ANTIDEPRESSANTS: Man Attacks Prime Minister of Italy

Paragraph one reads:  “The electronics engineer who
attacked Silvio Berlusconi at a rally in Milan on Sunday
believed that
the Prime Minister was ruining Italy.”

Paragraph six reads:  “Mr
Tartaglia’s father said that his son was having psychiatric treatment
and on antidepressants at the time of
the attack
.  Mr Tartaglia sent a letter to Mr Berlusconi
apologising for his  ‘superficial, cowardly and thoughtless
action’.”

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article6958069.ece

Silvio Berlusconi is ruining Italy, Massimo Tartaglia felt before
attack

Massimo Tartaglia has support on Facebook after his
attack
Richard Owen in Rome

The electronics engineer who attacked
Silvio Berlusconi at a rally in Milan on Sunday believed that the Prime Minister
was ruining Italy.

Massimo Tartaglia, 42, who has been kept in isolation
after throwing a marble and metal souvenir into Mr Berlusconi’s face, told
police that he hated the Prime Minister because “that man is ruining Italy. I
don’t agree with anything he says”.

He told police that he had decided to
leave the cathedral square “but I heard people shouting, so I went back again. I
turned into a narrow side street, I turned round and I saw him just a few steps
away from me. He was coming through the barriers. I had a rush of blood to the
head. At that point I just wanted to hit him with all my strength. I wanted to
make my protest too”.

He added: “I did it all by myself. I am no one’s
hitman.”

Doctors said that Mr Berlusconi, 73, would spend a third night
in hospital. He lost nearly a pint of blood when his nose was broken. Two teeth
were also damaged and he suffered cuts. His treatment is expected to last at
least 25 days and he has been told to rest for two weeks. His doctor said that
he would not be left with scars.

Mr Tartaglia’s father said that his son
was having psychiatric treatment and on antidepressants at the time of the
attack. Mr Tartaglia sent a letter to Mr Berlusconi apologising for his
“superficial, cowardly and thoughtless action”.

He was not a member of a
political party but had told friends and customers in a bar that he could not
stand Mr Berlusconi. He bought the model of Milan’s cathedral, which he threw at
Mr Berlusconi, from a souvenir stall. Stallholders in the city said that model
replicas of the Duomo di Milano, like the one used in the attack, were selling
faster than normal.

Mr Tartaglia faces five years in jail or in a
psychiatric ward if convicted of assaulting a public official. Former teachers
described him as good at computers but said that he had begun to suffer an
identity crisis in his final year at school. He enrolled at the Milan
polytechnic but left after a few months and joined his father’s
company.

In 1995 he was interviewed by national newspapers after
inventing Music Pictures, a game in which images change colour in
response to different music.

Daniela Insalaco, Mr Tartaglia’s lawyer,
told reporters outside San Vittore prison in Milan that she was awaiting a
ruling on whether Mr Tartaglia should be sent to a psychiatric
unit.

Roberto Maroni, the Italian Interior Minister, told parliament that
police believed the attack was premeditated. When asked about reports that
police had been warned that Mr Tartaglia was behaving strangely before the
attack, he said that members of the public had “simply indicated to the police
that there was a mad person disturbing passers-by”.

He said that Mr
Tartaglia had been in the Piazza Duomo since 11am ­ hours before Mr
Berlusconi arrived. Despite Mr Tartaglia’s assertion that he acted alone ­ a
claim supported by the Prime Minister’s office ­ the newspaper Il
Giornale
said that the attack was part of a conspiracy.

Investigators
are due to question Andrea Di Sorte, the youth co-ordinator for Mr Berlusconi’s
party, after he told an Italian news agency that he thought that someone behind
Mr Tartaglia passed him the souvenir.

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PROZAC: Bizarre Behavior: Member of Parliament: England

Paragraph eight reads:  “Even before the scandal broke,
when he was the frontbench home affairs spokesman, he was regularly taking
antidepressants.
He thinks at least a fifth of MPs have mental problems,
although he says:  ‘Round here it is a taboo subject. Very few will admit
to not coping with the stress. You can’t be vulnerable or weak if you are
waiting for the next promotion’.”

Paragraph 22 reads:  “When the
news broke he fled over the garden wall and drove to Cornwall while Belinda took
the children to Austria skiing. Depression soon took hold.  ‘I was just
drowning. I was totally out of control in my mind. There was no immediate sense
of perspective for months. Each day was about survival with sleeping tablets
and Prozac‘.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article6840288.ece

From The Times
September 19, 2009

Mark Oaten: my dark days should serve as a warning to other
politicians

Rachel Sylvester and Alice Thomson

Mark
Oaten is sitting in his eyrie in Westminster, wearing a blue and white striped
shirt, sipping from a carton of Ribena and ruminating on the mental health of
MPs.

Three years ago this clean-cut Home Counties Liberal Democrat
pin-up was exposed by the News of the World for making regular visits to
rent boys. Overnight he saw his leadership ambitions destroyed and his marriage
almost disintegrate. Now he has written a book, Screwing Up, describing
the emotional pressures and psychological flaws that lead politicians to
self-destruct.

As we talk for more than an hour he is frank about his
battle with depression, his midlife crisis, the sex abuse that he suffered as a
child and the craving for love that he thinks drives people into politics. Since
his exposure, he has been amazed, he says, by how many of his parliamentary
colleagues have opened up about their own problems.

“So many have had
similar experiences in terms of feeling very depressed and struggling with their
marriages. You get any group of MPs together now and they will talk about how
down they get. It’s worse than other professions. One of the reasons for writing
the book was to explain the pressures on MPs.”

From the moment Mr Oaten
won his Winchester seat by two votes in 1997, he was marked out as a rising
star. But he quickly became overwhelmed by the demands on his time.

“I
never stopped getting into a dinner jacket, going to annual dinners, being on
Newsnight, attending Remembrance services. It was relentless,” he says.
“It has a huge impact on you as a human being. I felt that everyone owned me. I
got worn out and grumpy. I was living on adrenalin, fire-fighting the whole
time. I had the constituency and Westminster. The family was always left to
last. I had endless rows with my wife, Belinda.”

For almost a decade, he
found it impossible to stop. “I felt I was on an escalator. The ego element came
into it. I couldn’t say no. It is almost an addiction, a drug. It was as if I
injected myself with an adrenalin burst to get through an hour-long episode of
Question Time and then I would pay the price afterwards with stomach
aches and other pains. I was always ill.”

Even before the scandal broke,
when he was the frontbench home affairs spokesman, he was regularly taking
antidepressants. He thinks at least a fifth of MPs have mental problems,
although he says: “Round here it is a taboo subject. Very few will admit to not
coping with the stress. You can’t be vulnerable or weak if you are waiting for
the next promotion.”

There is, he says, “something in the DNA of
politicians which makes them vulnerable to mood swings and being depressed. They
are likely to be obsessive, risk-taking and slightly depressive”.

His
explanation is that certain character flaws make people want to stand for
Parliament. “My risk-taking makes me a good politician and a bad one. But the
risk element is only one side. It is even more common for MPs to need to be
loved. Ego and needing to be liked are dangerous traits.”

Many MPs are,
he believes, damaged souls. “You seek your parents’ approval, then your
family’s, then the party’s and then the voters’. I see politicians in their
early thirties doing exactly what I was doing ­ running around the
television studios, checking their BlackBerries, taking every opportunity. I
want to say, ‘Calm down, go home to your family’. I wish someone had said that
to me.”

The pressure is, in his view, made worse by the difficulty in
making real friendships at Westminster. “There is a bonding between MPs, but it
can’t be genuine ­ you are always ultimately competing. You are rivals.” He
hopes that his memoirs will serve as a warning to other politicians. “I would
like them to learn from someone who screwed it up and got it wrong.”

Mr
Oaten’s downfall was spectacular. When he saw two journalists outside his front
door one morning in January 2006 he had no idea that they had discovered his
liaisons with male prostitutes. After speaking to them he had to go inside and
tell his wife everything while their two young daughters carried on having
breakfast in the next room. Even now he cannot quite explain it to himself, let
alone to her.

“Everyone is desperate for an easy answer about why I went
to an escort. I had doubts about my sexuality, I wanted to experiment, I was
stressed out, feeling low about getting older. The press kept talking about the
fact I was losing my hair. I was feeling out of love with myself.”

The
rent boy was 23. “I wanted to recapture my youth and be near a young person
­ it was important that he was younger. I had a belly appearing and bags
under my eyes. I wanted to experiment with younger people. It is not uncommon
for 40-year-olds to want to experiment sexually.”

He found the number at
the back of a magazine. “It was very late at night when I went to his flat,
there was an element of risk-taking. I knew it was dangerous, there was an
adrenalin element.”

Over the next six months he visited regularly. The

News of the World said that he enjoyed three-in-a-bed “romps” and
“humiliation”. “We never actually had intercourse. We talked, had a conversation
about where he lived, but I was only there for about half an hour each time. We
didn’t watch TV or relax together. He had a flatmate ­ that was the other
one. He didn’t become a friend. I don’t even know his real name.”

There
were lurid allegations made, which he says are untrue. “There were the most
graphic descriptions on websites about what had happened, which were wrong but I
couldn’t sue. It would drag everything up.” It was almost a relief to him when
the story came out. “I could get counselling, talk to Belinda and try to feel
more comfortable about who I am.”

His wife is a farmer’s daughter from
Hampshire who was stunned by his revelation but eventually agreed to stay with
him. “She knows that I am not some six-foot-four rugby-playing macho guy. I am
comfortable being around gay friends ­ this wasn’t some very heterosexual
guy who went off and did this.”

He had never had any gay experiences in
his teenage years but he reveals in the book that he was sexually abused as a
child. “It was a two-year period when I was 9 and 10. It was clearly
inappropriate and involved me sexually massaging a considerably older man. It
felt perfectly normal; it is so obviously not.”

Psychotherapy has taught
him that people often subconsciously try to re-create their first sexual
experience. “The theory is that if it was shameful and guilty you will try to
re-create that but I’m reluctant to say this explains [what I did] because I
don’t think it’s the whole reason.”

When the news broke he fled over the
garden wall and drove to Cornwall while Belinda took the children to Austria
skiing. Depression soon took hold. “I was just drowning. I was totally out of
control in my mind. There was no immediate sense of perspective for months. Each
day was about survival with sleeping tablets and Prozac.”

After three
years of counselling, his marriage is still together but he says that it has
changed. “We are best friends but there is no doubt in my mind that the marriage
is not how it was. It’s just a different relationship and it always will be.

“What’s happened has changed us fundamentally. There are trust issues.
We’re not the innocent couple that got married in 1992.”

He doesn’t know
whether his gay experimentation was a phase. “It’s part of me. I’m not one thing
or the other on the spectrum. [Belinda and I] haven’t made promises or pledges
to each other. We’re very realistic about how we are doing as a couple.”

So might he do it again?

“I’ve been very blunt with her in terms
of my feelings. I’m comfortable with where I am, with the kids and my home life
but I’m not going to start making some great renewal of marriage vows. It
doesn’t feel right for where we are at the moment.”

At Westminster, and
in the constituency, people were broadly supportive. “They said, ‘You’ve been an
idiot but you’re still a good MP’.”

During the expenses row, MPs sought
him out and asked him how to deal with public vilification.

“A lot of
colleagues came up to me and said, ‘Now we know what you went through’. I gave
them some cuddles and I gave them some tears. There were some very upset people.
I think some were [suicidal]. Politicians have been banned from complaining
about this but I’m happy to say that whatever the wrongs and rights of the
situation there were some MPs who were pushed close to the limit in what they
could take emotionally. It’s the toughest ever time to be an MP.”

He is
leaving the Commons at the next election but has one piece of advice for his old
friend Nick Clegg at the start of the Liberal Democrat conference this weekend.
If there is a hung Parliament, he should not allow the Liberal Democrats to prop
up Gordon Brown.

“What I would say to Nick is that you have to recognise
that some in the Conservative Party might represent the forces of progressive
politics. When I look back on issues to do with ID cards, control orders, terror
suspects ­ our liberal allies were the Conservatives.”

Mr Oaten is
looking for a new career. He has just finished filming a TV documentary about
living in a tower block for Channel 4. Now he is looking for company
directorships and charity jobs. “I said no to going into the jungle for I’m a
Celebrity
… and to taking part in Celebrity Wife Swap because I was
nervous but not because I thought they were beneath me. I don’t think people
should be snotty about things like that because it’s a piece of fun. I look at
Neil and Christine Hamilton and I think, ‘Good for them’. They found themselves in this situation and they coped and got in with it and did their thing.”

Screwing Up by Mark Oaten is published by Biteback, Sept 25;
£18.99

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