The Pill That Steals Lives

London July 2016

This week myself and Tony abandoned the minors, left them in the care of the (sergeant) majors and took ourselves off to London. With promises of presents and various forms of bribery, they waved us off without a second glance – the deals were struck. With one condition – as long as we were back for Henny-Benny’s 12th birthday on Wednesday, we could do whatever else we liked. The purpose of our trip overseas was to attend a book launch in Waterstones of Kensington – Katinka Blackford Newman’s ‘The Pill That Steals Lives’. Having read excerpts in the Mail and spoken to Katinka over the last year, I was really looking forward to it.

Katinka is a film producer, director and author – she’s also attractive, clever and extremely funny (as are her 2 amazing children). Her book depicts a particularly harrowing year in her life, a year that started with a marriage break-up and a prescription for Escitalopram (Lexapro/Cipralex). She describes, in painful detail, her subsequent spiral into an emotionally-blunted, chronically-fatigued, medicated shell of her former self. Weirdly, as a result of running out of health insurance, she survived to tell this tale. Her autobiographical account of that year is told in a sometimes tragic, yet often humorous way – this book is a stunner. Considering the enormous increases in antidepressant prescribing, for every conceivable ailment (from exam woes to shyness), I hope it is read far and wide.

We had arranged to meet up with our friends before the book launch (Brian, his better half and Bobby Fiddaman). Brian and the Mrs were staying in a very posh hotel, where the concierges wore top hats and tails – we weren’t. A previous fiasco in Denmark led them to choose their own hotel this time – but that’s another story. Nevertheless, the concierge was very friendly and courteous and after equally posh aperitifs, we all travelled together to Waterstones bookshop on Kensington’s High Street.

It was fabulous. We met other Irish friends there too – Stephanie and John Lynch, whose son Jake tragically died from an antidepressant-induced death at age 14. There were people from all corners of the globe, all with similar stories to tell. I was delighted to finally meet David Carmichael, who had travelled from Canada to be there. David strangled his 11-year-old son while in a Seroxat induced psychosis – he’s a very nice man and I would trust him with my life.

Kirk Brandon, a singer and friend of Bobby’s was there too. While having Lunch the following day, Kirk told an equally harrowing story of his time on Seroxat. There are so many stories, from survivors (the lucky ones) but equally from those who didn’t survive, like Shane, Kevin, Jake, Ian, et cetera. The list goes on and on – read the book.

As is the norm for us in London, we had a few hiccups along the way. Thankfully, there was no flashing of ageing bodily parts this time around, certainly not mine anyway (I can’t speak for the others). Although, getting peed on, first by torrential rain and then by Ryanair, wandering aimlessly around London in the middle of the night (due to a raging fire near Clapham Junction) was all par for the course.

Even an impromptu overnight stay in London City Airport, coupled with additional flights costing a further 600 euro, could not dampen our spirits. It was worth every penny, although we did put ourselves in jeopardy of additional bribery – we missed Henny-Benny’s birthday. All is not lost though – he’s busy concocting up a repayment scheme for the trauma of this particularly bad parenting.

The Pill That Steals Lives.


7 thoughts on “The Pill That Steals Lives

  1. Please May I have your email address I have a mind blowing story regarding the corrupt irish medical council. Kind regards Maggie

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    1. Please May I have your email address I have a mind blowing story regarding the corrupt irish medical council. Kind regards Maggie Thanks for coming back to me. Sent you email. Did you receive it? Maggie

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  2. A psychiatrist is a toxic profession http://www.cchr.org .What you need is mindfulness.Mastering others is strength Mastering yourself is true power.Participating in a range of activities stimulate a healthy living .When you living in a rounded life,a failure in one area is less likely to demoralise you and make you feel depressed;even young children sent to a psychiatrist are put on psychotic drugs.It is a crime against humanity.

    The scientific basis for ADHD is fraudulent .It is voted into diagnostic and statistic manual by members of the America Psychiatric Association in 1987,driving up sales of stimulants to treat ADHD to 3 billion a year.We live in unjust society no one is unaffected;the effects of injustice are insidious.

    What is your goal ?. You never feel depressed if you find your purpose,Drug companies spend £5.3 billion a year marketing psychiatric drugs.A cure of crisis with the problems of living why psychiatrist or GP continue to create illness and injury through inappropriate and incompetent interventions?
    Recently I was told by a charity worker as a counsellor she can only cope if the patient is on medication for depression so what this says? very ignoring uncaring behaviour.

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  3. Many years ago, when I was 18 years old, I was prescribed Seroxat by a psychiatrist for moderate depression. The phrase “mental turmoil” does not even begin to describe what I experienced in the next few days. It made me suicidal, which is something that I had never felt before. I think of myself as a peaceful, kind person. I’ve never been in a fight before. I’ve never hit anyone. I find acts of violence abhorrent, so much so that I don’t even watch horror films. Yet two days after taking Seroxat, I had vivid, horrendous thoughts of inflicting serious injury on two of my classmates, who I had a grudge against. Looking back on it, I’m convinced that if a weapon had been available, such as a knife, I would have done so. I’ve heard so many people express disbelief at the idea that a couple of doses of antidepressants could lead a placid person to commit acts of extreme violence, but having experienced the horrors of SSRIs, I know the truth.
    Thank you for your fight for justice. Thanks to you and the actions of other brave people, I hope that one day, the pharmaceutical industry might be truly held accountable for the death and misery they have caused.
    James

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