Yesterday afternoon, Mrs A and I went to a pub in Earls Court, London. There we met up with Bob Fiddaman who had travelled from Birmingham, and Leonie Fennell and her husband Tony (left) from Wicklow. We were joined later by Stephanie McGill Lynch and her husband John from Dublin. All of us have had our lives destroyed by antidepressants. For the very worst of reasons, we have become the very best of friends.
What brought us all together on this occasion was that we had all been invited to the launch of the book written by Katinka Blackford Newman (top right), The Pill that Steals Lives. Mrs A and I had both read it over the weekend, and I placed this review on Amazon:
I first made contact with Katinka a couple of years ago, when I wrote “The Stolen Year – Katinka’s Story” for my “AntiDepAware” website.
At least, I thought I’d written Katinka’s story, but what I’d written was merely a brief overview. The full story of Katinka’s terrifying experience of akathisia and her subsequent struggle against poly-pharmacy and its aftermath is brought to life by her compelling narrative, written with eloquence and insight.
Her own story is mingled with earnest communication of the darker side of antidepressants and the harm they can do. Here Katinka tells us about those she has met and those she has been told about, who have fought similar battles against prescribed drugs.
I know that Katinka has already started planning a TV documentary. Then … who knows? Dare we hope for a sequel?
Please read this book, particularly if you are a doctor, a psychiatrist, a coroner, a politician, or somebody who can do something about the damage that is being wrought by Fluoxetine, Citalopram, Sertraline and all the other SSRI antidepressant pills that continue to steal lives.
There was already an excellent review by Bob Fiddaman on his website. Katinka herself wrote an article about her story in the Daily Mail prior to the book’s release last Thursday, when The Times published an extract from the book.
From Earls Court, we walked together to Waterstones on Kensington High Street, where our names were checked on the guest list, and we headed for the basement.
At the launch, the first person we met was David Carmichael (near left, with Bob Fiddaman, far left) , who had come from Canada for the occasion. Although I had corresponded with David previously, it was the first time that I had actually met him.
Later in the evening, after Katinka had talked about her book and read an extract from it, David shared his tragic story (top of page) with those present. What happened to David is told on the opening page of his website:
In July 2003, at the age of 45, I experienced my first major depression. I started taking 40mg of the antidepressant Paxil a day. By September, I was feeling mentally healthy again. After forgetting to take Paxil for a few days in February 2004, I weaned myself off the drug. I started to feel depressed again in July. My symptoms included insomnia, increased anxiety, rapid weight loss, low concentration and a lack of energy. I put myself back on 40mg of Paxil a day.
A few days after I started taking Paxil again, I was having suicidal thoughts. I thought I could get rid of the thoughts and recover more quickly if I increased my dosage. On July 17, I started taking 60mg of Paxil a day. Three days later, I planned my suicide. I went from planning my suicide to planning a murder-suicide to planning a murder. On July 31, 2004, I killed my 11-year-old son Ian. I was charged with first-degree murder.
In November 2004, I was diagnosed by one of the leading forensic psychiatrists in the world as being in a “major depression” with “psychotic episodes” when I killed Ian. In May 2005, his assessment was supported by another leading forensic psychiatrist, who was hired by the crown attorney. On September 30, 2005, I was judged to be “not criminally responsible on account of a mental disorder” for murdering Ian. I received an absolute discharge from the Ontario Review Board on December 4, 2009.
Mrs A and I were pleased to meet up once again with Millie Kieve (right) whom we had last seen at the meeting about Mental Health Disability in Parliament in May. Millie is the founder of APRIL (Adverse Psychiatric Reactions Information Link), a website which provides vital information about the side effects of psychiatric medication.
Millie introduced us to Dr Bob Johnson (left), who had also been at the meeting in Parliament. Bob is an eminent psychiatrist, who is known for his opposition to the DSM, and for his successful drug-free treatment of patients with personality disorders.
An elegant lady called Olga Leclercq had travelled from the Netherlands. Olga’s daughter was one of 22 children who died, along with 6 adults, in a coach crash at Sierre, in Switzerland, in 2012. A subsequent inquest ruled that driver Geert Michiels, who was on Seroxat, had deliberately mounted a pavement in a tunnel and crashed the bus head-on into a wall.
Also present at the launch was Kirk Brandon (left), former leader of the bands Theatre of Hate and Spear of Destiny. In 2008, Kirk took legal action against GSK over personal injuries that were a direct result of taking Seroxat.
To finish off an inspiring evening, several of us joined Katinka and members of her family for a meal at a local restaurant, where the conversation continued.
It is the hope of everyone connected with this outstanding book that it will receive the attention it deserves and that it will make a difference.
Antidepressant Destruction in London by Bob Fiddaman
Feeling very humble this morning from Seroxat Secrets
The Pill that Steals Lives by Leonie Fennell