Sneak Preview at The Parkway

Last night's sneak preview went great! We had a lot of really helpful feedback and comments that will help us in the final stretch to get the film out to the world! Thanks to everyone who attended and everyone who worked so hard to put it all together.

BTW - we have a Facebook page now for the film. Please help us spread the word.



New Website is Up

The new website is up! Check it out at www.numbdocumentary.com. Let us know what you think...


Numb "Sneak Preview"

There will be another “sneak preview” NUMB on Wednesday, December 8th to help raise money for the final stretch of post-production to complete this film. We are really really close but we need your help. Executive producer Melody Gilbert has found a distributor who is interested in representing the film for international broadcast but we need to finish up the editing. Come join us at the Parkway Theater in MInneapolis. The event includes: pre-screening mingling with “Mexican munchies”, screening, silent auction, Q and A, and a ticket to see “Urban Explorers: Into the Darkness, which follows NUMB screening that night. Please tell your friends- we need all the support we can get as we are getting really close to getting this movie out in the world! Ticket info @ www.theparkwaytheater.com


Sneak Preview Recap

WOW! What an experience! “Numb” had its sneak preview at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Film Festival yesterday and it was amazing. (Thank you to Ryan Oestrich and the rest of the staff at MSPIFF) I can’t believe how many people showed up! I was overwhelmed by the show of support and how well it was received.

Three people from the Twin Cities really stepped up and took my film to the next level – and they deserve a ton of credit! Melody Gilbert (www.frozenfeetfilms.com) is an awesome filmmaker who has produced and directed some amazing work. As the Executive Producer for “Numb” she has worked very hard to make sure the film was “ready.” Even though it was a long process, I now know what it means to have the film ready to go. Thank you Melody. BTW – if you get the chance, I strongly suggest you check out her films!

Our editor, Charlie Gerszewski from Channel Z (www.channelzsucks.com) , is an amazingly talented guy. To take my initial edits - of such a personal story - and bring it to this level was not an easy task. I was very protective of the material in the beginning and I had to learn to trust Charlie. Luckily, Charlie is the perfect editor – understanding, supportive, and most importantly, a great storyteller. Thank you Charlie for signing on and staying with it! Also, thanks to Ace Allgood at Channel Z for committing so much time and effort to the project.

As an amateur musician, the music in the film was very important to me. In the end, I think David Salmela (www.creativeelectricstudios.com) captured exactly what I was feeling at each moment of the film. The funny thing it, I knew from the first day that I met Dave, that he “got it.” Sitting the in theatre yesterday, hearing Dave’s music as a backdrop was the thread that held the whole thing together. Thanks Dave!

Finally, I need to thank all the local guys that I have worked with for so many years that really helped me out when I needed it. Bob, Darren, Mike, Dean, Jeremy, Tom, Cory – and everyone else involved in the project. THANK YOU!


Need to Fill Seats

Seems that I really dropped the ball on promoting the sneak preview of the film at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival. If you know anyone in the area who would be interested, please spread the word!



MSPIFF Film Festival

After WAY too long, the film is showing at this year's Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival! It will be showing on April 24th at 1:15. Here's a link for more details http://mspfilmfest.org/MMX/content/numb


New website is up.

It's been a long time and a lot has happened since I started this crazy project. I've recently updated the website and the trailer. More news to come on when and where the movie will be released.


Exciting News!

Finally, I have some very exciting news - I have finished a full cut of the film!  It's been a long, tough road - way more intense than I ever imagined - but I am close to getting the message out there.  I've been in the film and video production business for a long time (yikes, almost 20 years) and I have to say, this is one of the most difficult projects I've ever worked on.  I think most of that had to do with how personal the struggle was - and how painful it was to watch myself - for hours on end - suffering.

One of the things I'm most excited about - is letting others see and hear some of the great interviews I got from some wonderful people who have worked very hard to raise awareness about the dangers and risks associated with antidepressants.  FYI - I hope to have a new movie trailer up on the web site in a couple of days.  Other than that, I am going through some final tweaks on the film - and then I hope to find a way to get it in front of as many people as possible (very soon!).


Memories of Washington DC 2006

One year ago today, I went to Washington DC to attend the Psychopharmacologic Drugs Advisory Committee’s review of data linking antidepressants to a risk of suicide in adults. It was on that day, one year ago, when my eyes were first opened to the blatant corruption and bureaucracy that plagues our system. It was obvious that no one on that panel was there to rock the boat - and that their minds had already been made up long before they stepped foot in that room. It wasn’t about data or new findings – it was all just “going through the motions.” Putting on a show to put our collective minds at ease and to publicly show their devotion to the cartel controlling them – the pharmaceutical industry.

As I look back now, through the haze of 365 days struggling to overcome an excruciating withdrawal from Paxil, I still remember that day in Washington – not just how disappointed I was with the people in power – but how in the midst of all that posturing, I witnessed expressions of love and hope that went beyond words. To see a mother bravely stand up in front of the room full of cold faces and share loving memories about a daughter who fell victim to the dangers of these drugs moved me. She wasn’t there for money or power – or any kind of personal gain – she was there with one purpose in mind…to help others. That, to me, is a true symbol of hope on the anniversary of yet another missed opportunity by our government to inform the public and save lives.


Update on the Film

It’s hard to believe that it’s been nine months since I started this crazy adventure. We are still working on the film and I am in the process of getting a few more interviews to expand on some of the things I learned along the way. I hope to have the whole thing ready for viewing very soon.

Thanks for the feedback and continued support – while I may not respond to everything, I do read it all - and appreciate it very much.



State of the Mind.

I wish I could say that I'm improving and that things are getting back to normal, but unfortunately, that's not the case. While the physical symptoms of withdrawal have started to fade, the reality of living without the crutch of the medication is tough - tougher than I thought it would be. The film project is still in the works, but working and focusing on something so intense and so personal has become very difficult for me. It will happen, I'm just giving it time - after all, my stories not over yet...

On the positive side, this experience has taught me that I don't have all the answers - and that's okay. I just have to roll with the punches more and learn how to better appreciate the good things in life. But perhaps the most important thing that I have learned is that I'm not alone in this struggle.

Thanks for all the support and a special thank you to all of those who have shared their stories with me.


Been a while...

Time marches on and I wish I could say that I felt great and had a full recovery from my ten years of Paxil use – but, unfortunately, that’s not the case. I have tried to put the documentary project aside for a while in an attempt to regain some normalcy in my life. I was so consumed with everything related to antidepressants that it became overwhelming. I just wanted to be normal again.

So, for the past month or so, I have focused on work and my family and really tried to accept my new reality – and learn to live with it. What I have really struggled with is the inconsistency in the recovery from the drug. One day, I’m fine and the next, I wake up to the same physical symptoms like the ringing in the ears and electrical pulses. It’s a constant reminder of the long-term damage that was done to my mind and body. I am also struggling with an intense lethargic feeling that can hit at anytime, regardless of the amount of rest I have had. I feel like damaged goods – and that makes me angry.

For over six months, I have suffered more than I would wish on even my worst enemy – both physically and psychologically. Not because I have some disease or infection that won’t go away – no, I am suffering because I am trying to STOP a medication. An FDA approved medication that was supposed to help me. What a joke. What I - and so many others are going through - has nothing to do with depression, anxiety or any other disorder. IT IS WITHDRAWAL - PLAIN AND SIMPLE. It is withdrawal from a powerful and highly addictive drug that doesn’t “treat” anything in the first place. It is a drug that simply masks the problems people have – not help them get better.

Someone once told me that if I continue to talk about the dangers of these drugs, that I am jeopardizing the years of advances they have made in breaking down the stigma of depression – and by doing that, I would be keeping people from taking medication that they need. I’m not buying it. Not any more. Too many people are making too much money off of a very vulnerable and fragile group of human beings – and I can’t just sit here and do nothing.

I wish we could just dismiss this whole antidepressant craze as our generation’s “Snake Oil Salesmen” and laugh it off – but we can’t. This is no joke. Too many lives are at stake and too much damage has already been done. The “Snake Oil” they are now selling is filled with venom – and, this miracle drug that they have promised will cure you, may end up to be the very thing that kills you.

It’s good to be back.


The Perfect Storm

As the days start to blend into weeks – and then into months – I have to say, I may actually be starting to adjust to a life free of antidepressants. Friday will mark three months since I took my last dose of Paxil. While I still have good days and bad days, I have to think (hope) that the worst is behind me.

Would I say that my story has a happy ending? No way. I may feel okay most days – but I know it’s not over. The effects of the withdrawal - and years of taking Paxil - will more than likely remain with me for years to come. I still have sensations of electrical short-circuits in my brain - and my ears still ring like a thousand television sets screaming at me.

I do have to say that I feel lucky to have lived through it (so far!) and to have the ability to tell the story. There are so many people out there – just like me – who need help, who need to talk – and to deal with real issues in their lives. It’s just so unfortunate, and quite frankly, tragic, that the very treatment that we looked to for help, could cause so much pain, suffering and confusion. It’s the ultimate irony – you feel down or anxious so you take a pill to feel better – and in the end, that pill only makes you feel worse - and even intensifies the very issues that caused you to seek help in the first place.

I’m starting to think that antidepressants are like the “perfect storm” – everything came together to create the ultimate moneymaker. You’ve got the perfect consumers – people who desperately want and need help. You’ve got the perfect illness – one that cannot be scientifically proven and is subjectively diagnosed. You’ve got the perfect marketing scheme – huge advertising campaigns in magazines and on television that play directly on the consumer’s fears and desires to get better. And, you’ve got the perfect pushers – government regulators and a professional community that have bought into the whole thing hook, line and sinker. The result of this “perfect storm” is a tremendous amount of power and influence that allows the industry to keep the wave rolling.

It’s intimidating – and a little overwhelming to actually fight the storm and try to get someone to listen - or make a change, or for that matter, tell the truth – but at this point, what other choice do we have?


Making Progress

I seemed to have cycled through another rough patch in the road to recovery. The past few days I’ve felt pretty good – I’m actually feeling what may be considered, “normal.” My ears aren’t ringing as much and the whoosh in my head has faded. Knowing what the alternative is, I’m trying to take full advantage of the good days and keep reminding myself to enjoy the simple things – like my kids’ laughter.

We’ve started sifting through the hours and hours of footage. It’s hilarious to watch me starting the process back in August – I’m like a giddy kid waiting in line for a ride at Disney World. It’s all energy and anticipation. The sad part is, I know that it all changes pretty quick. Since I haven't seen all the footage yet, I’m guessing it’s going to be pretty difficult to watch - but I have to admit, even though I lived it, I’m still anxious to see what happens next!

Talk to you soon.