Jul 31, 2013

Healing & Antidepressants

Polyvore by grace2244

As we depressed people heal, the need for medications like antidepressants and/or anti-anxiety may become unnecessary or may be reduced. This article is about Pfizer's Pristiq and the issues that have arisen with my weaning off of it.

First of all, I write of my healing since my last post here.  At that time I had dropped from a dosage of 100 mg to 50 mg to 25 mg and then to 25 mg every other day when I ran into a problem. That led me to extensive research about this drug. I do want to note I definitely needed this level of antidepressant in mid-2011. I had no side effects whatsoever, unbelievably, going off Cymbalta to Pristiq. I had been at maximum Cymbalta dose and was suicidal. The Pristiq fully kicked in about a month later and kept me stable.

No one looks up weaning off of a drug when placed on it. Also I had no choice and was just grateful there was something similar to Cymbalta, which had been the first antidepressant in my life I could tolerate. It was released in 2003 and I started it in 2005 at the lowest dose and remained there till after my nearly 10 surgeries in 18 months between 2007 and 2008. Cymbalta has it's own withdrawal issues which I didn't experience. Also Cymbalta's lowest dose is 30 mg and highest dose is 180 mg.

Pristiq has two dosages: 100 mg and 50 mg. Pfizer officials have no safe weaning plan from their drug. They don't recommend cutting the 50s in half, though that's what many do. While some suggest alternating the 25 mg every other day (or the 50 every other day without cutting it in half), studies for the main ingredient indicate taking it every other day makes the brain go a bit bonkers. It needs a daily dose. So if you want to wean from Pristiq, you will need to cut the pills (at your own risk) although it is what my psychiatrist recommended.

Cutting the pills in half is not an exact split. Pill cutters aren't accurate. Also, Pristiq crumbles easily. Fortunately I have a math minded husband and we have a digital scale that weighs milligrams. While some have made their Pristiq into a liquid solution, it is not recommended. It's considered insoluble. I did find the suggestion to crush the pills either with pestle and mortar or smooshing with the back of a spoon to work.

I emptied some herbal capsules so they could be filled with a measured 25 mg. (I did back up to going on 25 mg daily after having difficulty with the switch to every other day.) I will be taking the 25 mg measured dose capsules for a week. Then I will try 1/2 that amount. Possibly, with my sensitivity, I may need to go between the 25 mg and the 12.5 mg and may also need yet a lower dose before my brain lets me not get insanely dizzy without it. Crushing the meds allows for the varied dosages.

I'm not understanding, except from the financial perspective, why Pfizer made this drug without a withdrawal plan. Suggestions are on several forums to contact Pfizer directly to complain about lack of lower doses for this purpose.

From my own experience and reading numerous other perspectives, trying to go cold turkey with Pristiq may cause horrendous side effects. When I dropped from 100s to 50s I felt no ill effects for three days so thought I'd just try to stop. Three days after that my head started spinning so badly I couldn't see or walk straight and had nausea. This backlash happened a second time. After being on the 25 mg for a week, I stopped. My psychiatrist said I should be fine then. Three days after stopping I was hit with incapacitating dizziness again and slight nausea although not the strong cyclone earlier on. Others have experienced more side effects. Several forums exist online if you just google "Pristiq withdrawal". The Mayo Clinic has a discussion forum and there is one called Surviving Antidepressants.

As an aside, some compounding pharmacies will make the lower dose capsules for you. My pharmacy said they only made a liquid solution and that would have cost nearly $200 for a month's supply. Smooshing and measuring and clear pill capsules is the least expensive. Even if you need a digital scale, you can purchase one for about $55. Instructions for how to do this were found through the Surviving Antidepressants website.

My psychiatrist has been apprised of my choices. It's always good to wean from a medication under a doctor's supervision. I've been fortunate to have a psychiatrist who works with me. If that's not the case for you, perhaps a new psychiatrist is in order.

Today I woke up several hours earlier than usual feeling awake. Overnight...but it has been about two weeks on the 25 mg instead of the 100 mg. I'm also beginning to be able to cry again...appropriately...like to sappy movies. I'm hopeful to successfully wean off Pristiq even if it takes longer than hoped. I know I'm better at 25 mg than the original dose. Now to get to zero.

I have experienced light dizziness and light headache daily since lowering the dosage but started feeling a bit clearer yesterday. Then I had the earlier wake up today along with feeling more clear. I'm hoping those who wish to reduce or go off antidepressants when the time is right for you is as symptom free as possible.

Jan 4, 2013

A "West Wing" Observation

The election took place since my last post. It's probably obvious I'm an Obama fan which relates slightly to this post. Perhaps it's more about good television and values. Over the holidays, television becomes repeats and a bit lackluster. My husband and I began a seven season West Wing marathon. We actually started with Season 2, ran the gamut, and are now watching Season 1 which serves as backfill for many of our questions of how things began.

Our first observation was that the show is still outstanding in every respect. The issues then are the issues now. Watching the electoral process and a transition of one president to another was eye opening and saddening. We know the ingoing president inherits the weight of the world caused by past presidents and current events. We know an oppositional Congress can block anything the president knows to be good for the country. Even the most well meaning, good hearted, educated, and experienced president must bow to unwanted compromise. Even back then (1999-2006), gun violence was a huge issue. Interestingly, so was gay marriage and marijuana which were "positively no can do" back then; but look at us now.

Mostly what I wanted to say relates to the level of violence that enters our environment even in our perceptibly safe homes. For days we were immersed in excellent television. Even when world or U.S. conflicts arose in the plot, violence was spoken of but not shown for all to see. The post 9/11 episodes focused on more security but not bloodshed.

As a break from our marathon I was fortunate to see light movies...love stories or romantic comedies. However, several days ago, I saw a movie that brought the current world back to me. It felt so overpowering after having had a break from it. So much violence...blood, gore, guns, killing. It literally turned my stomach. My formerly favorite shows of NCIS, Bones, and similar award-winning shows I can no longer watch because of gruesome scenes thrust in front of my eyes without warning. Every crime show finds it necessary to have autopsy scenes or graphic crime scenes includes missing limbs and grotesque wounds. I listen to the shows my husband likes but swear each time my eyes happen to glance up, it's something too late to get out of my mind.

I do believe media has made violent crimes and use of guns "normal". I abhor the idea that our Congress and the NRA think more guns is the answer. This is not a safe world. Reality is good in moderation. The media takes every opportunity to run horrific violence over and over ad nauseum until people either become numb or consciously turn it off for their sanity. Perhaps if we all began to turn it off instead of increasing the ratings for such shows, we would be heard. I know it's difficult to not watch Mark Harmon but the sound of Ducky's voice makes me want to change channels by association to his graphic scenes.

It's bad enough as a law abiding peaceful citizen; however, as a trauma survivor, the level of violence (especially when sudden) exacerbates my fear and can trigger my PTSD. I had to stop watching Criminal Minds once and for all because it became just far too intense. As I've healed, I've become more aware and less numb. Enough is enough. Isn't it?

Oct 12, 2012

Medicare Blocks Access to My Therapist of 10+ Years

Not that I haven't had anything to say...just nothing I've been passionate enough about to write. That has changed. If any of my readers know a Congressman, please pass this along. I married in July to the man I've been with for 11 years. I had to coordinate the end of my coverage under my previous husband with the divorce and being moved onto my husband's policy. He has excellent coverage from working for the state government for several decades. We both thought his coverage would be my coverage.

When he went to add me, he was told, since I was on disability, although I had declined Part A Medicare at the time, I would have to apply for Part A and that would be my primary insurance. That would backed up by an Aetna HMO or PPO, whichever we choose. We thought that would mean if a doctor or provider did not accept Medicare, it would be picked up by Aetna. We were wrong.

A provider must accept Medicare. As for doctors, under our plan, all Hershey Medical doctors are covered and they are excellent. However, my therapist since 1999 is not covered by Medicare. Medicare requires that a therapist be a doctorate level psychologist or a social worker to be covered. My therapist is a Master's level psychologist with excellent and constantly updated skills in treating DID.

The realm of therapists who treat DID is a very small percentage of all therapists. The country is in shortage of such therapists. Now add the requirement that of that small number of therapists, Medicare recipients can only see those who have a Ph.D. That knocks out most of the DID-treating population.

I can continue to see my therapist if I pay out of pocket. Any therapist charges in the neighborhood of $100 a session or more. I had only been paying at most a $35 copayment for more than a decade. I guess I'm middle class but that is too expensive for once every few weeks. It's like another car payment.

So now I'm caught in the Medicare trap. My therapist is far more qualified to treat me than many who do treat DID because of all her experience and ongoing education. Without researching, I don't even know if the social worker must be licensed or not. My husband did call his benefits contact to make a plea for me to be covered for my existing therapist because of the circumstances. We have yet to receive an answer but are doubtful.

I will have DID the rest of my life even if issues are few and far between with my level of healing. It makes me angry for so many others who are on Medicare. Quite a few with DID are on Medicare because of lack of ability to function for years even if they had held a high functioning job until the day their amnesia broke.

When our president is in office and away from campaigning and uncertainty, I will write, since that's all I can do unless people like me have a voice. And I have to pray Medicare will not be upended in ways beyond my comprehension with certain election results.

Am done with that rant but wanted to note it's ironic that today I saw Argo, about the rescue of the six Americans who escaped from the Iranian Embassy to the Canadian Embassy in 1979 and my last post was about Iran. Excellent movie, by the way.

Aug 15, 2012

Above and Below Public Knowledge

Recently I shared in my blog Understanding & Healing from Dissociation that I was led to a clearly conscious memory of someone in my past linked to the world of international espionage. I lived in Iran from mid-1964 (turned 12 later that year) until mid-1967 (14 almost 15). I've spoken before of memory that connects Russian and U.S. programs as well as a U.S./Russian/British connection. However, the world news of that "Cold War" era was spy vs. spy vs. spy with a nuclear power struggle between the U.S. and Russia.

With all my research of Iran in the mid-60s, I came to understand that the U.S. agreed to support the Shah, who came into power in 1963 with the help of U.S. CIA undercover operatives, with military advisors and other support supposedly to prevent the Shah from allying with the Russians. It became clear to me that all Americans sent there were in support of the CIA and the "puppet" Shah. It was a community of intelligence and secrets. The children of the spies or those with at least covert missions attended the American School in Tehran. My friends had parents who were part of that mission. Of course we were clueless children.

I had several close friends from 1964 until I left in 1967. We went to grades 7 through 9 together. We had sleepovers and parties. One of my friends was the Ambassador to the U.S.'s daughter. I was at the Embassy for a party I think twice...one is a clear memory. Iran was quiet and boring and we mostly spent time with each other. Summers for children of military officers were spent at the Officer's Club. We were literally dropped off in the morning and picked up in the evening, often after the movie theater had closed. I did read that it was believed a CIA office was located within the Officer's Club.

While I don't know if my other friends were like me, I'm fairly certain my one best friend, also the daughter of an officer, was. She has surfaced in many of my nightmares. I recall consciously that one summer she decided to learn Russian which was completely uninteresting to me at the time.

Having processed all of what I know of that life, including my memory of being in Russia validated by the huge time gap on my 7th grade report card, I was still plagued with nightmares connecting Iran to my adult working life. By "coincidence", I googled the name of my friend's father because I knew he had worked for Gulf Oil in 1974 when I had last visited him in Reston, VA; and I had just researched the CIA undercover operative who led the coup to place the Shah in power in 1963. He had retired from the CIA and gone to work for Gulf Oil. I just wondered at that moment if Gulf Oil was a retirement ground for the CIA. It would not have surprised me to learn my friend's father was CIA given Iran's history. But it did shock me to learn he was a notorious KGB agent known only by his codename since the 1950s. His identity became known in the early 2000s. He had been recruited by Julius Rosenberg who was executed with his wife for selling secrets about our atomic bomb to the Russians in the early 50s. Several others were also arrested but not executed and no one gave up the man I knew and adored as my friend's father. He had been part of The Manhattan Project.

His identity became known by authors of the book Spies: The Rise and Fall of the K.G.B. in America through Freedom of Information Act documents and released KGB documents that finally connected the name with the codename. The authors contacted my father's friend in 2007 but he declined to be interviewed. He died in 2008 living his life out as a wealthy retiree with a large and loving family.

I do remember him frequently being in London in those years I was there but he lived in Iran long after we left. Iran has a nuclear power plant and the man I loved as my friend's father had expertise in processing plutonium.

Where else does a child become exposed to people so deeply entrenched in the world of espionage if not in a place where many others are also engaging in espionage? What hasn't been found or supported or denied is whether he was a double agent or part of the tri-loyal world I knew.

My memories are of what we now call the one percent...the very wealthy...providing funds to develop the programs where all nations (or at least the wealthiest in those nations) worked toward a common goal. If one nation was going to destroy the other with nuclear weapons, the one percent was going to be in control and on the winning side regardless of the outcome.

Apparently I learned a skill that was carried into adulthood to be used in my workplaces. I do know without a doubt I was being used in an alter state for at least one reason related to foreign currency and stock trading at my last place of employment before my amnesia broke. It was a health insurance company. I was a mind control "asset" actively being used by a Vice President of the company. That was 15 years ago.

Without a Cold War, I believe the one percent does make much of it's wealth off of the war machine, wherever there might be a war. How many times has it been uncovered that the U.S. was supplying arms to one or both sides of two countries fighting with each other? We fuel those wars.

In public view we see blame. In the underworld, there is cooperation working toward control and wealth. The sex slave trade and pornography trade are proof of activities that are fueled in large part by the U.S. even though we have organizations rallying to put an end to such activities. The side with the most money is always going to win.

So while I was shocked about learning of having a close encounter numerous times with a known KGB agent, I've also had time now to put my life into perspective. I was born into it and had no choice about my path or future until I came undone in 1997. I still see it going on and see how wealth and power continue to tear us down. Imagine if the evil could be reversed...the problems of the world that could be solved if that wealth and power were somehow able to be used for the betterment of society. It makes me sad to know the truth.

When the past floats up...memories.

Jul 2, 2012

Post Trial Reflections

Now that the verdict is in on the Sandusky trial, I’m ready to speak out on the greater story. A highly visible sports figure has a secret life sexually abusing children and teens within the walls of a major university. Already other universities are scrutinizing their policies and rules to prevent similar circumstances. That’s the positive outcome. The nation is more aware of how child predators can operate by hiding in plain sight.

Those who are not familiar with the government’s involvement in funding universities to participate in illicit research and programs are urged to google Penn State University and MK-Ultra…or universities and MK-Ultra. Nearly every major university agreed to participate in illicit activities for funding back in the 50s through 70s (known) and beyond (believed and assumed). After the congressional investigative hearings of the 70s on MK-Ultra, it is widely believed that the program went further underground and likely goes by other names. Primarily, there is a government or government contractor related component of this organized pedophilia. Click here to download the Senate Hearings on MKULTRA in PDF format.

The CIA director in the early 70s ordered all MK-Ultra documents destroyed prior to the hearing but some survived and much related to the program has been declassified since the hearings. The component that goes with the pedophilia is research to promote dissociation in children. One of the “easiest” ways to traumatize a child and trigger the dissociative mechanism is frequent sexual abuse. Among other “benefits” to the government and abusers was that having a dissociative child (which only happens if abuse begins usually by age 6-9) is the lack of memory for any abuse for decades. It is possible some of Sandusky’s younger victims may not remember for another decade or more. It would behoove legislators who claim to want to prevent child abuse and bring perpetrators to justice to remove all time limitations for victims to come forward.

We may never know how entrenched Penn State was in the underworld but It is clear they were still allowing pedophiles to thrive within their walls without penalty until Sandusky finally was caught. You can believe behind and above and next to Sandusky lies an entire network of pedophiles and a flow of funds from a covert government agency.

What also is evident is the fear the victims had in facing their abuser. The threats told to children repeatedly instill fear beyond comprehension to maintain their silence. I salute all who came forward for the trial. And my message to those too fearful to testify is that you are not alone. You are able to heal from such trauma with time and therapy.

Photo Credit: http://www.blackberrywirelessphone.com/pages/2763/Sharper-Image.htm

Feb 28, 2012

Lack of Posting...Penn State Delay

Last year I had so many health issues that I thought would be resolved going into 2012. But some followed me and there are new ones. I haven't had much going on with my own healing since my mind seems to be letting me focus on healing the body. I suspect my blogging has slowed down as a matter of course, however, I very much wish to post about Penn State when I have the mental energy to express my thoughts.  Thanks to those who follow this blog.

Oct 9, 2011

State of the Union

Recently I watched the movie Inside Job which is an extremely well done documentary about the events leading up to the financial crash and bailouts and beyond. Matt Damon narrates. It's the first time I have heard an explanation I could follow clearly and grasp the entirety and gravity of the financial collapse...and financial power of this country.

The following is art I created for a contest to show the misery of one's country (a/k/a muralism):

Muralism USA

It used to be called conspiracy theory that the world would be run be the wealthy few termed Illuminati, yet that is exactly where we are now. The Federal Reserve Bank, International Money Fund, World Bank, and financial institutions representing the top 1% of the wealthiest people in the world are in control.

Republicans began the financial sector domination when President Reagan first started deregulating the banking industry. During the period when the banks were investing the average homeowner's mortgages into highly speculative products, the Securities and Exchange Commission did nothing. The one monitoring agency that attempted to implement regulation was shut down.

Obama came into office knowing the regulation needed to be reinstated. However, with a Republican Congress, he has been able to effectuate very little change. In fact, most recently, his choice for economic adviser, is being fought because the Republicans want nothing to do with regulation. Some of those involved in the highest levels of corruption that led to the financial collapse are Obama's advisers because he had to yield to the pressures.

Leaders of the financial institutions that our country bailed out were able to walk away with millions EACH in bonuses while the middle class suffered bank foreclosures on their homes in previously unseen numbers.

The only way to protect ourselves from continuing to live in this unregulated financial environment where the rich keep getting richer is to provide our Democratic President with a Democratic Congress.

Please watch the movie, do your own research, and decide for yourself.

Sep 19, 2011

Homeland - Terrorist or Brainwashed?

Showtime aired a preview to its new series Homeland which officially airs October 2. The premise is a SEAL-like team invades a terrorist compound finding an MIA Marine who has been held captive 10 or more years. When found, the Marine is locked in a room and his hair has been ungroomed for the full length of his captivity. He returns home to hero's welcome.

Waiting at home (America) is a CIA agent who believes he may have become a traitor and is really a terrorist. She has his entire home bugged and watches him on her computer from home.

When being debriefed by the military and CIA, the Marine is shown a picture of the equivalent to Osama bin Laden. He tells the CIA agent that every Marine knew him as the target. When asked if he ever met the terrorist leader, Brody (the Marine) denies any meeting but we see him recalling being tortured and hanging upside down and barely making out the face of the enemy leader offering him water.

Later, Brody meets with the wife of the man he was taken captive with. She asks Brody if he knows how her husband died because she was never told anything of his death. She says she needs to know for closure. Brody tells her he was beaten to death. She asks if he was there when it happened. He tells her no. But we see him remembering having to beat his friend to death. When he has succeeded, he succumbs to tears and is comforted by the terrorist leader. I see this clearly as trauma bonding.

One of the 9/11 anniversary specials I watched was about the reign of terror by Saddam Hussein. It showed how close friends were made to carry out the tortures or death of a person sentenced to punishment. Brody being made to beat his friend to death was in keeping with Iraq's law of the land at the time.

My partner Brian wonders if Brody is now a Manchurian Candidate. I had no radar for that but made for an interesting discussion between us. My only experience with being "brainwashed" is through dissociation from a young age. But I am very focused on the Homeland story.

If a soldier is brainwashed to believe he must follow the commands of a terrorist leader, is that really being a terrorist or a victim at the hands of the terrorists? Clearly Brody has been horrifically tortured during his captivity. Knowing what I know about my healing process, Brody, if brainwashed to engage in terrorist activity on cue, he could also be helped to undo the harm.

Likely, though, the CIA would find him guilty and imprison him. Brody is remembering...not having flashbacks...but also is not sharing what he remembers. Obviously huge shame envelops his memories.

I will be watching to see how the plot unfolds. It's terrifying to know that I might have been made to do something illegal that I would be arrested for when it was totally at the hands of master brainwashers within our own government. This show hits very close to home.

Am hoping those who have followed my story and are able to watch this series might also see the grooming/breaking process of the terrorists and if Brody realizes for himself what happened and is able to share that without retribution...getting help in the process. I'm not sure our nation is ready to accept mind control (which can be undone) versus soldier-turned-traitor.

Must see tv.

Sep 8, 2011

Pedophilia To Become "Normalized"?

This societal issue is sickening to me and to every other survivor of having been molested as a child. I have been watching a growing trend and stronger influence being forced by "pro-pedophile" members of the mental health community. Yes, that's right. Even mental health professionals (or persons in any category of life) can be pedophiles. They are now organizing to downgrade pedophilia from a crime to a mental disorder.

You can be certain any pro-child abuse movement has money and power behind it. Here is one link and you can research on your own for your personal edification.

Individuals don't have the power to fight such madness but organizations to protect children hopefully will pull together to stop this insanity. With the huge slavery trade that is now untouchable and highly infused within the international community and our governments, is this the next step? Is this part of an agenda to be society ruled by child-preying beings...monsters?

Please share your awareness of this matter with your known child protection organizations...and pray they can make a difference.

Jul 24, 2011

The Lone Gunman

Yesterday's news of the gunman in Norway was shocking. We've come to expect such news in the United States, but not in Norway. However, the manner of the killings is part of an increasingly growing pattern internationally. One gunman suddenly begins firing into a crowd. I don't recall if bombs were involved in similar shooting sprees, but the result is the same. Home grown terrorists.

The "Manchurian Candidate" such as Sirhan Sirhan had the task of shooting a single target on command. Sirhan Sirhan continues to maintain his innocence claiming no knowledge of the shooting. I did have at least one part that was a Manchurian Candidate with an assigned target. I'm sure I wasn't the only mind-control person with the target. I freaked out beyond belief when I discovered this part of me and was so grateful she was never cued to action. It's terrifying to contemplate.

I see a shift from the Cold War mind control children having single targets to today's seemingly revised mission of one person being brainwashed sufficiently to "randomly" turn an automatic weapon on a crowd of innocent people. It's bloodchilling to know our government or its "contractors" continue to carry out this mission of using children planned to be dissociative to kill our own citizens...or citizens of any country.

Does no one else see this pattern? I may have addressed this earlier in my blog regarding school shootings. Now we have this new wave. If I recall correctly, most of the more recent gunmen end up being killed or killing themselves. No one left to remember when the amnesia wears off.

It's scary to admit I did have assassin parts. I have no idea if they were ever used and don't wish to know. Just knowing I had them was enough to shake me to my core. Technology has changed. Perhaps dissociation from birth has been replaced by the new brain implants touted to benefit soldiers in the field or for people to constantly have their medical information with them for health reasons. Anything used for good can also be used for evil.

I am saddened for so many reasons by the news of those who lost their lives in Norway. And I have little doubt the person doing the shooting was also someone who had no knowledge or choice in the matter. The hidden government agenda lives on. The worst of it is not knowing why this rash of large killings by gunmen throughout the world is happening. Maintain the fear/terror level as I explored in an earlier post or "simple" matter of population control...or both.

I would ask those reading this to think for yourself, do your own research on these types of shootings, and ask yourself if there isn't a pattern before dismissing these tragedies as conspiracy theory. Norway, the peaceful nation. I believe with all my heart there was a definitive strategy to that location. And the people behind these covert programs have no hearts and, I would speculate, no souls.