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I wrote this post a while ago, but decided not to publish it. I have changed my mind after seeing that people do stop by here and read my story now and again…

So this is part 10 (phew it was never meant to take this long!) of my account of what happened to me when I experienced a severe withdrawal reaction to Effexor. Previous posts can be found on the ‘Mental Health Story‘ page. This posts describes the Mental Health Review Tribunal, which led to me being released from Section 2 of the Mental Health Act. Unfortunately I was no more sane than when I arrived. My freedom eventually proved to be short lived, but that is another drama entirely, to save for another day.

Time plodded on, but never linear, it whizzed around in a most precarious manner on the unit, speeding up, slowing down and sometimes going backwards. Nevertheless the day of my Mental Health Review Tribunal finally came.

I had managed to keep out of trouble, no incidents, no therapy and most importantly no drugs. Smiles and ‘yes thank yous’ were my armour.

I met with my key nurse the day before, who needed to fill in her report for the tribunal. I kept up the pretense that I had been very sick when I had come to the clinic but I was feeling much better now. I bitterly regretted the ‘incidents’ that I had had with staff in the first few days, acknowledging that it must have been very scary for them, but protesting to her that I had not intended to hurt them. I told her I wanted to go home so that I could sort my life out, that I hated it at the clinic. The reason that I don’t talk to anyone is because I am so damn happy and well and so on. To be honest I don’t think that she was buying it, that everything was as rosy for me as I was making out. She scribbled things on her note pad…

The night before the tribunal, was unremarkable in this context. No sleep and an acutely distressed patient shouting and raging until the early hours – her islamic faith distorted into her personal battle to save us all from all our hideous attitudes and behaviours. I was told to stay in my room as the night staff tried to reason with her, – just go to sleep. It started with her wanting one of her cigarettes that were locked in the staff room – it ended with talk of teams coming down from other floors and injections. I desperately wanted her to be quiet, her shouts about the voice of Bin Laden and everyone perishing were scaring me.

I hid under the quilt in my room trying to read the ‘Flower expert’ book that I had with me, brought in for me by my parents. As I read, I realised that this manual had been written specifically for me and that I was in telepathic contact with the authors. They were filling my head with nurturing thoughts, explaining how to look after myself – water regularly, full sun and provide nutrients.

My neighbour eventually gave in and went quiet. She had goaded them for a while daring them to “get your team and your injections”, but she seemed to think better of this and thankfully the screaming and shouting stopped before any possy arrived. Then I had work to do, to cleanse the time line of the possibility that my neighbour’s declarations and visions of the future would come true. My symbolic tool-kit at the ready – out came the toothpaste, chewing gum and cleaning products

Sure enough morning came. With sun light, the fear that the darkness brought lifted, encouraging me to have hope and courage. The morning staff came on shift and I made myself presentable for the tribunal. I was called to meet with the Tribunal’s doctor. We met in the TV room of the men’s part of the unit, GMTV chattering innanely in the background as we discussed my mental state and my problems. Well when I say discussion, it was more of a game/quiz whereby the doctor would look at file notes, tell me what was going on in my mind and my life and then ask me a question. I would then put it into my own words and repeat his pet theories back to him. Fairly quick and painless, nothing too probing or demanding.

I then met with my solicitor. The fourth one from the firm that were dealing with my case. He had all the notes taken by his colleagues in front of him and had about ten minutes to talk to me and figure out how we were gonna play this. He asked me what had been going on – so I told him. As he was on my side, an agent from a secret organisation that were trying to help me and save planet earth, I gave him the truth. He struggled to gain any sort of grip of the parameters of the conversaton and I became more and more animated, grateful to offload to someone who knew what was really going on in this clinic. I guess he could see that I was frightened and that suggesting none of this was true was making no difference to what I believed and felt. So he tried to make me feel better, telling me that the computers and TV in my house had been sorted out and that I was no longer being bugged and manipulated. He knew I needed to be calm and quiet in the tribunal if we had any chance of ‘winning’. He told me not to speak in the tribunal unless I am directly asked a question and he suggested that I let him field the questions. I don’t think that he had high hopes of the outcome being to let me go home. As I got up to leave, he suggested to me that I ask the staff to borrow a hair dryer. I looked at him quizzically, hanging on his every word, my saviour. He said “Your hair’s wet, its just that I don’t want you to get cold.” It wasn’t until much later that I realised or even cared that I had become so frail and why I provoked concern in people’s faces.

It wasn’t too long before I was finally taken off the ward, along the corridor, down the lift and into the clinic’s reception area. Many long days and nights since I had made the reverse journey. My mum and a friend had come to support me and we waited as people milled around. I stayed quiet, confused by what was happening. I looked at my mum and friend, they smiled at me, reassuring me that everything was going to be ok.

A gaggle of us sat around a huge table:

  • three on the panel- the chair who was a legal eagle, the doctor that I had met earlier and a lay person
  • Dr Teddy – my psychiatrist
  • A Nurse – the one who had lent me the hair dryer
  • My legal representative
  • An empty chair – which should have been occupied by someone from my Local Auhority’s mental health team ….
  • My Mum, my friend and me

I don’t think that I said more than a few words and my legal guy may have beaten me by a smattering more, but not by much. We didn’t seem to be in there a long time and I didn’t really understand what was being said. My ears pricked up when Dr Teddy spoke, telling everyone that I had suffered a psychotic break but that I was on the road to recovery. He felt that I should be transferred to an open ward, for further assessment and support. He then said something crucial – that I was not displaying any symptoms of a mental illness at present. The nurse confirmed and corroborated it, saying that apart from in the first few days, there had been no big issues or problems with me or my behaviour.

The chair- persons attire dazzled me, a real natty dresser, with his braces and purple shirt which seemed to glow. I tried to understand what the head of the Freemasons was saying, he was very wise and had many old books that he read from – rules and regulations of how a Freemason should conduct themselves. I cocked my head, leaning in to listen, trying to make sense of what he was talking about. I looked around the room at people, they all gave me a little smile to pep up my spirits.

Then all of a sudden the Grand Master told me that I was being released from section 2 of the Mental Health Act. He was grinning and smiling at me, I looked back at him, confused, I had only one question – “does that mean I can go home right now?”. He confirmed that I could, again beaming at me warmly, that guy really loved his job.

Although I was still in acute withdrawal from Effexor, and wildly delusional and manic, I had successfully hidden it from the staff team and therefore the tribunal. This meant that I did not satisfy the two grounds for detaining someone under Section 2 of the Mental Health Act. I was behaving within ‘normal’ parameters. The wording of the Act is that a person:

  • is suffering from mental disorder of a nature or degree which warrants the detention of the patient in a hospital for assessment (or for assessment followed by medical treatment) for at least a limited period; and
  • he ought to be so detained in the interests of his own health or safety or with a view to the protection of other persons.

FREEDOM.

We were kept loitering in the lobby for a while before we were taken back up to the ward so that I could collect my things. I burst into my room, with my mum and friend following me. A big male nurse came up to me and tried to interrupt my super quick packing, grunting at me in that ridiculous prison warden stance that many of the staff have: “patients aren’t allowed to have visitors in their room”. He seemed unaware that I had been in a tribunal or perhaps robotically dedicated to his role as rule enforcer. His tone of voice and my plan to leave immediately, resulted in me snapping at him something like “I’m not a patient anymore, so yes I can, I’m getting out of here”. I was no longer afraid of the staff here, with their cheap voodoo tricks and their bullying ways, no further need for politeness and smiles, I did not hide any of my contempt. He shuffled off and left us to it.

I crammed my clothes into bin liners, exclaiming that the rancid smell coming off the dirty ones weren’t down to me, the horrible staff must have come in and done that to them when we were downstairs. I was getting mouthier by the minute. We didn’t hang around. We stopped when we had some food in a cafe close by. The freedom left me giddy and excited, I chattered at my Mum. Pontificating about the world, what was wrong with it and what was wrong with her. Not what you would call polite dinner conversation. Delusions upon delusion began to leach and then crash into my brain. Today is the end of the world, judgement day. All these people have come to see me and hope to have healing from being near me. They all know who I am, I am the second coming. I was not confused any more. I kept my more wacky thoughts to myself, but it was obvious that I was still very disturbed. I was determined to go home, so my mum reluctantly agreed that my friend would drive me. She returned to her home miles away with my soiled clothing to take care of instead. I, on the other hand was very excited – I would be safe as soon as I got home and there was a lot of work to be done to prepare for the new world.

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This is my story of severe effexor withdrawal. I have already written much about how I started to take effexor and the consequences of this. Links for the first ‘chapters’ can be found on the ‘mental health story page’.

After a three month withdrawal from effexor I became acutely psychotic and manic and ended up being sectioned under the mental health act. This particular blog details the therapeutic interventions that I had with staff and how they made me feel.

I did not take medication during this hospital stay and as my word and my story will eventually bare out – all of my symptoms were caused by effexor withdrawal. It just took a bit of time and struggle to get this rectified.

I am currently 10mg shy of being effexor free and would consider my story to be one of success.

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I met the consultant in the dining room, a room often used when a patient is being ‘seen’ – by doctors, nurses, family, and solicitors – everyone trying to find out what’s gone wrong. The ‘dining’ room was beautifully constructed for its primary aim and ambiance of being observed, with windows totally covering the wall of the room, which was shared with the corridor of the ward. Enough to make anyone feel paranoid or ill at ease. So all meetings that took place were not only overseen by staff but provided entertainment for patients, as we looked in on each other trying to work out who was who and what was going on, some would shout in or bang on the reinforced glass. This was more of boredom and frustration than ‘craziness’, something new to look at, a break in the monotony. It wasn’t until I neared the end of my stay that I learned there were private meeting rooms – family rooms – this privilege was never offered to me.

I really liked my psychiatrist at the unit. He had a warm and non-condescending disposition, something I rate highly in a person. I never once felt threatened or bullied by him and he did not seem hell bent on telling me I was ‘wrong’. He reminded me of a teddy bear, he was a portly chap, had a semi-scruffy beard and attire – he looked very cuddly basically. l felt safe with him. I explained that I had suffered from depression and anxiety for many years but that in the last few years I had really made progress through yoga, healthier eating, gardening and so on, that my experience of life had been getting easier and happier. He explained that he was a great believer in so called ‘alternative’ approaches and that he knew the things I was describing greatly improved quality of life/ ‘symptoms of mental illness’. I had no explanation as to how I had ended up in this state, why I had felt the need to run around naked and had been acting so out of character. He smiled and listened, after a while he told me that we would meet again and that I should try and get involved with some of the ward’s activities. He made no mention of diagnoses or medications. He was getting to know me first. He felt on my side and I felt validated.

The graffiti on the wall of the smoke room said different ‘DR TEDDY IS A MURDERER’, aptly written in blood red. Similar protests were daubed all over the room, charting months of people expelling their fear and rage over dirty walls, as they sought sanctuary in the smoke room.

But like I say, I liked Dr Teddy and took up his advice. I attended the group meetings held every morning for a few days. On my first day I was allocated to the garden group, which I was obviously pretty pleased with. I followed everyone through corridors and waited patiently at each locked door – ‘open seasame’. I finally got out in the fresh air and I think there were words of encouragement to ‘stretch my legs’ and the like from the staff. I looked around the slabbed yard, peppered with cigarette butts, in disbelief. There were a tiny child’s handful of small flower beds with absolutely nothing in them, not even a stray weed. A dog being let out the back to relief itself. Desolate surroundings, but not alone. The yard was dominated by the high walls of the clinic, each ward having a corridor looking down onto the ‘garden’.

I felt uncomfortable, enraged, patronized and confused more than ever as my addled mind continued incessantly telling me this was all a sick joke at my expense. It seemed so cruel, and the clinic and its sinister agenda became darker and darker in my mind. I went back inside as soon as I could – I was not playing for their amusement.

The next activity of the morning was to shoot some pool – a game where my attention span lasts for the time it takes for me to start blatantly losing! I humored the staff as they encouraged me to play and tried to chat to me – these two oozed sympathy which although unpalatable went down a lot smoother than the general ‘don’t bother me nutter’ attitude or the ‘because you’re psychotic you are a moron’ stance. I smiled and nodded in all the right places, still desperately trying to fathom out what the point all of this was.

I also attended ‘art therapy’ which was a most depressing and sinister experience. The felt tips and glitter and the pots of half-dried pva glue, oh and the stencils of bunny rabbits. Jeez, how did it all come to this. Then we were all asked to make a valentines day card, for goodness sake. I quickly rushed up a design, some trees, a river, a bit of glitter to jazz it up, ta da. We then had to ‘share’ – why we chose our design and how valentines day made us feel. And people started spilling, these people had seen some scary stuff – guns, drugs, knifes, open arm combat. I began to shake. It came to my turn – I told the therapist that I believed that it should be valentines day everyday and that you shouldn’t need to be told to be thoughtful to your loved ones. How very pious of me! I meant it as a some sort of lofty statement about the ills of society – in other words valentines day is bull. Overly cynical for some’s taste perhaps. However, with a little jiggery pokery on her part she explained to me and the group that a lot of people find valentines day difficult and perhaps have felt loss or have an increased awareness that they are alone, she looked at me smiling kindly, in an all knowing way. I feebly nodded in agreement, my eye lids bulging, struggling to hold onto the salt water in case a humiliating water fall began. I felt miserable, I knew I was beat, there is no room for discussion, there are templates that one must simply fit into. The added problem was that there really were no issues going on in my life that would explain what had happened to me. Except for the effexor withdrawal of course.

Ok, so art therapy is out, as well as gardening.

Next day, I was allocated to cook. I was told to write down the ingredients for a meal that I would cook at home. The staff would then go and out and purchase the ingredients as I was not allowed any leave, and I would then cook it. Simple. Unfortunately I got a little bit confused as to the purpose of the exercise. I couldn’t work out why they wanted to see me cook and when they do see me cook, what exactly will they then know. However I worked out that I didn’t want to ‘fail’ the test, so I cooked up a spaghetti bolognase from scratch whilst paying full attention to health and safety/food hygiene regulations. As I began I said to them to clarify once again “what you just want me to cook and you’re just going to watch me. Do I have to talk to you, tell you what I’m doing” – “no, not if you don’t want to”. It made no sense to me at all but I cooked and they watched. After a while they gave up trying to elicit conversation from me. I was always polite in my response but never giving. So they chattered to themselves, about where they lived, their partners, where they liked to drink. I listened and saw very clearly how I must seem – a disheveled crazy person, who clearly needed to reach out for help. These chinks of reality were far and few between, Effexor withdrawal done wrong is a tenacious beast and so I continued to throw obscene amounts of garlic into my signature dish to ward off energy vampires. The smell of garlic lingered in the ward for a good few days and was a source of comfort to me, as the relentless attacks from seen and unseen beings continued.

As you can see I was still really not getting it – that I was in a hospital and was acutely not right in the head. This incidentally, I find to be as accurately descriptive diagnosis as any other.

One particular night, a week or so into my stay, I became so petrified and once again those little chinks of clarity whizzed through my brain, so I decided to talk to a member of staff about what had been happening to me. It was around 4am and I had been up all night, warding off spiritual attacks from another patient who was trying to destroy me. There was a lot of telepathic noise in my head that evening. I thought I heard her reporting me to the night staff, asking them if they knew anything about spiritual warfare. I panicked and thought I would be punished, then another part of me was saying ‘how long can I go on like this, I’ve gotta trust someone’. So I knocked on the office door and asked if I could speak to someone. I zoned in on the guy wearing Christian cross earrings, latching onto an overt sign that this was not an evil baddie. He agreed to talk to me in the dining room. He commanded me to stop crying – or how else are we going to have an adult conversation. Interesting position to take. But he wasn’t confident, he kept backing away from me, I noticed how he was keeping tables and chairs between us as I edged toward him, desperately hoping that he could help me. Realising that he was scared of me I implored him to see that I wasn’t going to hurt him. I stopped trying to choke and gulp back the panic attack, remembering that it never works to try and stuff them back inside. His chastisement reminded me to focus on slowing my breathing – good old yoga. As I’ve tried to explain throughout my writings, I really was well practiced at calming myself down, which is why I was withdrawing from the effexor, albeit way too quickly.

Anyways, we finally sat down and the floodgates opened. He asked me how I had ended up in here. So I told him, about my boss and my yoga teacher stalking me, about my television and computer communicating with me, about the free masons. On and on, purging my self, telling him my big secret. He told me that it sounds like I have been having delusions and that I’m not very well and that they can give me tablets to help. But I could not bare to hear this and did not even contemplate for a second that he might be right. I rather rudely retorted that if I’m going to talk to anyone about medication then it will be a doctor not a nurse – it was not his place to prescribe to me. I don’t trust this guy one little bit SLAM. I retreated back inside myself, resolving never to open up to ‘them’ again. Our conversation drew to an end when he explained that he was going off shift and that he could sit and listen to me all day, its so interesting. Then he bounced out the room, I was shocked how this bloke could find my personal pain intellectually stimulating, a clinical conundrum pure and simple, no human touch at all. I was looking for kindness and compassion, but apparently it doesn’t come in tablet form.

Over the next of couple of days I mulled over my predicament – that I had outed myself – that they had something on me. I dismissed trying to tell dr teddy that I had said no such thing to the man, realising this would get me in deeper. So the next time I saw the doc I told him that yes at that time I had thought the TV was communicating with me, but of course this was a problem with my perception at that time. He smiled at me, I was pleased that he was pleased with my response. No further questioning. Phew, my secret can be re-buried.

And so life on the ward went on and I got myself into a little routine, otherwise known as institutionalization. I managed to keep my head down – away from fights, therapy and one to ones. Just occasional chats with Dr teddy. Biding my time until my mental health review tribunal…

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Ta to Philip Dawdy at Furious Seasons blog for the heads up on this article by Bruce Stutz in ‘The New York Times’, entitled ‘Self-Nonmedication’. He describes his experience of depression and psychotherapy, and his use of antidepressants, specifically Effexor. Bruce describes why he started to take antidepressants and asks the question are users hooked for life…

Whilst Bruce chronicles the devastating withdrawal effects he experienced, his is an uplifting story as he explains to readers how he coped and that the brain is a flexible beast which is very good at coping with change…

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The UKs National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) amended its depression and anxiety guidance on April 25th 2007. This was in response to safety information issued in May 2006, by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) for prescribing Venlafaxine/effexor.

(more…)

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This post tells more about my experience of withdrawal from the antidepressant, Effexor, and my less than positive experiences in the mental health system.

A quick recap first. At this point in my story I am in severe Effexor withdrawal – I was psychotic, manic, physically ill and volatile. In the space of a few hours I had taken a little sojourn up my local high street in the nude; burst into a community hall of unsuspecting meeting attendees (still naked), scared off an ambulance (partially naked) and been escorted by her majesty’s boys in blue to the local station (fully clothed) only to be told by the doctor that I was fine. Last but by no means least – later that day I physically attacked a dear friend of mine while he lay sleeping.

If you would like to read about how I got to this point, then see my earlier blogs:

Entry into the mental health system – how I came to a point where I needed help from the mental health system and why I first started to take anti-depressants

Induction into mental health system – My first experience of help from the mental health system and how my condition deteriorated as I continued to take anti-depressants.


Sabbatical and re-entry into the mental health system
– My time away from psychiatry and the things I tried to improve my quality of life. How and why things went wrong for me and how a severe withdrawal reaction from antidepressants saw me propelled back into the mental health system.

Explosion back into the mental health system – How quickly I became acutely psychotic and manic when withdrawing from my antidepressant – Effexor.

The alternative title for this blog is ‘For goodness sake, will somebody lock her up!’. I will attempt to explain how difficult it was to get me sectioned and the all-consuming devastation that Effexor withdrawal brought about in my mind, body and life. This is also a story about how difficult it was for my family and friends to go through, as we all struggled to accept and understand what was happening to me. I was confused and confusing…

The morning after I smashed my fist into my friends face, was spent with me whizzing around the house – trying to burn most of my possessions, but keeping those items that were imbued with mystical energies. The world was being destroyed, we had messed up and ruined Planet Earth, and humans were now reaping what we’d sown so arrogantly, selfishly and hatefully.

But the good news was that I had an important role to play and some humans were to survive and we were all going to meet up. I had a lot of work to do and not much time, as I needed to turn my home into a sorta good vibe energy magnet defense complex.

Meanwhile, back on the reality channel, my friend was having a rather stressful morning. He was tired and in shock and needed help. He had managed to make a few phone calls, Beener was on her way over and a GP was coming to do a home visit, but their arrivals were a few hours away. It would be a few days before the ‘Community Mental Health Team’ and Rapid Response Team rode into town. And you know what they say ‘things will get worse before they get better’….

My friend tried to encourage me to eat, to relax in the bath, to stop making fires and burning my things. So I sat in the bath, purifying myself with flower petals and magic water – which was actually mass-produced, cheap, gaudy pink, pot porri that I must have found at the back of a cupboard somewhere when ransacking the house. Perhaps it was at this point that my friend managed to reconnect up the various TV wires that I had removed to stop the Freemasons and other ‘bad’ humans from beaming into my house. I was on to them – they were evil and scary and hurt people and did mean things- they had no place on ‘new earth’.

My friends recall now that at first they thought that I had been brain-washed by an online cult. I was saying such strange things and was obsessed with the computer. I had been on the net in the last few months reading about ‘spirituality’ and yogic philosophies. Now, my friends aren’t daft, but to them that seemed more logical than believing that I had somehow just got mental and flipped.

My friend sat me down to watch TV. I sat captivated watching a steam engine program, telling me all about energy lines that had been involved in the time-line that had brought earth to its destruction. How clever of the ‘good’ guys to make a program for me that would explain exactly what’s going. By this point I believed that my friend was somebody else and he was there to help me. This is known as Capgras delusion.

The GP came round and the TV went off. I don’t really remember what he said to me – but I recall that apart from the fact that he looked real strange, he also looked a bit frightened and wary of me. I don’t think he stayed very long, it really didn’t take much time for him to agree with my friend – yep she’s crazy. He left medication with my friend for me.

I was reluctant to take the medication and when my friend did get me to take some it had absolutely no effect. Beener and my friend stayed with me, keeping watch over me and trying to get me to just ‘chill out!!!!’ Nothing I said was making any sense to them and I was having violent mood swings from one minute to the next. I would be sobbing my brains out and then threatening them or trying to attack them in the next breath. No pattern, no warnings. I had super human strength at this time.

I was completely unrecognizable as me, my voice, my facial expressions and my body language. I was scared and scaring people. I threatened Beener with some golf clubs at one point, pacing the room, swinging them around randomly, with a disturbingly ‘evil’ look on my face. A lot of the time all Beener could do was sit absolutely still, as she realised that even a slight movement could be perceived by me as threatening.

The point about all this un-gratuitous description of violence is that it was so out of character. I could sloppily and lazily categorise myself as a lefty social worker type, who does not believe it is right to raise your voice to someone, let alone whack ‘em round the head with a golf club. I was underweight at the time (although I possessed super-human strength during this period) and had a history of being ‘bullied’. I was not known as a particularly assertive person.

My friends were in bits – tired, scared, worried, confused and outta options. The emergency GP was rang again. He hid from me in the kitchen, talking to me as I paced the lounge (there is a hatch between my lounge and kitchen).. He looked a bit scared too, but he was kind and it seemed like he wanted to help me, so I agreed that I would go to the hospital in the car with my friends. I questioned him furiously about this so-called local hospital – I’ve never heard of it, is it real etc. My friends were told to take me to the local hospital emergency department immediately. It was suggested and agreed that an ambulance would take too long. My friends were given a letter and were told that the mental health team were waiting to assess me.

We whizzed down the motorway, me realizing that I was transmitting my thoughts out to the whole world and that everyone could hear them, my friends in stunned silence, hoping I didn’t freak out in the car and not wanting to trigger anything off.

I was seen pretty quick and taken to this room where I was seen by a psychiatrist and a social worker. It didn’t go too well because unfortunately I didn’t like the look of them and found their questions irritating and pathetic. The delusional context was that I had to keep all of my secrets about armageddon so that they would give us some ransom money so that we could go to Maderia and live in the mountains.

They began to ‘assess’ me. First off the Psychiatrist – one of the opening question ‘do you believe that the television communicates with you”. It was all I could do not to laugh – this was gonna be easy peasy! His questions continued and he irritated more and more. I guess I began to smirk at him and later on I was told that I was displaying ‘inappropriate laughter’.

They brought up the Effexor – no, nope, incorrect, I’m not thick I didn’t just stop cold turkey – I withdrew properly – I was already starting to feel very heavily that I was being spoken to like I was a moron and I felt extremely offended by this. At that point I didn’t believe that Effexor could/did cause it – more’s the pity. My friends continued to state (in private chats with the doctors) that it must be that, Beener had been researching withdrawal from Effexor – besides it was inconceivable that I had suddenly gone ‘mental’.

Next up – Mr social worker – talked about my job as a mental health service manager for a bit, discussed my life with me, looking for stressors and problems in my life and my ‘history’. But there were none that would readily explain this, except for the cessation of Effexor. As he spoke to me I noticed his red, sallow face and noted to myself that he was a drinker. I triumphantly told him that I had stopped drinking some years ago and that in fact I was managing my depression and anxiety very well thank you very much (thinking to myself unlike you – you cheeky bugger)!

And so it went on. I smirked at them, they sniffed about for a problem and my friends sat with tears in their eyes thinking she’ll slip up soon and say something or do something gooky. But I didn’t – I guess because I had been trained and worked in the system it didn’t require too much concentration on my part to pull the wool over their eyes. Also I was as far as I as concerned fighting for my life – I couldn’t afford to slip up on my quest.

The upshot of the assessment to my friends disbelief and amazement was that yes I was a bit ‘high, but are you sure it’s not ‘behavioural’. In other words was ‘I acting up’. My friends desperately told them that I was normally a very polite, well-mannered person and not the obnoxious, arrogant creature they had seen. My friends said they couldn’t cope and couldn’t keep me or themselves safe. We were sent away with some medication.

Besides “there are no beds anyway”.

It seems that the treatment that I was being offered, the drugs, were steadily getting stronger. Eventually I was given Largactil, an old medication first used in the 1950s, with a knock out punch effect. Chemically, it is classed as a phenothiazine; experientially and to the observer it is classed as a chemical strait jacket. It produces an effect commonly known as the Largactil shuffle. This is an extremely controversial drug, with many side effects and huge potential for long-term damage to mental and physical health. I was given this drug steadily over the next 24 hours . I am not arguing here that something didn’t need to be done, it clearly did. But that’s where the horror, the frustration and the disgust at the mental health system comes in.

I have several conclusions, observations and realisations about this nightmare scenario:

1) The most obvious and anger-inducing thing is why didn’t any medical people realise that I was going through Effexor withdrawal. If I had started back on the Effexor then, rather than three months down the line, I would have been right as rain (ish) in a couple of days. They had my medical history and I’m told a lot now ‘oh yeah everyone knows Effexor/SSRIs can do that psychosis/mania/bi-polar thing’. Grrrr! lol

2) I continued to race around my little home and garden, preparing for armageddon, despite the Largactil. Over time my body and mind started to slow down – I took 400mg in 24 hours but I was still flying and racing. I was very thin, with no prior experience of tranquillisers – so no habituation or tolerance. Bet you didn’t think Effexor could do that now did ya!?!

3) The fact that I was being given a major tranquiliser without my consent or knowledge. This was largely because I was unable to understand what was going on, although I had also clearly stated that I did not want to take ‘tablets to help me sleep’. My reaction to the mediation was not being closely monitored, like I said it is heavy duty. This was an intolerable situation for all involved. I should have been placed under the provisions of the Mental Health Act immediately. My friend was administering the drugs to me and I was very vulnerable – the potential for abuse was massive…

My mum also came down and was shocked to see the state I was in, again inconceivable to her that this was happening. She is a trained nurse with years of experience of supporting people with mental health problems and administering psychotropic medication. She was horrified at the levels of drugs being chucked down my neck without adequate medical support and monitoring. She was not going to allow this to continue.

I felt safer when she was around – but I was so worried about her – she really didn’t look right – sorta upset, so I carried out healings on her and randomly spoke about things from my childhood to console her, she was upset that I was going to Madeira but I had already decided to take her with me. But in the blink of an eye I was demanding that she go back to her own house – what was she doing here on a week-day morning anyway for goodness sake – maybe she’s betraying me to the Freemasons…

More phone calls…

Eventually, the mental health squad team arrived. They introduced themselves – an approved social worker, a psychiatrist, the GP and a Community Support Worker. I am not entirely sure how the conversation went. I guess I spent the whole time smirking at them, disbelieving that they really where who they said they were – more tricks! I was not acting rationally, I was pacing and raging at them. In my own home I found it impossible to hide my insanity. I don’t suppose it was a difficult assessment to make – insane -tick; dangerous -tick. The decision was made and various little looks and nods went on between them – by the way not a good idea when in the presence of someone who is paranoid. The psychiatrist then looks at me with a faux-concerned voice and face and said ‘what can we do to help you right now’. Her disingenuousness was apparent and clear even through the muddle of psychosis and Largactil – I remember that much and feeling an intense level of irritation, as they all sat there gawping at me, looking edgy. Apparently, I walked over to her, picked up her bag and thrust it at her and told her she could get out of my house. I then frog marched her off the property. Its a shame the Community Support Worker left too, she had made me feel at ease when I looked at her, she had smiled at me..

They hadn’t gone far, just outside the house. There were still murmurings amongst the mental health mob that I was ‘acting out’. That I knew that I was psychotic but was being ‘arsey’ – lol. The psychiatrist, who is apparently an expert on early intervention in psychosis said to Beener that I was very rude! The information from my family and friends about my ‘premorbid’ personality completely ignored. Comments like that did not ease the distress of my mum and friends.

Incidentally, whilst they were licking their percieved wounds, they were missing a vital clue – a complete personality change has often been reported by loved ones of those experiencing severe withdrawal from anti-depressants.

Anyways to me – they were gone – problem solved, I had successfully defended myself from more ‘baddies’, from more bad energy.

Now they had to find a bed and arrange transportation for someone who had clearly stated that she ain’t going nowhere.

A bit more Largactil was thought to be in order there, as there was no-where for me to go. I eventually ran out of steam as I hadn’t really slept for a number of days – ZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzz

A number of hours passed and mental health people sat outside my house waitin… I was sleeping like a baby…

The ironic thing is that just as I was in the middle of this much needed sleep that had eluded me for 7 days, the transport arrived to whisk me off to the looney bin. A large vehicle turned up with 4 escorts and a driver. It was a contract firm, who clearly hired most of their staff on the basis of brawn, rather than being skilled or highly trained in supporting people in emotional distress.

They marched into the house and went up to Beener, leant over her and said (as she recalls) in the most pathetically, nauseatingly patronising voice ‘hello ####, how are you?’

I just wanna say – people who are psychotic/loopy whatever have not suddenly become stupid/deaf etc etc. Just because they’re saying/thinking stoopid/crazy stuff it doesn’t mean they don’t know when they’re being talked down to. If someone is in a florid phase of psychosis, or to put it more clearly if they’re proper crazy and distracted and confused, the best thing to do is to say their name loudly and clearly to capture their attention/divert them from harm or doing a bit of harm. That’s not shouting or aggressively – believe you me, some people do need the basics pointed out! lol. Its an ingrained response from an early age to respond to your name being called – it grabs your attention, a beacon in the fog of muddled thoughts, feelings, voices, visions. It worked on me loads. Also you need to be aware of your body language. Like I say, basics. Dr Iain Bourne is a great trainer in this field and his site has got oodles of research and guidelines for mental health workers when dealing with what he describes as Difficult, Disturbing & Dangerous Behaviour. His definition gives a refreshing emphasis, it is not that the nutter is disturbed so much, rather the focus is on how workers react and interpret things – how they become ‘disturbed’ and react in unhelpful ways. His approach ultimately urges practitioners to understand the perspective of the patient and to work in ways that keep both workers and patients safe.

Anyways, sermon over. The ‘Rapid Response Team’ do exactly what it says on their black people carrier with the black tinted windows and what it says on their lovely coordinated uniforms- there’s a load of ‘em and they don’t wanna hang about! The imagery of their company was very reminiscent of the hollywood smash hit film ‘Men in Black’ – the MIBs. But I digress…

I was woken up and told it was time to go. Where I was going, I hadn’t a clue. The social work squad team was a distant memory, a vague mirage. So I hopped in the van. It felt ok because my friend was with me. The radio was on, so I could sing along to the songs in my head and communicate with my dad via telepathy. I watched out the window, as thousands of people were flooding out of the cities of the United Kingdom, aliens had landed and they were fleeing in panic. The ‘baddies’ were all going in the wrong direction. I was being taken to a secret safe place, there’s going to be a party, everyone I know will be there, because I am the saviour of the world. Hang on a minute – how embarrassing! And, I don’t like parties and I’m scared. Luckily the vehicle registration plates had coded messages in them that I understood.

The strangeness of the situation kept me quiet and relatively content except for brief confused conversations: “Yes I want a cigarette, no I don’t want a cigarette, yes. no”. My friend and the ‘Rapid Response Team’ advised me to sleep. But there was no way I was sleeping I wanna see where they’re taking me, besides I’m not tired….

Two hours later, I arrived at a private clinic in London – apparently intensive care for acutely disturbed female ‘clients’, including from within the criminal justice system. At first I thought it was a hotel we were gonna stay in for the night. It certainly cost my local health trust a fair whack of cash, but it took less than an hour for me to realise that this ain’t no hotel…..

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The Drugging of our Children  is a documentary film highlighting the increasing pathologisation of child-hood and the use of psychotropic drugs to ‘cure’ these ‘conditions’. An increase in violence, suicide and psychosis has been some of the results of this.

The documentary explores safer and more humane ways of helping little ‘uns to cope with mental distress.

It is available to watch on google videos here

Please spread the word about this film…

cheers keener

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The scandal surrounding antidepressants is not a new situation for the ‘mental illness’ industry. People are still fighting to get recognition from the government of the costs of benzodiazepine addiction (valium, mogadone) and to put a stop to the over-prescribing of this highly addictive and damaging drug.

They were first introduced in the 1950s and were hailed as being side-effect free – so much better than barbituates, the previous wonder cure. ‘They’ were wrong and it is now well documented that ‘they’ were wrong. However many people continue to be misinformed by their doctor and led into a vicious cycle of prescription drug addiction.

This leaflet tells you how you can voice your concerns/disgust to the government about the fact that:

  • adequate support and rehabilitation is still not being provided within the NHS for those involuntarily addicted to benzodiazepines.
  • Benzos are still being prescribed contrary to the UK Government 2-4 weeks only guidelines.

For more information on benzodiazipine addiction, visit the excellent benzo.org.uk. A site influenced by the work of Professor Heather Ashton of Newcastle University.

Rant and sermon over – I best get down the allotment tomorrow!

keener

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Here’s a bit more about why I am so anti-anti-depressants and have strong leanings toward being anti-psychiatry. Although ultimately I believe I am pro-me.This blog splurges up some more detail about my relationship with Effexor and the so called ‘caring’ services.

Earlier posts can be found here:

Entry into the mental health system – how I came to a point where I needed help from the mental health system and why I first started to take anti-depressants

Induction into mental health system – My first experience of help from the mental health system and how my condition deteriorated as I continued to take anti-depressants.

Sabbatical and re-entry into the mental health system – My time away from psychiatry and the things that I tried to improve my quality of life.

So, I began the withdrawal from Effexor, by making 5% cuts in total each week, this equates to about a 4mg a week from the total of 75mg. Therefore not huge drops – my plan was that I didn’t want to experience any withdrawals at all. I wanted Effexor to fade gradually out of my life.

To begin with my plan worked marvellously. I took a couple of breathers here and there, extending the waiting time between dose reduction. At the beginning of January I noticed that I was needing less sleep and that I didn’t feel so groggy, so punch drink, when I woke up. I marvelled at the fact that it seemed I needed to sleep so much due to the effexor – it wasnt’ ‘normal’ and my body didn’t need amphetamine, as a doctor had implied previously.

I decided to inrease the rate at which I dropped the doseage to 20% of original dose (roughly 11mg). I guess I was becoming impatient. However, it is only with hindsight that I can see that I was becoming complacent and that is very dangerous when withdrawing from antidepressants or any other psychiatric ‘medication’.

However, I continued to feel no troublesome withdrawal symptoms and there was nothing to suggest that I wouldn’t complete a successful withdrawal. But it didn’t work out that way.

Looking back, the first tangible sign that things were amiss was that on the Sunday I started to feel like I had the flu – bunged up, chesty and achy. I called in sick from work and there was no reason for me not to think that it was the flu – it was a chilly February. The next day I had diahorrea. Great – I thought, but again no reason to be suspicious. I was also feeling a bit scatty, but I was poorly so it was not surprising.

The next day Beener came up to see me and how I was feeling. I was very tearful and freaked out when she arrived. I told her that I’d been acting a bit weird/out of sorts. Beener is very used to me getting anxious and needing a bit of reassurance that everything is ok in the world. She made me a coffee and we had a chat. I told her that I kept feeling a strange sorta feeling that I have to look at certain objects or certain colours and that I felt weird. I guess at that point I had no vocabulary to accurately describe what was going on in my head. I tried to jolly myself along and declared that I reckened that if I burnt that blue cardigan it would make be feel better. She giggled and said ‘well go on then lets go in the garden and burn it’. So we did and then decided to go for a walk. I felt distracted the whole time and my brain continued to chuck out bizarre thoughts and beliefs. I asked Beener ‘do you think I’ve got schizophrenia’. She laughed and tried to reassure me – she was vey used to me deciding on a whim that I had a particular illness and it was a running joke that we had – we giggled – how ridiculous!

Beener dropped me home and I felt relieved to be on my own again, so I could try and figure out what was going on.

At this point I was only taking about 8mg of Effexor, a substantially smaller dose than Wyeth (the manufacturers/pushers of Effexor) or most Psychatrists would advise when withdrawing. About 2 days after I started to go into withdrawal, I remember searching in my cupboard for the Effexor and not being able to find them anywhere. I flitted around my house looking for them – confused as to where they were. Half and hour later I made the decision to just stop taking them – it was only a small drop after all and I really couldn’t face the thought of emergency doctor’s appointment or talking to disgruntled receptionists. I thought – right well I know I’m gonna feel lousy for a couple of weeks – I knew all about the so called brain shivers and dizziness – but that’s fine, I can handle it and then Effexor and me will be over. Big mistake.

Although I believe that I was already experiencing withdrawals, my fate was sealed when I decided to totally deprive my brain and body of this substance. My body simply could not handle it, and I went into meltdown.

Again, I want to emphasise, that it is only with hindsight that I can clearly pick out and see the threads and how things were escalating. Perhaps, some will say ‘ what a silly billy – its obvious you should have gone to the doctor’. But this all happened very quickly – over 3-4 days and who believes that they are going to go completely insane due to a bit of flu and feeling out of sorts! Also remember I was having a smooth withdrawal and was on a very small dose. I don’t believe that this all happened to me because I was reckless or lacking in self awareness. If I’d continued like this for a few more days I would have gone to the GP. But I didn’t have time because things escalated too quickly. Beener and I have discussed things at great length and have both concluded that we couldn’t have done anything different given what we knew at the time. Hindsight is a wonderful thing – etc etc

The first night I was proper manic, involved racing thoughts and an unnerving, insiduous concern about the welfare of my friends and family. I couldn’t sleep and sat up click click clicking on the internet. I do remember thinking this is weird I’m ill with the flu, and its in the very early hours of the morning – why aren’t I tired? But I guess I kinda liked the fact that I was sleeping less and less. Then I couldn’t keep up with all the chatter in my brain and I became confused, disorientated and oblivious to anything but trying to keep up with it all. Then suddenly a piercingly clear and brilliant thought or inspiration would pearce me and I felt compelled to carry out what I believed at the time to be sorta metaphysical rituals. Eating gravy bone dog biscuits, clearing my house of objects giving off the wrong ‘vibes’ and gardeners will be pleased to hear that there was quite a bit of rearranging of house plants to tap into mother earth. Whizzing and whurring and whipping around my house, responding to snip-bits of thoughts and ideas and memories. I was in too deep, the voice of reason and logic was no where to be found and ‘I’ disappeared. I’d lost control. It was as if I was still there, kinda observing myself, a part of me aware that I was doing some real crazy stuff, but unable or unwilling to intervene. Dream-like. ‘They’ call it dissociation.

I slept for two hours and then woke up in the middle of dream-land. Keener had left the building. I could sit for days, weeks, months trying to write down all the stuff that went through my head that day and all the strange things that I felt compelled to do. But no amount of re-writing or editing could make it comprehensible. Its all still in my head and if I follow one memory, just one of the delusions, prise it out of the jumbled mess – I can understand why my brain jucked that out and why I thought that. Interesting to me now, most definitely something I shouldn’t dwell on, but most importantly I know it was only real to me.

I do want to say that I had very violent thoughts and I am so grateful that my usual reaction – to isolate myself prevailed and I didn’t hurt or kill anyone. People on antidepressants and in withdrawal can become terrifyingly violent and lacking in conscience or remorse. Yeah fine – not all – but too many for this issue not to be looked into.

It culminated in me lying on my sofa, believing that I was dead and that two angels were coming to get me. I was terrified. I was so cold – my body was going from one minute feeling full of life and goodness tingling all over, to being racked in pain. I lay there – I was stuck -time had stopped, everyone had gone, I was alone and had run out of ideas.

Then another one of me mates turns up and he got a big shock. I leapt up off the sofa and babbled on to him, turning lights on and off as a code to release us from hell. At first he pleaded with me to stop and I pleaded with him to trust me and just copy what I was doing. He managed to get away from me and went to phone NHS direct. I kinda have a black out then, a defence mechanism perhaps – other things are blocked out too, nestled deep in the brain somewhere no doubt. However, it appears that I ripped all my clothes off and ran into the street, apparently (as the police inform me later) I popped down the high street for some reason and then burst into a community hall on my street. Then I guess I sorta woke up again to find myself surrounded my frightened middle aged women who were having some sort of meeting, which I had rather rudely interrupted. I was hollering and wailing and just ran out of the hall, my friend found me. There was a bit of a tussle as one of the women was trying to help me and had hold of one arm and my mate was trying to say I know her and I’m getting her home.

An ambulance and two police vehicles arrived and I continued to run around whooping and wailing, throwing things – at which point the ambulance left. It took a while to get it into my head that this was really happening and that the police were real – I said some pretty cheeky things to them about doughnuts.

Anyways I went off to the police station and sat in the cell stunned. Half of my brain in la-la land and at the very same time the other half – thinking oh flip what the hell is going on! Kinda like two people in one.

I saw the police doctor bloke, he blathered on about did I take crack, heroin etc etc. He said well you seem fine – you can go home. I protested that things were obviously not right, but I guess I sounded too logical. A bit annoying because of the evidence of running about naked in February – at that point I wanted help…

The police dropped me and my mate home. He stayed over, to keep me safe. Unfortunately he wasn’t safe. I wouldn’t and couldn’t settle for ages. I then forget what happened, but my friend remembers being woken up by being punched in the face by me as I proclaimed ‘I win’. I am thankful that I don’t remember this. I was becoming increasingly paranoid and violent and physically ill and delusional and broken…

Something had to give… enter the at best, bumbling, and at worst, callous, mental health system. Enter the drugs. Enter the locked doors.

Keener

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Hi

I came across this new site, prescription drug truth

I thought it might be useful to people….

It presents a critical view of the profiteering and cynacism of the drug industry.

It also has some interesting articles on adverse reactions to prescription medicine, with a section on antidepressants.

Finally, there is a link to a really useful worksheet, which might be handy for people taking multiple medication who are trying to work out what is going on because they are experiencing adverse affects and/or problems with the interaction of various meds.

As ever always chat to your doctor about any of this stuff, and firstly and most importantly make sure you got a good ‘un!!

Best wishes

Keener

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Here is part 3 of my journey . This part of my tale charts how I struggled to find a footing in the world and to find joy in it. However the ‘happy ever after’ part ultimately became somewhat delayed as I made a slight detour into utter insanity. Part one can be found here and part two here.

So, I continued to see my counsellor, I would often leave her house thinking well what was the point in that – that was just a chat, where’s all the analysis I’m paying for! However, I soon came to learn that she was very skilled , as I digested and assimilated our ‘conversations’, I would realise how a seemingly innocuous story or anecdote that she had told me was in fact directly relevant to how I experienced things. It was truly enlightening and I learnt so much about my self – and I finally started to realise that I had many positive attributes.

Whilst my days were filled with panic, tears, fear and all manner of self-tortuous thoughts, things were shifting onwards and upwards. I couldn’t see it nor could anyone else, but sure enough subtle changes were occurring and to use my therapy speak, I became more self-nurturing and completed less acts of self-sabotage. Or at least I was noticing the tendencies in myself and the repercussions.

Daily life was still tortuously uncomfortable and uninspiring. But small chinks of hope began to shine through. I began to wonder what ‘normal’ people did with their time and realised that I had no hobbies, interests or opportunities for joy in my life. Enter gardening. I had always keenly attended to my house plants. I had a particular interest in nurturing sick bedraggled plants – sometimes nursing them back to health, sometimes not! I had a rather daft conversation at the time with my counsellor as I explained that I was concerned that I was spending too much time obsessively thinking about my plants, reading about them and looking at them. I genuinely believed that it was a developing problem! She giggled at me as she reassured me that it was not a problem, but something to embrace. I walked away not entirely convinced by her argument, as I suppose the ‘obsessive’ thoughts were so reminiscent of the yucky negative thoughts. But I continued to read and learn and branched out into developing my own overgrown garden. I started to make new friends, who didn’t want to sit down the pub all night and who seemed to like me!

In the mean-time I had been allocated a Psychiatrist in my new area. I only went to see him once, because to put it politely – he was rubbish. He spent the session rabbiting on about his wife and the fact that she was pregnant. When I told him about how ill I became if I missed a dose of Effexor , he looked at me a little bit funny and changed topic on to something much more interesting ie himself. When I told him I really wanted to give up smoking, he told me how he had and how marvellous it was and how the decor of his home had benefited from his decision. I walked out of his office slightly confused by his clinical practice and trying to decide what his diagnosis was.

So life trundled on and I started to feel more competent. I went back to the social work course and graduated and got a job as a manager at a mental health charity. I stopped drinking. I started Yoga. I ate and taught myself to like fruit and veg. I gardened – sporadically, messily, haphazardly and inefficiently. But nevertheless I grew things and could stand back pleased with what I had achieved.

I continued to take the effexor, just ticking the little repeat box on my prescription. Blissfully unaware that it was a ticking time bomb. I believe that over time my body adapted to the presence of this poison, but its effects were still there to be noticed in the background. As it settles in, the body makes some desperate attempts to rid itself of the unhelpful substance. The unsightly acne on my chin – which would not go despite all manner of remedies – some sensible, some not. The flatness of emotion, but most troublesome to me was the exhaustion and the ridiculous amount of sleep that I needed. My personal best is from Friday night to Sunday night. I have a blurred memory of stumbling to the bathroom, drunk on sleep, but nothing else for the whole weekend.

Now in my opinion, that ain’t right. So I mounted operation ‘get my brain scanned, x-ray-ed whatever’. I made a couple of visits to the GP to explain to them how I needed at least 12 hours of sleep a night to feel normal, sometimes 14 and that I don’t have a life cos all I do is work and sleep. Its a quality of life issue, please help me. They would look at me perplexed and kinda say most people with depression would be grateful to sleep so much – whats the problem? For pity’s sake! I went back again and saw a newly qualified locum and went in for the kill. I explained my predicament and that I had tried all manner of things – better sleep hygiene, varying when I took the effexor, light boxes for SAD etc etc. I told her I think I really need a referral to the sleep clinic. After my waffling on and on, she eventually caved in and agreed to send the letter.

I was very excited, I really though they’d invite me over and put one of those colander things on my head and wire me up and study me. Instead, after spending 4 hours there retelling my life history for the umpteenth time, I was offered a prescription for a stimulant, which I refused. He told me if I ever fancied giving them a go, I should ask my GP, he’d send a letter. Thanks very much, just what I need to start – necking a load of speed! He also referred me to a support group, when the letter arrived it said ‘insomniacs support group’. I thought I better not go because other group members might think I’m taking the mick! I phoned up the nurse in charge of the group fuming ready to complain and to give them a piece of my mind …. but the bloke was really nice, he was real embarrassed and explained that was the information that he had received from the doctor. I told him not to worry and he gave me some numbers of other groups and stuff that might be able to help in the voluntary sector.

I gave up then, bored with the incompetence and determined to get on with it, taking the advice that actually it is within the ‘normal’ range. I therefore adapted and practised a bit of the old ‘accept what you cannot change’, seeing copious amounts of sleep as being part of ‘me’.

A couple of years went by, popping the effexor, getting on with it, bouts of depression, stress, and anxiety and panic attacks but doing ok-ish. I knew that stopping the effexor would be difficult and that’s why I kept taking it, everyone learns that when they forget to take a dose. I didn’t think I needed it anymore, but I guess I was putting it off until things were just ‘right’, whatever that means. Anyway I came to the conclusion that the time had arrived in Nov 05 and began, what i though was a slow withdrawal over a three months. It is nearly a year ago now that I was sectioned after becoming acutely psychotic and manic (twice). Now of course that reaction is well known and is written in the little medication hand out thingy. My story is about how easily that can happen, but more importantly (I reckon) it is about what happened after that – how not a single professional in the countless number I saw recognised it for what it was – drug withdrawal. Also how difficult it was for me to escape more medication and convince people that yes I am absolutely bonkers fair point, but I don’t have schizophrenia or bi-polar, not that there’s anything wrong with that, its just that the problem is the bloody effexor!

Suffice to say things have been a little bit tricky in the last year.

I intend to explain more about what happened when I was hospitalised. My fear is that people will think its too sensationalist, too rare, too unlikely to happen to them. In some ways, thankfully it is – but don’t bet on it. However there is a huge screaming question mark in my head – how many people out their believe they have bi-polar – the doctors think it, the patient, family and friends think it, the ‘scientific’ literature backs up their conclusions and the medication proves it because it makes them ‘better’.

I could easily be sat here now believing that I have a very serious condition and my world would have shrunk again, but the point is that I would have been in a very serious condition – on some hardcore drugs and believing once again that I have something wrong with me..

Cheers keener

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