Being “Disappeared” into CPEP (Part III)

For part III, go to

About annecwoodlen

I am a tenth generation American, descended from a family that has been working a farm that was deeded to us by William Penn. The country has changed around us but we have held true. I stand in my grandmother’s kitchen, look down the valley to her brother’s farm and see my great-great-great-great-great-grandmother Hannah standing on the porch. She is holding the baby, surrounded by four other children, and saying goodbye to her husband and oldest son who are going off to fight in the Revolutionary War. The war is twenty miles away and her husband will die fighting. We are not the Daughters of the American Revolution; we were its mothers. My father, Milton C. Woodlen, got his doctorate from Temple University in the 1940’s when—in his words—“a doctorate still meant something.” He became an education professor at West Chester State Teachers College, where my mother, Elizabeth Hope Copeland, had graduated. My mother raised four girls and one boy, of which I am the middle child. My parents are deceased and my siblings are estranged. My fiancé, Robert H. Dobrow, was a fighter pilot in the Marine Corps. In 1974, his plane crashed, his parachute did not open, and we buried him in a cemetery on Long Island. I could say a great deal about him, or nothing; there is no middle ground. I have loved other men; Bob was my soul mate. The single greatest determinate of who I am and what my life has been is that I inherited my father’s gene for bipolar disorder, type II. Associated with all bipolar disorders is executive dysfunction, a learning disability that interferes with the ability to sort and organize. Despite an I.Q. of 139, I failed twelve subjects and got expelled from high school and prep school. I attended Syracuse University and Onondaga Community College and got an associate’s degree after twenty-five years. I am nothing if not tenacious. Gifted with intelligence, constrained by disability, and compromised by depression, my employment was limited to entry level jobs. Being female in the 1960’s meant that I did office work—billing at the university library, calling out telegrams at Western Union, and filing papers at a law firm. During one decade, I worked at about a hundred different places as a temporary secretary. I worked for hospitals, banks, manufacturers and others, including the county government. I quit the District Attorney’s Office to manage a gas station; it was more honest work. After Bob’s death, I started taking antidepressants. Following doctor’s orders, I took them every day for twenty-six years. During that time, I attempted%2
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2 Responses to Being “Disappeared” into CPEP (Part III)

  1. Maria Miller says:

    Hi Ann – I just found your posts and blog and found that we have a lot in common. I was about 45 years old when I got my first antidepressant and Halcion for sleep. I was in therapy after my second marriage failed and in order for the therapist to be paid I had to see a Psychiatrist. Itold him that there was a lot of addiction on both of my sides of the family. I was not depressed and had trouble sleeping (after a needless total Hysterectomy). At about age 50 I was totally addicted; I went into rehab, got diagnosed as bipolar, etc. To make a long story short I was on 31 meds for about an eight month period during which time I was convicted of retail fraud twice is (I had an MBA, no incidence with police, exermplary work, academics, etc). I filed a lawsuit and hadDr. Breggin testify but in Michigan there was a precedent that a non board certified psychiatrist cannot testify, so my case was thrown out. I have been hospitalized at least 13 times, and even found myself in a private insane asylum. I quit all the drugs cold turkey in January (bad decision) and have been titrating which has been good so far. My life is in shambles and I am scared that I will go back although I am deI termined not to. I find the whole mental treatment to be ABOMINABLE and want to do something about it, I conuld write a book and should about what I have seen. I will
    try my best to attend the conference with Dr. Breggin next year. Any comments? Help? i

    Maria Miller

    • annecwoodlen says:

      I’m sorry to have been so long in replying. Too many requests to be able to keep up.
      You just quit drugs this year? Hang in there, lady–the worst is over. I, too, went cold turkey in order to save my life–really, really tough way to go, but I had no choice. And here I am, ten years later, doing fine! You will, too. That is the most imoortant thing to hang onto: you will, slowly and steadily, keep getting better. We should start a “Reclaim Your Life” movement, shouldn’t we?
      I had a friend who titrated then, when she got down to zero, she dumped all her pills in the toilet, pissed on them, and flushed! Look forward to that day, lady. Let me know how you’re doing ( There will be rough spots along the way. Let me know and I’ll try to help you through them. First, take the oath: I WILL NOT GO TO THE DOCTOR; I WILL NOT GO TO THE DOCTOR; I WILL NOT . . .

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