ANTIDEPRESSANTS: Sleeping Pills: Death: 32 Year Old Woman Dies from a …

Paragraph two reads:  “Bolton Coroner’s Court heard that
Samantha Andrews, aged 32, of Harpford Close, Breightmet, died after taking drugs including
sleeping tablets, anti-depressants and
anti-hystamines.”

http://www.theboltonnews.co.uk/news/4776972.Depressed_woman_died_from_cocktail_of_drugs/

Depressed woman died from cocktail of drugs

11:00am
Friday 4th December 2009

A woman who was suffering from depression died
after taking a cocktail of prescription drugs, an inquest heard.

Bolton
Coroner’s Court heard that Samantha Andrews, aged 32, of Harpford Close, Breightmet,
died after taking drugs including sleeping tablets, anti-depressants and
anti-hystamines.

But Assistant Deputy Coroner Peter Watson said there
was insufficient evidence to prove that Miss Andrews committed suicide and
recorded an open verdict.

The inquest heard that Miss Andrews, who had
trained as a nurse, had previously twice taken overdoses but told doctors that
these were a cry for help.

She was found unconscious in her bed by her
partner, Philip Brockbank, on March 2 and taken for treatment at the Royal
Bolton Hospital, before being transferred to a hospital in Wigan where she died
on March 5.

The cause of death was brain death due to lack of oxygen,
caused by the overdose.

Mr Watson said: “She was still a young woman who
clearly had talent but had troubles in her life.”

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PROZAC: Suicide: Woman Set Herself on Fire: England

Paragraph nine reads:  “By this time she was also
taking Prozac
and diazepam and had been given
several referrals for alcohol treatment programmes.”

SSRI Stories
Note:  The Physicians Desk Reference states that antidepressants can cause a craving for alcohol and
alcohol abuse. Also, the liver cannot
metabolize the antidepressant and the alcohol simultaneously,  thus leading
to higher levels of both alcohol and the antidepressant in the human
body.

http://www.theargus.co.uk/news/4749233.Brighton_mum_who_set_herself_on_fire_was_depressed_after_redundancy__inquest_hears/

Brighton mum who set herself on fire was depressed after redundancy,
inquest hears

2:33pm Thursday 19th November 2009

A Brighton mother-of-two committed suicide by dousing herself in barbecue lighter
fluid and setting it alight after battling with a chronic alcohol problem and
depression since being made redundant, an inquest heard today.

Birgit Bartlett’s body was found by her daughter in the garden of her home in
Hollingbury Crescent on August 8.

An inquest at Brighton County Court
heard the 51-year-old died of suffocation after inhaling the flames which
enveloped her body.

Pathologist Mark Taylor, who carried out a
post-mortem examination, said she had an acute thermal injury to her windpipe
and believed she would have died “rapidly”.

Mr Taylor said she had low
levels of alcohol in her blood, equal to having consumed around four units, but
added that he found excess fat around her liver, “in keeping with her history of
chronic alcohol abuse,” although this did not contribute to her death.

Mrs Bartlett’s husband, Michael, said his wife began drinking heavily
when she was made redundant in 2007 and he and his adult son and daughter would
often find empty bottles of wine hidden around the house.

In 2008 she
stopped drinking when she became employed as an admin assistant, but took it up
again when she lost the job in February of this year.

This time her
alcohol abuse was worse, and she took to drinking a bottle of spirits a day. Mr
Bartlett said the family confiscated her credit cards and cheque book in a bid
to stop her.

By this time she was also taking Prozac and diazepam and
had been given several referrals for alcohol treatment programmes.

During a visit to her GP in March she denied thoughts of suicide but
admitted she had been feeling low, before she was admitted to hospital in May
after setting fire to her duvet cover while in bed.

She suffered third
degree burns to her thigh and lower back and was referred to the local community
mental health team.

The inquest heard that German-born Mrs Bartlett had
no previous psychiatric problems but her sister had committed suicide six years
ago.

Psychiatrist Graham Walton said he saw Mrs Bartlett three times in
July but said he felt “she didn’t want to engage” with him.

He said he
did not think she seemed suicidal but “she did admit there was endless
drinking”.

Mr Bartlett said his wife underwent a detoxification
programme to try to stop her from drinking and said she felt “ashamed” of her
condition.

“She was petrified that somebody she knew would see her going
in or out,” he added.

In the days leading up to her death she told him,
“I’ll never find another job” and “I’m no good”, the inquest heard.

On

the day she died Mr Bartlett said he noticed she was missing so thought she
might have gone for a walk and he searched her local haunts. He arrived back at
the house at around 1.30pm to find police, fire engines and ambulances outside.

Detective Sergeant Helen Paine of Sussex
Police
told the inquest that officers were satisfied that there were no
suspicious circumstances surrounding Mrs Bartlett’s death.

Summing up,
Dr Karen Henderson, assistant deputy coroner for Brighton and Hove, said the
inquest had found “little evidence that she seriously wished to stop drinking”.

She added: “She was also offered a lot of help from social services, her
GP, and from substance misuse services. It is quite clear she did not wish to
engage with these services.

“The manner of her death is truly terrible
but we have heard evidence that her death would have been mercifully brief and
mercifully painless.”

Recording a verdict of suicide, she added: “I know
that the family did everything they possibly could to help Birgit,” and offered
them her condolences.

Mr Bartlett declined to comment on the hearing.

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ANTIDEPRESSANT: Suicide by Train: India

Paragraph two reads:  “A BE graduate, Ajay of Tanuku in
West Godavari district was jobless for the past nine years, Nampally GRP
constable S Madhava Rao said. He was in a
state of
depression and was undergoing medication.”

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/PRP-activist-jumps-in-front-of-train/articleshow/5137281.cms

‘PRP activist’ jumps in front of train

TNN 19
October 2009, 03:15am IST

HYDERABAD: A 42-year-old engineer, who
claimed to be a PRP activist, committed suicide by throwing himself in front of
a train near Sanatnagar railway station on Sunday morning.

A BE
graduate, Ajay of Tanuku in West Godavari district was jobless for the past nine
years, Nampally GRP constable S Madhava Rao said. He was in a state of
depression and was undergoing medication.

On October 13, Ajay came to
his brother Vijay’s house in Kukatpally. Since then, he had been staying with
either his brother or his co-brother Mallikarjun in Kukatpally.

On
Saturday at about 7 pm, Ajay left his co-brother’s house saying that he would go
to a friend’s house. Later in the night, Ajay made a phone call to his
co-brother and told him that he was going to commit suicide.

“Mallikarjun, Vijay and his brother Nani rushed and searched on the
railway tracks around Hi-Tec City but could not find him,” the constable said.

On Sunday at about 7 am, police got information about the body on the
railway tracks near the Sanatnagar railway station.

Police found a
suicide note in the wallet of the victim. It said: “I am committing suicide as
it is hard for me to adjust in society. I am jobless and there is no respect for
me here. I had worked with PRP and during that time suffered a leg injury. I am
still suffering due to the injury due to which I am in financial troubles and
decided to commit suicide.”

Ajay is survived by his wife and 10-year-old
son. A suspicious death case was registered under section 174 of CrPC.

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ANTIDEPRESSANTS: Four Soldiers From the 1451st Transport Co. Kill Themselves

NOTE FROM Ann Blake-Tracy (www.drugawareness.org): How many soldiers do we need to lose to suicide before we wake up to the fact that the FDA has warned about increased suicide in those in this age group who take antidepressants??!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Paragraph 38 reads: “Even if a veteran seeks out that help, it might not be enough. It wasn’t in Blaylock’s case — or, for that matter, in any of the cases of the four members of the 1451st who came home and committed suicide. Each of the four made at least some effort to get help from the VA, and each was prescribed an antidepressant.”

http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090902/NEWS/909020387

Day 4: ‘Where’s the line between people’s rights and enforcing help?’

Military, VA confront host of thorny issues in trying to prevent veterans’ suicides

By Konrad Marshall

Posted: September 2, 2009Read Comments(6)RecommendE-mail Print ShareA A If there is something that might help returning soldiers better adjust to civilian life — something that might help tame the inner demons of war — it is mandatory, intensive and long-term counseling.

It wasn’t required when Sgt. Jacob Blaylock and three other soldiers in the 1451st Transportation Company returned home nearly 2 1/2 years ago and later ended their own lives. Although some are receiving more counseling now, that follow-up work still is not required and, for various reasons, might never be.

There are numerous obstacles, but these are foremost: It’s difficult to determine how likely someone is to commit suicide — an issue made more difficult because soldiers often don’t seek help or acknowledge and discuss problems. Also, requiring extensive screenings and follow-ups could infringe on the rights of veterans who are now civilians.

The military and the Department of Veterans Affairs are left to perform something akin to mental health triage — a focus on the most obvious and severe cases. For the rest, it’s a quick assessment and an along-you-go, hope-for-the-best.

That works fine for many. But the VA and military have no effective way to monitor and counsel those whose anguish is more subtle — or purposely masked — whose depression deepens over time amid the nightmares of war and troubles at work or at home.

The military puts most of its effort into its demobilization process, required of all returning soldiers. The process is designed to prepare soldiers for a return to civilian life and to assess their physical and mental health.

When Blaylock and his comrades in the 1451st demobilized at Camp Atterbury, it was a three- to five-day process. Today, it’s a five- to seven-day process in which soldiers undergo mandatory reintegration briefings and one-on-one sessions with mental health counselors.

But it is also during demobilization that two competing interests emerge. Mental health workers want to make sure soldiers are OK. Soldiers want to go home.

“They ask you, ‘Do you have any issues?’ You say, ‘No,’ because a soldier wants to get home,” said Staff Sgt. Robert Mullis, an active-duty commander with the 1451st in Boone, N.C. “All these things they ask you about, the answer is ‘No,’ because you want to get home. Then you get home and you have medical issues or employment issues, or you figure out maybe you should have had counseling.”

Lt. Col. Timothy Holtke, director of Personnel and Civilian Affairs at Camp Atterbury, said the Army understands that and is getting better about probing each soldier’s mind-set.

“We want to dig a little deeper than ‘Hey, soldier, how are you doing?’ ” Holtke said. “If they’re having an issue, we want to pull it out of them.”

That said, Holtke and others acknowledged that soldiers will try to placate clinicians in order to finish faster.

“We know soldiers do that,” said Dr. Marsha Rockey, the only psychologist with the Department of Behavioral Health at Camp Atterbury, where more than 7,000 soldiers are processed each year. “Do we catch 100 percent of them? I’m sure we don’t. But we tell them: ‘Our goal is not to keep you; it’s to keep you safe.’ ”

Staff Sgt. Brian Laguardia is a national advocate for returning veterans and one of five former soldiers who did a national public service announcement with Tom Hanks for the group Welcome Back Vets. He also was a member of the 1451st and a friend of Blaylock’s.

Recalling the 1451st’s demobilization at Camp Atterbury, Laguardia said, “They did as little as they could to hold us back, to keep us from going home. Really quickly, they had us out of there. There’s a real need to make the transfer slower, more than a couple of weeks even.”

But there is a practical concern: Bringing troops home earlier to give them more time to demobilize would require calling up other troops more quickly.

Holtke said that already is a problem.

“Nobody anticipated that these contingency operations would go on as long as they have,” he said. “You have reserve soldiers going on third and fourth tours, which was just inconceivable 20 years ago.”

Mullis said another issue is the timing of demobilization. He advocates going home for two weeks, then being required to report to the demobilization site, “so you know what issues you’re facing.”

Dr. Cheryl Sweeney, who works every day with veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, understands this all too clearly.

“We live in a society that wants to be about peace and friendliness and understanding, and combat veterans — especially fresh combat veterans — are about protection and defensiveness and sometimes a lot of anger and hostility,” she said. “It’s hard to mesh those two realities.”

Rick Blaylock, Jacob’s father, and many others said they think there should be mandatory check-ins and behavioral screenings long after deployment, whether quarterly or every six months, to detect and treat symptoms that appear over time.

As it is, once they leave the military, the onus is on individual veterans to seek help.

And that’s not always the way of a soldier.

“When you come back from overseas,” Mullis said, “you’re a different creature than when you left. Things change in a year. It’s hard. Life’s hard. People see stuff. They experience stuff that changes them. There’s personal guilt.

“I think some don’t seek the help they need soon enough. Pride gets in the way. All your military life you’re told you’re strong enough.”

At Camp Atterbury, there are signs that try to cut through that culture: “Never Leave a Fallen Comrade: Buddies Can Prevent Suicide” and “Not All Wounds Are Visible.”

Laguardia supports the VA but thinks the Army should make it mandatory for soldiers to register there.

“Check in on them. That’s why you’re in charge,” he said. “Just like when you’re a sergeant and you come off mission and you say, ‘I know you’re exhausted right now, but you have to clean your weapons.’ I think there’s such a stigma on going to a mental health screening that they have to make it mandatory.”

But can they?

“In some ways, we do wish that we were able to do that,” said Jan Kemp, the national suicide prevention coordinator for the Department of Veterans Affairs. “In other ways, veterans have truly left the military, and their control over their own lives is important. I think we walk a fine line there.”

Sweeney, who is the Seamless Transition psychiatrist with the Roudebush Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Indianapolis, agrees.

“So where’s the line between people’s rights and enforcing help?” she said. “I wish there were no pain in the world. But philosophically — not to mention practically — you’re kind of stuck.”

Kemp noted that a number of systems are in place to help veterans through their problems, including the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which has taken more than 150,000 calls in two years; the suicide prevention coordinators put in place at all VA offices; and the Seamless Transition staff designed to deal with veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Army has its own programs, such as the Yellow Ribbon campaign and Military OneSource — tools for checking up on soldiers and dealing with the issues they face. But all the programs are voluntary.

“That’s probably my biggest concern,” Rockey said. “I wish there was some system set up, because they don’t know what issues they’ll have in 30 days, 60 days, 90 days or 180 days.

“We try to tell them where to go, what their resources are, but when they’re coming through here (during demobilization), you see it — ‘La la la.’ ‘What do I have to do?’ ‘What’s my next checked box?’ — so how much they retain is a big question mark.”

Even if a veteran seeks out that help, it might not be enough. It wasn’t in Blaylock’s case — or, for that matter, in any of the cases of the four members of the 1451st who came home and committed suicide. Each of the four made at least some effort to get help from the VA, and each was prescribed an antidepressant.

Blaylock’s medical records indicate he was suffering post-traumatic stress disorder and possible traumatic brain injury, and that he was talking and thinking about suicide. His father thinks that should have been enough to “keep him off the streets.”

Sweeney acknowledged that circumstances often suggest a suicide could have been prevented somehow.

“But how?” she asked. “The bottom line is that a veteran can only be forced into 72-hour supervised care if they are imminently suicidal. Not like, ‘Some day we think this could turn bad.’ More like, ‘Today. If we let you go home we’re afraid you’ll kill yourself today.’ ”

Although it may be difficult to know just when a soldier such as Blaylock becomes imminently suicidal, it was clear in his case that he had issues.

The psychologists at the VA knew. His friends, fiancee and members of his family knew. His fellow soldiers knew. He knew.

And it appears the Army knew, almost from the beginning of his service.

Blaylock entered the Army at age 17 and was discharged two years later after suffering from depression and being diagnosed with a personality disorder that was not discussed further in his medical records.

He was recalled for active duty four years later. But during training, more than one fellow soldier told Army mental health staff they had concerns about Blaylock’s state of mind.

Blaylock was deemed fit to serve, however, and by all accounts served his country well.

Ultimately, the more difficult question may be whether Blaylock was fit to return home. The timing of the explosion that killed his two friends — and left him riddled with guilt — couldn’t have been much worse.

In Iraq, he had developed close relationships with people he thought understood what he had been through. He was especially close to those, like himself, who were members of the Individual Ready Reserve — soldiers who were brought back to fulfill military commitments.

Leaving Iraq meant leaving the war, but it also ripped a fragile, sensitive young man from the people he trusted most — his IRR brothers — at a time when he needed them the most.

Sgt. Riley Palmertree, 29, served in the 1451st and was a friend of Blaylock’s. He is building a library of material for a documentary about the suicides. He has heard people ask whether it would have been prudent to keep the unit in Iraq for a month or two after the deaths of Sgts. Brandon Wallace and Joshua Schmit so close to the end of their deployment.

He even answers the question as part of a treatment he wants to submit to magazines:

“We could know the future no more than we could have stayed together forever in Neverland. I know for some it must be hard to understand, how such a hellish place could be likened to that, but it wasn’t the place; it was the IRR. We were the place. I do know that with us, Jackie was safe. Of that I am certain.”

Palmertree likened the situation to “boys at camp.”

“I think Jackie craved that as much as I did, as much as the rest of us did,” Palmertree told The Star. “He loved it, every moment of it, every time we wrestled with him. He was like a little dog nipping at our heels.”

Sweeney said there is no simple solution to the problem — that keeping a unit together for the sake of one at-risk soldier, even for a few weeks, could put other soldiers at risk.

“Who’s to say the best thing for a given soldier might not be to go home?” Sweeney said. “That’s the challenge that command faces.

“You’ve got to keep in mind you’re dealing with millions of people, and automatically that means you’re dealing with thousands of answers. What’s right for one person is going to be the worst possible thing for someone else.”

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ANTIDEPRESSANTS: Businessman Shoots Self Weeks Before Wedding: England

NOTE BY Ann Blake-Tracy (www.drugawareness.org): PLEASE notice all of the strong warnings of serious reactions to antidepressants noted in this one short paragraph and keep in mind the FDA warning that any abrupt change in dose of an antidepressant can produce suicide, hostility or psychosis. Starting or stopping an antidepressant are two of the most dangerous periods of use of one of these drugs. Obviously once again this man or anyone close to this man had been given that warning.
Paragraph 13 reads:  “In the weeks leading up to his death, he wouldn’t eat properly or get out of bed, and was ignoring his Blackberry as every call seemed to bring more bad news from creditors. When my dad asked him at a family lunch if he had paid for the wedding cars, he hadn’t. He couldn’t afford to even put them on a credit card. I knew then that there was a real problem but he refused to discuss it with me. He told me that he’d been prescribed a course of antidepressants, and I suggested he see a counsellor, but he was dismissive.”

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/you/article-1207612/Abigail-King-describes-dealt-fianc-taking-life.html

My fiancé committed suicide weeks before our wedding after credit crunch caused collapse of his firm

By Abigail King

Last updated at 8:37 PM on 22nd August 2009

Abigail King was making final preparations for her wedding
when her fiancé Mark went missing. Although she was aware that his property business was failing in the credit crunch, she had no idea of the extent of his desperation

‘It was starting my own company that saved my life,’ says Abigail King

On a sunny morning in April 2008 I got up early. My fiancé Mark Sebire and I were getting married in five weeks’ time and I wanted to sort out the final arrangements for our wedding. I dressed up to go for a girls’ lunch and when I came downstairs, Mark hugged me and told me he loved me. As I left the house he was watching GMTV on the sofa, eating cereal.

That was the last time I saw him alive. The next day I had to identify his body at the mortuary.

To the outside world, Mark had everything to live for. He was a handsome 36-year-old property developer, popular with his friends. We were deeply in love, about to get married and shared a £1.7 million London house that Mark had bought for us to renovate.

But behind the scenes I knew that he was depressed. His business was collapsing. He had a huge portfolio of London properties once worth millions on paper but, with the credit crunch looming, he was unable to sell them. He was mortgaged to the hilt and facing financial ruin. I kept telling him that, as long as we were together, we would survive. But I didn’t realise how desperate he was not to lose what he’d built up. He put extraordinary pressure on himself to create an amazing life for us, and I believe it was that pressure that killed him.

Immediately after I left the house that April morning, Mark took a taxi to an isolated spot
and shot himself. In a letter he left for the coroner, he wrote: ‘I took my own life due to extreme financial pressure, and my poor fiancée would have been liable for my debts if we had got married. It is no one’s fault but my own.’

Mark Sebire with his beloved cocker spaniel Iggy

He could see his world falling apart and couldn’t cope with starting again. His pride wouldn’t let him admit that he was in trouble, and he didn’t know how to reach out for help.

Mark and I had met on a blind date in 2005, and from the beginning our relationship just seemed to make sense. My parents had separated when I was eight, then, when I was 14, my mother died of leukaemia at only 42; a year later my older sister Louise had a horrific car crash at 19, suffering brain injuries from which she has struggled to recover. I had always had a fear of abandonment – a fear that the people I loved were not going to stick around. Mark seemed so strong and, instinctively, I felt protected. After six months, I sold my flat and we moved into his house in Wandsworth together.

Mark had high expectations of our life together. He wanted us to be living in the country in a big house, and had the future all mapped out. He talked me into leaving my job as a letting agent as he saw it as his obligation to take care of me. He loved me running the home, and I focused on becoming the perfect housewife.

He proposed in March 2007 and we spent the months after our engagement staying on friends’ sofas while we renovated Mark’s house. It was still unfinished when we moved back in the middle of winter. We were living in one room and there was no heating or electricity. I thought, if we can get through this, we can get through anything. But at the start of the new year the fight seemed to go out of him. When Iggy, our beloved cocker spaniel, died in January, Mark was inconsolable. From that day it was as though the man I loved had disappeared. Instead of being focused, driven and full of ideas for the future, he seemed secretive and distant, and looked haunted.

In the weeks leading up to his death, he wouldn’t eat properly or get out of bed, and was ignoring his Blackberry as every call seemed to bring more bad news from creditors. When my dad asked him at a family lunch if he had paid for the wedding cars, he hadn’t. He couldn’t afford to even put them on a credit card. I knew then that there was a real problem but he refused to discuss it with me. He told me that he’d been prescribed a course of antidepressants, and I suggested he see a counsellor, but he was dismissive.

Mark put extraordinary pressure on himself to create an amazing life for us, and it was that pressure that killed him

For months we had been planning to start a family. Suddenly in February he said that we should stop trying. When I asked him why, he just kept repeating, ‘It’s not a good time’. He had stopped going into the office, and after his death I discovered his work diary. At the beginning of the year it was packed with appointments but as the weeks went on, it became almost empty. One unbearably sad entry on his to-do list just read: go for a walk. It seemed so lonely.

A week before he died, I had the final fitting for my wedding dress. Mark knew I had been exercising and dieting and was really nervous that I wouldn’t get into it, but he showed no interest. I found out later that while I was having the fitting, he was registering me as his next of kin.

Even though the day he died started normally enough, that morning I had a sense of unease. But I didn’t start panicking until I realised his mobile was switched off – that was so unlike him. Unable to get hold of him, I rang all his friends but no one had heard from him. Then he failed to turn up at an afternoon meeting. His best friend Giles came over and we rang everyone who knew him. Finally, in the evening, I rang the police, but they told me they couldn’t file a report until he had been missing for 12 hours.

Abigail and Mark on holiday together in Portugal and the Maldives in 2007

When two uniformed policemen knocked on the door at 1am, I just felt a sense of relief that they had come to register him as missing. Then I saw his business partner Justin standing behind them. He was ashen. They told me that the body of a man had been found at Bisley shooting range in Surrey with a driving licence registered to Mark.

It was completely disorientating. The room where we had been laughing together just hours earlier was now a dark place where people were clinging to each other.

As the news spread, friends and family started arriving at the house. My stepmother Rosemary drove down from Gloucestershire. I remember at about 4am someone telling me to go upstairs and rest, but lying on our bed was unbearable. Everything was as Mark had left it the previous morning and the sheets still smelt of him. The police also told me that he had registered me as his next of kin, which meant that I would have to identify him.

The following day, in a state of shock, I drove 50 miles to see Mark’s mother and then another 50 to his father (they are divorced), to tell them that their son was dead. Then I went to identify his body. When I got to the police station, I was taken to a small waiting room. Two officers came in and took some papers out of a brown envelope. They were the suicide notes Mark had left. When they were put in front of me, I knew he had really gone.

He could see his world falling apart and couldn’t cope with starting again

He turned out to have made careful plans. In the week before his suicide he arranged to meet friends he hadn’t seen for months, as if saying goodbye to them, and some of the letters were dated as much as three weeks earlier. In one addressed to me, he wrote simply: ‘My darling Aby. What can I tell you that you don’t know already? I’m sorry. M.’

It appears that he wrote all the other notes first and left mine until last. It was almost as though he had written it so many times in his head that he couldn’t write it on the page, and it ended up being just one sentence.

Mark was buried in a country churchyard in Surrey, close to both his parents’ homes. On the morning of the funeral I drove out to Bisley shooting range. I felt I had to see the exact spot where he died. The instructors at the range showed me where his body had been found. I sat on the grassy verge in the spring sunshine and laid some roses on the spot. Then I drove to the funeral parlour and put Iggy’s ashes at his feet and a rose on his chest. He was being buried with love from me. That gave me huge comfort.

At the funeral there was a sense of bewilderment that someone so young should have died in this way. His family were on one side of the church and mine were on the other – just like at a wedding.

Our wedding day had been planned for 17 May. I had a gospel choir booked for the church in Gloucestershire, and 300 guests invited to a reception at a country house hotel with four live bands. My wedding dress alone cost £10,000. It was ridiculously grandiose, and incredibly expensive to cancel. My dad and stepmother stepped in and made all the calls. I now see how ludicrous it all was. I remember suggesting to Mark that we should do a low-key wedding, but he wanted the big affair. He was so proud of me.

At a fitting for her Vera Wang wedding dress and the invitation

On what would have been our wedding day, my stepmother Rosemary took me to Cyprus. She is like a second mother to me, and married my dad in 1997. At the time when we would have been saying our vows, I sat on the beach and looked up at the sky, visualising every moment. It was as if I could see it actually happening in a parallel universe.

Suicide is like a bomb exploding, because the person who dies leaves injured people all around them, suffering incredible pain and grief. You naturally look for someone to blame. Mentally I accused everyone – creditors, Mark’s friends, even my own family – for not supporting us both more. Then I blamed myself. I was tortured about why I hadn’t seen that he was in such a state of emotional crisis. But why hadn’t he told me how desperate he felt? I still can’t forgive him for not having faith in us. I was sure we could have made it through together.

His mother blamed me for not looking after him. Four months after the funeral she wrote me a letter in which she said she held me responsible for his death. I don’t judge her; she was in terrible pain. She said she did not want me around the family. We have not been in contact since.

My best friend, whom I have known for 25 years, also withdrew from me. Her brother
had invested heavily in Mark’s business and was hit hard when it collapsed. Even my own family have found his suicide difficult to deal with: today, Mark’s name is barely mentioned.

People are guilt-ridden over what they could have done to stop it, and no one likes to dwell on such negative emotion too long, so they push it away as quickly as possible. Only a handful of close girlfriends helped me through – ringing me when I was too unhappy to get out of bed, forcing me to go out for supper with them, convincing me that I wasn’t a bad person, that this was just a bad thing that had happened to me.

In the end it was starting my own company that saved my life. I had to move out of our home seven weeks after Mark died because his family wanted it back to sell it, so I moved into a rented studio flat in Fulham. The joint bank account was empty, and he left me with hefty debts that I am still trying to resolve.

But I was well trained by Mark to be a wife – organising builders, events and running a home – so why not be a wife for hire? I sold my engagement ring. It was a constant reminder of what had happened – and it was also the only valuable thing I owned. I bought a second-hand Volkswagen Polo with some of the money, and put the rest into a business called My Domestic Goddess – providing a home service that organises people’s lives while they are at work. I collected children from school, picked up parking permits, walked dogs.

Hard work got me on my feet again, and helped me through the rest of the year. As I gradually regained my emotional strength, it occurred to me that Mark wouldn’t have recognised me as the woman he had wanted to protect and provide for – but doing this for myself was an essential part of the grieving process, of helping me deal with the gap he had left.

Everything was as Mark had left it that morning and the sheets still smelt of him

At the beginning of this year, I started to see a Cruse bereavement therapist, to whom I am able to tell the dark thoughts that you can’t reveal to people you love because they would worry so much about you. And one of my first instincts was to get another dog. My new cocker spaniel Lily has brought joy back into my life. I know Mark would have adored her. When it’s a sunny day and I’m walking Lily in the park, I think, yes, I do forgive him. But, ultimately, there is no forgiveness because there is no real closure.

Today I have a new boyfriend, Tim. He’s 43 and is an incredible support, but it’s early days. I’m only 32 so maybe one day I will get married, but I am a very different person now to how I have been in previous relationships. I’m stronger, and I’m also more humble. The old Abigail was self-centred and ungrateful. I see her as a spoilt brat and I don’t recognise her now.

Now, just over a year on, I sometimes see in my mind’s eye how my life might have been – Mark and I walking hand in hand in the countryside with dogs running alongside us. Then I drive back alone to my small flat. It’s pointless to wallow in dreams – I have to look towards the future. I don’t know what it holds, and I like it that way. I have no expectations. Expectations are what killed Mark.

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Grief Recovery without Drugs

“Is there really an alternative to anti-depressant drugs? YES, YES, YES!”

Hello Ann B Tracy,

Fourteen months ago I was struck down with any parent’s worst nightmare. My beloved 33-year-old son committed suicide. He had been taking anti-depressants for about 4 years, and I may never be sure if these influenced his actions.

My story is about my recovery from this horrendous event. One thing that every survivor of suicide is aware of is that one ‘recovers’ from suicide in the same manner that one ‘recovers’ from alcoholism. There may never be a time when a sudden reminder of the loved one does not bring anguished tears.

When I began to suffer nightmares and insomnia I consulted my local physician. She’s a wonderful lady, newly out of medical school, open-minded, frank and conscientious. AND she prescribed Prozac! Having had a brief negative experience with both Valium and Prozac, I took the prescription home–and threw it in the trash. Shortly thereafter my husband bought me two milk goats. (We live on a ranch where this is possible, but it is also possible in many suburban settings.) These animals need attention twice a day–they need to be milked and fed in the morning, and fed in the evening. One cannot stay in bed waiting for them to milk and feed themselves–so I had to get up! And I had to be up to take care of them in the evening, also. This may sound like a small thing, but prior to their arrival I stayed in bed half the day and consequently couldn’t sleep at night.

This spring they blessed us with three adorable kids, which also need, and give, love and attention! I was able to experience the joy of witnessing new birth, new life, new love coming into my life. Of course, these wonderful animals are not my only interest in life, but they did awaken in me a renewed sense of the continuation of life.

I was fascinated with a friend’s response recently when I shared this story with her. “Did they really help you? Is there really an alternative to anti-depressant drugs?” And my answer is an unequivocal, resounding “YES, YES, YES”!

Blessings on your wonderful work,

RaEl BaKan
raelbakan1@bacavalley.com

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My Husband Took His Life on Zoloft

“I am convinced that SSRIs caused akathisia…driving him to suicide very rapidly.”

Dear all,

I am an emergency nurse in Ireland and I was married to Niall a 39 yr Nurse Tutor (psychiatry). Niall committed suicide on the 26th of December 2003 out of the blue, no note, no planning, against his beliefs and his character. Abandoning his 3 children (whom he adored) (5yr, 3yr and 10 months) in the house and my oldest boy (5yr) found him hanging in the garden shed. He was prescribed sertraline 50mg OD for mild depression after 4 days (adverse effects???) (I was not aware he changed drugs) the GP changed it to paroxetine 20mg OD which he took for 13 days before committing suicide. We had a lovely Xmas day and he was not suicidal then. I am convinced that SSRIs caused akathisia on the 26th driving him to suicide very rapidly, he had no choice or say in the matter. Frightening!!

Nuria O’Mahony
nurianiall@eircom.net

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17-Year Old Friend Committed Suicice on Prozac

It killed one of my friends and almost killed another. I can’t believe that it is still on the market…”

 

I am writing this because I think people need to hear my friend’s story.

One of my close friends was put on Prozac. She was 17. Over the summer I spent a lot of time with her. She appeared happy and never seemed to let anything bother. I did find it strange that when I asked if she ever had anything bothering her she always seemed to change the subject back to my problems. Little did I know that she let all those problems bottle up inside of her. My friend committed suicide August 31, 1999, at the age of 17.

I know that she had other problems, she did share a few, but I think that Prozac also had something to do with her actions. I never knew what the drug did to people until I began researching it for a paper for my senior English class. Another one of my friends was also placed on Prozac for depression after our friend died. In December of 1999 she too almost committed suicide. She had all the letters written out but a phone call from a friend stopped her. She told me that while she was on the drug she felt like no one understood how she felt. She said that she felt like she was in her own world and no one understood how she was feeling. This feeling of solitude brought her great pain and she had convinced herself that the only way to end the pain was to kill herself.

I am very grateful to that person who called her right before she did it. Somehow the phone call snapped her into reality and she realized that she didn’t want to kill herself, all she wanted was for the pain to stop. Something has to be done about this drug. It killed one of my friends and almost killed another. I can’t believe that it is still on the market and I don’t personally believe that it should be. I know the pain that comes when a friend commits suicide. I wouldn’t wish that feeling on anyone and I believe that if this drug continues to be prescribed this world is going to experience many more self-induced death.

I needed to tell someone this. Thank you for your time and listening.

M

12/9/2000

This is Survivor Story number 4.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

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