Random

Copenhagen: Psychiatric Drugs do more Harm Than Good

20150915_110459
Copenhagen here we come..

So myself and the poor unfortunate husband took ourselves off to Copenhagen for a Conference ‘Psychiatric drugs do more harm than good‘. Peter Gøtzsche (physician, medical researcher, and leader of the Nordic Cochrane Centre), was bullied into had invited us to speak, along with our fellow Irish friends Stephanie and John, and three American ladies that I had long admired.

I had said, through ‘hell or high water’, nothing was going to stop me from going. Are you listening GOD – I had meant it as a joke, not literally! Firstly a traffic jam on the N11 meant we had to take a de-tour through the Wicklow countryside, causing a slightly frazzled and frantic dash for Dublin airport. Arriving safely (and in a timely fashion) in Copenhagen, we met with our gorgeous UK friends, Mr and Mrs AntiDepAware and we all boarded the train to Nørreport.  After a few minutes of lively chatter, the train decided to give up the ghost and came to a standstill – leaving us packed like frying sardines into a fastly deteriorating atmosphere and a very steamy (and very sealed) capsule. After about 30 minutes, when the condensation began running down the windows and the frazzled commuters were looking increasingly manic, in what seemed to be an unprecedented move, the doors were opened and we were allowed to walk (underground) to the next station. Sylvester Stallone’s ‘Daylight’ was coming to mind, but I thought i’d better keep that particular thought to myself. The Danes are lovely though and once the doors opened, the relief was palpable. Never one to miss a photo opportunity, I took my phone out and a pretty Dane asked was it okay if she photo-bombed me. I was told later that this train event was highly unusual and even made the TV News – typical that we just happened to be on it at the same time.

norreport underground from copenhagen airport
Underground, off the train bound for Norreport, copenhagen

We then arrived at our ‘cheap and cheerful’ hotel, whereupon my fellow Irish friend Stephanie proceeded to throw a strop and refused point-blank to step one further step into this ‘quaint’ establishment. Having got her money back, she exited stage-left (with her poor hubby in tow) to more salubrious surroundings, leaving us, her poor Irish and UK friends, to our less posh surroundings and to share a bathroom with everyone else on the same floor. Our UK friends, with that very British Stoicism, seemed happy enough to make the best of it – not like our fair-weather Irish friends. The weather then decided to ‘chuck it down’ – with deafening thunder and lightning for added effect.

We went for dinner that evening with Robert Whitaker (American journalist and author), Peter Gøtzsche (pronounced Gurchur) and our fellow speakers: kim witczak, Wendy Dolin and Mathy Dowling. We also got to meet the lovely Denis (Danilo’s dad) and an equally lovely medical student (name pronounced Annis). Wow, what amazing people. It’s an evening I will never forget, being in the same room as people that I had long admired through webpages and videos. Each time I spoke, Peter Gøtzsche would look at me with a quizzical expression (as if I was speaking Swahili) and kindly said that I could say what I liked at the conference, as nobody would understand a word I said anyway (he’s bloody hilarious!).

kim witczak and Peter C. Gotzsche
kim witczak and Peter C. Gotzsche

The conference was on in the beautiful Bethesda building which was a few doors down from our hotel, so what our hotel lacked in classiness, it made up with location (despite everything, I’m still a glass half-full sorta gal). Robert Whitaker was fabulous, very down to earth and could understand me perfectly, which was an added bonus. Peter Breggin spoke from his home in New York through Skype, which despite the usual initial hiccups with sound, went surprisingly well. We met some amazing and fabulous people, and each of us spoke of our husbands and children, killed by a drug they should never have been prescribed. Stephanie did an amazing job for Jake, as did Kim for Woody, Mathy for Candice and Wendy for Stewart – I know Shane would have been very proud too. Our stories can be read in Peter’s new book Deadly Psychiatry and Organised Denial.

Copenhagen Night
Copenhagen Night

So there you have it, a fabulous and very informative day was had by all. After another lovely night spent with the ladies and Mr and Mrs Antidepaware, we headed (exhausted but happy) for bed. The following morning, after a mad dash to cram in the ‘Little Mermaid’ and a meeting with Peter G and the others in his Cochrane office, we then left for home, happy and content after this lovely, lovely experience.

The Little Mermaid
The Little Mermaid
Cochrane
Cochrane Canteen
Two lovely ladies: Wendy and Stephanie
Two lovely ladies: Wendy and Stephanie

Thank you so much Peter C. Gøtzsche, Bob Whitaker, kim witczak, Wendy Dolin, Mathy Dowling, Stephanie and John, the Antidepawares, the lovely Denis and my better worse-half Tony.

The presentations should be on You-tube soon for anyone who wishes to view the day – I’ll update accordingly. Last word to Peter G (and C.S. Lewis)..

C.S. lEWIS

Our story., Random

The non-pursuit of happiness.

Happy womanThe non-pursuit of happiness. “Happiness often sneaks in through a door you didn’t know you left open” John Barrymore.

There you have it, just when I least expect it, it creeps in (uninvited I might add) and smacks me round my gobsmacked gob!

Today was the usual run of the mill day; there I was, for once minding my own business, standing in the kitchen after collecting the kids from school, when it happened. Lucy was rabbiting on about planting her acorn tree in the garden, Henry was doing his usual worrying about his maths homework, when there it was; I realised I was happy, or maybe content is a better description. You could have knocked me down with a feather. Four years and one month since my lovely son died and I was just resigning myself to looking at my miserable face staring back at me from the bathroom mirror, when today my heart felt ‘not quite’ so heavy. Do you know how mind-numbingly boring it is being miserable?

I knew it was coming of course; I tried hard to ignore it, I’m not bloody ready, but lately the sadness was lifting whether I liked it or not. This, of course doesn’t mean that I won’t cry in Tescos or embarrass myself at the motor tax counter ever again, but the endless need to fight Lundbeck, the corrupt medical system and even more corrupt Irish psychiatry was being overridden by walks on the beach, feeding the ducks or teaching the kids how to ride a bike (a seemingly impossible task). It doesn’t make me less sad about the way my son died or the fact that he caused the death of an innocent young man, some things can never be unseen or unheard unfortunately, but I’ve resigned myself to it and understand the circumstances.

I certainly won’t be letting Lundbeck off anytime soon (actually not ever) as my son deserved so much better. I wonder sometimes if Ulf Wiinberg (CEO of1111 Lundbeck) sleeps well at night? Probably, but you can bet your bottom dollar that Shane’s face and all the other victim’s faces must make the odd appearance in the pharmaceutical cesspit that lurks in the furthest recesses of his mind. That reminds me, a new book by Peter Gøtzsche ‘Deadly Medicines and Organised Crime: How big pharma has corrupted healthcare‘ has recently been published. Chapter two is freely available here and deals with SSRI induced suicide. If you can’t face reading the whole chapter, then pages 224-229 deal with Lundbeck corruption which you might find interesting.

Lundbeck’s latest symposium is happening soon in Monaco (November). I see that Professor Tim Dinan from UCC Cork is making an appearance, although the European Medicines Agency assured me that Professor Dinan will not receive any honorarium for his trip to Monaco or any of the other Lundbeck sponsored symposia that I brought to their attention; so no worries on the ‘independence’ of their scientific advisors there. Phew, that’s such a relief!

Anyway, getting back to my original point, somehow I feel that this shift in mood would make Shane the happiest of all. Now I think the ducks are waiting for me.