ANTIDEPRESSANTS??? Suicide: Ariel Castro OH Man Guilty of Kidnapping 3 Women

 

Ariel Castro

ARIEL CASTRO FOUND DEAD OF SUICIDE IN JAIL CELL

Is this yet another high profile example of what is going on in jails and prisons with the massive use of antidepressants with no concern about FDA warnings of abrupt changes in dose? Was he or was he not on antidepressants to produce his suicide?

And if so, when did he began taking them? We do know he was on suicide watch after being arrested but had been taken off suicide watch. Was he given antidepressants at that time or had he been on them for years?

We do know that his 19 year old daughter, Emily Castro, was on antidepressants when she slashed her baby’s throat (https://www.drugawareness.org/antidepressant-daughter-of-cleveland-abduction-suspect-found-guilty-of-slashing-her-babys-throat/) and was found guilty … so we know that this is a group of drugs considered helpful by his family.

I know three young women and a little girl as well as the families of all involved who need answers as to when his use of an antidepressant might have begun. He said he had an addition to pornography that led him to do what he did to the three girls he kept in captivity. Was that addiction an aquired addiction or a nymphomanic reaction to an antidepressant?

What many are also not aware of is the practice of so many jails and prisons of taking a patient currently on an antidepressant and switching them to the antidepressant approved by their own particular facility. (What determines their leaning toward a particular antidepressant needs to be investigated for kickbacks in my opinion.) Or often a jail or prison will refuse to give them their prescribed medication for a period of time after their arrest. Yet the FDA has warned that any abrupt change in dose, whether increasing or decreasing a dose can produce suicide, hostility or psychosis. Or course the practice of switching antidepressants would magnify the risks because it would involve both the abrupt change of both an abrupt decrease of the current drug as well as an abrupt increase of the new drug.

The withholding of his antidepressant is what happened in the suicide of Don Lapre, the bubbly late night entrepreneur, who was awaiting trial over a vitamin multilevel deal that had gone belly up. But he committed suicide due to the abrupt change in dose by the jail in AZ. (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2045139/Don-Lapre-dead-Shirley-Cleveland-says-son-medication-taken-away-prison-guards.html )

No matter what opinion anyone has of these people who are incarcerated for various crimes or alleged crimes – crimes which may have been caused by toxic reactions to these very medications, what the jails and prisons are doing is wrong and they should be held accountable for wrongful death with the FDA warnings about this as clear as they are. This is a practice that must end.

WARNING: In sharing this information about adverse reactions to antidepressants I always recommend that you also give reference to my CD on safe withdrawal, Help! I Can’t Get Off My Antidepressant!, so that we do not have more people dropping off these drugs too quickly – a move which I have long warned can be even more dangerous than staying on the drugs! The FDA warns that any abrupt change in dose of an antidepressant can produce suicide, hostility or psychosis. And these reactions can come on very rapidly! Find the CD here: http://store.drugawareness.org/

Ann Blake Tracy, Executive Director,
International Coalition for Drug Awareness
www.drugawareness.org & http://ssristories.drugawareness.org
Author: ”Prozac: Panacea or Pandora? – Our Serotonin Nightmare – The Complete Truth of the Full Impact of Antidepressants Upon Us & Our World” & Withdrawal CD “Help! I Can’t Get Off My Antidepressant!”

Original article on Ariel Castro’s suicide:

http://www.ksl.com/?sid=26715226&nid=157&title=ohio-man-who-held-3-women-captive-commits-suicide-&fm=home_page&s_cid=featured-1

 2,077 total views

LEXAPRO: Journalist Has Side-Effects: Not Sure Lexapro is Working: U.S…

NOTE BY Ann Blake-Tracy (www.drugawareness.org):

From the last paragraph in the article below I quote the author: “I will say only this: I no longer count on Lexapro to make me well. Which is to say I no longer fret if I miss a day or two, I no longer rush to the drug store to get my refills, and I place far more importance on getting my life in order: regulating my alcohol consumption, getting a decent night’s sleep, exercising (I’m not the only depressive who’s become an amateur triathlete) and, corny as it sounds, pausing at intervals to ponder my blessings.”

Although there are some good ideas mentioned here that I have been recommending forever for depressives such as the great importance of sleep and exercise and counting one’s blessings, there are other things that could produce life-threatening consequences for both the author who is using an SSRI or those around him. Those areas of grave concern are the consumption of alcohol with an antidepressant and the lack of concern about skipping a pill or picking up a refill for his Lexapro – both all too common with antidepressant users.

Why are they common although dangerous? They are common because of two side effects produced by these drugs:

1, Antidepressants can produce overwhelming cravings for alcohol as well as a tolerance for alcohol and then when mixed can produce toxic effects leading to psychotic breaks.

2. Antidepressants produce what the patients call the “I don’t give a damn” attitude leading one to not care about missing a pill or refilling a prescription. The grave concern with this is the warning put in place by the FDA along with the Black Box warning of suicide. That FDA warning is that ANY ABRUPT CHANGE IN DOSE of an antidepressant can produce suicide, hostility or psychosis – generally a manic psychosis. Skipping a pill is an abrupt change in dose as is starting or stopping the use of one of these drugs or switching the brand of antidepressant you are taking. If you survive a manic psychosis instead of being told what caused that psychotic break, you will likely be diagnosed as Bipolar and/or spend the rest of your life in prison for what you did while psychotic. The possibilities can be more than just frightening!

Paragraphs 18 through 22 read:

” ‘How’s the Lexapro working’?”

” ‘I don’t know’.”

‘Agnosticism, I’ve found, is a common refrain among my medicated friends. We’re feeling OK, thanks. Is it the pill? Natural cycles? A good week at work? The fact that the sun is shining? Not always apparent. The only thing we’re really clear on, honestly, is our side effects. Nausea, nightmares, hypomania, agitation, headaches, decreased sex drive, decreased sex performance … the list is exquisite in its variation. My first two nights on Lexapro, I lay for hours on the precipice of unconsciousness, unable to take the last plunge. To fall asleep, I had to get a prescription for Ambien, which I then spent another week weaning myself off. To this day, the prospect of sleep holds a mild terror for me that it never did before.’

‘Oddly enough, the side effects are often the pills’ best advocates. If we’re feeling that crappy, we figure something of great moment is happening inside us. What’s harder to accept is the alternative explanation — that, when it comes to depression, we’re still wandering in the dark. As Charles Barber, author of “Comfortably Numb,” argues, scientists don’t really know how antidepressants work. ‘They change the brain chemistry, but the infinite spiral of what they do from there is very unclear’.”

“So if you don’t know how something works, and you can no longer credibly claim it does work (even some industry spokesmen are beginning to qualify their claims), you’re not left with much of a fallback position. The placebo effect is real — the body actually does heal itself when it believes it is being healed — but it is founded on faith, and in the wake of the JAMA study, it’s becoming harder and harder to maintain that faith except through a rather larger act of denial.”

http://www.salon.com/life/feature/2010/04/05/is_my_lexapro_working/

Monday, Apr 5, 2010 04:01 EDT

My antidepressant gets harder to swallow

As studies shed doubt on certain psychiatric drugs, I wonder: Do I really need my little white pill?

By Louis Bayard

Salon

I take it every morning, right after I brush my teeth. A single white pill, with the letters F and L stamped on one side, the number 10 on the other. It’s so small it nearly disappears into the folds of my palm. You could drop it in my orange juice or my breakfast cereal, and I’d swallow it without a hitch.

And, for the last three years, I have been swallowing my Lexapro — and everything that comes along with it. And, apparently, I’m not alone.

Between 1996 and 2005, the number of Americans taking antidepressants doubled. According to the Centers for Disease Control, antidepressants are now the most commonly prescribed class of drugs in the U.S. — ahead of drugs for cholesterol, blood pressure and asthma. Of the 2.4 billion drugs prescribed in 2005, 118 million were for depression. Whether the pills go by the name of Lexapro or Effexor or Prozac or Wellbutrin, we’re downing them, to the tune of $9.6 billion a year, and we’re doing it for a very good and simple reason. They’re supposed to be making us better.

Which leaves a quite massive shoe waiting to drop. What if these costly, widely marketed, bewitchingly commonplace drugs really aren’t fixing our brains?

The implications are troubling, and not just for the pharmaceutical industry. In a study published last January by the Journal of the American Medical Association, scientists conducting a meta-analysis of existing research found that antidepressants were unquestionably “useful in cases of severe depression” but frankly not much help for the rest of us. “The magnitude of benefit of antidepressant medication compared with placebo,” the study’s authors concluded, “may be minimal or nonexistent, on average, in patients with mild or moderate symptoms.”

In other words, antidepressants work, but only because we believe they’re working. If we’re not seriously depressed and we’re taking a tricyclic or a serotonin reuptake inhibitor or a norepinephrine booster, we’d fare about as well with a sugar pill. Which means that antidepressants are, to borrow the phraseology of Newsweek writer Martha Begley, “basically expensive Tic Tacs.”

And so, like millions of Americans, I’m left with the problem of it: that little white pill that travels down my gullet every morning. What is it really doing down there — up there? What if it’s not doing anything? Is there any good empirical unassailable reason that I should be swallowing it day after day after day? If I stop believing in it, will it stop working?

More than half a century has passed since the first antidepressants were prescribed, but it’s fair to say that the opposition to them coalesced in the 1990s, with the explosive sales growth of Prozac. As critics like David Healy and Ronald W. Dworkin warned that Big Pharma was medicalizing sadness for profit, the widespread usage of ironic terms like “happy pills” conjured up visions of smiling zombies wandering through sinister dreamscapes. Eric G. Wilson, in his overwrought “Against Happiness,” actually envisioned a day when antidepressants would “destroy dejection completely” and “eradicate depression forever.”

Looking back, we can see that both critics and advocates were working from the same premise: that these drugs change us in some fairly profound way. (Even pro-drug Peter Fisher [Kramer], in his bestselling “Listening to Prozac,” worried about the cost of making people “better than well.”) But as researchers like Irving Kirsch and Guy Sapirstein are increasingly finding, the truth may shade more toward the comic end of the spectrum. Far from transforming us, antidepressants are leaving us pretty much as they found us. Emperors in gleaming new clothes.

The more I ponder my experience, the less surprised I am. I turned to medication because I couldn’t stop crying in public places — Starbucks was a popular spot — or imagining my death. (Crucially, I never got around to planning it.) And because I realized that although I was meeting life’s core requirements, I was not always exceeding them. And because, after a couple of years of sessions with an empathetic therapist, I came to believe that my wiring really had shorted out, that some form of grayer matter had fastened itself to my brain and was hard at work, siphoning away my joy.

I remember watching the camcorder footage of my son’s first birthday party and being shocked by the sight of myself, staring back at the camera with sad eyes. Depression had always been a sporadic companion, but in my 43rd year, it began to take up permanent residence. I felt like I was walking around on rotting floorboards. I cried. I lost my temper on the flimsiest of pretexts. I saw myself dead.

At which point medication seemed like a reasonable alternative. Before another week had passed, I had secured a low-dosage prescription for Lexapro, prescribed not by my therapist but by my primary-care physician. (Even that’s not quite true. It was the doctor who was taking my doctor’s patients while she was on vacation.)

“Who’s going to monitor this drug?” my partner asked.

“Um … you? Me?”

When it came to Lexapro, all my responses had the same interrogative lilt. If someone asked me how I was feeling, I’d say, “Better, I guess?” When asked if I would recommend Lexapro to others, I’d say: “Maybe kind of?”

This was the most surprising part of the whole experience: that the transformation or malformation I had expected to feel never quite arrived, that in the course of ramping up my serotonin levels, I should remain so freakishly myself.

It is, in fact, one of the amusing side effects of living in the age of pharmaceuticals that you can always compare your lack of progress with those nearest and dearest to you in this case, my mother. Not a lunch goes by that one of us doesn’t say to the other:

“How’s the Lexapro working?”

“I don’t know.”

Agnosticism, I’ve found, is a common refrain among my medicated friends. We’re feeling OK, thanks. Is it the pill? Natural cycles? A good week at work? The fact that the sun is shining? Not always apparent. The only thing we’re really clear on, honestly, is our side effects. Nausea, nightmares, hypomania, agitation, headaches, decreased sex drive, decreased sex performance … the list is exquisite in its variation. My first two nights on Lexapro, I lay for hours on the precipice of unconsciousness, unable to take the last plunge. To fall asleep, I had to get a prescription for Ambien, which I then spent another week weaning myself off. To this day, the prospect of sleep holds a mild terror for me that it never did before.

Oddly enough, the side effects are often the pills’ best advocates. If we’re feeling that crappy, we figure something of great moment is happening inside us. What’s harder to accept is the alternative explanation — that, when it comes to depression, we’re still wandering in the dark. As Charles Barber, author of “Comfortably Numb,” argues, scientists don’t really know how antidepressants work. “They change the brain chemistry, but the infinite spiral of what they do from there is very unclear.”

So if you don’t know how something works, and you can no longer credibly claim it does work (even some industry spokesmen are beginning to qualify their claims), you’re not left with much of a fallback position. The placebo effect is real — the body actually does heal itself when it believes it is being healed — but it is founded on faith, and in the wake of the JAMA study, it’s becoming harder and harder to maintain that faith except through a rather larger act of denial.

Of course, even the most ardent critics of antidepressants caution strongly against sudden withdrawal. (Those side effects suck, too.) And few scientists will deny that drugs help people with severe unipolar depression. But what of the rest of us? Should we find some way to make ourselves believe in our little white pills again? Or should we find other things to believe in? Should we, in fact, begin to rethink our relationships with our brains?

I don’t bring much in the way of ideology to these questions. I’ve always felt that the rise of Prozac and its ilk at least had the salutary effect of removing the stigma attached to depression. Reconfigured as a chemical condition, it could now be owned and acknowledged and treated. But by translating it from the personal to the pharmacological, we may have left people even less empowered to combat it.

It’s bracing to see how depression is treated in other countries, where the relationship between drug manufacturers and physicians isn’t quite so hand-in-glove. Great Britain’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, for example, recommends that, before taking antidepressants, people with mild or moderate depression should undergo nine to 12 weeks of guided self-help, nine to 12 weeks of cognitive behavioral therapy, and 10 to 14 weeks of exercise classes. They should, in short, work on themselves before they can be worked upon.

Unfortunately, as Barber notes, that’s work, and not always pleasant. If we are to be honest with ourselves, we should admit that the drug companies aren’t the only ones who want that pill. We want it, too. If every last antidepressant were to vanish from the market today and a new one were to appear tomorrow, promising greater benefits than before, which of us would not line up? There is, after all, a strength in numbers, whereas grappling with yourself — your self — is a lonely business.

But it is, finally, a necessary one. The little white pill sits in my palm. In the glare of the bathroom light, I give it a good hard searching look. And then once more I clap it in my mouth and swallow it down.

Maybe, as one team of researchers has suggested, it’s the triumph of marketing over science. Maybe, as Samuel Johnson once said of second marriages, it’s the triumph of hope over experience. Maybe I’m just weak.

I will say only this: I no longer count on Lexapro to make me well. Which is to say I no longer fret if I miss a day or two, I no longer rush to the drug store to get my refills, and I place far more importance on getting my life in order: regulating my alcohol consumption, getting a decent night’s sleep, exercising (I’m not the only depressive who’s become an amateur triathlete) and, corny as it sounds, pausing at intervals to ponder my blessings. And also appreciating the ways in which my brain and body regulate their own climate through such time-honored techniques as the crying jag. Which is no less effective for happening in the middle of a busy Starbucks.

Three years and however many dollars later, can I honestly say Lexapro has made me a happier person? No. Has it usefully complicated my thinking? Maybe. In my pre-pill days, I regarded happiness as a form of grace, descending upon me whether or not I was worthy of it. Now I think of it as something that, however elusive, is there to be sought. Swallowing a pill every morning is not, in my mind, an act of obedience but a tiny spark of volition, a sign that I’m willing to find the light wherever it’s hiding. My Lexapro may be no better than a Tic Tac, but it’s a daily reminder that I won’t take depression’s shit lying down.

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ANTIDEPRESSANT WITHDRAWAL: NC man gets 27 years in mother’s beating death

YET ANOTHER INDICATION OF HOW HORRIFIC
ANTIDEPRESSANT WITHDRAWAL CAN BE. REACHING FOR ILLEGAL DRUGS OR ALCOHOL IN ORDER
TO LESSEN THE WITHDRAWAL EFFECTS WHEN YOU CANNOT GET YOUR ANTIDEPRESSANT IS A
COMMON REPORT.

His attorney says Heath had been drinking and smoking
crack the night of the killing. She also says her client had been waiting for an
appointment at a Veteran’s Affair clinic for a refill of his antidepressant
medication.

NC man gets 27 years in mother’s beating death

The Associated Press
Posted: Friday, Apr. 30, 2010

CHARLOTTE, N.C. A North Carolina man has been sentenced to nearly three
decades in prison in the beating death of his 83-year-old mother.

The Charlotte Observer reported that 56-year-old Jerry Heath was sentenced to
27 years in prison after pleading guilty Thursday to second-degree murder.

Authorities say Heath killed his mother over $35. Prosecutors say Jerry Heath
hit Annie Heath with a lamp in November after she refused to give him more
money.

The Charlotte man wept as his relatives told a judge they weren’t mad at
Heath.

His attorney says Heath had been drinking and smoking crack the night of the
killing. She also says her client had been waiting for an appointment at a
Veteran’s Affair clinic for a refill of his antidepressant medication.

Information from: The Charlotte Observer,
http://www.charlotteobserver.com

Read more: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2010/04/30/1407185/ncmangets27yearsin-mothers.html#ixzz0mbP8tmbC

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Atracyphd1@aol.com

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show details Apr 30 (6 days ago)
NOTE FROM Ann Blake-Tracy (www.drugawareness.org):
Welcome to abrupt antidepressant withdrawal!!!! Few things are more
dangerous! I have warned of this for 18 years now and in 2005 the FDA warned
that ANY abrupt change in dose of an antidepressant can produce suicide,
hostility and/or psychosis as a result. How tragic that the Heath family has
learned how true that is by first hand experience. To safely withdraw patients
MUST go extremely slowly down off these drugs.
And the fact remains that if Jerry Heath had substance abuse problems
before his use of an antidepressant he should NEVER have been prescribed one and
if he had no substance abuse problems before the prescription, those cravings
were induced by the use of the antidepressant. I AM SO SICK OF SEEING PEOPLE
WITH THESE PROBLEMS BEING GIVEN THESE DEADLY DRUGS WE CALL “ANTIDEPRESSANTS” AND
THE VA ARE AMONG THE VERY WORST AT HANDING THEM OUT LIKE CANDY!

NC man gets 27 years in mother’s beating death

The Associated Press
Posted: Friday, Apr. 30, 2010

CHARLOTTE, N.C. A North Carolina man has been sentenced to nearly three
decades in prison in the beating death of his 83-year-old mother.

The Charlotte Observer reported that 56-year-old Jerry Heath was sentenced to
27 years in prison after pleading guilty Thursday to second-degree murder.

Authorities say Heath killed his mother over $35. Prosecutors say Jerry Heath
hit Annie Heath with a lamp in November after she refused to give him more
money.

The Charlotte man wept as his relatives told a judge they weren’t mad at
Heath.

His attorney says Heath had been drinking and smoking crack the night of the
killing. She also says her client had been waiting for an appointment at a
Veteran’s Affair clinic for a refill of his antidepressant medication.

Information from: The Charlotte Observer,
http://www.charlotteobserver.com

Read more: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2010/04/30/1407185/ncmangets27yearsin-mothers.html#ixzz0mbmg96tK

 2,276 total views,  1 views today

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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