FROM THE EDITOR
Thanks to each of you who have contributed to make this newsletter
what it is. It is a special place filled with helpful information
contributed by you. February is the month of love. Let us each set
aside some time to love ourselves this month. We all need to take
a moment now and then to enjoy that sunrise, take delight in watching
children play or just feel a gentle breeze.
Let us all take care of loving ourselves at least a little this
And I feel sick
DRUGS USED FOR ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION part 2: antidepressants While
these drugs are most commonly prescribed for depression, some of them have
also been used for several other things: chronic pain, insomnia, anxiety,
urinary incontinence and the prevention of migraine headaches. There are
several categories of antidepressant, but they all have a few things in
common. Antidepressants are meant to eliminate the deepest lows of depression,
the really bad times. They can help a person feel more motivated to do
things, and can help concentration and memory. They can help a person feel
more interested in social contact, and can make it easier to maintain in
social and work situations. All of them begin working slowly. It takes
about three weeks for the antidepressant effects to kick in. Side effects,
if any, generally begin as soon as a person starts taking the drug, and
may or may not get less troublesome with time. All of the antidepressants
can interact with other drugs. There is an older category of antidepressant
currently used only for people who don't respond well to all the alternatives.
This category called MAOI's, or monoamine oxidase inhibitors. MAOI's
have lifethreatening interactions with the other antidepressants, as well
as with a number of common foods and other drugs. Because these drugs are
rarely used, I'm not going to say any more about them. The current theory
about depression is that it is caused by an imbalance of neurotransmitters
in the brain. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that allow electrical impulses
to flow between nerves. No one knows whether this imbalance is initially
caused by traumatic or sorrowful events, or whether it is a genetic problem
like high blood pressure, or both. There are clinicians who believe that
antidepressants are best used as a temporary treatment along with psychotherapy,
and others who think long-term treatment is the right approach. What matters,
of course, is what works for you. It's just important to be aware that
this is an area of medical disagreement, and your particular prescriber(s)
may be in one or the other camp. Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors
(SSRI's) This is a new category of drug, generally both safer and more
effective than older antidepressants. Drugs in this category are considered
the first choices for mild to moderate depression, and include Prozak,
Paxil and Zoloft. All of them tend to suppress appetite and sex drive.
Prozak tends to be stimulating, like a cup of coffee.
This can either be a bad thing or a good thing; the main side effects
of Prozak are agitation and insomnia, but a fair number of people feel
more focused and alert even before the antidepressant effects can begin.
Paxil is mildly sedating, while Zoloft is sedating enough to be helpful
for insomnia. A note on sex drive: loss of interest in sex is a very very
common side effect, in my experience more the rule than the exception.
Loss of interest in sex is also an extremely common reaction both to depression
and to sexual assault. Common side effects: anxiety, especially with Prozak;
stomach and intestine problems such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation;
headache, especially with Paxil; sleepiness, especially with Zoloft. Paxil
seems to be the least likely to suppress sex drive. Other newer antidepressants
Three other newer antidepressants on the market are Serzone, Wellbutrin
and Effexor. I have very little experience with these. Serzone is quite
sedating, and is marketed for use when people are anxious and having trouble
sleeping along with being depressed. I've used it twice: one person found
it worked great, and the other person became very confused and forgetful.
Other listed common side effects are nausea, dry mouth, dizziness,
sleepiness and changes in vision. Both Wellbutrin and Effexor can cause
seizures, and are not recommended for people who are epileptic. Wellbutrin
is also not recommended for people with eating disorders, although I'm
not sure why, and can cause agitation, tremor, headache, and psychosis.
Older but still used antidepressants Probably the most used drugs in this
category are the tricyclic antidepressants: Elavil, Pamelor, Tofranil,
Sinequan and others. These drugs are also often used for control of chronic
pain, for insomnia, for preventing migraine headaches, and sometimes for
urinary incontinence. Doses for these other problems are usually lower
than the dose needed for depression. The tricyclics can cause seizures
and are extremely dangerous in overdose. Main side effects are sedation,
dry mouth, constipation and urinary retention. Elavil tends to have the
most side effects, and Sinequan among the least. Desyrel (trazodone) is
a drug in a different category; actually, Serzone is its distant drug cousin.
It doesn't work very well for depression, but it's excellent for insomnia.
Unlike benzodiazepines like Valium or Restoril (see part one,) trazodone
is safe to take nightly for a long time.
This is a pretty general overview of a big topic. I hope it's useful.
If you have a specific question about one of these drugs, it's fine to
e-mail me privately at email@example.com.
Just a few thoughts to encourage us. Courage is resistance to fear
- mastery of fear -- not ABSENCE of fear. Mark Twain Behold the mighty
oak - a nut who stood its ground. Childhood is that state which ends the
moment a puddle is first viewed as an obstacle instead of an opportunity.
K. Williams 5/5/95 "We gain strength, courage and confidence by each experience
in which we really stop to look fear in the face... we must do that which
we think we cannot." Eleanor Roosevelt "I am of the opinion that my life
belongs to the community and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do
for it whatever I can." by George Bernard Shaw
and I watch as the proud cock struts his stuff
and erects his head
Locating the next chick checking it out
its imperfections flaws of personality
delicateness of presentation
Selecting his target
for the prime mascocistic fertilization
in his frenzy of mental masterbation
Leaving behind pecked out holes in the cement
where he beat my head
leaving behind skritch scars
notes scribbled in the dirt of my soul
And I scream yell out
NO MORE forcible silence
NO MORE fear.
Blessed are The Days
Blessed are the Days I have no fear;
Blessed are the Days I shed no tear.
Blessed are the Days I feel no pain;
Blessed are the Days when I am sain.
Blessed are the Days when I can accept a loving touch;
Blessed are the Days Blessed are the Days when I cry no more;
Blessed are the Days that my hopes can soar.
Blessed are the Days that my friends are near;
Blessed are the Days when my mind is clear.
Blessed are the Days I can accept a loving touch;
My body consumed by fire
Completely turned to ash
Death has come
Existing no more
From the flame and ash
Rises a new creature
Different from the last
Beautiful, stong, and free
The destruction had to be complete
For the rebirth to occur
The process is drastic
But well worth the fight
I rise anew from the ash
Taking to the air on powerful wings
Victory I claim
From the ashes of death
I wear a mask
so no one can see all the pain hiding in me
The horror of rape is too great for me to face
So I hide all the while crying inside,
hoping for a place allowing escape.
Looking for a means to justify the end.
Seeking a safe place
where I have never been.
This is a great page offering help, hope and support for non-offending
parents of abused individuals. It also offers the same for partners or
friends of the victims. It is a newer page.
Be sure to sign the guestbook when you stop by. It is worth the
Other helpful pages are:
The Rape Survivors\ Hope and Home Page with links to other sites and uplifting
The Road to Healing a page with many other links to help you find information.
You are here. (I had to get it in somehow lol.) It offers this newsletter
and a listing of crisis centers from all 50 states, tips for healing, poems
My sincere thanks to each of you who responded to the survey.
The following are the results. May we each learn from them and perhaps
find aids to enhance our healing processes.
Every respondents different answers are listed here. Many respondents
listed the same answers.
1. What is you favorite quiet form of relaxation?
1. Kitaro 2. Yanni 3. Jars of Clay 4. Classical 5. Enya 6. Country
C. Jacuzzi/ relaxing bath
1. with scented oils/special soaps/gels 2. with scented candles
D. Quiet weekend with partner.
E. Soothing beverage, coffee, hot tea, hot chocolate
F. Working on my computer
G. Needlework/ knitting/ crochet
H. Holding a stuffed animal
M. Muscle relaxation techniques
N. Deep breathing/ meditation
2. What is your favorite active form of relaxation?
c. Tai chi
e. Dog walking/playing
f. Working out
g. Backpacking/ hiking
I. Surfing-on the web.
k. Cross-country skiing,
3. What helps you the most to begin/continue healing?
a. Active trying to change society’s views on rape victims.
b. Trying to change the legal system to be more responsive
c. A support group that really listens
d. Having people understand
e. Having feelings validated by people who believe
f. Being believed about being raped
g.Having people willing to listen. Even one person.
h. Helping other survivors
i. Feeling useful again
j. Reaching out to other survivors
k. Having a partner whom I can rely on.
l. Playing on the piano.
4. What do you feel people need to know about rape survivors the
a. The aftermath lasts forever.
b. Rape is a gender motivated hate crime.
c The lifestyle of the victim before the crime happened is irrevelant.
d. The effects last longer than one night.
e. the hurt of a survivor who is not believed, does not have justice,
to understand the physical and emotional hurt.
f. Rape happens, survivors exist, we do not make it up.
g. Needing someone to listen, understand, reassure and not cast
h. No matter how horrible the attack we must be believed and heard.
I. To know that we are fighting many battles within & without.
j. We need compassion not judgements against us!
k. It’s ok to seek professional help.
5. Any other suggestions?
a. Treat rape victims the same no matter if they are a prostitue
or a grandmother, or married with children.
b. Make information easier to obtain that relates to different outcomes
from being raped ex: pregnancy, lifelong physical injuries.
c. Once someone finds out another person has been
raped stop treating that person as if she/he can no
longer think for themselves. We are not second class citizens.
d. Allow us each the time frame we need to be able to heal.
e. We need to be truly believed and accepted.
f. The more we are treated as victims the easier it is to stay one.
g. We need your friendship now more than ever.
h. We can be triggered by things others think are harmless.
Our lovemaking partners need to know that sex with us may not be
I. We have problems letting people close to us emotionally and physically.
j. Each survivor has her own experience.
It is increasingly important for people to know that.
If they haven’t been raped the amount of empathy
they have towards the survivor is limited.
You can’t assume people on the outside will understand.
k. Educate themselves all they can.
L. Anyone can be a victim.
Mediation and Rape
Thank you for all of your submissions.
I am in total agreement with Lorraine Fuller. Here is my .02 worth,
with no attempt at feigning objectivity. (Please feel free to circulate
this.) There is a generalized movement affort, driven by the Male Lobby
and by counsellors looking for markets but essentially run by governments
wanting to cut justice costs and keep women down, to disentitle females
from legal recourse against men on issues of sexism. This plays out mostly
in the field of family law but it has started expanding to wife-beating,
sexual harassment and rape (including incest).
The most vicious aspect of this drive is that it pretends to satisfy
women's demands to be allowed agency and to obtain closure for what they
have suffered. The government and judicial system actually cite their own
ineptness (based on an obvious reluctance) at prosecuting sexist assaulters
and thieves (e.g. re: child support) to justify this "humane" form of dejudiciarization
and the search for what they call "win-win" solutions,which essentially
means that the perpetrator is to be satisfied with any outcome reached.
The wide-eyed liberal brigade fuels this with their notion that perps
don't really know they hurt women and that mediation can therefore get
them to listen to their victim's concerns and make amends. (groan) For
institutions such as universities, corporations, the Armed Forces, etc.,
mediation is a stratagem for bypassing legal rights for female survivors
living/working/studying on their premises, e,.g. talking complainants out
of it, keeping the whole thing under wraps, helping assaulters and the
institution save face, etc.
Some mediators (e.g. Linda Girdner) are honest enough to state publicly
that mediation cannot occur and should not even be tried accross power
differentials as blatant as that between an assaulter and his victim. But
the protocols are already clicking into place everywhere and legal aid/prosecutorial
support is increasingly being denied to those survivors who "resist" the
mediation route and therefore become the uncooperative guilty party. As
in enforced joint custody and visitation for child rapists, we are essentially
seeing arm-twisting, disentitlement, reversal and immense risks of re-victimization,
since mediation processes generally have precious few due process and safety
The focus is on learning to "get along" again, leaving the past behind,
seeing it from his perspective, etc. (bleah, ptui) A word of advice: ALWAYS
consult a feminist lawyer before buying in to any form of mediation. In
the U.S., NOW's Legal Defense Fund is now hosting the excellent collection
of inexpensive and informative materials critical of mediation assembled
by the now-closed National Center on Women and the Law.
Check it out.
Phone: (212) 925-6635.
Martin Dufresne Montreal Men Against Sexism
As always,opinions in this newsletter may not be the same as mine,
this is not intended to be a substitute for counseling or legal advice
we have no expertise in those areas. This is written by and for survivors,
their families and partners. Anyone wishing to submit may do so by emailing
me at Healing News@journalist.com
with “submission” in the subject line.
Next Month: What is PTSD anyway? How do you live with a person who