John Kirwan

The Rugby Honours list?

The Queens Birthday Honours list has been released.

When reading through this list via No Right Turn I was gobsmacked at how many Rugby connected people have received awards…with the exception of John Kirwan…who has received his award for services to mental health.

The other thing I noticed was how many people who received awards had previously received awards….have they done more? I doubt it.

There are two very poor awards in my opinion. The awarding of a knighthood to Michael Cullen. This is outrageous. This man falsified a PREFU, he his a $1 billion deficit in ACC, bought a clapped out train set for another $1 billion when it was worth about $350 million and left this country saddled with the prospect of 10 years of deficits. He should be given something more appropriate…like herpes…in recognition of his achievements.

The other egregious and shameless pandering to the ordinary was the awarding of Simon Power a QSO. He was a minister for just 3 years, an MP for a short amount of time and did more harm than good. He deserves nothing than the pay he received in performing those tasks so poorly. The Queens Service Order is for Service…getting paid to do your job isn’t service.

There are many, many more people out there who have given a lifetime of service and done it all for no pay or recompense. The places taken up by civil servants and politicians in the honours list demeans their efforts.

Understanding Depression

Regular readers know that I have had and continue to battle depression. I have also found that talking about ti honestly helps leave a breadcrumb trail for others to to follow so that they can seek help for their own battles.

I know that the trail works because I regularly get emails from people thanking me for sharing my stories about depression and sharing about how I came off anti-depressants. Each of us who has spoken publicly, people like John Kirwan and Mike King all help in their own way to assisting people with depression understand and overcome and mitigate the debilitating effects of depression.

I have been thinking over the holiday period about writing some more about the issues but i hadn’t quite worked out the shape of what i would write. As is often the way when I am researching about something a blog post elsewhere pops up and says what i want to say for me.

And so it was that I saw on Andrew Sullivan’s blog his snip from Jenny Lawson’s blog post about her battles:

I wrote this post a month ago, but I couldn’t bring myself to post it then.  I was too weak from fighting to shout, and so instead I whispered this into the night and left it unpublished until I felt like I could speak to it with the battle-cry it deserves.  Years ago, coming out about depression and anxiety disorder was something frightening, but now people are more honest and open and so much of the shame has dissipated.  We may not have pink ribbons or telethons but we know that someone out there understands.  That is, until we’re honest about how it affects us.  I’ve never written about this because I can’t talk about it without it being a trigger but I think it’s important to be honest even when it’s scary.  Especially when it’s scary.

But Jenny said so much more and it resonates with me, and so I will share it too:

When cancer sufferers fight, recover, and go into remission we laud their bravery.  We call them survivors.  Because they are.

When depression sufferers fight, recover and go into remission we seldom even know, simply because so many suffer in the dark…ashamed to admit something they see as a personal weakness…afraid that people will worry, and more afraid that they won’t.  We find ourselves unable to do anything but cling to the couch and force ourselves to breathe.

When you come out of the grips of a depression there is an incredible relief, but not one you feel allowed to celebrate.  Instead, the feeling of victory is replaced with anxiety that it will happen again, and with shame and vulnerability when you see how your illness affected your family, your work, everything left untouched while you struggled to survive.  We come back to life thinner, paler, weaker…but as survivors.  Survivors who don’t get pats on the back from coworkers who congratulate them on making it.  Survivors who wake to more work than before because their friends and family are exhausted from helping them fight a battle they may not even understand.

Regardless, today I feel proud.  I survived.  And I celebrate every one of you reading this.  I celebrate the fact that you’ve fought your battle and continue to win.  I celebrate the fact that you may not understand the battle, but you pick up the baton dropped by someone you love until they can carry it again.  I celebrate the fact that each time we go through this, we get a little stronger.  We learn new tricks on the battlefield.  We learn them in terrible ways, but we use them.  We don’t struggle in vain.

We win.

We are alive.

It is now just over a year since I came through the roughest time of my life. The toughest time wasn’t being depressed, it was coming off the medication and all the side effects both physical and mentally that are associated with that. I have done a lot of rough and tumble things in my life. I have jumped from airplanes, out the back of Hercules, from helicopters, I have tramped, hunted, fallen off cliffs into rivers, white water rafted, kayaked, waveskiid and surfed, i nearly drowned once swimming across an estuary but none of those things were as tough coming off anti-depressants.

But as Jenny says above, I won and I am alive.

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Times have changed

Especially in Rugby:

If the All Blacks win the final, they will get a $NZ100,000 ($77,550) win bonus per player. What did the 1987 All Blacks victors get for beating France in the final? John Kirwan yesterday recalled: ”They gave us $50 to spend in the bar after we won. Outstanding. God, I was so happy. That 50 bucks went a looooong way.” Also Kirwan was back at work at his father’s butcher shop first thing the following Monday morning.

C**t of the Year – Michael Laws

He says now that he was joking. I don’t for a minute think this weak, pathetic individual was joking. What I find apalling is he has continued to attack people that she sees as having mental health issues, all during Movember. He undoes all the hard work people like Mike King and John Kirwan have done to get people toi understand that people with mental illness are people just like you and me, just they struggle with some aspects.

Michael Laws - C**t of the Year

Michael Laws - C**t of the Year

Michael Laws is a coward and a bully, and a coward and bully of the worst kind, picking on people who are struggling at the best of times. Of course, he could just be talking about himself given the vast amount of time he consumes inhabiting Facebook along with his little fan club of felchers.

It is also ironic that he scoffingly talks of straight-jackets and people with mental illness when he himself has written about his issues and his flirting with suicide.

have, twice, seriously considered suicide as the most rational reply to adversity.

In the first instant, it was as a lovelorn teenager in the first year of university studies and after being dumped by my then girlfriend. It was a measure of both my insecurity and my anguish that this relationship break-up prompted such self-destructive thoughts.

Having made the decision to end it all – with as much melodrama as I could muster – my next problem was, how? By the time I’d resolved that issue, I had discovered that a combination of testosterone and the welcoming smile of another had carried me over the abyss….

The media, for example, deliberately restricts itself from reporting any of the salient details relating to a suicidal death. Their fear – pressed upon them by public health officials – is that talking about suicide will provoke more copycat victims.

Nonsense. Indeed to use such logic, let’s stop talking about road deaths, mental illness, welfare dependence and criminal offending. There will, of course, be dramatic reductions in antisocial and destructive activities all because we choose to ignore them.

Because, sometimes, suicide is so damned rational and right. Or so it seems.

It certainly was when I was in the child oncology ward of Starship Children’s Hospital two years ago. When I was informed that my daughter Lucy was likely to die, my world dissolved. I could see no point to existence if she were not a part of my life.

And I also started thinking of death from the perspective of Lucy. When she dies (the “if” seemed to have been removed from the equation) then where does she go? Are the rationalists right, nowhere? Or are the Christians and popular culture on the right track to think she would walk off into the light somewhere?

All I knew is that I did not want my golden girl to walk there alone. I would have gone too: I knew that then, and I know that now.

It makes no sense, it seems, to write those words in August 2010. But they made perfect sense in February 2008. And I was a sane man.

Well, we can know that all that waffle is just bullshit, from a bullshit artist, intent only on self promotion at the expense of others. No “sane” person contemplates suicide. Even if the “insanity” is temporary, it is still insanity that one can see that a permanent solution to a temporary problem is a good idea.

It is for this reason that Michael Laws is this years C**t of the Year.

If you care more about people suffering with mental health issues then you can donate to Movember and help us ignore the Michael Laws of this world. One more word of advice for Michael, as I know he reads the blog. NFWAB.

  • Click this link http://nz.movember.com/donate/your-details/member_id/17568/ and donate online using your credit card or PayPal account
  • Write a cheque payable to ‘Movember Foundation,’ referencing my Registration Number 17568 and mailing it to: Movember Foundation, PO Box 12708, Wellington, 6144

All donations are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law.

"I could have started a blog, but that's the first sign of mental illness" – Michael Laws

Someone is touchy. Michael Laws is very touchy. He decides to label all bloggers as having a mental illness and suggests he isn’t there yet.

Well F*ck you Michael.

In the middle of Movember you decide to label bloggers as suffering from mental illness. Well welcome to the sh*t-storm that all bloggers will unleash upon you for calling us all mental.

To Donate to Movember, you can either:

•    Click this link http://nz.movember.com/donate/your-details/member_id/17568/ and donate online using your credit card or PayPal account
•    Write a cheque payable to ‘Movember Foundation,’ referencing my Registration Number 17568 and mailing it to: Movember Foundation, PO Box 12708, Wellington, 6144

I have always been up front about my own personal battle with Depression. I have fronted on my own demons. It is time Michael Laws started confronting his own demons, and they are considerable. It is time that bloggers and media everywhere started calling this blackmailer, bullshit artist on his crap and started outing his reprehensible bullying and predator behaviour.

There is power in speaking the truth, something Michael Laws is a stranger to.

I wonder what his fellow Radio host at Radio Live, Mike King thinks about such labels during Movember, an event that Mike King is an ambassador for. I wonder too what John Kirwan thinks of such comments during Movember.

Michaels Laws is a cowardly little weak man with a body like a half sucked throatie. By abusing bloggers for their mental health has just added him to my sh*t-list, a list from which no one ever gets off.

Here is a video that Michael laws would do well to heed. (WARNING: NSFW, Do not play at work)

Movember – Day 2

Today is my birthday, it is also the day that 6 years ago I went to the doctor and found out that the reason I wanted to punch every one out and was so utterly exhausted at the same time was because I suffered from depression.

That started what has been a six year battle with depression, anti-depressants, a scum insurance company called Fidelity Life and their equally scum doctors Des Gorman, Anthony Asteraidis and Ralf Schnabel (medical professionals who make their living almost exclusively from insurance companies). It is only now, after de-toxing myself from the anti-depressants that I also find out that covered up under all the medication and depression was de-personlisation disorder. Adam Duritz lead singer of the Counting Crows published an essay in which he describes his experience with suffering from depersonalization disorder. (It is the best, but also most frightening description of what it is like with depersonalisation disorder)

Now that I no longer have the anti-depressants in my system I can start to address the causes of my depression in a meaningful way instead of plastering over the cracks.

Fidelity Life thought a year ago that I was cured, this despite their own medical evidence, yet in the past year I haven’t managed to even remotely get near working. In that year I have lost my house, been in court, and removed all drugs from my system, this year has been one of the hardest of my life, it is almost as if I am starting a new life.

I realise now, even, if Fidelity Life doesn’t, that I will now live with the spectre of depression for the rest of my life. It isn’t something, now after 6 years, that will just go away. I live every day hoping I don’t slip into a DPD episode or wake up in the morning so utterly exhausted just from surviving the previous day that I can’t get out of bed.

Three things keep it all at bay, or at least help when depression and DPD strikes. The gym, music and blogging.

When I say the gym, I don’t mean some namby-pamby poofs type of gym, I mean my mate Buck‘s gym in the heart of South Auckland, where fatties, gang members, both patched and un-patched, Pasifika, Maori plus a few of us whitey go. A gym where there are no sooks, and there are no soft options. When I go to the gym it is for two hours at least and it is tough. It needs to be to reset my core being. because in living with depression for 6 years I have learned and understood the pathology of the illness so that I can try to combat it.

For me, my form of depression is the “fight response”. That means my body thinks it is always in a battle. The closer to the edge of depression I get the shallower my breathing becomes, its all automatic, the body is designed that way to divert oxygen to the muscles for battle or for flight. It is one of the reasons why John Kirwan was able to perform so well despite his depression, literally his body was tuned to provide huge amounts of oxygen to the fast twitch muscles which enabled him to score magnificent tries like there was no-one in front of him. This is the same mechanism that causes people in high stress situations, in battle, in acidents, in trauma situation can perform huge feats of physical amazement. It is the ancient “berserker” mechanism of the Vikings. The problem is my body is set on that full time. With it come determination, hyper-vigilance, and utter, utter exhaustion. Eventually if you don’t reset you just collapse as I well know. The gym forces your body to breathe deeply and helps reset.

I encourage anyone suffering depression to start of by going for good, hard long walks or bike rides. Trust me it will help. It is what got me started on the road to recovery.

It is only now after I have purged the drugs from my body that I am finally starting to feel like I am getting on top of the “Black Dog”. But it is still a daily battle. As I mentioned music helps and in particular some songs that have a great deal of meaning for me. Here is one I listen to frequently. It helps to express out loud what is going on inside.

Of course I don’t have to tell you about my blogging, you are all my loyal and understanding fans so you know already how that helps. by reading and commenting and supporting you have all helped me immensely and for that I thank you you all.

I will continue the fight against depression and I will continue to try to educate people as to why depression isn’t just about feeling a bit sad. Unfortunately Insurance companies and Fidelity Life in particular don’t seem to grasp this issue and continue to force feed their clients and patients with cocktails of drugs that do nothing to address the core issues of depression. The pity is that Fidelity Life doesn’t want to talk so I will have have to educate them in a court room, an education that will cost them far more than a few meetings.

Movember is a cause I feel strongly about and I’m asking you to support my efforts by making a donation to me.  To help, you can either:

•    Click this link http://nz.movember.com/donate/your-details/member_id/17568/ and donate online using your credit card or PayPal account
•    Write a cheque payable to ‘Movember Foundation,’ referencing my Registration Number 17568 and mailing it to: Movember Foundation, PO Box 12708, Wellington, 6144

All donations are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law.

To join my Movember team go to http://nz.movember.com/register/105390 and follow the steps. Once registered you’ll be sent all the information you need to raise funds and start growing as part of my Movember team.

Mad Mayor continues his defamations, still no cops in sight

Andrew Williams - The Clown of Campbells BayThe Clown of Campbells Bay is unrepentant about this late night drunken emails about me and Dad.

He is unrepentant about his insults to all sufferers of depression and he is in denial.

I have to face my demons every day and do so in a most public way, Andrew Williams should face up to his demons and try to do so without facing them through the bottom of a bottle.

Never once in all my attacks has he come clean, despite every one of them proving true. The Clown of Campbells Bay refuses to address his wrong-doings instead preferring to blame his bad press on everyone but himself.

There are around 50 days left in this local body campaign and I promise him that there is a post a day about his excesses, his drinking and his stupidity.

He should apologise to sufferers of mental health issues and make a donation via John Kirwan to a suitable charity then resign. Now ll I need is a calendar of his public appearances to make sure I front foot this outrage of a person at each and every occasion.

The Mad Mayor at it again – Drunk in Charge of a City

The Mad Mayor of North Shore, Andrew Williams has been visiting with the piss fairy again.  Last night at 12 minutes past midnight he sent out an ranting, incoherent, defamatory, insulting email about me , my family and a journalist.

From: Mayor Andrew Williams [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Friday, 13 August 2010 12:15 a.m.
To: Mayor Andrew Williams
Subject: The Slater Family and the Citizens & Ratepayers regime are sick

The Slater Family and the Citizens & Ratepayers regime are sick

This is the type of garbage (see below) coming out of Cameron Slater, son of C&R Chairman John Slater tonight. This twisted individual Cameron Slater, who admits to having psychiatric depressive problems, and who is an embarrassment to the National Party having been banned from their national conference, and who has spent the last 5 years or so bludging off Fidelity Life on a “sickness loss of income benefit”, once again has the cheek to stalk me in my own time on a Thursday night tonight in Takapuna. At a time when I had arranged some days ago to meet and discuss some important council business with one of my Councillors, Kevin Schwass ( a good Nat man and at his own new bar) and the Chairman of the local R&R Assn.

But we have sickos like Cameron Slater stalking the likes of me and publishing garbage on his website as below. He also stalked me last Sunday at a Youth Enterprise Event at the ASB Auckland Showgrounds, hurling inappropriate comments at me in front of young students. What a sick person. Pathetic.

This is the future that Auckland can look forward to under the distorted regime being prescribed by the Slaters (John Slater and Cameron Cameron) of this world….working in cohorts with that other psychiatrically disturbed sicko Jonathan Marshall from the SSTimes.

Auckland is not a city I as a 5th generation New Zealander relish if this is the level of toxic distasteful politics we will have to endure….stalked by twisted people like this.  The sooner sickos like the Slater family and the Jonathan Marshalls of this world are banished to where they belong the better.

Andrew Williams

Mayor, North Shore City

The idiot even typed it as seen above, in bold and got my name wrong, I guess in the online equivalent of a drunken stutter. This email simply proves my original post that the Mad Mayor was drunk in charge of the city last night.

What is even more interesting is that at 12 minutes past midnight after a night visiting with J. Daniels, J. Walker and J. Beam, The Mad Mayor’s first instinct is to log onto Whale Oil Beef Hooked, good lord, is it his home page? I never knew I had such a big fan.

I need to clear some things up though.

1. Last night I was in Manukau all night. You can see that I went to Countdown Supermarket at 8:10pm and was nowhere near the North Shore. Four Square uses GPS location tracking to ascertain locations. I was also posting frequently on my Facebook wall. I could hardly have been doing that “stalking” the Mad Mayor. At the time he says I was stalking him I also made three posts to my blog.

2. I was not stalking the Mad Mayor, The Whales spies informed me of the antics of the Mad Mayor.

3. I was not stalking the Mad Mayor at the Young Enterprise Scheme show day. I was there assisting a team of young entrepreneurs, I was actually helping them, whereas the Mad Mayor was just trolling for votes.

4. I did not “hurl inappropriate comments” at the Mad Mayor in front of young people. I did comment sotte voce to the Mad Mayor “Andrew, think of the children please, the toilets are over there”. That is all I said and no young person would have heard it. Andrew Williams simply lies to suggest otherwise.

5. I consider Andrew Williams comments about my mental health to be disgusting and an insult to all those who suffer depression, his comments show clearly that he is unfit to be mayor of North Shore let alone the new cohesive Auckland. I call on him to resign immediately and seek help for his problems. I also urge that he make a donation to a depression related charity nominated by John Kirwan or Mike King as recompense for the grave insult to sufferers of depression.

6. Ongoing legal action with Fidelity Life preclude me from commenting on his utter lies regarding my claims with Fidelity Life, suffice to say that Andrew Williams is as much a scum sucking bottom dweller as Fidelity Life is.

7. My name is Cameron Slater not Cameron Cameron.

The perils of the pills

Vincent van Gogh's 1890 painting At Eternity's Gate

Vincent van Gogh's 1890 painting At Eternity's Gate

As part of my ongoing discussion about depression I am going to explain in cold facts why warm fuzzy soft focus ads do nothing in understanding depression.

Don’t get me wrong, John Kirwan is doing a great job but he still doesn’t want to scare the horses on what I believe is a fraud and mass poisoning by professionals in dosing people with depression with drugs.

The simple, plain and unadulterated fact about anti-depressants for me is that not one single one I have been experimented with has worked and some, particularly venlafaxine, have actually contributed more pain than any relief. This isn’t necessarily the doctors fault, because this is all one great experiment that unwilling participants commit themselves to without any idea as to the outcome or the consequences of pouring a chemical cocktail into your body.

When you first go down with depression, or perhaps, reach the magic threshold under the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders then your doctor will use what s/he has been trained to use which is drugs. the first lolly almost without exception is Prozac. When that doesn’t do anything, then they usually try Citalopram or Paroxetine, then after trying all those and still feeling like Vincent Van Gogh in his famous painting At Eternity’s Gate (left/above). That painting covers exactly show you feel. you can see the despair in every brush stroke.

Yet doctors, bless them, just aren’t trained in how to actually help you. If you happen to have a insurance policy for income protection, like from life leechers like Fidelity Life, thn you are really screwed. You are now trapped in a spiral of hurt you have no control over.

You see, in order to make a claim you have to be sick. You are sick, but that is not the problem, the problem is that now you have to get well, and not by your definition, or any other definition except that of the insurance company. Plus you have to get well in their time-frame or you are in for some serious poisoning at the hands of paid lackeys of the insurance company.

The problem starts because the insurance company and the doctor and indeed society in general puts the cart before the horse. You sit a test, you are depressed, you make a claim, you sit more tests and then the claim is accepted.  A course of medical experimentation treatment is agreed upon and off you go on the chemical train-wreck.

Six months later and your doctor will be pretty sure by now that the first course of drugs hasn’t done a thing. The insurance company knows for sure that you aren’t yet well because they are still paying and that is the worst thing ever in their minds. They don’t give a flying fuck bout you or your health and it is about now that they write you a letter demanding a review by “their” psychologists and psychiatrists. I say “their” because that is exactly what I mean. Almost their entire practices are funded by insurance companies. In Auckland the insurance company favourites are Dr. Anthony Asteraidis and Ralf Schnabel, one is South African and has a handshake like a wet tissue from a peep show and the other is a German and all the medical experimentation nightmares that conjures up. they sit you down for a 40 min session. It should be 60 minutes, but they need 20 minutes of the hour they are billing the insurance company to write a report that is more about covering their arse than helping you. Dr Anthony Asteraidis, at this point for me, recommended I go onto Lithium, for no reason whatsoever other than it couldn’t really hurt could it. this despite me showing none of the symptoms for which Lithium is a treatment. Of course I resisted. But this is all part of the trap from the insurance company. You see they will now say that you aren’t trying hard enough to get well, so demand a change of medication.

Now you have to go through withdrawal from one and substitute that poison for another. then gradually increase dosage until it too becomes apparent that this drug doesn’t work either. Now repeat this several times. By now you will have realised that your life has become a chemically imposed treadmill, slowly but surely wearing you down. Just to increase your stress levels though, you will discover that the insurance company has put a private investigator on your tail. he isn’t that smart because he gets caught, then they write a letter and say it is all part of the process. that’s about the only true thing, the process, that is the insurance companies process to get you off claim, well or not. And you have to do what they say or like Pavlov’s Dogs you cop a flogging from them. This will include cutting your claim off, just to see how you react, interviews private investigators and the like. Not once will they offer to pay for a psychologist. Not once did they ever.

I sought the extra help because I realised that the drugs weren’t going to work. I paid for it, I went every week, then dropped to a fortnight because I couldn’t afford it, then monthly because my claim was delayed, postponed, lost or simply cut off.

After a while though the insurance company insists that you start taking more serious drugs. They don’t say it openly, but when they send you letters, lots of letters, with the implied threat of cessation underlined and in bold then  you get the picture. The doctors all concur that you have a Major Depressive Disorder, and you do. What they fail to tell you is that all their treatment, plus the tickle ups from the insurance company is why you still have it. but their answer is more powerful drugs. Even better, not for you, but for someone, is that these more powerful drugs aren’t funded by Pharmac, welcome to real wealth distribution by chemical torture.

When I was left to my own devices and with good work from my psychologist I was getting well. The long hours in the gym have helped me way more than any drug but psychology and gym doesn’t count to an insurance company. For them trying means trying more chemicals. Along comes a drug regime change, a tickle up, a cessation of  claim and right back down into the painting you go. This where the combination of chemical torture and mathematics starts to bite you. you see what no-one tells you is that depression is cumulative. the maths gets you in the end. the insurance company knows this, and this is why they try like hell to get you off claim well before a year is out. Once you go past a year, the maths mounts, once you go past two or three serious depressive episodes the maths mounts, for them financially, and for you mentally. For them only the money matters, your health is of no consequence to them.

So because you have now had two or three depressive episodes they define you as having a major depressive illness. You do. they put you there. Basically the maths goes like this. If you have one major depressive episode (longer than the median of 23 weeks) then you have a 50% chance of having another in your lifetime. If you do have another episode then you now have a 75% chance of having still another major depressive episode, and after the third the maths is 99%. Got that. Three major depressive episodes and get used to life with major depression. The maths and the research says you will never be rid of the black dog as long as you shall live.

Once you work out the math, you also work out that drugs aren’t going to work, but by this time you are on Venlafaxine or something similar.

These are the side effects of Venlafaxine (The ones I have I’ll note for you. This is highly personal but I think people really should know what these drugs do without the soft soaping. This is real, this is my life, has been my life for 6 years. I’m not hiding it, I’m using it for your education, and I’m not excusing anything either, this is just what it is.)

NOTE: The percentage of occurrences for each side effect listed comes from clinical trial data provided by Wyeth Pharmaceuticals Inc. The percentages indicate the percentage of people that experienced the side effect in clinical trials.

  • Headache (34%) YES
  • Nausea (21-35%) YES
  • Insomnia (15-23%) YES
  • Sexual dysfunction (14-34%) YES
  • Dry mouth (12-16%) YES
  • Dizziness (11-20%) YES
  • Sweating (10-14%) YES
  • Decreased appetite (8-20%)
  • Abnormal ejaculation (8-16%) YES
  • Hypertension (4-5%)
  • Vivid/abnormal dreams (3-7%) YES
  • Akathisia (agitation) (3-4%) YES
  • Decreased libido (3-9%) YES
  • Increased yawning (3-5%) YES
  • Apathy YES
  • Constipation
  • Ongoing irritable bowel syndrome
  • Fatigue YES
  • Vertigo YES
  • Orthostatic hypotension (postural drop in blood pressure)
  • Impulsive actions YES
  • Electric shock-like sensations also called “brain zapsYES
  • Increased anxiety at the start of treatment
  • Memory loss YES
  • Restless legs syndrome YES

Less common to rare side effects

Note ‘Rare’ adverse effects occur in fewer than 1 in 1000 patients.

Now that is quite a list, and I’m not making it up. This is my life. Doesn’t sound like a wonder drug to you now does it. Well think about how it is from my point of view. Now those are the side effects of being on it, I am now 8 days into being off the evil chemical and the withdrawal side effects are even worse. the worst thing is this scary paragraph:

Venlafaxine may be particularly hazardous to those individuals who are susceptible to both venlafaxine-induced serotonin toxicity (also known as serotonin syndrome) and SSRI discontinuation syndrome. In such cases, individuals who have developed the potentially fatal serotonin toxicity and/or may be at risk of doing so, may find cessation or dose reduction unachievable, placing them at continuing risk. As it is not possible to determine which patients are likely to develop the most severe symptoms of the discontinuation syndrome before cessation or dose reduction is attempted, this dual risk requires that all patients are closely monitored during any increase in dosage (when the patient is most at risk of developing serotonin toxicity) and that such increases are carried out in the smallest incremental steps possible. Additionally, patients who recommence venlafaxine or revert to a higher dosage following a failed attempt to discontinue the drug or reduce dosage are another group with an increased risk of developing serotonin toxicity.

Fantastic drug huh? F*cked if you are on it, or doubly f*cked if you try to come off it.

I am writing this today after having spent 4 hours this afternoon “in the painting”. I have had a full blown DPD episode, complete with hallucinations. This post came about right in the middle of the episode and it wasn’t till I could get up again that I started writing. I am writing this because it lessens the pain. Every word I write takes a little bit away as I type it out. (At this point I have written 1781 words and the pain is still there. I’m sorry but I think people need to know.

For me the drugs don’t work, I suspect that they don’t work for many others, I suspect that their lives are ruined and papered over by the cocktail of drugs. Right now I feel that my live as I knew has been destroyed. The devastation is pretty complete. The money is all gone, and I had a fair bit. The houses are gone, the friendships are gone, the relationships are gone. I find it utterly confusing that despite all of that I can actually still do this, that unfortunately doesn’t pay the bills. Working and suffering through the above are unfortunately unable to intersect. the insurance company, Fidelity Life, however thinks I am “cured”, they think that I am “well”. What they really mean is that they arbitrarily decided I cost them too much and despite all medical evidence to the contrary moved me “off claim”. they can do this knowing that my life and stability is utterly destroyed and that to pursue them will cost me my sanity and any remaining resources I have.

Unfortunately for them they picked the wrong person to screw over. I never give in, I never surrender and I can write and surprisingly lots of people like what I write. they refuse to talk, they ignore letters, well they can play like that, but after wrecking my life they will pay and it will be loss of reputation and ongoing posts like this that they will pay through. If they won’t talk, then I will.

I will fight this illness for as long as it takes, I will not give in, and I will tell the truth so that others may learn. If I had known then what i know now about these evil drugs I would never have taken them, I would have fought harder at the start to run my plan for wellness, based around physical fitness and I for sure would be well now. Drugs, Doctors and Fidelity Life have taken me from one “painting” and put me in another. I sure as hell won’t be solving this like Van Gogh did though.

That said, my GP and my psychologist in conjunction with my psychiatrist have been brilliant, they have always agreed with my plan, but when in the grip of an insurance company that can see only one solution then it is impossible to move ahead. In one sense having Fidelity Life cut me off in contravention of our contract has allowed me to be free to pursue my own path toward wellness. It has taken me 6 months to wean myself down to zero on the drugs, I am now in the home stretch for being drug free. Now I can concentrate on trying to pick up the pieces of the wreckage of the last six years.

Blame is the wrong word, but I can think of no other. State funded, doctor prescribed drugs supposed to heal are the “blame” for my hell of a life. In actual fact the blame is a lack of education that there are other ways.

If you suffer depression, or think you do then seek help, but make sure you explore the alternatives to the chemical cocktails. In the absence of anything else listen to John Kirwan, even if the message is soft-focused and massaged so as not to scare you.

As a postscript….If you notice me posting all sorts of videos to my Facebook wall, that is another of my release mechanisms. I play really sad songs about depression until I’m sick of hearing about it, every video I post leaches the depression away. Don’t despair of me, I’m not going to top myself, and I really, really appreciate the messages of support I get even if it is a “Like” of the post.