On the day that I was discharged I was waiting to have some of my possessions that were in store returned and to be given a supply of tablets to take with me. A few minutes before a taxi that was to take me to the Infirmary to catch a minibus to the airport was due I was handed a sealed paper bag from the pharmacy. I only opened it after I arrived home in Orkney that evening and read the labels on the boxes with the names of the drugs, the doses and when to take them. They were the same names that the nurse had given me - Olanzapine, Mirtazapine and Sertraline, with the dose of Sertraline being the maximum 200 grammes, which is four times the standard dose. I decided that I wasn’t going to take any of the drugs as no doctor had told me why I was to take them, or even told me the names of the drugs. Another ‘thank God’ moment as I dread to think what would have happened if I had followed the instructions on the labels and embarked on an extended course of multiple powerful psychiatric drugs at the same time as having androgen deprivation therapy for cancer. I would probably still be living with the life-changing consequences now.
I was so glad to be free that I wasn’t aware of any effects of going cold turkey and spent a few weeks travelling, to Shetland, to England, and to Bulgaria. In fact I felt more alive and alert as the drugged state lifted. So why did they give them to me so carelessly when I never needed such aggressive treatment, which had made my mental and physical state much worse before I got better? I read of patients complaining that their doctors did not warn them about the potentially very serious side effects and withdrawal problems when they were prescribed the same drugs that I was given, and am incredulous that I could be treated, latterly as a voluntary patient, and then discharged from an NHS hospital without being told by Dr Hannah Badial or another doctor anything about the drugs I was expected to continue to take and how to take them, let alone told about adverse effects and how to reduce the dosage. I had to ask a nurse for their names and Google them from my hospital bed. I believe that it is medical negligence not to tell me anything about the drugs, particularly as I now know that their side effects could exacerbate the potential serious side effects of my cancer treatment that have to be monitored with 4-weekly blood tests. From reading about the drugs it seems very possible that I would no longer be able to tolerate aberaterone, which at the moment is keeping the cancer in check, and switch to less effective and more debilitating treatments, as well as being at higher risk of diabetes and heart disease. Perhaps the clue is in the fact that the doctors specialised in the psychiatry of old age and expected their patients to be passive and incapable of recovering and challenging them.
I had two follow-up appointments with a locum psychiatrist who had recently been appointed in Orkney, done remotely because I was away from the island. The first was on 3rd March 2022 and the second on 7th April. Both times there wasn’t much to discuss, except to tell her that I was ok. There was no medication to adjust because I wasn’t taking any, and no depression to treat because I wasn’t depressed. She briefly mentioned CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), but it was much too late to consider that, and it probably wouldn't have been appropriate for my type of depression. At the end of the second meeting she told me that she would discharge me from the mental health system. This confirms to me that I had what I have seen described as Situational Depression, Incident Depression or Adjustment Disorder, that was initially made much worse by lack of information about my cancer diagnosis and lack of timely support for my mental health, then over-aggressive treatment, incarceration and isolation, before being completely resolved. From what I have read, such depression usually resolves itself with time.
Who knows what state I would have been in now if I had taken the tablets? Winning the Tribunal despite the psychiatrists, stopping them continuing to violently assault me by passing strong electric currents through my brain, and ignoring the instructions to take two antidepressants and an antipsychotic after I was discharged have saved me. I didn't know much about what psychiatrists do, ECT or psychiatric drugs before this happened to me, but I now realise that psychiatrists' claims of scientific diagnosis rest on very shaky foundations. The diagnosis is based on a short conversation with the patient and observation of their behaviour, then forming an opinion on which category of mental illness is the best fit. 'Antidepressant' and 'Antipsychotic' are marketing terms used by pharmaceutical companies to describe drugs with wide-ranging effects on the body's systems rather than targeting and curing the chemical imbalances causing particular types of mental distress. I now want to call the bastards who did that to me to account by using my experience to campaign for the banning of ECT and more cautious use of psychiatric drugs to treat unhappiness and distress.