)
I ruminated on this as I’ve been dealing with a lot of suicidal thoughts lately. And really, there’s nothing wrong in my life that would cause these suicidal thoughts to arise. It’s just something in me gone haywire. It’s like a part of me that’s not really a part of me that I can kind of talk back to. It sounds otherworldly and crazy.
So I’ve taken to calling the suicidal voice (unlike Dexter’s homicidal one) in my head the “Dark Passenger.” My husband kind of likes this too as it identifies something that’s not really me although it’s a part of me.
The Dark Passenger is pretty random these days. Even if I have a slight mood crash, he’ll—because my sinister voice is clearly not a seductive she, maybe androgynous—tell me that life is not worth living and to go kill myself.
Dark Passenger: Go kill yourself. Life isn’t worth living anyway. You’re a total failure and you know you can’t do anything right.
Me: Um, why are you bugging me? I’m not even depressed right now.
Dark Passenger: [silence]
Yeah, that’s pretty much how our conversations go. It probably sounds a bit schizophrenic or something but that’s basically my stupid battle to stay alive. You can probably imagine how terrible our conversations are when I am depressed.
My Dark Passenger’s a bit starved, you see, because I haven’t tried to kill myself in a while and he’s getting antsy. I was last hospitalized for a suicide attempt in 2006 and even though I’ve had a few half-hearted attempts since or serious thoughts about an attempt, I haven’t had a serious attempt that has required me to be locked away for a good bit of time. I still get freaked out about my near-sexual assault encounter and that’s done a good job of keeping me in check for now.
So the Dark Passenger tries to get me whenever he thinks he’s got an opening:
No one signed up for your class. You’re a loser. Go kill yourself.
She never called you back. See? No one likes you. Go kill yourself.
You can’t get pregnant or do anything right. You’re not cut out to be a mother. In fact, you weren’t meant to be one because you need to go kill yourself.
And on and on and on. It’s easy to tell him to shut up when I’m not deeply depressed. Not so much otherwise.
Maybe there’s something to that “Get behind me, Satan” stuff after all. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, a famous British preacher, once suggested in his book Spiritual Depression to “talk back” to one’s negative voices. While it doesn’t work in the most severe of cases for me, it works. . . for the most part.
April 9, 2009 at 3:20 pm (Anticonvulsants, Antidepressants, Antipsychotics, Depression, Medicine/Meds, Mental Health/Illness, Personal, Schizophrenia)
Tags: Adverse Effects, Anticonvulsants, Antidepressants, big pharma, counseling, doctors, dopamine, drug withdrawal, drugs, escitalopram, Lamictal, lamotrigine, Lexapro, med withdrawal, medication, medication withdrawal, meds, neurotransmitters, paranoia, paranoid, patient, Pharma, pharma drugs, pharmaceutical, pharmaceutical companies, psych, psych drugs, psych meds, psychiatry, psychology, psychotropics, Schizophrenia, schizophrenic, serotonin, side effects, suicidal ideation, suicidal thoughts, Suicide, withdrawal
My brain isn’t functioning today quite honestly so my apologies if the following makes no sense whatsoever. It’s long and I ended up rambling.
Lately, I’ve been thinking about whether there are any benefits to using pharmaceutical drugs. I have blogger friends who are very much anti-pharmaceuticals anything, try to avoid drugs as much as possible but take them if necessary, or think pharmaceutical drugs are a Godsend.
I’m still trying to figure out where I stand.
Pharmaceutical companies are in the business of making money. It is not to their advantage to put out completely shoddy products that do not work. I’m sure many of them bury negative data and findings that do not shed a positive light on their drugs but if something works overall, they’ll put it out there. I don’t believe the doctors who are involved in these trials are all dirty, rotten sell-outs. Some of them are very well-meaning and honest who work to make these drugs as effective as possible. Call me naïve if you like but I just can’t bring myself to believe there are more greedy docs who skew results than there are those who are concerned with advancement.
I don’t think twice about popping Excedrin Migraine when I’ve got a painful, debilitating migraine; I have no problem taking naproxen (aka Aleve) when I’ve got menstrual cramps, and taking ibuprofen isn’t an issue if I have severe muscle pain. I don’t question the safety of these drugs. I’ve used them for so long, they’ve proven to be relatively safe for me (not everyone can tolerate those drugs) and efficacious. The safety risk of taking Excedrin Migraine sometimes outweighs the benefits of not taking it. (Note: I only speak of adults in terms of ingesting this kind of medication.I don’t believe developing bodies, such as youngsters, are able to handle medication that can significantly affect mood.)
When it comes to psych meds, I am not anti-medication. Psych meds should be taken on a case-by-case basis. There are some people who consider these meds to be a life-saver while others complain that it has made them miserable and worsened their lives. This is the gamble people take when choosing to ingest a psych med—most people don’t know that. Trouble is, most people don’t know when the stakes are high enough to take that risk.
I shouldn’t be in a position to judge anyone but when I hear people taking antidepressants based on circumstances—a job loss, failed relationship, loss of a life—I worry that it’s unnecessary. We are becoming a nation that is more reliant on “quick fixes” rather than developing coping mechanisms. It’s easier to pop a pill and dull your emotions than it is to face problems, tackle issues head on, and learn to work your way through it. Case in point: rising unemployment hasn’t slowed sales of antidepressants or sleeping pills.
- I have an aunt who was a violent paranoid-schizophrenic. She was placed in a mental institution and drugged up the wazoo. Now, she’s basically existing; the lights are on but no one’s home. The drugs have killed her. She’s alive but not really.
- My father was a non-violent paranoid-schizophrenic. It got to the point where we needed to medicate him to get him on track. The medication helped him to function “normally” but his thought processes and physical ability was significantly slowed. He once told me that he felt useless because my mother was busting her butt at work to pay for my college and he was basically an invalid because his mental illness had prevented him from being able to work. He died 4 months later. A few days after the funeral, my mom began to find his psych meds hidden all around the house. I often wonder if the drugs killed him.
- Another aunt (this is all on the paternal side of the family) also became a paranoid-schizophrenic. She was a brilliant woman who was basically reduced to moving from place to place to the point where she eventually became homeless and could not hold down a job. She disappeared for a while but during one cold winter, was found and brought into a homeless shelter. She was placed on meds and her cognitive functions returned despite the fact that her speech was sometimes garbled. She traveled the world, went on cruises and various excursions. The change was remarkable. Psych meds improved her life and saved her—the benefits of the drugs outweighed the side effects.
As I withdraw from Lamictal, I am curious to see who I am without this drug. Will my creative juices flow freely once again or are they now somewhat hindered? Will my cognitive functioning correct itself or will I forever suffer from problems? Will my short-term memory loss issues smooth out or will I still suffer from intermittent forgetfulness? I have some side effects that may remain with me for a while or perhaps forever (though I hope not) but seeing others fully recover after taking drugs for 10 times longer than I have gives me hope.
I feel the majority of my progress has come from intensive counseling and being infused with the truths as laid out in the Bible. I’d say 90% of my progress has been due to counseling. I give the meds 10%. You can tell I don’t place much stock in them. But they’ve helped to cut down on the mixed episodes.
So far, I haven’t had any suicidal thoughts are behaviors that are out of the ordinary. (Thank GOD.) I’ve been dealing with a mild depression but that stems from basing my worth based off of my career rather than any biological imbalances. The last time I suffered a severe depression, I was on Lexapro (if that tells you anything).
I’ve gotten a lot of resistance and concern from family members who question my decision to come off of the medication. They’ve seen a miraculous change in me and attribute it to being on meds. Meds aren’t a cure-all. They don’t see the counseling and shifting of thought processes going on that has helped me to develop coping mechanisms. Meds may help people “cope” but they don’t develop the tools needed to cope.
I’ve decided that I’ll probably give that Christian psychiatrist a call. My counselor recommended him and she said that he’s very neutral on meds and doesn’t shove them on anyone. I mentioned that I wasn’t sure if anyone would accept me as a patient only to lose me in the end—she insisted he wouldn’t mind. The intake cost is hefty but since I was able to temp a few days for my job this week—I’m not permanently returning, I can swing it.
Which brings me back to my position on psych meds: I said it earlier but I think it’s a case-by-case basis. In my personal life, I’ve seen the benefits outweigh the side effects and I’ve seen the side effects outweigh the benefits. And I’ve seen benefits (not necessarily beneficial) as a result of side effects. Psychiatry is the biggest medical guessing game of all medical specialties. There are no certainties, and there’s no one medication that works best for everyone. Pharmaceutical companies make it a point to put the disclaimer on the patient information sheet that they’re not exactly sure HOW these drugs work. All that stuff about serotonin, dopamine, and neurotransmitters is pure speculation when it comes to depression. You’ll have me convinced about chemical imbalances once I can get a MRI and blood test done. Until then, it’s all trial-and-error.
So if I do suffer from relapses while withdrawing from this medication and it gets to the point where I may need to be hospitalized, I’m not averse to remaining on the drug. Better to be alive and on a psych drug than dead because I was determined not to use it at risk to my safety. If I end up having to stay on the drug, the future of giving birth to children will seem a bit more uncertain.
March 6, 2009 at 11:28 am (Adverse Effects, Blogs, Medicine/Meds, Suicide)
Tags: Adverse Effects, Effexor, Lamictal, lamotrigine, side effects, suicidal ideation, suicidal thoughts, Suicide, withdrawal, withdrawal symptoms
This is a great post from Ana on how she struggled with suicidal thoughts while tapering off of Effexor. She was a lot better about identifying this stuff than I’ve ever been. I’m linking to this because I want people to know that suicidal thoughts CAN be drug-induced. I’m well aware of that now coming off of Lamictal. No problems so far but I have struggled with it in the past when I tried to jump down from 200 mg to 150 mg.
February 11, 2009 at 7:50 am (Christian, Loose Screws Mental Health News, Suicide)
Tags: Academic Medicine, attempting suicide, church attendance, committed suicide, committing suicide, demographic, depressed, Depression, Journal of Affective Disorders, medical students, night terrors, nightmares, religious services, religious worship, reports, spirituality, studies, study, suicidal, suicidal behavior, suicidal ideation, suicidal thoughts, Suicide, suicide attempt, survey, U.S News & World Report, University of Manitoba
A new study from the University of Manitoba shows people who regularly attend some kind of religious service are less likely to attempt suicide. The study, published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, surveyed 37,000 Canadians and their connection with spirituality, religious worship, and suicidal behavior. Those who simply said they were spiritual but didn’t attend religious services did not show a reduced risk of suicide attempts. However, I was dismayed to read that researchers didn’t investigate why regular church attendance decreases the risk of suicide attempts. (Note to self: Go to church each Sunday!) (pic via www.assumpta.fr)
Alison Go of U.S. News & World Report cites a study from Academic Medicine (originally reported by Inside Higher Ed) which suggests depression affects 21.2 percent of medical students. The rates is 11.2 percent higher than that of the general population. And unfortunately, 13 percent of black medical student reported suicidal ideation in the survey, suggesting that the demographic is more likely to suffer from suicidal thoughts.
And yet another study about suicide… The University of Gothenberg in Sweden performed a study on people who had nightmares following a suicide attempt and found out that they were five times more likely to try committing suicide again. The conclusion is based on a meager sample size of 165 patients but I suppose it’s a start.
While it appears that other sleeping obstacles do not raise the risk of multiple suicide attempts, patients who have attempted suicide seem to battle sleeping problems on a regular basis.
It is normal for patients that have attempted suicide to suffer from sleeping difficulties. Some 89 percent of the patients examined reported some kind of sleep disturbance. The most common problems were difficulty initiating sleep, followed by difficulty maintaining sleep, nightmares and early morning awakening.
Interesting observation considering that I have pretty much all of the common problems with the exception of early morning awakening.
Finally in a semi-cool story, a 22-year-old New Jersey guy who was friends with an 18-year-old Californian over the Internet called California police when he found out the 18-year-old said he would attempt suicide. Although it sounds like the teen (his name was not disclosed) is pretty upset about being saved (I know the feeling), it’s a (somewhat) happy ending compared to what happened in November when a Florida teenager streamed a webcast of him committing suicide by dying of a drug overdose. The Florida teen died before police arrived.
January 15, 2009 at 8:30 am (Medicine/Meds, News, Suicide)
Tags: Accolate, allergy, allergy medication, anxiety, asthma, AstraZeneca, clinical trials, Cornerstone Therapeutics, data, Depression, drug, drugs, FDA, inhaler, investigation, medication, medications.com, meds, Merck, montelukast, mood changes, night terrors, nightmares, paroniria, patient information, patient safety, Patient Safety Information, patients, PR, prescribing information, press release, safety information, safety review, Singulair, suicidal, suicidal actions, suicidal attempts, suicidal behavior, suicidal ideation, suicidal thoughts, Suicide, terrors, zafirlukast, zileuton, Zyflo
On Tuesday, the FDA announced that an investigation into Merck’s clinical trial data did not discover a link between Singulair (montelukast) and suicidal behavior. The investigation, which began 9 months ago, was prompted by a number of reported suicides, especially that of 15-year-old Cody Miller who took the drug and appeared to have no history of mood or behavioral problems. (It is worth noting here that Singulair “is the top-selling drug for people under 17 years old” and Merck’s biggest seller with annual sales of close to $4.5 billion.)
In attempt to assess Merck’s data better, the FDA also investigated AstraZeneca’s Accolate (zafirlukast) and Cornerstone Therapeutics’s Zyflo (zileuton). Although the FDA did imply that “the data were inadequate to draw a firm conclusion” and said that the clinical trials were not set up to observe any psychiatric behavior. Here are the data the FDA discovered during their review of these trials:
Singulair: 41 placebo-controlled trials that included 9,929 patients
- Reports of suicidal thoughts: 1 (treated with Singulair)
- Attempted suicides: None reported
- Completed suicides: None reported
Accolate: 45 placebo-controlled trials that included 7,540 patients
- Reports of suicidal thoughts: 1 (placebo group)
- Attempted suicides: 1 (placebo group)
- Completed suicides: None reported
Zyflo: 11 placebo-controlled trials (number of patients unknown)
- Reports of suicidal thoughts: None reported
- Attempted suicides: None reported
- Completed suicides: None reported
Forgive me for being cynical but the data sounds fishy. I can’t pinpoint why but it does. The suicide numbers and patient involvement data seem to deviate some from the numbers listed in Merck’s PR issued last March. (I’m seeing 11,000+ patients vs. 9,929 patients.) Regardless of the clinical trial data, it appears that the FDA as of yet have not reviewed post-marketing data.
Scott Korn, a senior safety surveillance executive for Merck said in an article for Reuters:
“‘At the time we did not believe, and we still don’t think a link has been established’ between Singulair and the suicides.”
In the same article, Sanford Berstein analyst Tim Anderson had this to say about the possibility of the FDA finding a link:
“If the… safety review leads to a stern warning about behavioral changes in the Singulair label, this could frighten users of the drug or their parents and give Merck’s competitors ammunition to attack the brand.”
The Washington Post has Dr. David Weldon, director of the Allergy and Pulmonary Lab Services at Scott & White in College Station, Texas, on record saying that he had not “seen any increase in psychiatric problems with the drug but that some patients had complained of nightmares after starting on Singulair.” (Note: It appears that the closest conflict of interest Weldon would have here is that he served as a consultant and is honoraria for AstraZeneca.)
Dr. Rauno Joks, head of the SUNY Downstate division of allergy and immunology, made an interesting point in the Washington Post article:
“The physician really needs to review whether there are symptoms that have developed since patients started taking the medication, if there’s an underlying depression that was there before medication started.
Also, seasonal allergies in and of themselves can cause fatigue and lethargy, which makes it harder to assess, because those are some of the symptoms you have with depression.”
The FDA says they’ve completed analyses of submitted clinical trial data but their “safety review will continue” for several more months before they come to a concrete conclusion. For customer testimonials, check out medications.com that has over 2,300 people reporting side effects and askapatient.com that has an average 2.3 rating from 524 reviewers. The most commonly reported mood-related side effect on both of the sites is irritability.
June 4, 2008 at 10:13 am (Medicine/Meds, Mental Health/Illness, Personal)
Tags: Abilify, Allegra, Antipsychotics, Blogs, counseling, donate, donations, drugs, fexofenadine, Furious Seasons, medication, mental health, mental health news, mental illness, negative thinking, pessimistic, Philip Dawdy, psych drugs, psych meds, psychiatrist, psychotropics, Risperdal, suicidal thoughts, Suicide, weblogs, withdrawal
Posting may be light through Friday as I’m proofing an ENTIRE website — medication-related, actually — and making all the web copy is correct, the links work, and that the design/layout isn’t funky. Since it’s a website, it’s a huge job and it may take me until Friday. Here’s an example (not the real site I’m working on) of the monstrosity of the kind of work I’m doing. I’m proofing every single piece of text on every page. Funny thing is, I don’t mind. I love what I do.
I have my psychiatrist appointment at 3:30 pm so I might be able to get a quick post in to let you know what happens. He’ll probably be concerned that I didn’t take my Abilify, but I just stopped taking fexofenadine (Allegra’s generic equivalent) and have begun to drop weight. I don’t need Abilify to help me pack it back on it again. I can do it quite easily with the help of the amazing bakery across the street.
I had counseling last night but will be going again next week. I usually go once every two weeks, but my counselor is concerned since I’m having a consistent reoccurrence of suicidal thoughts. Even when I’m in a good mood, I still think of finding a way to kill myself. That’s not depression so much as it is my negative way of thinking. However, it’s still cause for concern considering that dwelling on the idea could actually lead to another attempt.
I’ve read a few blogs in which people are enduring Risperdal withdrawal. I have a friend who’s currently coming off of Risperdal because her blood sugar is so high. She’s been on it for years. That’s one of the reasons why I don’t want to take an antipsychotic. Doctors put patients on it for long-term maintenance when most of the clinical trials have only studied short-term effects.
I’ve become dissatisfied with how narrow the layout is on my blog so it’s possible that if you visit the site, it’ll look funky every now and then as I play around with it and decide on one I like. I’m not an expert with CSS so I tinker with it until I’m satisfied. I’d like my text area wide enough to post YouTube videos and pictures without them getting cut off. Just letting you know so you don’t wonder what happened to your browser.
Last but not least, if you like this blog, then please go to this one and donate $1, $2, or $5. If you know me in person, please donate as well. (I made a plea about this last week.) That blog provides me with inspiration to keep on going. You can donate to Philip Dawdy via PayPal, check, or money order. (I guess you could send cash too but that’s never recommended.) Philip’s blog, Furious Seasons, has helped many people in the mental health community including myself.
May 19, 2008 at 12:03 am (Bipolar Disorder, Depression, Mental Health/Illness, Personal, Suicide)
Tags: bipolar, Bipolar Disorder, Depression, diagnose, diagnosis, DSM, hypomania, hypomanic, medication, mental, mental health, mental illness, overdose, psychiatric, psychiatry, psychology, racing thoughts, suicidal thoughts, Suicide
I finally sat down and read all those posts that I linked to about Bipolar Overawareness Week. I mentioned in my previous post that I feel like I had a contrarian view. Well, I do. Somewhat. Although it’s probably not as contrarian as I’d think.
Let’s take my experience, for example.
Read the rest of this entry »
April 25, 2008 at 4:50 pm (Celebrities, Christian, Depression, Suicide)
Tags: BET, BET News, Bynum, Depression, divorce, Divorce Court, divorce proceedings, failed marriage, JK Rowling, Juanita, Juanita Bynum, legacy, marriage, prophetess, Rowling, self-absorbed, suicidal, suicidal ideation, suicidal thoughts, Suicide, televangelist, Thomas Weeks III
As reported by BET News, Juanita Bynum, a televangelist who is in the middle of divorcing her husband Thomas Weeks III, admitted that she wanted to kill herself when she saw her marriage falling apart.
“Suicide crossed my mind … You know, I felt hopeless,” Bynum says in a two-part episode of the TV show “Divorce Court. “I didn’t because the name Bynum represents a legacy of people that have gone before me and had I done that I would have given too much power to an individual to not just wipe me out but to wipe out the integrity of the legacy I was born in.”
There’s a debate in the comments section of this post in which people are arguing that Bynum, who calls herself a prophetess, is human and is allowed to have a weak moment like Jesus did in the garden but there are others who aren’t taking her claim seriously citing her “self-absorbed” reasoning about the “Bynum legacy.”
Suicide? If you believe that I have a bridge I want to sell you. She is too infatuated with herself to do that. We need to stop listening to this person of continuous drama. She does not practice what she preaches.
Many people reach a point in their lives where they either have suicidal thoughts or consider committing suicide but move past it. I’m sure Bynum falls into this category, and it’s understandable. J.K. Rowling recently admitted to something similar while she was in the middle of divorce proceedings.
April 22, 2008 at 3:04 am (Celebrities, Mental Health/Illness, Stigma, Suicide)
Tags: Depression, Depression Marathon, digg, JK Rowling, mental health, mental illness, Stigma, suicidal thoughts
A while ago, posted on J.K. Rowling who spoke of her battle with suicidal thoughts. Etta at Depression Marathon made a post on some comments left on a digg link about the news.
Here are a select few of the 150 current comments on digg.com. Warning: if you have a weak stomach or a low frustration tolerance, you may want to discontinue reading now.
1. umm, big deal. who hasn’t thought about suicide before? oops…. thats right. my fault. because she’s famous this is somehow more important.
6. she should have gone through with it
7. WHY IS THIS ON THE FRONT PAGE!!!!!The woman is one of the richest people on the planet. So how is this supposed to make any difference in ANYONE’S life or situation. WHO CARES!!!!!Kevin please fix the algorithm to keep crap like this away from those of us who actually give a shit about what gets here. This makes Digg BORING and less interesting and intellectually useful than it used to be.
10. depression isn’t a disease. It’s a state of mind & nothing more than a word. snap out of it!
There’s not much left to say…there were a few defenders among the haters, but the vast majority are reflected within the 10 statements I’ve included above. Wow…
Explains why mental health news is so unpopular.
April 15, 2008 at 10:54 am (Statistics, Suicide)
Tags: everyminute.org, Google, mental health, mental illness, MSN, prevention, sites, Statistics, suicidal, suicidal actions, suicidal behavior, suicidal thoughts, suicidality, Suicide, suicide methods, suicide prevention, suicide support, support, Times of India, Web sites, Yahoo
Here's one scary statistic:
In a study, the first of its kind, scientists have found that websites encouraging suicide pop up more frequently in Internet search engines than those which aim to prevent it.
The story, reported by the Times of India, must be speaking of Web sites outside of the U.S. because I sure can't find such a phenomenon on U.S. sites. (Yes, yes, I've previously tried.)
"Lies, damned lies, and statistics":
While one in five sites that popped up on the click of a mouse were dedicated suicide sites, and over 50% of them encouraged, promoted or facilitated suicide. Over 43 of the websites studied contained personal accounts of suicide methods. In contrast, only 13% focused on suicide prevention or offered support, while another 12% actively discouraged suicide.
The article mentions that the three highest ranked sites were pro-suicide. The top four sites gave detailed information on various ways to commit suicide. Most of these pro-suicide hits were found via Google and Yahoo. MSN had the highest hits of prevention and support sites.
As I resist the urge not to investigate the data further, I think of a Web site I was introduced to recently called everyminute.org. According to the site, about 30,000 people commit suicide in the U.S. annually. Suicide also is the second highest cause of death of those in the 25–34 age range. Untreated mental illness tends to play a big role in suicides. This statistic makes me glad that my mental illness is being treated, however, I still struggle with suicidal thoughts (I have lately). The silver lining in this is that I have a higher chance of overcoming my suicidal actions and behavior thanks to my counseling, medication, and self-education via this blog and the blogs of others.
March 27, 2008 at 4:27 pm (Medicine/Meds, Suicide)
Tags: allergy, allergy medication, asthma, clinical trials, drug, drugs, FDA, inhaler, investigation, medication, medications.com, meds, Merck, montelukast, patient safety, Patient Safety Information, patients, PR, prescribing information, press release, Singulair, suicidal, suicidal actions, suicidal attempts, suicidal behavior, suicidal thoughts, Suicide
Merck issued a press release today responding to the FDA’s investigation. Along with the standard "we didn’t know about this problem until after it the market" disclaimer, the PR mentioned:
In a cumulative analysis recently provided to the FDA of Merck’s randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials, which included over 11,000 adults and children in over 40 studies who were treated with SINGULAIR, there were no reports of suicidal thoughts or actions and no completed suicides in the patients who received SINGULAIR.
Additionally, in a cumulative analysis recently provided to the FDA of Merck’s randomized, double-blind, clinical trials that compared SINGULAIR with other active agents to treat asthma (which included over 3,900 adults and children who were treated with SINGULAIR and over 3,400 who were treated with other asthma therapies), there was 1 patient who attempted suicide who received SINGULAIR, and there were 3 patients who attempted suicide who received other asthma therapies (including inhaled corticosteroids and long-acting beta-agonists). These studies were not designed to compare the rate of suicide in patients taking SINGULAIR with the rate of suicide in patients taking these other asthma agents.
Did Merck report that one suicidal attempt when compared to "other active agents to treat asthma"? It doesn’t say anything in their patient safety or prescribing information when I checked. Perhaps someone can find out whether they reported this in their clinical trials?
In the meantime, the Singulair section of medications.com is ablaze with parents who are now expressing concern over their children’s well-being on the drug. Apparently, issues have cropped up with the drug even before the FDA announced their investigation.
March 27, 2008 at 12:13 pm (Medicine/Meds, Suicide)
Tags: allergy medication, anxiety, Depression, drugs, FDA, investigation, medication, meds, montelukast, mood changes, patient information, patient safety, safety information, Singulair, suicidal, suicidal actions, suicidal behavior, suicidal thoughts, Suicide
In a particularly odd link, the FDA is looking into Singulair, the asthma and allergy drug and its correlation with suicidal behavior. I’ve taken Singulair in the past and not once did it ever occur to me to think about an allergy medication being linked to suicidal behavior. The FDA also says that it could cause mood and behavior changes. The situation that alerted the FDA to this possibility is the story of 15-year-old Cody Miller who killed himself 17 days after switching from allergy medication Allegra to Singulair. Miller’s mother, Kate, approached his medication switch with extreme caution and informed herself of the possible side effects:
She checked the Merck website and the information sheet she got from the pharmacist on Singulair and found no red flags, so they were stumped when Cody started acting out of character.
I have to hand it to Merck: Once the Millers reported Cody’s death, they immediately updated Singulair’s warnings to include suicidal thoughts and actions. However, Cody died on August 4, 2007. Merck updated their information two months later. As of February 29, 2008, the FDA still hadn’t taken any action. Despite the updated warnings, however, doctors and pharmacists were unaware of the new information.
The Singulair website carries the updated side effects, but you have to search it out in the patient information PDF on the fourth of five pages.
If you check with the FDA, you’ll find nothing. That’s because they admit they haven’t updated their website on Singulair since 2001.
According to the FDA’s MedWatch safety information, they have only begun their investigation today. They say it will take 9 months for them to “complete their investigation.” We may not hear of the FDA’s conclusions until early 2009. If this is a single, isolated incident, the FDA may just say the results are inconclusive and allow Merck rip the warning off their patient safety information. It is also important to note, however, that Singulair has also been linked to depression and anxiety.
Read the rest of this entry »
March 26, 2008 at 1:29 pm (Celebrities, Depression, Suicide)
Tags: BBC News, counseling, Depression, Harry Potter, JK Rowling, Rowling, suicidal thoughts, Suicide, therapy
Famed author of the “Harry Potter” series, J.K. Rowling admits that she suffered from suicidal thoughts after the breakdown of her first marriage when she was in her mid-20s. She attributes her recovery to “invaluable” counseling. There was no mention of her overcoming depression with medication in the article.
Another post on Celebrity Sensitivity either later or tomorrow…
April 5, 2007 at 12:54 pm (Christian, Suicide)
Tags: Bible, biblical, care, Christian, Christians, compassion, God, Jesus, Jesus Christ, suicidal, suicidal thoughts, Suicide, suicide intervention, tough love
"The basic rule of suicide intervention is this: if the level of suffering can be reduced a little, the individual might choose to live." – Jeffrey S. Black
The quote above is the entire point of this post and the preceding posts on this subject. Suicide’s a difficult and divisive topic. People never seem to run out of opinions on the matter. Jeffrey Black’s booklet was directed to an audience that wanted to know how to help a suicidal individual. I added a couple of things that I thought were relevant, but for the most part, Black is on target. I stopped harping on this through my posts, but I remained dismayed at the straightforward approach and lack of empathy in the book. While a person struggling with suicidal thoughts shouldn’t be "babied," he should be treated with compassion and care. Tough love works on some people, but its potential for backfire is great. Many people who consider suicide are extremely fragile and the slightest criticism could further convince them that they need to kill themselves. (FYI – I am one of these.) If you’ve known the person for a long time, assess his normal-tempered personality. From there, decide whether he is capable of accepting a bit of a heavy-handed push. A general rule: Avoid tough love if the suicidal person normally wouldn’t consider you "a loved one."
So this post concludes my longest-running series on suicide. This series has been in the works since October, when I entered the hospital, but I never had any time to really devote to it. The semi-meticulous person I am, I went through my posts and tried to edit them as much as possible. (OK, with the exception of this one.) A few mistakes might slip through, but for the most part, they should be relatively readable.
The point of this series wasn’t to bang non-Christians over the head with a Bible. (Uh, so to speak.) The booklet I dissected came from a Christian point of view, but I think there was a lot of helpful information, not just for Christians, but for anyone who wants to help a suicidal person. It’s not foolproof and it certainly isn’t the "be-all and end-all." It’s a guideline and a good start. Purchase the book at Amazon, if you’re interested.
April 2, 2007 at 11:30 am (Christian, Suicide)
Tags: booklet, death, dry run, hope, hopeful, hopefulness, hopeless, hopelessness, irrational, need, pain, problem, self-hatred, self-loathing, substance abuse, suicidal, suicidal thoughts, Suicide, warning sign
Helping a suicidal person is a touchy subject. Black’s booklet is addressed to people who want to help a person who is suicidal. Black’s provides some tips to help a suicidal person:
- “Acknowledge the reality of [the person’s] pain.”
- “Help him see the connection between his pain and his felt need.” Get them to say, “Life without ___ [fill in the blank]___ will be unbearable because ___[fill in the blank]___.”
- “Challenge constricted options and irrational thoughts.”
- “Explore [the person’s] perceptions of hopelessness.” How hopeless is the person feeling? Can the situation be rectified or is it hopeless?
- “Help the person to separate pain and need.”
Black’s following guideline is a good way to assess whether a person is considering suicide:
1. Presenting problem – Assessment begins by evaluating the problem that triggered the downward spiral. This is difficult to do if the person can’t identify any triggers.
2. Background information – Analyze the person’s life and personality to gain a better understanding of how and why he is driven to a point where he considers taking his own life. A good warning sign: If someone says, "I can’t deal" repeatedly. "I can’t deal" really means, "I don’t have the appropriate coping skills to handle my situation."
3. Substance abuse – While a person who abuses drugs or alcohol may not be suicidal, the likelihood that a depressed person who abuses drugs or alcohol is.
4. Resources – Encourage the (potentially) suicidal individual to seek out a support network: family, friends, church, therapists, or social groups. If a person feels needed, he is more likely to realize that his death will have a significant impact. Perhaps he’ll think twice before making an attempt.
5. Suicidal thinking and intent
A. "Evaluate the person’s felt experience." Use a mood scale from 1-10 to gauge how good or bad a person is feeling. (Feel free to use mine on the right.)
B. "Determine how often the person has suicidal thoughts and how intense or compelling they are." Frequent "passing" thoughts are no longer passing thoughts.
C. Dry run. A person contemplating suicide might have “tried out” the way he plans on killing himself.
“Has she ever taken a few pills to see what it feels like, tied things around her neck, driven at high speed, or practiced with an unloaded gun? Dry runs help the person to resolve any ambivalence she might feel about suicide.”
If a person admits to attempting a “dry run,” the person likely is in extreme danger of following through.
6. Noble End – A person who is at the point of beautifying suicide as a glorious end to his life is completely disillusioned and should be seen as a high risk. Watch out for talk of "No one needs me anymore" or "Everyone would be better off without me."
An addendum: A person who says "I hate myself" may be a suicidal risk, but not always. An admission of self-hatred provides evidence that he may want to eliminate the hatred in some way.
March 30, 2007 at 10:27 am (Christian, Suicide)
Tags: abuse, believer, Christian, Christianity, Christians, crisis, death, distort, distractions, intense, Jesus, Jesus Christ, medication, pain, problem, psychological, situation, stressors, suicidal, suicidal thinking, suicidal thoughts, Suicide, Suicide attempts
A “situational crisis” may lead a person to have “intense psychological pain.” As a result of this psychological pain, a person can begin to experience “distorted thinking” and/or may “abuse medication.”
1. Situational crises
These include financial problems, illness, bereavement, relational conflict, or public humiliation. Black notes that situational crises tend to act as a “catalyst to suicide,” driving the person to believe he or she has no other solutions to solve his or her problem(s).
2. Severe psychological pain
Black gets to the heart of suicide attempts:
“The goal of suicide is often simply to end that pain: ‘I just want the pain to go away.’ … ‘I just want to die’ most often means, ‘I want to stop feeling bad.’”
This, above all things, is the biggest reason behind a suicide attempt. If people felt like they had other options to their problems apart from suicide, most would take the alternate routes. In a suicidal moment – whether planned or not – the suicidal person is thinking about ending the “pain.” Death itself is not the goal; it’s an end to emotional pain. Death seems to serve as a means to that end.
3. Distorted Thoughts
Distorted thinking is a characteristic of suicides. Black writes:
“Problems may seems catastrophic when they are not. Predictions about the future can become arbitrary and unrealistic.”
While problems get unbearable and circumstances may seems bleak, instead of looking for assistance, those who are suicidal convince themselves that only death or loss of consciousness can release them from emotional pain.
4. Abuse of medication
A person who attempts to overdose on medication seeks one of two things: death or loss of consciousness. Abuse of medication that requires hospitalization provides a legitimate reason to “escape” the problems of life. Abusing medication is a person’s way of saying that he needs, as Black puts it, “an emotional vacation.” The person feels overwhelmed by the stressors of life and temporarily need to block out all distractions. At this point, it is safe to say a person is mentally ill. The need for escape from problems is the mind’s way of saying that it needs time to recover and become mentally healthy again. Abusing medication is the desperate way of doing this.
March 29, 2007 at 9:30 am (Christian, Suicide)
Tags: cope, coping, coping skills, depressed, Depression, hopelessness, isolation, pain, problems, stressors, suicidal, suicidal ideations, suicidal thinking, suicidal thoughts, Suicide, suicide attempt
In 10 years of struggling with suicidal thoughts, I’m practically a “suicidal” expert. (I said "practically," not actually.) I know quite a bit about suicidal ideations and many of the thought processes behind them. Jeffrey Black lists more common features in suicidal thinking:
- Extreme psychological pain related to unmet psychological needs.
- A view of self that says she cannot tolerate such intense pain.
- An overwhelming feeling of hopelessness, and the belief that she is helpless to solve problems.
- A sense of isolation or desertion accompanied by the belief that others cannot, should not, or do not want to offer support, nurture, or care.
Not all suicides are planned. I, for one, can attest to the fact that they can be impulsive. The combination of elements that Black identifies can seem to lead someone to a suicide attempt. Black’s pattern of identifying someone who possibly could have suicidal tendencies is as follows:
- Sense of hopelessness
- Pattern of poor coping skills
- Limited tolerance for pain
- Need to flee from help
All four are likely to be present to classify someone as suicidal. Two out of four does not a suicidal person make. Desperate, yes, but not undeniably suicidal.
“Hopelessness can be both a source of psychological pain and a result. A person’s belief in her inability to change things is probably bound up with her experience that the pain is intolerable.”
Here’s the equation for a suicidal mind, here is the equation:
problems + inability to change problems = intolerable pain.
If the equation becomes problem + inability to change problems + intolerable pain, then the only solution – as perceived – is suicide. Black breaks down the facets of suicide:
- The result of a continuous transaction between a person’s heart
- The symptoms of depression
- The kinds of stressors in the person’s environment
- The strategies a person uses to cope with depression and other life events
A person turns to suicide if he is suffering from severe depression; has poor coping strategies; feels that his stressors are too much to handle; and in his heart, has decided that as a result of these circumstances and feelings, he must end his life.
March 26, 2007 at 10:24 am (Books, Christian, Suicide)
Tags: Biblical counseling, booklet, CCEF, Christian Counseling and Education Foundation, empathy, facts, Glenside, Jeffrey S. Black, suicidal ideation, suicidal thoughts, Suicide, sympathy
“Won’t you share a common disaster? Share with me a common disaster. Oh, a common disaster.” – Cowboy Junkies, “A Common Disaster”
I receive weekly counseling at CCEF (Christian Counseling and Education Foundation) in Glenside, Pennsylvania, The foundation has an outreach program called Resources for Changing Lives that publishes educational material on different topics. One of the small booklets I purchased was “Suicide: Understanding and Intervening (SUI)” by Jeffrey S. Black. The booklet is a tad bigger than a 3 x 5 index card and consists of 31 pages. Of all the things I read in the book, the last paragraph stood out in my mind:
“In the years I have been involved in biblical counseling, I have not completely fathomed the hopelessness and despair in a believer that makes death more attractive than life. I pray that my inability is not merely a lack of empathy for someone who struggles. I hope that it is a vision for Christ and his kingdom that keeps the true ‘meaning’ of suicide out of my reach.”
While I understand Mr. Black has years of counseling those who struggle with suicidal ideations, I can’t help but wonder: What made him qualified to write this book?
In reading SUI, I felt as though the author took an objective stance in writing this. It came across as matter-of-factual rather than empathetic or sympathetic. I read the book – in all honesty – looking for answers and some kind of sympathy. I only received a slew of answers. The book should aptly be renamed “Suicide: A Factual Guide to Intervention.” No understanding required.
The book wasn’t bad; it just felt like the author wanted to keep his distance. “Don’t get too close to the reader lest you understand what a suicidal person is experiencing!” But the lack of emotion to relate to the reader detracted from many of the positive aspects of the book.
Out of five stars, I give the book three stars. Despite the absence of emotion, the book gives great bits of information I hope to share. As a person who struggles with suicidal thoughts on a recurring basis, the book was a bit of a disappointment. I know of other counselors at the foundation who could have written a more sympathetic book than Mr. Black. But he wrote it, so it’s time to delve into it.
March 22, 2007 at 10:11 am (Christian, Depression, Suicide)
Tags: Bible, biblical, booklet, Christian, Christianity, Christians, depressed, Depression, suicidal, suicidal thoughts, Suicide, suicide attempt, suicide intervention
Beginning next week, I’ll be unveiling a series on a booklet that I read called, "Suicide: Understanding and Intervening," by Jeffrey S. Black. According to the booklet, Mr. Black pastors Calvary Chapel in Philadelphia and is an adjunct faculty member for the Christian Counseling and Education Foundation’s School of Biblical Counseling. (Since the booklet was written in 1998, I don’t know if the previous sentence still holds true.)
The book is directed at readers who want to know how to help a suicidal person. I quote much of the book and offer some comments, but I also try to add some important pieces that I think Mr. Black overlooked. The booklet relies on the Bible to support many of its points so it is heavily Christian-themed. However, there are other interesting tips that anyone – Christian or non-Christian – can use to help those who are suicidal.
I’ll be honest: I read the book myself, and as a person who struggles with suicidal thoughts, I found it to be disappointing. This probably stems from the fact that suicidal people are not the target audience. Those who care about suicidal people are. Regardless, reading the book allowed me to gain some insight into my thought processes when I become suicidal. These thoughts aren’t evident to me when I am suicidal, but they do occur. Perhaps the coming book analysis can be a helpful tool for readers of this blog, not only for those who want to help suicidal people, but also for those who have attempted suicide and are looking for a way to thwart the process.
January 29, 2007 at 2:12 pm (Antidepressants, Bipolar Disorder, Depression, Loose Screws Mental Health News, Medicine/Meds, Schizophrenia, Suicide)
Tags: Depression, Disco D, faces, genes, genetic, Germany, police homicide, psych meds, Schizophrenia, Scientologists, Scientology, suicidal thoughts, Suicide
As much as I hate to admit it, the Scientologists have a point.
A group linked to Scientology staged a protest near a school after a student on psychiatric drugs stabbed a classmate to death. The point of the protest was to highlight “the dangers of antidepressants.”
“Several Scientologists held signs that mentioned by name John Odgren, the teen accused in the fatal stabbing. Signs included slogans such as “What psychiatric drugs was John Odgren prescribed?” and “Stop combining drugs to make walking time bombs.”
Odgren, 16, has been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, a mild form of autism, and according to his attorney was taking several prescription medications at the time of the stabbing. Odgren lived in Princeton but attended a special education program at L-S.”
I didn’t know that psychiatric drugs made people homicidal. I guess if they can make people suicidal then homicidal isn’t that far off.
“’There’s a lot of concern around the country when kids are becoming violent on psychiatric drugs,’ said Kevin Hall, the Scientology group’s New England director.”
Concern from who? This is probably something I should look into. See my favorite quote below:
“This is not a serious request by a serious group,” said School Committee Chairman Mark Collins on the demand that Odgren’s medical records be made public.”
Ouch. Scientology dismissed in one sentence.
UPDATE: Psychiatry drugs supposedly have no violent effect on children. But there are two sides to the debate.
Version 1 —
“Though the Food and Drug Administration currently includes a warning, called a ‘black box warning,’ on SSRIs stating studies have shown increased risk of suicide, particularly among teens and children, [John Fromson, chair of the psychiatry department at MetroWest Medical Center] said there are no studies which show the drugs cause violence toward others.
‘Violence is a social issue here,’ he said. ‘Illicit street drugs can do that…but to make a connection between medication that’s prescribed for legitimate reasons and at appropriate doses and violence – the scientific evidence just isn’t there.'” [emphasis mine]
Version 2 —
“Advocates like Lisa Van Syckel, however, insist the drugs can lead to violence, because they’ve seen it firsthand.
Van Syckel’s anti-depressant ordeal began seven years ago, when her then- 15-year-old daughter Michelle was prescribed the SSRI Paxil for depression and anorexia.
Over the next year, Van Syckel said, she attacked her brother, she viciously attacked three police officers, she went after another student with a baseball bat and she cut the word ‘die’ into her abdomen.
After nearly a year on the medication, doctors changed Michelle’s diagnosis to Lyme disease, and gradually weaned the teen off the drugs, and Van Syckel said Michelle has been herself ever since.”
Perhaps the scientific evidence isn’t there because clinical studies don’t track adolescents long enough to determine whether a propensity toward violence to others significantly increases.
A Mexican man who tried to commit suicide became a victim of police homicide. (Weird.) He threw himself on the train tracks in the Mexico City subway and was eventually rescued by station employees. After two policemen took him into custody, they allegedly beat him to death inside their patrol car. It’s so sad that this man had a second chance at life and two stupid policemen took it away.
I didn’t know this was possible:
“A 23-year-old man who sold a lethal cocktail of drugs as “suicide pills” on the Internet was sentenced by a court in Germany on Wednesday to three years and nine months in prison. The man pleaded guilty to 16 counts of the illegal sale of pharmaceuticals, a spokesman for the court in Wuppertal said.”
Wow. Who does a Google search for “suicide cocktail” or “lethal drug cocktails”? Isn’t it easier (and cheaper) to do it the old-fashioned ways: crash a car, hanging, jumping off a bridge…? Not advocating suicide, but I don’t understand why people need to pay for suicide. Maybe they’re wussies like me. But that’s what overdosing on pills is for. The Captain Obvious quote of the day:
“Suicide and assisting suicide are not illegal in Germany.”
Maybe I should move to Germany. (KIDDING. Just kidding. Sort of.)
50 Cent’s producer Disco D (Dave Shayman) killed himself on January 23. Although not much is known about his death, there is speculation that Disco D had bipolar disorder.
“DJ Vlad, a good friend of D, was shocked upon hearing the news.
‘Disco D was a good friend of mine. I lived with him in Brazil for a couple weeks. He was a real artist,’ Vlad revealed. ‘I just talked to him a few days ago, and he told me things were hard. I tried to cheer him up. I didn’t realize how hard it really was. I’m devastated right now.’”
No one really knows how difficult it is for someone struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts unless you’ve been there.
An article from IHT details interesting research that Harvard’s McLean Hospital is conducting to find out more about genetic schizophrenia.
“Consider, said Deborah Levy, the lab’s director: ‘The incidence of schizophrenia is stable at about 1 percent, and schizophrenics have very low reproductive rates. So what is keeping those genes going? One hypothesis is that most of the people carrying the schizophrenia genes are not the patients. Rather, they are some of the well parents and well siblings, most of whom never show signs of the illness.’”
Hmm. Is that why I’m an only child?
“The effects of such genes may show up in a variety of subtle ways, they say – including faulty eye-tracking and asymmetry in facial features so hard to detect that it is best measured by highly specialized 3-D cameras.
At Levy’s lab, people with schizophrenia and their relatives undergo 10 to 12 hours of tests. … The faces are measured in minute detail by Curtis Deutsch, a genetics expert who focuses on facial variations and their links to various diseases. … So, subtle abnormalities in the shape and layout of a face may reflect specific abnormalities in brain structure, he said. Thus far, he said, he has found that some schizophrenics do have certain minor facial anomalies – none of them visible to the naked eye – as do some of their healthy relatives.”
So it’s possible that facial features and movements could provide a clue to schizophrenic genes or perhaps increased risk for schizophrenia. The article’s pretty interesting. Go read the rest of it.
January 5, 2007 at 12:46 pm (Antidepressants, Bipolar Disorder, Children, Depression, Loose Screws Mental Health News, Medicine/Meds, Mental Health/Illness, News, Pharma, Suicide)
Tags: binge drinking, bipolar, Bipolar Disorder, Chief Justice, Children, Dawdy, Depression, ethchlorvynol, Furious Seasons, hallucinations, mental health, mental illness, paranoia, Placidyl, Prozac, Rehnquist, Spikol, suicidal ideation, suicidal thoughts, the trouble with spikol, Trouble With Spikol, women
Women who are binge drinkers are more likely to be clinically depressed, according to a joint U.S. and Canadian study. I find it funny that they’ve got a photo of a middle-aged (or senior) woman with the captions, “Binge drinking adversely affected women’s mental health, the study suggested.” It’s possible, but HIGHLY UNLIKELY that the woman in the picture is representative of a binge drinker. A picture of a female binge drinker would look more like this:
That’s better. (source: The Trouble With Spikol)
On a Spikol trip, she writes that she questions a bipolar diagnosis in children and young adolescents (as in 14 or 15). I wholeheartedly disagree. Once I received a bipolar diagnosis, I realized that it wasn’t something that I’d developed out of nowhere. I often thought that I began suffering from manic depressive episodes when I was 14. Looking into my childhood, I realized that there was so much more to it: the temper tantrums, the sudden happiness and instant withdrawal. Constant paranoia that no one liked me (which no one did because I was super smart as a child). My parents described me as a “happy” kid, but I remember my tumultous childhood from 6 years old and on. I was raised in Brooklyn until I was 5 and then moved to Long Island. Even though I attended kindergarten in Brooklyn, the LI school district insisted that I was too young for first grade and made me repeat kindergarten. This apparently angered me because my parents claim that the second time around, I didn’t do any of the work because I’d done it before. After an encounter with my teacher (and seeing my father cry for the first time in my life), I shaped up my act in time to move on to first grade.
So I disagree that a bipolar diagnosis in children would erroneous or inaccurate. However, it’s possible they may be misdiagnosed and find out later on in life that they really had ADHD or some other kind of mental illness. But that doesn’t mean they weren’t mentally ill at all; it simply means they weren’t diagnosed properly.
Read the rest of this entry »
December 18, 2006 at 1:44 pm (Depression, Medicine/Meds, Mental Health/Illness, News, Personal, Pharma)
Tags: bipolar, Bipolar Disorder, celexa, dementia, Depression, dosage, drug reps, Effexor, Effexor XR, elderly, Eli Lilly, escitalopram, Lamictal, lamotrigine, Lexapro, Lilly, lithium, medication, meds, mental health, mental illness, Olanzapine, paroxetine, patients, Paxil, PCPs, prescribing, prescriptions, primary care physicians, psych hospital, psych meds, psychiatrists, psychosis, quetiapine, Schizophrenia, seniors, Seroquel, suicidal ideation, suicidal thoughts, Suicide, venlafaxine, Zyprexa
Eli Lilly’s actions continue to be appalling.
Apart from trying to hide the fact that Zyprexa induces weight gain, diabetes, and hyperglycemia, they also had sales reps encourage primary care physicians to prescribe Zyprexa for patients who did not have schizophrenia or bipolar disorder (basically off-label usage).
It seems that Lilly told marketing reps to suggest Zyprexa for dementia in the elderly. Lilly denies this, of course, since olanzapine (Zyprexa’s generic name) is not approved for that kind of use since it increases the risk of death in seniors with psychosis associated with dementia. Lilly also attempted to market olanzapine to patients with mild bipolar disorder who suffer mainly from depression. (In actuality, Zyprexa is approved to treat those who suffer from mania.)
This issue with Eli Lilly delves into precisely why I am against PCPs prescribing psychiatric medicines. Primary care physicians don’t know enough about the various psychiatric conditions to prescribe the appropriate kind of medication. This type of prescription should be left to specialists like psychiatrists. PCPs should focus on the things they deal with on a daily basis that no one else can take care of: the common cold, the flu, annual physical, etc. It should be the job of the PCP to refer a patient to a psychiatrist should they present symptoms of mental illness (depression, schizophrenia, etc.). I have been burned by having a PCP prescribe antidepressants for me and as a result, attributed my horrible experience with drugs to that.
Read the rest of this entry »
December 15, 2006 at 12:53 pm (Antidepressants, Depression, Medicine/Meds, Mental Health/Illness, Suicide)
Tags: Antidepressants, black box warnings, CorePsych, Depression, FDA, FDA expansion ruling, Food and Drug Administration, PsychCentral, SSRI, Statistics, suicidal behaviors, suicidal thoughts, Suicide, suicide risk
“A Food and Drug Administration advisory panel on Wednesday agreed with the agency’s proposal that the labels on antidepressants should be expanded to include the risk of increasing suicidal thoughts and behaviors in young adults.”
This FDA expansion ruling is significant because it expands the black-box warning from children and adolescents (up to 18 years old) to young adults (up to 25 years old). However, what about the gap between those 25-34 years old? And then 34-65 years old? Studies consistently show that teens and the elderly are at the highest risk for suicide attempts. Why isn’t there also a black-box warning for those 65 and older?
My recommendation? The FDA needs to slap a general black-box warning on all antidepressants saying that it “can increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors.” Period.
Read the rest of this entry »
November 17, 2006 at 7:52 am (Random Thoughts)
Tags: caffeine, Mood swings, random, Random Thoughts, suicidal ideations, suicidal thoughts
A thought — Could caffeine trigger mood swings so big enough in me that it would produce suicidal ideations? Possibly.
July 22, 2006 at 12:23 am (Personal, Suicide)
Tags: cry for help, desolation, despair, desperation, drama queen, suicidal ideation, suicidal thoughts, Suicide, Suicide attempts, ways of attempting suicide
I’d like to say, “Been there, done that,” but it’s not something I’m proud to dismiss. February 14, 1997 was the first time I attempted suicide: I tried to jump off a fourth-story balcony. But I’m a drama queen and like standard drama queen fare, I called my pals and left them goodbye messages. People call it a cry for help; I just can’t leave this world without saying goodbye. (I liken it to leaving home for a long trip in another continent You’d say goodbye to those you love and would miss.) It’s become a bad (or perhaps, good) pattern that has kept me alive. I’ve tried jumping out of cars, swallowing pills, slashing, stabbing, drowning, suffocating — and barely stopped short of hanging. I got as far as a chair and a noose until I couldn’t bear to imagine my father walk in the door from work to see his only child hanging from the ceiling fan in the hallway.
I’m not happy to admit all this, but people can learn a lesson from a life as varied as mine. I’ve been to the depths of desolation and desperation and I know the feeling of not being able to “go on” or even wanting to “go on.”
July 21, 2006 at 11:44 pm (Personal)
Tags: ADHD, anxiety, bipolar, Bipolar Disorder, black, blog, Depression, depressive, diagnosis, female, flaws, major depressive disorder, manic, MDD, mental health, mental illness, suicidal attempts, suicidal behavior, suicidal ideation, suicidal thoughts, Suicide, who i am, woman
I am a 26-year-old black female who suffers from bipolar disorder. I was diagnosed with the illness in November 2006. I’d been diagnosed as suffering from major depressive disorder (MDD) beginning at the age of 14. I still consider myself to suffer primarily from depression although I do have occasional manic episodes.
This blog has helped me to recognize many of the things that I am. That
I truly am more than my diagnosis and that my diagnosis does not define
me. I am not just a person with manic and depressive episodes. I am a person with a personality. I’m smart, witty, drop-dead gorgeous—okay, I wish, but I’m not ugly—musically inclined, and ambitious. And that’s just scratching the surface.
I can be happy, sad, angry, and joyful. I have so many emotions that could classify me as anything. I have a short attention span, for instance. The docs missed the attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) diagnosis (although I lack the hyperactivity). I suffer from anxiety as well but not a single medical record lists me as suffering from generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). So I self-diagnose. It helps me to realize that all of my flaws can pigeonhole me into any diagnosis I choose. I accept my flaws – “diagnosable” or not – and my strengths. This is my journey to learn more about myself, my diagnosis, my medical treatment, and anything relating to my personal life and general mental health.
I’m skeptical of pharmaceutical companies. I don’t hate them; however, many of their practices are shady and I—along with some of my favorite medical blogs —hope to shed light on the “unfavorable” news they choose to keep hidden from the public.
I highlight celebrities who admit to mental illnesses. Many of them suffer from depression, which is the fashionable mental illness of the moment, but others truly suffer from problems that are worth talking about.
I also write about my personal life relating to mental illness. I struggle with constant thoughts of suicide. Readers of this blog will note a pronounced emphasis on suicidal thoughts and behaviors.
Feel free to read on to the next entry about my Perfectionistic Tendencies. Chronicling my journey to managing and treating my illness can hopefully aid me. And eventually, someone else.