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Thursday, 6 October 2011

FIDDAMAN ** Exclusive - Prozac Frees Ex-Scientology Leader from Depression

The Psychiatric Times

Volume VIII, No. 6 $9.00

The Newspaper of American Psychiatry

June 1991

Prozac Frees Ex-Scientology Leader from Depression

source -

A personal aide to Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard for eight of her nearly 20 years with the group says that fluoxetine (Prozac) and therapy have finally stopped the depression and suicidal ideation she had suffered since 1976. "I have to speak out" Hana (Eltringham) Whitfield told The Psychiatric Times, "The Scientologists choose the most prominent psychiatrists and the most successful drugs to attack, That's why they attacked Ritalin, and that's why they are now attacking Prozac."

Although trained as a nurse in South Africa. Hana said she didn't realize that she had a mental block toward seeking therapy because of the hatred for psychiatry taught by Hubbard and maintained by his followers. "It took me five years to get over the fear of going to a counselor. therapist, or anyone connected with the psychiatric field.- she said. Then, in 1989, she and her husband, Jerry, also a former Scientologist read 'Combating Cult Mind Control' by Steven Hassan. "Suddenly we realized that there was such a thing as mind control, that it was practiced by Scientologists and that we had been subjected to it." she said.

It was only then that the "cult personality" began to fracture, once it did, Hana said she gained some frightening insights:

• "Scientology makes people into clones of Hubbard. You can't think except within the parameters he has set.

• "Auditors (Scientology counselors! are unlicensed practitioners who don't know that they are putting people into trance states and using desensitization techniques that appear to work for a time but then the problem recurs or is replaced by another one."

It was physical illness, depression, and suicidal ideation that finally pushed Hana out of Scientology. "I got a terrible headache during an auditing session in 1974 and from then on for 10 years I was almost never without a migraine." she said. According to Scientology. Hana is "Clear #60" - she was the 60th person to reach Hubbard's nirvana state." Therefore, it was embarrassing to Hubbard that she was having the headaches since "clears" are not supposed to have physical or emotional problems. He even supervised her auditing personally for two years, but the headaches didn't improve. In fact. Hana said, "she was constantly depressed and the last five years constantly suicidal. The headaches were so bad I1 couldn't work two or three days a week, and even the vibration of a person walking in the hall outside my room made the pain excruciating. I am five feet nine Inches tall and I weighed only 125 pounds."

Looking back, Hana said the trance state of the auditing process, which heightens awareness accounts for the headaches she suffered. Hubbard was hypersensitive, too. Particularly to smells, she said. "He would fly into rages it he could smell soap in his shirts or if the cleaning girl used a product whose smell irritated him." The trance state also makes people more suggestible and easier to control. Hana said. She and others she knew experienced leaving their bodies and other altered states. "This was what Hubbard wanted us all to attain permanently;" she said. "Now I'm aghast to think about it."

Hana believes that her suicidal ideation resulted from her acceptance of Scientology's, doctrines of reincarnation and karma. "If I was experiencing such pain in the present, what was the bad thing from the past that had caused it?" Hana said. "l couldn't rind it and it haunted me."

For nearly 20 years Scientology was her whole life. At one time. Hana said. "I was in charge of a whole block of international affairs." But in 1981 she made a decision to leave: "I decided 'if I don't leave while I know I have to, I won't make it.' I knew I had to get away so I could think." It still took three years for her to make the final break.

Nine months ago. Hana began counseling with a social worker from the Cult Clinic at Jewish Family Services in Los Angeles who recommended that she ask her physician for an antidepressant. The endocrinologist she had been seeing for migraine headaches prescribed fluoxetine. Hana said she feels calm for the first time in years. "I can think more clearly now, my memory is coming back. I can assess situations and reach logical conclusions and express my feelings again." she said. "It's taken me nine months to be able to let people know the good Prozac can do. It has changed my life around."

Before beginning counseling and fluoxetine treatment. Hana said, discussing her experiences often triggered so much emotion she would have to pull back. Now she said she can speak freely and help her husband with their work. The couple offers, their services to people who are concerned for a family member who is in Scientology.

There is no coercion or kidnapping involved. Hana said. "We just talk with them. And because of our experiences. many see more, clearly."

How it Began

Hana Eltringham was a nurse in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1965 when she took her first Scientology course on the recommendation of a physician with whom she worked. Her instructors encouraged her to continue, and she moved to England for more advanced training. She came to Los Angeles in 1966 for additional training. "I loved the organization." she said. "What I didn't like was the race that Americans live in."

In 1967, she accepted an opportunity to leave the United States to work personally with L. Ron Hubbard on a "secret project." She was not told where she was going and had to change planes a couple of times in Europe, eventually reaching the Canary Islands and a refurbished cattle ferry called the "Royal Scotsman," where she spent the next eight years. During that time she witnessed Hubbard having innumerable "unpredictable raging, screaming tantrums for the least irritation." At other times, "he would sulk in his cabin for days if a project didn't go well or he didn't think the mechanic had fixed his car properly. He would be petulant, mope and cry and moan.

"I once saw him lift Michael Douglas [another aide] by the shirt neck, shove him against a wall, and scream in his face for five or six minutes." Hana said, "It was uncivilized. a barbaric kind of thing." Despite their fear of Hubbard, however, Hana said both she and other staff members rationalized that his behavior was due to the pressures of wanting to save the world. "We revered him, there's no doubt about it." she said. "I and most of my associates saw him almost as God incarnate."

While Hubbard never made claim to that title, she said. he did claim to be the reincarnation of Buddha in a book he wrote called The Hymn of Asia. In retrospect, she said:

"He was a deranged man. He wasn't anywhere near normal."

During those years, she also heard Hubbard rail against psychiatry. "The gist was that psychiatry was intent on destroying Dianetics and Scientology

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