My long battle with mercury poisoning began my sophomore year of high school, shortly after I had 3 “silver” fillings placed. It wasn’t until I was almost 24 that I would learn these fillings are composed of 50-70% mercury. The first noticeable symptom was fatigue and hypoglycemia. After school I would take long naps. My aunt, with whom I lived, remarked on my lack of energy. People thought I was lazy. If I didn’t eat regularly, I became faint, irritable, and would sometimes cry.
I went to the ophthalmologist because I had “floaties” in my line of vision. They looked like little bugs flying around. He said it was probably just protein floating around. Smells would give me headaches, and I began to gain weight. My left oblique would involuntarily contract, like a twitch.
By my freshman year of college, life was bordering on terrible. Mentally, I was a wreck. Physically, I was exhausted. My hair had become brittle and dry, and grew much slower than that of my sister. I often fell asleep in class, and one friend remarked that he couldn’t invite me over to watch movies because I would fall asleep instantly. I was so excited for college with the parties and insight that it promised, but little by little, I became more of a hermit.
I had learned how to control my weight by eating less, but it seemed like had to I eat way less than others my age in order to maintain my weight. I spent most of my time thinking about suicide and death. It felt like there was an outside source, like a drug, causing me to feel this way. I could rationalize that everything was okay, but no matter what I did, the thoughts would creep back in. I became angry, sometimes having uncontrollable outbursts. I began to cut myself on occasion to release the tension.
Sophomore year of college, I started counseling. It helped me a lot, though never even hinted that the root cause of my depression/anxiety/mania could be due to toxicity. I felt to blame for everything, I excessively apologized for any perceived wrong, and developed a persecution complex. When I acted irrational, I would beat myself up for days.
I was unable to wear sunglasses or headphones because it interfered with my equilibrium. I would become dizzy and sometimes walk into traffic. I bought an iPod, but I couldn’t listen to it because I became very sensitive to sounds. They would kick start my anxiety. I also lost a good portion of my hearing, to the point that I would need to look at people’s lips when they were talking. My ears would ring frequently. I couldn’t understand it. I told a friend once that I hadn’t been to many concerts so it didn’t make sense why I had such hearing impairment. The voice of the person’s to whom I was talking would blend in with background noise. I didn’t receive my driver’s license because I felt like I was in a padded cell that was hindering my senses. I knew I would get in an accident. I felt like such an outsider because no one could tell me what was wrong.
As it was, I would already weave as I walked down the sidewalk. My knees would buckle. I stayed up all night, totally unable to regulate my sleep schedule. People said I was a night owl, and that was the cause of my problems. I didn’t want to be a night owl, I wanted to be normal, so I tried desperately to fix my sleep schedule to no avail. I thought that I was a narcoleptic since I would experience sleep paralysis often, and slept as often as I could, even in strange places. I went to a sleep clinic and they refused to see me, saying I was depressed and just needed to go to bed earlier. I felt guilty for things I couldn’t control.
I would sometimes experience days of mania, where I felt like I was high, in love with the world, and overflowing with impulsivity and creativity. I would send letters of appreciation to people, read poetry, and stay up all night.
I got a job in fast food, but had to quit after a month because of the fatigue. I had lost the feeling in my left big toe, save for a tingling “pins and needles” sensation. My co-worker told me it was because I wasn’t used to standing up and that it would go away.
I spent a year in France while I was in college, and the universities were on strike. That meant that very little time was spent in school. So when I returned, I thought I had just lost my work ethic and that is why I had such difficulty concentrating. When I got back, I went to New York City for a nanny job with a French family.
I continued counseling, and participated in clinical trials. A psychiatrist from Columbia University said my symptoms were consistent with Borderline Personality Disorder. Before I could finish the trial, I was fired because of my fatigue and recluse nature. “You don’t interact with us. A 23 year-old does not sleep all day,” my boss told me. So she flew me back to Portland.
The counselors I spoke with subsequently diagnosed me with Clinical Depression, Generalized Anxiety, Social Anxiety Disorder, and Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. A Bi-polar diagnosis was also considered. I started going to a Social Anxiety Disorder support group, but somehow I felt different. I wasn’t shy! I was outgoing! I didn’t understand what was sucking the life and gregariousness out of me. They prescribed me Prozac and Wellbutrin, which just served to make me feel even crazier. I supplemented with St. John’s Wort and 5-HTP but it didn’t make a dent in my melancholy.
I had developed a curved spine and poor posture. Doctors I visited brushed me off, saying I just needed to eat healthier, exercise more, and sit up straight.They claimed I was depressed. Maybe they were right, I thought, so I exercised as much as I could and I experimented with different diets– I had been a vegetarian since I was 11, so I tried veganism, raw foods, and the primal diet (which is primarily meat-based). Unfortunately, my improvements were minimal.
My immune system was so weak that I couldn’t go out in public without getting a cold. Sometimes I would catch three colds in a row. I developed bronchitis twice while I was in France and had an almost constant sore throat. I suffered from chronic sinusitis and excessive phlegm, coughing up sputum endlessly. I would sometimes have a cold for months. Despite following all the necessary hygienic rules, I came down with a urinary tract infection on average once every two months. Taking antibiotics was a certain recipe for a yeast infection, so I had them about as often as my UTIs. I was certain I had contracted HIV, but test results showed up negative.
Last year and early this year was the most difficult time of my life. I couldn’t stand up without my heart pounding and shortness of breath. Sometimes I would get short of breath getting out of bed in the morning, when I had the energy to get up. My skin was oily, blemished and I would sweat profusely from minimal physical exertion such as walking a block. I could wash my face and it would become oily an hour later. I would blot it with paper towels several times a day. My gums would bleed and my mouth had a constant metallic taste. Most days I would rock back and forth in bed upon waking up, another side effect of mercury poisoning.
I was hired as a barista where I was required to stand, but I would often find excuses to use the restroom or sit down in the inventory room. The pins and needles and numbness were now located in my right ring fingertip as well. My boss fired me because of all the mistakes I made due to my forgetfulness, as well as my social inadequacy.
The social anxiety I experienced was devastating. I spent most of my time in my room alone, afraid to go outside or to talk to anyone. Once a formerly extroverted person, I couldn’t answer the phone without feeling panicked. People would send me links to job offers on craigslist, but I knew I couldn’t apply. I was too afraid of people — I couldn’t even look people in the eye — and I spent most of my time in bed due to my weakness and lethargy. I stuttered, slurred my speech, and would lose my train of thought at least ten times a day. It was humiliating. I couldn’t maintain a conversation because my memory had gotten to the point where I couldn’t recall the context of the previous sentence, so I just pretended to follow.
I was so tired all the time, it felt like I was looking through a fishtank. Imagine staying up two nights in a row and trying to concentrate the next day. That is what it felt like no matter how much sleep I got. My peripheral vision started to narrow, so that anything on both sides of me was blurry. I couldn’t focus, so I began to be unable to read. I couldn’t fix my gaze. Even when I did try to read, I couldn’t retain the information, so I gave up. If I watched a film, I would forget what happened by the time it was over, so it was pointless. My grades suffered, but I did eventually graduate.
My fingernails had begun to curve and had strange lumps on them. My neck and back pain had gotten so bad that I slept in the fetal position and would roll my neck back and forth over 30 times a day. The base of my skull was particularly painful. I had lost most of my friends, because I just couldn’t remember things well enough to have a meaningful conversation. I couldn’t remember the names of restaurants I liked, movies I’d watched, street names, dates, etc. My intellectual faculties were steadily declining. “How can it be,” I asked myself, “that the person chosen to represent my entire high school in the county spelling bee, is forgetting simple vocabulary?” Naturally, I blamed myself. I told people I felt like a 20-something in the body of a 70 year-old.
Mind you, I was still depressed, but it had intensified into full-blown suicidality. I decided one day that I was going to take my own life, and had settled on a method. I couldn’t live my life like this, and it seemed like the only hope. The sentence “I want to die” played in my head over and over throughout the day for years. I couldn’t turn it off, even when I was having a good time. At this point, I couldn’t live with the misery my chronic, degenerative illness was inflicting on me, so I didn’t argue with it anymore. My scalp felt like it was in a vise and my brain was on fire!
The day I made my decision, I received an e-mail from one of my mailing lists urging me to watch the documentary “The Beautiful Truth,” about the Gerson Therapy. The documentary detailed how mercury vapor is released from “silver” fillings and enters the body. Tearfully, I began scouring the internet for testimonials from people who were mercury poisoned from dental fillings, and they were multitudinous. Reading others’ experiences was like reading my own biography, the toxicity played out in their bodies in very much the same way. I was shocked and appalled that the ADA would let such a substance into our bodies. I spent the next several months immersed in study on this phenomenon, filled with sadness for others but also with hope that there was a cure to my illness. I called DAMS (Dental Amalgam Mercury Solutions) and the man who answered told me he was glad I could still read somewhat, and that many of the people who call are so mercury toxic they cannot. He sent me information in the form of a packet as well as two copies of their newsletter “Dental Truth.” With the financial help of a friend, I was able to visit a holistic dentist in the Portland area to have the silver amalgams removed and replaced with composite, taking precautionary measures in order to minimalize the exposure to more mercury vapor.
The effects were immediate. For the first time in years I could sit up straight without pain! My neck and back pain had literally disappeared instantly. While I was sitting in the dentist’s chair, about to leave my appointment, the song Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl) by Looking Glass came on. I had known the verse when I was a child, but had long since forgotten it due to my encroaching dementia. The lyrics started pouring in, and I was mouthing the words under my breath. I stopped myself and realized how huge this was. Since that day, almost all my symptoms have disappeared. My skin and hair instantly improved. I can wash my face once a day now without it become oily at the end of the day.
I have residual fatigue, which I expect will last until I can chelate completely and address nutritional deficiencies caused by the mercury, but I am nonetheless functional and energetic. One of my best friends often notes my changes. The other day he said, “you haven’t asked me ‘what?’ since you got your fillings removed, and you answer my phone calls!” I am social, happy, and on my way to good health. It’s been nothing short of miraculous. My mood has stabilized, my memory is improving, my sinusitis cleared up, the “brain fog” is disappearing, and I haven’t caught a cold in months! I learned that Andy Cutler, a PhD in Chemistry from Princeton, reversed his amalgam filling-induced mercury toxicity by dosing himself with DMSA (a drug developed for acute mercury chelation) using a specific protocol based on the half-life of the drug. I intend to follow Andy Cutler’s chelation protocol detailed in his book “Amalgam Illness” in order to remove the mercury still lodged in my tissues.
I hope that my story can help someone in the same way that I was helped by others’ stories. I cannot emphasize enough how grateful I am to those who are working to ban this practice. Do not hestitate to contact me regarding this information.
It’s been two years, and I’ve been chelating using low-dose oral DMPS purchased as a research chemical for $15/gram for about five months now. I couldn’t tolerate DMSA or ALA so I waited until I could find DMPS without a prescription. I honestly believe a lot of the people who recover are the ones who use DMPS. I take it every 3 hours round-the-clock to prevent any mercury symptoms from catching up to me.
I’m making improvements every day. My memory is so much better (it’s almost normal, and it’s better than my boyfriend’s memory) and my IQ has improved notably. I still have chronic fatigue (mostly while I’m “on round”) and residual anhedonia, but I am not suicidal and I do not feel mentally ill anymore. I would say you could describe it as having some cognitive deficits and certain foods trigger irritability. I never cry anymore and my menstrual periods are really normal. I don’t get colds, flus, or infections…except for maybe once a year. I still heal rather slowly. My speech impediments are gone, and so is my hesitation regarding what I want to say. My speech is really fluid. I still have some social anxiety (or maybe social apathy?)
I’m not cold all the time, which was a symptom of hypothyroid. My bones no longer creak.
I usually go to bed around 11pm-midnight and wake up at 9am naturally. I’d say that’s reasonably normal.
I no longer have sore throats, my metabolism has increased where I don’t gain weight so easily, and my tic that occurs in my abdomen only occurs when I’m “on round.”
I don’t have panic attacks (still). I can listen to music without having sound sensitivity. It’s rare that I choose to listen to music though, but it’s getting better.
I’m still working with food allergies and crashing after eating.
I can be around chemicals without getting dizzy or getting headaches. Of course, I don’t choose to be around the chemicals if I don’t have to be!
I read voraciously, and my focus is back with a vengeance. I read almost all day long if I have the choice. It’s still difficult to read really dense material, which is disappointing to me.
My skin gets icky while I’m detoxing, but it’s pretty calm when I’m not. My creativity is coming back, but the motivation to be creative hasn’t yet returned. I get a lot of ideas, but don’t act on them as much as I used to.
I’m starting a new career.
I’ve got a long way to go, especially with the fatigue, but I think this is the way to go and I’m confident that I’ll recover if I stick with it.
If you wonder whether you should have your amalgams removed, my answer is a resounding YES. Please join the Yahoo group frequent-dose-chelation if you are curious about how to proceed safely with amalgam removal and chelation. They were invaluable in my recovery.
Thank you to everyone who commented. I appreciate your support and I wish you all a quick recovery from this dreadful poison. Know this: there is hope.