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“…the Zoloft brought suicidal thoughts in like wildfire into my brain.”
My best friend of twenty-five years just died this weekend, which I believe was due to Prozac. She had gone through high school here in Oregon with me, and through undergraduate school at a well-known private Oregon university, and then through graduate school as a teaching assistant in music with me. We became like sisters over the years, and after graduating and moving on from graduate school in the early 1990s, remained extremely close. It was nothing for me or her to email each other several times a month, and call at least once every three months, if not once a month. I can truly say she was the friend I loved best out of all the people God has put into my path, and was a truly sweet, caring individual. She was also a gifted concert level pianist, and played for many concerts and recitals I gave (I am also a musician).
However, about three or four years ago, due to several incidences in her life, most especially the death of her mother from diabetes complications, the doctors put her on Prozac and one other SSRI medication, along with some others which I don’t know the names of (the second SSRI I also don’t know, but I do know it was an SSRI). I was extremely alarmed, having had a horrendous experience taking Zoloft myself for only three days about five or six years ago when I went through a period of severe depression – I had lost a lot of weight and such, but had never once had suicidal thoughts during my depression – the Zoloft brought suicidal thoughts in like wildfire into my brain – and I knew this was not right, so I told my doctor at the time that I absolutely refused to take any more of them.
So I began attempting to dissuade this girl friend, who was now a mother of two small children and living in Michigan, by both talking to her, sending her some articles about the dangers of Prozac and similar type meds via your email newsletter, and also sending her some audio tape copies of some of your radio appearances. This was the only time we had had a disagreement in the last ten years. I am fairly certain she neither listened to the tapes nor read the materials I sent her, since she adamantly insisted to me when I tried the very last time I saw her in person while she was visiting family out here, that she “had to have her Prozac” – calling it her Prozac, like an endearment or something. I have also heard this from other people who are on the darned things. Nothing I could say or do would dissuade her.
Well, this past Sunday night, her husband called us from Michigan late in the evening. He said that she had come home from work (she had been working a clerical full time position to make financial ends meet) to tell us that she had had a minor argument with him Friday night, December 5, and that she had appeared to be upset over something which had happened at her job. When she did not return home, he became gravely concerned and began calling neighbors, friends, motels, etc. looking for her, with no success. Eventually he began enlisting friends and neighbors to go out and look for her (they live on the upper peninsula between Lake Superior and Lake Michigan, and I don’t need to tell you how cold it gets there). They did not find her until Sunday night at 10 p.m. or thereabouts EST. She had driven their truck into an empty field, near some hunting blinds and they found a near empty bottle of hard liquor, as well as an empty bottle of meds (he did not elaborate which ones), but also evidence that she had tried to rid her body of what she had consumed. But the tragedy was that between the alcohol and the bitter cold, she had succumbed to the elements and died of exposure. The coroner’s office determined that she died sometime during the night Friday, the 5th.
What is particularly frustrating to her whole family and to me is that she had many, many friends in the area whom she could have gone to just to talk and ‘cool down,’ especially when he said the argument was nothing serious. Also, her husband has since learned that she initially went to a neighbor’s and talked to them after leaving her home, and said that she would return home when she left to ‘fix dinner’ after leaving the neighbor’s home – but instead went out into this field and did this. Her husband asked co workers what occurred on Friday which would have gotten her so upset, and none of them have any idea what might have happened. In fact, everyone he has talked to has said that she seemed her cheerful self. In fact, she had written me an email on the morning of the 5th, asking me about how life was treating me, and sounding extremely cheerful, not at all like someone ready to go attempt suicide a few hours later, and talking about plans to move back here to the pacific northwest, to be near her old friends and family members. She did NOT sound suicidal. Her husband also verified that she had told him what she had wanted him to get her for Christmas, and other things, and we know that she dearly loved her two children.
Therefore, we have no alternative but to blame the Prozac, for making her do something so rash, so dire, so needless and senseless without any real provocation. Also, after taking the SSRIs for a few years, her liver function had become extremely poor, going to a level four (five is the level when they generally have to get you a transplant), and I also warned her that the Prozac was probably destroying her liver, but again, she would hear none of it. So the alcohol might have finished her alone due to the poor shape her liver has been in, and her continued use of the SSRI meds. Her husband confirmed to me that she was still taking the Prozac – had just had some prescriptions refilled. Even though she had cut back her dosage from what it was some time ago, obviously the building up of the stuff in her system was enough to push her over the edge. I told him that I had a gut feeling that if anything bizarre or tragic ever happened to her that I would know it was Eli Lilly that killed her, and I truly believe that now.
Her husband, children, father and siblings, and all her close friends, myself included, are completely devastated. There will never again be such a dear, golden hearted person as this gal, at least probably not in any of our lives, someone who accepted people as they are, and who was always willing to give a shoulder to lean on, a sympathetic ear to listen, etc. I am outraged that the drug companies have killed my best friend. They have a lot to answer to the throne of God for, in my opinion.
I thank you for taking the time to read this email, and if anything I have written here can help anyone else who is dealing with a similar situation, or if they have any loved ones on these medications, I would beg you to post this message, what you can.
Yours very sincerely,
Mrs. MG, Oregon