I've been fortunate enough to meet many people since I started writing this blog, sadly most of those I meet have suffered a great loss be it their wife, husband or child.
There can be nothing worse than losing your child particularly when that loss comes out of the blue as a result of suicide. There are no words of comfort I could possibly offer those I have met, I just listen and then, when the time is right, I ask about the life of those tragically taken from loving, caring parents.
I have, in the past, been fortunate to meet with the parents of Sara Carlin, a beautiful teenage girl prescribed Seroxat, an antidepressant that was supposed to help her, one that was supposed to keep her from harm - it didn't...she hanged herself.
I've met with Maria Bradshaw whose son, Toran, was prescribed Prozac, an antidepressant that was supposed to help him, one that was supposed to keep him from harm - it didn't...he hanged himself.
This weekend I travelled across the sea to Ireland, the short 45 minute flight from Birmingham took me into Dublin where I was met by the father of Shane Clancy, yet another victim of suicide. Shane was prescribed the antidepressant Cipramil, known as Celexa in the US. 17 days later Shane took his life and the life of another. Shane didn't hang himself, he plunged a knife into his chest 19 times.
Shane's parents, Tony and Leonie, have become great friends over the past two years or so and I felt compelled to spend some time with them and their children. It was a social visit and one that I am so happy I made. Meeting Shane's siblings plummeted me into a world where pain is a daily occurrence, the feeling of loss hit me head on. You see, Shane Clancy wasn't just someones child, he was someones brother.
Leonie, Tony and I ventured out, an Indian curry followed by drinks and socialising with more of Shane's relatives ensued, all had memories of Shane, all told me of this kind-spirited human being who was loved by so many and who, in turn, showed so much love back.
Critics and the pro-antidepressant brigade will argue that his family members are bound to say nice things about him but Shane left a story behind for everyone he met. Restaurant owners, publicans [even though he didn't drink] friends who, like Tony and Leonie, were shell-shocked when they heard the news that such a mild-mannered young man had died in such a brutal manner.
One only has to look at his family home and meet with his brothers and sister to get a sense of how illogical those fatal events were. They make no sense and trying to piece together the reasons why leaves one frustrated and angry.
I am in no doubt that Cipramil turned Shane against all his beliefs. Those moments of madness induced by a drug that is widely prescribed across the UK and Ireland and one that is given a clean bill of health by those limpless wonders who regulate the drugs we all take.
It's a mockery to label a drug an antidepressant when in actual fact it's not anti at all, if it were then Shane's depression [a relationship break-up] would have been magically cured and not magnified. We drink water to quench our thirst, we don't expect it to make us thirsty.
Something is wrong with this world when children and adolescents are given such powerful drugs on prescription. Shane was actually given a month's supply after a short trip to see his doctor. Any person, be they a child or adult, are at risk during the first few weeks of taking an SSRi, to be given 30 days worth of medication was, in my mind, an act of insanity by his prescribing physician.
If a prescription drug is known to cause suicidal thoughts, particularly when first taking it, then why on earth would such a huge amount be prescribed? It leaves me baffled yet understanding the reasons. I understand because I've been involved in this cesspit of pharmaceutical manipulation for the past 6 years, I understand because I took an SSRi, I became suicidal, I became violent, I became a zombie who didn't care much for anything or anyone. It was only when I came off Seroxat [a 22 month withdrawal] that I found myself again. I also understand because I know how this industry works, how they are driven by money and how they will stop at nothing to sell a product to an unsuspecting public, a death here and there matters not a jot, not even in clinical trials.
Doctor's, in the main, believe SSRi type drugs are life savers, nobody under their care would ever die from them...that just doesn't happen on their patch. Well, it does and it did in the case of Shane Clancy.
Now we have a family left behind to pick up the pieces, a unit so strong and united that it overwhelmed me. Shane's family plod along because they have to. They weren't given an option. That's just the way it is and they are expected to deal with it.
On the flip-side we have key opinion leaders from Ireland who claim these drugs do not cause suicide or acts of violence. Their opinions only serve to reinforce the conscience of doctor's who prescribe these types of drugs on a daily basis. It must be safe because so and so said so.
My time with Shane's family and friends in Ireland was enjoyable yet tinged with sadness. I enjoyed the company... I would have enjoyed it so much more if Shane were there.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam
Leonie and Tony - I salute you.
Leonie Fennell's blog can be found HERE.
ORDER THE PAPERBACK 'THE EVIDENCE, HOWEVER, IS CLEAR...THE SEROXAT SCANDAL' By Bob Fiddaman US and CANADA HERE OR UK HERE
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