Final Words

A month ago a woman with Alzheimer’s was admitted to the room directly below mine; we both face on the employee parking lot. She screams continuously. “Hello? Hello? Hello? Help! Help! Call 9-1-1! Stop hurting me!” The staff who serves me tells of getting out of their car in the parking lot and wondering “What is that? Who is screaming?”


It is one of their own who is screaming, and management says there is nothing they can do about it. I am living with her torment 24/7. Nobody else is. Staff can walk away from it. I can’t. They say they can’t medicate her.


My final request is that you medicate me to protect the staff because I cannot stop screaming at them. They believe that it is bad behavior and that I can control it. I can’t. It is not interpersonal. One indicator of that is that I am sitting here screaming at my computer, too.


Yesterday I went to an in-house clothing sale and had a complete meltdown. I cried and screamed all morning, then I got a dose of hydrocodone and slept for six hours without waking. It was the best six hours since I came to James Square. Ate supper, took more hydrocodone, slept another six hours. Woke up and started screaming at the nurse. Then crying uncontrollably.


I am in torment, but the order has been that they can’t medicate me because it makes me worse. Now, we have to medicate me. If that means keeping me “asleep” 24 hours a day, then so be it.


I took antidepressants and other psychiatric medications every day for 26 years. The purpose of the physicians’ in prescribing psych meds was to change my brain function because they believed that mental illness was a function of the brain.


They are wrong. Most “mental illness” is the result of bad life experiences. That is true of both depression and schizophrenia. They should be treated with more and better talk therapy. Read other entries in this blog and in “Behind the Locked Doors.” I have an I.Q. of 139, 68 years of life experience, and mental illness: I know what I am talking about.


So, anyway. I took psych meds every day for 26 years. Do you know what that did to my brain? No, you don’t. There is no way to measure or image mental illness in the brain. There are no lab tests or scans that can render “mental illness” tangible. In fact, in the Physicians Desk Reference, after entries for antidepressants, are the words ‘The exact mechanism whereby this works are unknown.” Nevertheless, they keep prescribing antidepressants.


What is known is that antidepressants do change brain chemistry. Go ask Dr. Peter Breggin, who has studied the damage and knows. Or ask me (e.g., read my other blog) because I know. In 2001, I stopped taking antidepressants. And recovered my mind. And became one kick-ass activist. See also “Resume of an Activist.”


I have to hurry and finish this. I’ve taken the pain killer and it’s putting me to sleep. That quickly, life becomes death.


Nobody knows how antidepressants change the brain, but they surely do. And when you stop taking antidepressants after 26 years, nobody knows what’s left, but I do. It is crazy to expect the brain to revert to the way it was 26 years before. Nobody knows what happens next, but I do.


There are a lot of research papers written about what happens in the first six weeks of withdrawing from antidepressants. It is the acute phase, and it is known and studied. But what about one year? What about five years? What about eleven years? What about end of life? Nobody knows.


Except me.


About three years ago, at eleven years post-antidepressants, my glucose stopped responding to diet and exercise. And every time I tried to take insulin it made me suicidal. And the aides responsible for my care judged me instead of believing me. My glucose has been between 350 and 650 for three or four years.


There is nobody in this country who knows what happens when you take antidepressants for 26 years, stop taking them for 14 years, have SEID that damages the immune system, and have hyperglycemia.


For years, my ex-psychiatrist and I have agreed that I cannot take any psych meds for anything. We both want me to get acupuncture four days a week. But for most of the past three years I have been in nursing homes or hospitals on Medicare or Medicaid.


Medicare and Medicaid will not pay for acupuncture. Hospitals and nursing homes will not let patients be treated with acupuncture. And I can’t take drugs. And several years of uncontrolled diabetes has been eating up every part of my body. And my brain. A psychiatrist who specialized in geriatrics said, ‘With old age come the breakdown of kidneys, pancreas, and every other organ. The brain is the most sensitive organ there is. Of course, it breaks down!’


I am now at the point where all I can do is scream and cry. If I had cancer, you would not leave me to suffer. I was fucked by psychiatrists and pharmaceutical companies. Now it is end-times. I am in a nursing home, bed-ridden and suffering. I live in community and the staff doesn’t want to take care of me because I am such a bitch.


I am not a bitch. I am suffering—and causing those around me to suffer—because of the damage done by psychiatrists prescribing pharmaceuticals when I had SEID/myalgic encephalomyelitis. Now you have to put a stop to it. If that means keeping me sedated 24/7 then so be it and amen.


If the drugs that are needed to block my pain turn out to be lethal, then so be that, too. Just remember: if you live by the pill bottle then you die by the pill bottle. Antidepressants do not cure depression.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment


    Comment from

I have a true story I want to share, a voluntary ER visit, turned into destroying my life, I had no prior history, I was in a mental health crisis I have learned they call it in the REAL world of medicine! It was a 1x incident. But I can tell you this story needs to go to a public, and it may just do that soon, because you see when mislabeled in the mental health system, you now have a stigma to live with, fraud in procedures, hospital violations, and continuous errors entered into reports have lead me to be in the system over four years, until now they have been caught, documents show catastrophic errors made.

I need to also find legal assistance, this did not happen at any of the hospitals listed here, but this story, my story, may just make laws change. It is inexcusable please let me know if anyone here can direct me who to report this too, bottom line delay of diagnosis, fraud many counts including Medicare part A, all wrong psychiatric drugs, now weaned from all, wrong treatment, which was illegal, battery, this all has to do with, no assessment, a assumed provisional diagnosis that never was looked into, patient boarding, and transfer to wrong part of this same hospital!

This ER also had yes a CPEP within it, documents show this, so you see it was not just the program, the intake report CPEP, is most accurate, however, I never got to the CPEP unit for 72-hour observation, medical treatment, assessment, diagnosis, care and treatment! Instead I was locked up in the 292 ICU for the mentally ill! Irreversible damage has been done throughout all this time. We need changes to be done, I know this most likely has happened to others, who never figured out what had happened to them, or their loved one, it was NOT a ER I walked into for bizarre behavior with psychotic FEATURES, but was in fact also housed the CPEP program, where I was mistaken for a psychiatric patient, kidnapped into this mental health care system, kept on toxic drugs, brain damaging, etc.

The list of damages due are huge, and well deserved accountability will be had! How many other people became victim, as I have, and still in the system, alone, scared, most likely drugged, etc.? And families do not know this can and does happen, I was one of the lucky? To find these truths out about my records.

My life destroyed along this very long, endless path, but now justice needs to be had, accountability for my life that has been like falling dominoes one-by-one, as I lost everything I loved, everything I had, took a lifetime to build, but most of all, I lost myself, and who I was, forever changed. I want accountability, compensation, and then these false mental health records court sealed, and I have documents to do so. I just need the right direction to go and the right people to help me get closure to this nightmare. Anyone?

    Anne’s reply

One: follow the money. Your complaints should start with whoever is paying for what you consider mistreatment. Medicare is one place to file complaints. You also can complain to the agency that guarantees the hospital [can’t think at the moment what this is called]. File complaints against everyone whom you think damaged you. File complaints against the licenses of nurses, doctors and anyone else whom you think behaved wrongfully. In NYS, file with the Dept. of Health, Office of Professional Misconduct, for doctors; Dept. of Education for psychologists and others.

“Wrong treatment” is not necessarily illegal. If the treatment that was provided to you was the standard of care at the time, then it is legal. If you received a lobotomy in 1950, then it would have been considered a good thing; if it was done last year then the physician would be liable.

ERs do not have CPEPs “in” them. Basically, a CPEP is a free-standing psychiatric emergency room that is parallel to a medical emergency room. CPEPs do not provide 72-hour observation, medical treatment, or psychiatric care or treatment. They assess the presenting problem, medicate as appropriate, and then move the patient out to home or inpatient, as appropriate.

In NYS, any two physicians can commit you to inpatient psychiatry. You do not get “mistaken” for a psychiatric patient; you get diagnosed based on your behavior at the time of the examination.

You need a lawyer. People diagnosed with mental illness rarely can afford one. “I lost myself, and who I was, forever changed.” I know. I had it happen to me. There should be accountability and compensation. There won’t be.

I know of no way for you to get what you want and deserve. Good luck trying, and keep us advised if you have any success.

The psychiatric system sucks. I wouldn’t put the odds of getting justice at more than one in one hundred thousand.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

You, Too, Can Have a Psychiatric Disorder

Anne C Woodlen: Notes in Passing

Anne C. Woodlen

Attention deficient disorder (ADD) is a disease wherein the person (hereinafter referred to as a “child” since it is usually diagnosed while a person is in elementary school) is said to be unable to pay attention.  This is like saying a child is unmotivated.  Fact is, all children are motivated—they’re just not motivated to do what you want them to do.  Likewise, children with ADD are paying attention—they’re just not paying attention to what you want them to.  The teacher is pointing to the blackboard but the child is “distracted” by the birdie on the windowsill.  We call this a “sickness.”  It is a disease state, a mental disorder, an illness.

When Dan, Michael, and Joel had it, back in biblical times, we called it “survival.”  Ancient man—as far back as cave man—survived by noticing things like the birdie that suddenly flew up out of the jungle…

View original post 822 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Your/My Homeopathic Remedy

“Anne, you mentioned that you did work with a naturopath and were using magnesium to ameliorate your binge eating.  Can you tell me more about that?”

Reader, I am working with a homeopath, not a naturopath—big difference.  I am taking mercurous acetate, not magnesium, and it is not for binge eating, it is for over-all healing.  In the process of recovery, I have achieved a level of emotional stability that I have not had in decades.  Homeopathy is doing good things that no psych med ever did.

However—and this is a big HOWEVER—do not go out and buy mercurous acetate and expect it to work for you.  This is NOT a remedy that is designed to cure all psych ills; it is a remedy that was chosen by the homeopath specifically to heal MY ills.  Homeopathic remedies are a very precise fit for a specific individual.  Mercurous acetate is not a cure for depression; it is a cure for Annie.

My worst problem is the damage that pharmaceuticals have done to my immune system.  You may have a perfectly healthy immune system but your agonies may be coming from some entirely different source.  Depression can come from psychosocial, biomechanical, biochemical or environmental sources.  Other emotional distress can have other roots.

Go see a good homeopathic practitioner.  Let him/her do what they are trained to do and figure out what remedy is right for you.  I STRONGLY RECOMMEND homeopathy.  It is healing without harm.  But it is not a do-it-yourself project.  Anne

Posted in homeopathy | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Recovery, Chronic Fatigue and Depression (Part II)

Healthy diet
I have diabetes mellitus, type 2, and am overweight. My glucose was too high so I worked with a dietician to get on a proper healthy diet. For people with diabetes, the hemoglobin A1C test results should be under 7; mine were. After a couple years I went to another dietician for more refined work in diet management. My typical menu is—
Breakfast Lunch and dinner Bedtime snack
1 c. juice 4 oz. protein I tend to lose my grip
1 c. cereal ½ c. starch and go bonkers
½ c. fruit 2/3 c. vegetables
1 c. 2% milk ½ c. ice cream

I learned that there is a hormone that increases your appetite when you are tired. Your body is basically saying “If you are not going to let me get energy from sleep then you’ve got to let me get energy from more food.” Eight hours sleep at night and two one-hour naps during the day weren’t enough to curb my appetite at night.

Creative expression
Creativity knits together mind, spirit and emotions. It draws on memories of the past and hopes for the future. It integrates and heals the human being.
My choice of creative expression always has been writing. By November 2010, I was writing two thousand-word blogs every day, one for “Behind the Locked Doors” [] about depression and the treatment thereof. The other blog, “Notes in Passing” [] is about everything else that I find interesting.

I joined an exercise class designed by Dr. Dale Avers, a physical therapist on the faculty of Upstate Medical University. It was for people between 55 and 92 years of age, particularly those who wanted to stay out of nursing homes. With great good spirit, we exercised hard for one hour twice a week. We were not sissies who sat in chairs and waved our arms around: we got down on the floor and worked up a sweat. By mid-2007, on a good day, I could walk a mile.

I come from a long line of farmers and my mother was an avid gardener. Around 2004, I got down on my knees and started gardening. There is nothing quite so healing as re-uniting with Mother Nature and finding the place where you fit in the greater scheme of things. Spiders are not allowed to live in my home; outdoors, I am not allowed to kill spiders. The time I spent talking to the worms was some of the best time in my life.

Caring for others
If you are not caring for others—and you are alive—then you are failing in your responsibilities as a human being. Everybody can do something, even if it is only bringing a smile to your caregivers. I could do much more than that: despite all my woes, God had given me intelligence and the capacity to think logically. I also had unlimited telephone service, a computer and a hospital bed. That was enough.

I became an activist on behalf of those who were poor and/or sick and/or elderly, particularly in regard to transportation. I took on the bus company (which had an annual budget of $40 million) because its paratransit subsidiary was providing substandard service to its 4000 riders. I took on Medicaid transportation, which was billing $8 million for equally substandard service to its 22,000 riders in Onondaga County. It took me seven years but the bus company had to buy half a million dollars’ worth of new short buses and completely revamp its eligibility process. The Medicaid transportation dispatch company got fined $80,000 and forced to sign the first-ever Corporate Integrity Agreement in New York State.

Here and there, working on my phone and computer from my hospital bed, I accomplished a few other things, too. []

And I had cured my depression. After 40 years of depression and 26 years of antidepressants, I no longer took drugs, saw a therapist or a psychiatrist, or got hospitalized. The cure for depression is action. Any time anything makes you feel bad, figure out what it is and then take action to change it. You can do it; I did.

And then, without me noticing it, it all began to go to hell. First, I no longer had enough energy to continue exercising. I blamed it on my living circumstances. I was living in a HUD-subsidized apartment building exclusively for people who were disabled. I’m sorry, but that’s fucking against the law. It’s called “segregation.” After much work, I established contact with the HUD field office director in Buffalo who understood the problem and said he would come take a look as soon a winter let up and it was safe to drive. Instead, Barak Obama got elected president and all the good guys got moved up one step. The good field director was replaced by a consummate bureaucratic asshole who couldn’t see the problem.

The 24-unit property was being managed by Christopher Community, the housing branch of the Catholic Church. They went through six managers in five years, ending with an ex-military bitch who told one middle-aged disabled man, “I couldn’t make my kids clean their rooms but I can make you.” I did everything I could think of to change the situation. Ultimately, there was nothing I could do except wait for a chance to move out. I believed that I had no energy because I was depressed and that once I changed my living situation then I would get un-depressed and my energy would come back.

I had learned that the cause of depression is the perception of powerlessness; once I got my power back then I would be all right.

Posted in chronic fatigue, depression, recovery | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Recovery, Chronic Fatigue and Depression

When I was 14 years old, on a Friday afternoon I went to Nelda Jane’s house for the weekend.  She wanted to go horseback riding and swimming; I wanted to go to sleep or sit under a tree and read.  On Sunday afternoon, when her mother took me home, she suggested that my mother check my temperature.  It was sky high.

On Monday, Mom took me to the doctor, who said I had a strep infection and prescribed penicillin.  The following Sunday, I spent the day curled up in my father’s big chair, dozing but not eating or drinking.  My mother called the doctor, who said I was having a drug reaction and told her to stop the penicillin.  Within a day or two I was fine, but that was my first drug reaction.

Today there are a lot of drugs on the market to which you can react.  When this happened in 1960, there were far fewer drugs on the market.  I went for years rarely taking drugs except for menstrual cramps; I had reactions to a couple of the painkillers.  Another fourteen years passed, then, on the Saturday after Thanksgiving in 1974, my fiancé died.  Bob Dobrow was a fighter pilot in the Marine Corps; his plane crashed and his parachute didn’t open.  We had a funeral instead of a wedding.

A few months later, in my grief, I became terribly fatigued and unresponsive to stimuli so I went to a neurologist who diagnosed me with “endogenous” (i.e., indwelling) depression and prescribed antidepressants.  Thereafter, various psychiatrists told me that my depression was caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain and I would need to take antidepressants for the rest of my life.  I did take them every day for 26 years.

During that time, I did not complete my education, develop a career, continue to work, get married or have children.  I did get hospitalized on inpatient psychiatry about fifty times, spent a total of about three years in hospitals, and attempted suicide about a dozen times:  I was a “psychiatric patient.”

I also was badly damaged physically by the side effects of the antidepressants, which had caused multiple chronic illnesses including—in part or in whole—diabetes mellitus, diabetes insipidus, sleep apnea, pulmonary fibrosis, intestinal yeast infection, celiac disease, depression, morbid obesity, fibromyalgia, cataracts, left ventricular hypertrophy, right branch bundle block and a sexually transmitted disease, its name now forgotten.  I slept in a hospital bed, breathed pressurized air at night, traveled in a power wheelchair and had home health aides all the time.

In 2001, I did the unthinkable:  I stopped taking drugs.  And I started getting better.  The drugs had been killing me.

I developed a seven-point recovery plan that consisted of—

  1. Spiritual study and prayer
  2. Lots of sleep
  3. A healthy diet
  4. Creative expression, specifically writing
  5. Exercise, as tolerated
  6. Being in nature, particularly gardening
  7. Acting for the betterment of myself and others

And I went to every doctor to whom I was referred.  I was sick and nobody knew why.  Among other things, the symptomology suggested multiple sclerosis, lupus or scleroderma but the rheumatologists ruled out every autoimmune disease.  You go to a rheumatologist when there are no immunologists in your area.  In Syracuse, New York, where I live, the largest employer is the State University of New York (SUNY) Upstate Medical University and Hospital.  They employ about 10,000 people but if you call Upstate and ask for immunology, they transfer you to the pathology lab.  Johns Hopkins Division of Allergy and Immunology has eight physicians; Upstate has shut down its Allergy Clinic.

So there was no physician to inspect my immune system.  However, some doctor did diagnose me with chronic fatigue syndrome.  The doctors to whom I talked told me there was nothing to do about it, and all the research on the Internet said the same thing—it was 2002—so I just muddled along as best I could.  I learned what made me feel better and what made me feel worse, and relied substantially on my psychiatrist, who was a kind person and whose wife had lupus.  Dr. Nasri Ghaly literally lived with an autoimmune disease and understood the ups and down involved.  He ordered the hospital bed, the home health aides, and the electric wheelchair.

I worked my seven-point plan, which included reading the Holy Bible cover-to-cover several times, then moving on to the pagan bible, the Holy Koran, the Bhagavad Gita, and a couple of Buddhist books by Thich Nhat Hanh.  I was looking for the commonalities:  what did the world’s great religions agree on?  Ultimately, my creed evolved:  There is one Lord above all.  He calls us to humility before him; to care for one another; to tell the truth, and to work for justice.  That fit pretty tidily with my civic sense, which was stated as “All people share the right and the responsibilities to make the decision that affect their lives together.”

Healing takes place during sleep, so I worked long and hard to get restorative sleep.  Known to the British but concealed from people living under the Federal Drug Administration, Ativan should never be taken with a respiratory disorder.  I had sleep apnea and pulmonary fibrosis, nevertheless, was prescribed Ativan for years.  I was put on a CPAP (Continuous Positive Air Pressure) machine, and then a BiPAP (Bi-level Positive Air Pressure) machine.  Both left me in constant respiratory crisis.  I went to half the pulmonologists in the area, and all of the sleep laboratories.  Finally—after I threatened to file a complaint against his license—a pulmonary physician put me on an auto BiPAP.  Instead of being a fixed-state machine which the physician controls, it has a computer chip that re-sets with every breath the user takes.  It has a smartcard that revealed that my sleep apnea was unstable:  in a single night, I might draw a pressure from 7 to 21.  It took a decade of suffering before the medical industry finally got it right; I haven’t been back to a sleep lab in about six years.  I finally succeeded in getting restorative sleep.

Posted in depression, doctor, drugs, Inpatient psychiatry, mental illness, psychiatric patient, psychiatry, recovery | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Taking the Fear Out

A new treatment for schizophrenia and other “mental illnesses”?

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment