A Medical Warning to the Medicated– Trigger warnings

We who are mentally ill are at the mercy of our psychiatrists.  They throw pills at us hoping to help us.  Okay, to be fair, some pills DO work.  At one point in my life, they kept me out of the mental hospital.  But sometimes they don’t.  I have been ailing for months and my general practitioner could not find anything wrong despite constant low grade fever, three or four migraines a week, faintness and dizziness.  He never called me a hypochondriac.  The thermometer did not lie.  But I felt he thought me a complaining nuisance.  My psychiatrist was mystified!  He should not have been.

Miraculously, for some reason, out of the blue, I remembered years ago, when the psychiatrist first put me on Zyprexa, never being more sick so often than when I went on it.  I googled “Zyprexa side effects” and found fever, faintness and dizziness as side effects, especially when combined with other drugs I am taking, prescribed by said psychiatrist.

Zyprexa IS a miracle drug psychologically.  It DID help me over come much, but definitely not all, anxiety.  It DID stabilize my moods better than anything before since I cannot take typical mood stabilizers.  Recently, though, the physical symptoms have been taking a toll on my life.  I have found it hard to keep up friendships.  I became housebound due to feeling ill.  I found it hard to keep up with the blog and haven’t been posting like I used to, nor able to read nearly as many posts of people I love to follow.  Maybe some of you noticed.   Maybe not.  In desperation I finally told my psychiatrist that I wanted to get off Zyprexa.  He was all for it due to side effects of serious weight gain and a propensity towards diabetes.  Why had he not told me to get off it before???

Well, two days into withdrawal, I am nauseous and have flu-like dizziness and weakness.   And I am nursing a husband who has bronchitis.  I have started the withdrawal and intend to try to continue.  Trying to figure out just what was going on, I googled “Zyprexa withdrawal.”  Guess what?  Flu-like symptoms, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, all for an indefinite length of time.  I only decreased the dosage by one half a pill, 1 measly milligram, and am having this hard of a time.  I will have to go through this again when I decrease the other half dose.

Why don’t doctors know about ALL the side effects of the pills they prescribe???  And why don’t they warn the patients of the withdrawal possibilities???  I have been on Zyprexa for 10 or so years.  So this will be heavy duty withdrawal.

We who are mentally ill must suffer not only symptoms but the opprobrium of our friends, doctors and all who come in contact with us.  It is not just the mental illness we suffer from but side effects from the medications as well.

In part, I blame myself.  I should have been more informed.  I should have questioned the doctors.  I should have googled symptoms earlier.  I should not have blindly trusted my psychiatrist.  I should have remembered back to a time when I had health.  But I didn’t.

A warning to all those Schizophrenics and Bipolars out there or anyone else whose doctor is thinking of putting them on Zyprexa, MAKE AN INFORMED DECISION!  Discuss the costs and the benefits, not just the benefits.

And if you are on Zyprexa and want to go off it, tell your doctor first!!!  Don’t do it on your own!!!  Abrupt withdrawal can be fatal.  Yes, fatal, as in dead.

And to my followers, I am sincerely sorry for not always responding, visiting or reading your posts over the past few months.  Have no idea how this is going to play out but it has to be.  I will do what I can.

Love always,








40 responses

  1. I do so very much hope that this all plays out swiftly for you Ellen; that’s to say, bearing in mind the absolute necessity for a progressive and gradual withdrawal. Perhaps lots of lovely Mooji videos will ease the transition somewhat; and in any case, do please know that your readers, if I may speak for all of us, wish for you the very best of outcomes.

    Hariod. ❤

    Liked by 3 people

    December 6, 2014 at 4:30 PM

    • Dearest Hariod, Such a caring, supportive comment. Thank you. I read it to my husband. I am relying on Mooji to pull me through this though it is hard to feel presence in the midst of intense anxiety. On the other hand, maybe it may be just the push I need to break the control of mind. Love, Ellen

      On Sat, Dec 6, 2014 at 4:30 PM, MOONSIDE wrote:


      Liked by 2 people

      December 6, 2014 at 5:39 PM

  2. I am glad you are taking care of your Self. I am sad that this is our lot in life today. Love from wonderfully rainy California!!!

    Liked by 3 people

    December 6, 2014 at 4:39 PM

    • Thanks so much, Jim. Your comment means so much because I know you understand. Sending love right back from rainy New York City to rainy CA!! xx ellen

      On Sat, Dec 6, 2014 at 4:39 PM, MOONSIDE wrote:


      Liked by 1 person

      December 6, 2014 at 5:36 PM

  3. Running Elk

    Shit, Ellen. You owe no apologies.

    This makes me so angry. There is way too much reliance on pills by the medical profession, and not nearly enough consideration given to the individual patient and their needs. One pill does not fill all, and you are right – they never really consider the negatives when they push their wonder cures… Not a great deal has changed since the days of snake oil salesmen.

    Take your time Ellen. Up the dose by a quarter until you feel stable and ready to move on to next reduction. This is not a race to well-being. There is no hurry.

    Lord, really wish we were closer. Both you and hubby need a whole bunch of support through this.

    Take care. Check in when you feel you can.

    Will be sending loads of healing your way, dear, dear, Ellen. (And your hubby too… 🙂 )


    Liked by 4 people

    December 6, 2014 at 5:52 PM

    • Oh, dear Running Elk, how kind of you. But don’t be angry. I was angry and let it go– I will have some words with my psychiatrist but hopefully calm ones. No, they haven’t come very far from snake oil. I think I’d have been better off with that. Thanks for all your support. And hubby thanks you for understanding not just that he is sick but that there will be fall out in this on him. Good suggestion to go by quarters. I’ll see. Why didn’t Doc think of that? He is not a healer like you are. So appreciate your caring words. Thanks for the hugs, xxxx ellen

      Liked by 1 person

      December 6, 2014 at 8:25 PM

  4. Sending you my love, Ellen. I am so sorry that you have been suffering from such terrible side effects. It is indeed frustrating when our providers do not fully understand the side effects of the medications they prescribe. To think, we are well-educated and knowledgeable. How about those with fewer cognitive resources at their disposal? How about those whose illness is so severe that it interferes with their ability to reason?

    Healing prayers and love being sent your way.

    Liked by 4 people

    December 6, 2014 at 6:06 PM

    • Dear KItt, Thank you so much for sending love. It goes a long way. It is not just the side effects of what they prescribe but also the withdrawal should you have to stop. Yes, I have often thought of those more challenged who would not have the slightest inkling as to what was happening to them for whatever reason. I tell my husband to think of these things when he sees his clients because his clients are very disorganized mentally and would not be able to decipher what is what. I am humbled by my lack of insight into the problem. Thanks for the healing prayers and love, sincerely, thank you. I was a bit worried about you today when I saw all those photo posts. They were beautiful but I wondered if you were on a manic upswing. Lots of love, Ellen

      Liked by 1 person

      December 6, 2014 at 8:31 PM

      • Thank you for your concern. They were photos I had taken over time and recently organized to submit to the Broken Light Collective ( Since I had gone through the trouble of choosing, organizing and cropping them, I decided to post them. Data dump of sorts.


        December 6, 2014 at 10:15 PM

      • Glad that’s all it was. You are a whirlwind of productivity but we always have to be on the lookout. At least I do. I will soon be off the only mood stabilizer I could take. I may try Lithium Orotate, a homeopathic form of Lithium. Would love to know about other people’s experiences with medications.


        December 6, 2014 at 11:11 PM

  5. Take care of yourself, things move on…

    Liked by 1 person

    December 6, 2014 at 6:24 PM

    • Thank you, dear Tiramit. I hope this will move on swiftly. I am thinking of you at my worst moments and trying to detach.


      December 6, 2014 at 8:34 PM

  6. Wishing you peace, Ellen, and as gentle a transition through the chemistry as possible. Knowing how guilt and blame have a way of piling onto the physical symptoms, I do hope you are able to let those go.

    Much Love

    Liked by 3 people

    December 6, 2014 at 6:45 PM

    • You and Hariod write such considerate and deeply thought out comments. Thank you so very much, dear Michael, for your good wishes and your good advice. What better time of year than now to let the blame and guilt go. Psychiatrists are just human. But I will say something to him. You walk the walk, Michael.

      Lots of love and many thanks, Ellen

      On Sat, Dec 6, 2014 at 6:45 PM, MOONSIDE wrote:


      Liked by 1 person

      December 6, 2014 at 8:13 PM

  7. glenn2point0

    Good luck with the coming off the med Ellen. Any idea what you will be going on to in it’s place? cheers, Glenn

    Liked by 1 person

    December 6, 2014 at 11:53 PM

    • Thank you so much, Glenn!! Appreciate your good wishes. Yes, I do have a drug in mind. Lithium Orotate. It is a homeopathic form of Lithium that does not require drug testing, etc. I bought it from the same place where I get my research grade St. John’s wort. It is over the counter but I will be trying it in conjunction with my therapist for guidance. If that does not work, I don’t know. I have tried so many meds but always along with the trials I have been on Thiothixene (an old anti-psychotic) for like 40 years but it is not enough. A Godsend though!! Despite losing my facility with religious feeling etc. Best, Ellen

      On Sat, Dec 6, 2014 at 11:53 PM, MOONSIDE wrote:



      December 7, 2014 at 12:33 PM

  8. You’re right.
    Most doctors don’t seem to know about the side effects of the drugs they prescribe, or maybe they don’t care to mention them to their patients.
    Thank goodness that we have the internet now, and can check things out for ourselves.
    I remember one doctor (when I complained about how I felt), who said: “You are the only person who has ever had this sort of ‘strange’ reaction while taking this medicine.”
    So I went online and did a search, and found hundreds of people who were discussing the exact same reaction. I definitely was not the “only person.”
    Now, a doctor has been telling me, for about 5 months, that I need to get lung surgery—to find out if a nodule seen on my right lung is cancer…or…the result of some sort of inflammatory process (autoimmune).
    But all of the different procedures that he has mentioned have “vocal cord/vocal nerve damage and/or permanent hoarseness” listed as a possible side effects. Sigh. I am a professional singer. I love to sing. I don’t want to lose my voice permanently, just trying to determine if a nodule is or is not cancer.
    WHAT IF it turns out that the nodule is not cancer….and I lose my voice for no reason (due to a procedure that I really didn’t need). That would be way beyond depressing for me. In reply to my concerns, the doctor said, “It would be better to risk losing your voice, than to risk dying.”
    He doesn’t know me at all.
    Sometimes it is extremely difficult to figure out if the benefits of a particular medicine or procedure actually outweighs the risks. I can’t decide what to do, so (at this point) I haven’t done anything at all. Odds are it’s autoimmune, because a lot of people in my family have autoimmune problems and no one has cancer.

    Liked by 1 person

    December 7, 2014 at 12:40 AM

    • Yours is a real tough one, Mary!! I pray for you that you will make the best choice. It has also been my experience that doctors often deny the validity of our experiences of side effects. I wish you well and especially hope you don’t have to give up singing. A real hard choice to make. God bless you and help you decide, Ellen

      Liked by 1 person

      December 7, 2014 at 12:51 PM

  9. Ellen! That’s a lot of ‘should haves’! The thing is, you DID in fact do those things. You took action as you describe in the post.
    I’m so sorry that you’re suffering so. And as has already been said: there’s nothing to apologise for! Be gentle with yourself. All good thoughts in your direction. x o x

    Liked by 1 person

    December 7, 2014 at 12:47 AM

    • Thank you so very much, Ashley!! It took me long enough!! I think I have found somethin g that will make the withdrawal easier. Too soon to tell. Thanks for your concern and caring. xx ellen


      December 7, 2014 at 12:37 PM

  10. So sorry to hear you’re going through this. But you are doing something positive and I don’t think you should blame yourself. Hope the symptoms don’t persist for too long. All the best to you both.

    Liked by 1 person

    December 7, 2014 at 2:47 AM

    • Thank you so much, Richard, for your kind words and wishes for both me and my long-suffering husband. Warmest regards, Ellen


      December 7, 2014 at 12:39 PM

  11. I’ve been fighting Bipolar Disorder and OCD for about two years now. It has been the reason for my instability, my constant blog deleting, inability to keep relationships, etc. My previous psychiatrist didn’t seem to give a damn. He just kept trying drug combo after drug combo until I ended up getting this life threatening skin rash and had to abruptly discontinue. That led to psychosis. I haven’t been on medication for the past 6 months but am finding it difficult to cope and have therefore decided to seek help again. Being mentally ill is one of the toughest burdens to carry. I can completely empathize. Do take care and I apologize for deleting that one poem you loved on my old blog. You said you kept coming back to it because it meant a lot to you and that really encouraged me. Keep fighting, that’s all we can really do.

    Liked by 1 person

    December 7, 2014 at 4:45 AM

    • Dearest Nitin, No apologies. I am so very sorry you are having such troubles. I am Bipolar and OCD, too, and no stranger to psychosis. Please DO get help as soon as possible. Despite my complaints about medications, I think they are absolutely necessary for people like us, with psychosis. I wrote a book about my experiences trying to find love because before I was medicated I could not truly love. Please get help and keep trying medications till you find the right cocktail for you. Yes, they have side effects but the right ones benefit more than harm. Please feel free to keep me posted and like you said to me, keep fighting. That IS all we can really do. Thank you for your support. Much love to you, Ellen

      Liked by 1 person

      December 7, 2014 at 1:00 PM

      • Yes, I do have this appointment scheduled next week. But to be honest I am really skeptical about it. When I was trying medications I found myself becoming increasingly manic and most of my writing was just this outpouring of emotion. I just kept writing and writing. I want to study the craft and to be honest I find myself doing that better now that I’m off medication. I’ve also lost so much weight and have gotten back to exercising (playing football, swimming, etc) but then again I do find my mind slowly falling into despair. As far as my personal life is concerned, I’ve given up to be honest. Most of my muses are ex-girlfriends who have now moved on. It’s sad that it’s in some sense a no-win situation but hey, that’s life I guess. Thank You for your support. I will take your advise. Always with my best,


        December 7, 2014 at 7:14 PM

      • The medications should not be making you manic. If so, they are the wrong medications. Bipolars must stay away from antidepressants unless you are on a mood stabilizer. I can’t take mood stabilizers and can only take a research grade St. John’s wort. As for weight gain I hear you. I gained about 30 lbs on Zyprexa. But it is the newer “atypical” anti psychotics that cause the weight gain. Ask about trying the older ones like Thiotixene or Haldol. I am sorry I can’t remember the others. Tell the doc you don’t want to gain weight. As for the writing, when you are more stable you will be better able to hone your craft. Most of all, don’t give up on a relationship. I was giving up, got medicated and found the love of my life. You need to be stable first and then find love. If you’re interested in reading my story of trying to find love and overcoming psychosis, I’ll give you the reference. It is only 2.95 on Kindle. But that is not why I am writing you. Your letter touched me and I wish the best for you. 🙂 ellen


        December 7, 2014 at 8:56 PM

      • They did give me the antidepressant, mood stabilizer combination. And even put me on the older anti-psychotics. But I couldn’t tolerate anything. Mood stabilizers like depakote and lamotrigine gave me these life threatening skin rashes. And the others like Lithium gave me serious migraines.I couldn’t tolerate any anti-depressant as well except sertraline, but it was given in high doses with a particular combination that had to be stopped because it ended up causing BP problems. I’m from India and St John’s wort is not used here yet. Also most of the psychiatrists here are not at all approachable. I myself was doing a masters in clinical psychology before I was diagnosed and I don’t think I can ever forgive my teachers for some of the things they said in class. They were just these callous, ruthless men who went to the extent of calling a situation in which a child was being sexually molested by his mother’s boyfriend a dilemma because the molester provides for the family. The state of affairs here is horrible. You can find asylums in which the patients are beaten and kept for years. I’m lucky to have a mother who is a doctor and she has taken care of me and has been by my side. We both saw a lot of physical abuse because of my father (which is a story for another day) and it has affected us tremendously. Moving forward. Do send me the reference. I’d love to read your work. A story like that is bound to move me because it’s everything I hope for. I may not be able to buy the book this year but will do so in 2015. And thank you for the suggestions 🙂 I’m meeting a psychiatrist in an another city because she helped somebody I know who had similar issues and is one of the best (or probably the best) psychiatrist in India. If nothing works I might just have to travel abroad and get myself some St. John’s wort 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        December 8, 2014 at 5:35 AM

      • Wow, I had no idea things were so bad in India in the mental health field!! It is an outrage. Things are bad enough here but there are clinics that help mentally ill poor. My husband works in one of them. I, too, could not take mood stabilizers due to bad nausea, etc. I am going to try a homeopathic lithium because I can’t take prescription lithium due to side effects. It is over the counter from the same place I get the research grade St. John’s wort. I will look up the reference and send it to you. I have tried other companies’ St. John’s wort but none work like the research grade one.

        As far as the book goes, it is about trying to overcome mental/ emotional symptoms to find love. But I should warn you that it starts out with me in love with a woman and then progresses. I don’t know how you feel about homosexuality. I’ll send the reference anyhow.

        Wishing you the best of luck with the new therapist. Really hope she can help you. DON’T GIVE UP!

        Warmest regards, Ellen

        Here is the link to company where I buy the research grade St. John’s wort and where I got the homeopathic Lithium, a milder form, which I will try:

        And in case you are still interested, the info on my book and how to buy:

        Liked by 1 person

        December 8, 2014 at 9:14 AM

      • Yes,India can be both very beautiful and very brutal. There are things about this country that make me love it so much but there are other things that I wish were different. Thank you so much for the reference.Acts of kindness are rare in this harsh world and they really do mean a lot to me.Also, I didn’t know there was a homeopathic lithium. I would still love to read your book. I don’t have a problem with homosexuality. And yeah, though I don’t know how what tomorrow holds, the only thing I can do is survive and move forward.
        Always with my best,


        December 8, 2014 at 9:34 PM

      • Not sure if this is a duplicate reply. In any case, I find so many good things about India– the spirit of the people, the spirituality, the films, the dance, the picturesqueness… My guru, Mooji, is a Jamaican who studied in India under two gurus, one was Papaji. Don’t know if you have heard of any of these people. And I adore Shahrukh Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Madhuri Dixit and so many others whereas, the films and film stars in the states leave me cold for the most part. Still I know India has some severe problems but didn’t know about the one you have spoken of with the mentally ill. No place is perfect. But India holds a special place in my heart though I have never been there. Best regards, Ellen and good luck with the upcoming appointment.

        Liked by 1 person

        December 9, 2014 at 6:11 PM

      • Wow, you know so much about India. It’s nice to hear. Don’t get me started on the movies from the states 😀 But here’s the irony, I don’t speak Hindi and neither am I adept at any regional language. I haven’t read the books of Indian authors except for one book by Jhumpa Lahiri that I really liked (but she’s not really from here) and one book by Aravind Adiga. And I tend to stay away from most aspects of Indian culture and society. I don’t find myself getting along well with the people here for some strange reason. But I still love the place very much because of its beauty (like you mentioned) and because it feels like home. My favorite authors are fantasy authors like George R.R. Martin, Brandon Sanderson and Robert Jordan. And yes a little Terry Pratchett. I love Fantasy. I tend to stay away from both religion and spirituality these days . And no, I haven’t heard of the people you told me about. My mother is a protestant Christian though. It was a pleasure talking to you Ellen. Do stay in touch 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        December 10, 2014 at 7:53 AM

      • Your mother would probably know the names I mentioned. I don’t know the authors you mentioned. In any case, I would love to stay in touch. If you would like, let me know how the meeting with the new therapist goes. Good wishes!! Ellen


        December 10, 2014 at 10:12 AM

  12. I wish you fortitude, Ellen, to strengthen your journey towards health.

    Liked by 1 person

    December 7, 2014 at 10:30 AM

  13. Thank you so much for writing. I haven’t seen any postings for you in a long time. Will check now to receive your new posts. Sometimes WP does weird things. Much appreciation for your good wishes. Ellen


    December 7, 2014 at 12:41 PM

  14. I’ve been offline for a bit, so I just now read your post, Ellen. God bless you as you and Tom go through so much!! I’m so sorry this is happening to both of you!! I know what it’s like when meds quit working and you don’t know what to do next when it seems you’ve tried everything. I also know what it’s like to be pulled off one chemical and before you can say “boo” you get another chemical crammed down your throat and by then you don’t have a clear enough mind to know what the Sam Hill is going on. I know what it’s like to experience withdrawal. It all stinks on ice — and that’s some special kind of stink!!

    All my love, thoughts and prayers,


    December 8, 2014 at 10:33 PM

    • Oh, dear Kathy, thank you so much for writing your lovely response. I know you know all these things and have suffered through them as well. That makes a strong bond of friendship. I so appreciate your prayers. But now my husband is sick with a little pneumonia. I am worried out of my skull. We just went to the doctor yesterday.

      I pray for you always and ask for your prayers now, Kathy. You are so generous with your good wishes and prayers always.

      Much love and appreciation,



      December 9, 2014 at 9:31 AM

      • I knew he was sick, Ellen. That’s why I included him in my comment. I want you to know this so you’ll be assured he’s also in my prayers.

        I ask Jesus to place His healing hands on both of you and lead you to find your pathway to healing — even if it’s only partially for you and me and others with certain mental health issues who seem to be resistant to most man-made pharmaceutical drugs. The reason I say “partially” is because that’s what God has done for me in the past and “partially” can become a really good place to be; a place where everything is so less bad that it becomes a state in which you could stay for as long as you’re here on earth. Please don’t misunderstand me — I don’t ask for it specifically for you or me or anyone else. I ask for full healing for all. I just know that for mental health issues, “partial” is a nice place to be. (I hope I’ve explained it well, but not over-explained it.) As for Tom, I do ask for full healing. I know pneumonia can become quite serious. Since he’s still sick, I’ll increase the fervency and frequency of my prayers. You are both strongly on my mind and in my prayers!! I feel like I’ve become friends with Tom, too!! 😀

        God bless you both, my kind and dear friend!!


        December 9, 2014 at 12:39 PM

      • Oh, Kathy, I am so touched by your letter. You don’t have to explain. You understand the situation. And thank you from Tom. You and he ARE friends. I tell him about you often. And he certainly appreciates your prayers, as I most definitely do. His pneumonia is little as the doc says but I am so afraid it will get worse.

        You are always in my prayers. Now I would like to add you to the list of people I do distant Reiki for as service on Fri. AMs. It is no big deal– 15 minutes of me using symbols to send healing energy. If you know about Reiki and would like me to do it just let me know.

        Thank you so much my dear, gentle, spiritual friend,



        December 9, 2014 at 2:56 PM

  15. Ellen- thank you for the link. I wondered about you. Thought about you. Not sure how we got disconnected. I see im still following.
    Anyway, I most heartfully agree with what you’ve shared here..I’m in therapy myself for PTSD. And related issues. I insist on knowing side effects. In part due to having a pharmaceutical background and medication administrator. I am so very sorry you are experiencing such hardship. Even John as you know takes meds for his Aspergers and Bi Polar. He takes his meds and it can take a lot out of him. Also he has diabetes which he is treated for and some other issues..
    I get concerned for him too. Together we are helping each other and our love seems to grow despite our health issues. You have me hope where Aspies were concerned.
    Medications can be such a help but there are none without side effects that can be harmful. Your life must be so hard right now. I’m sure each day must feel like an eternity. I didn’t forget you. You do what you can do snd know I won’t forsake you.
    I care very much that you get well.
    Love you Ellen xxxooo

    Liked by 1 person

    December 10, 2014 at 3:53 AM

    • Thank you so much, Yisraela! I didn’t know John was Bipolar, too!!! He and I have a lot in common. Medication I can take other meds in my cocktail to help with the withdrawal I found out. I am sorry you have PTSD and health issues and John does, too. I am no longer worried about getting well. My husband has a “little” pneumonia right now and asthma. I want to keep him out of the hospital and am much more scared for him. I will remain true to you, as well. So glad we met. You made overtures from the very beginning. Let me just tell you, being married to an Asperger’s person, if you put in the extra effort it pays off. They have many, many sterling good traits. And though it may at times not seem like it, I think John loves you very much. One comment he made on the blog showed his concern. You have a gift. You get well and we will pray for one another. Love you, Yisrael, your friend, Ellen xx oo


      December 10, 2014 at 10:19 AM

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