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
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‘.

From The Times
September 19, 2009

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

Rachel Sylvester and Alice Thomson

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

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

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.

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”.

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.”

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.”

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.”

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
… 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;

ZOLOFT: Woman Professional Comedian: Bizarre Behavior On Stage: Austra…

Last two paragraphs read: “The mother-of-five also told the disgruntled crowd that she was taking the prescription anti-depressant Zoloft before abusing audience members as they began to file from the theatre.”

“It was pretty disgusting,” one audience member told Confidential

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.,25197,25727787-12377,00.html

By Amy Harris | July 03, 2009
Article from: The Courier-Mail

FEMALE comic Fiona O’Loughlin’s admitted to being drunk before collapsing on stage, shocked audience members said.

They told Confidential she also admitted to being on anti-depressants during her bizarre Brisbane performance.

O’Loughlin, who is part of the In Stitches program at QPAC’s Cremorne theatre, was on stage for just 25 minutes before organisers chose to scrap the performance and refund audience admission.

It’s understood the comedienne, who is part of Channel Seven’s Dancing With The Stars lineup, staggered around the stage and slurred her words before admitting she had come from a ‘boozy lunch’ at an Italian restaurant.

The mother-of-five also told the disgruntled crowd that she was taking the prescription anti-depressant Zoloft before abusing audience members as they began to file from the theatre.

“It was pretty disgusting,” one audience member told Confidential

My 18-Year Old’s Bizarre Behavior on Prozac

“At no time …did any one mention Prozac’s side effects.”

My 18 year old son has been on Prozac for the last year and a half.
Initially, I brought him to a counselor for some mild anxiety he was experiencing (shyness in social situations, etc.) The counselor (a licensed MSW) prescribed Prozac, saying that it would greatly reduce Jeff’s anxiety. Indeed, after two weeks Jeff reported feeling better, being more relaxed in school and in social situations. Over the next 6 months or so, however, I began to notice some disturbing symptoms (excessive sleepiness at times and at other times extreme agitation along with an inability to concentrate on schoolwork).I told his family doctor, who suggested cutting his dose of Prozac, from 20 mg. to 10 mg. Shortly after this time, Jeff began to develop a severe drinking problem. He frequently came home so intoxicated that he could not stand and remembered nothing the next morning. His grades in school also started plummeting: during his senior year in high school, his grades went from B+ to failing. He was extremely agitated, anxious, unable to sit still or focus. At this point his counselors recommended that his Prozac be upped from 10 to 20 mg.

Things went from bad to worse-his drinking increased, he barely graduated from high school (he was on home study because he was exhibiting bizarre, sometimes threatening behavior in school, and was suspended).At no time during this period did any one mention Prozac’s side effects or the possibility that Jeff was having a serious reaction to this drug.

Finally, towards the end of summer ’99, when he picked up his prescription from the pharmacy, he read the label and noticed some of the possible side effects, pointing out to my husband and myself that these were the same things he’d been experiencing. We made a family decision to stop the Prozac, not realizing that the fun was just beginning. About a week after stopping the Prozac, Jeff began to have panic attacks (something he’d never experienced before).Along with the shaking, irregular heartbeat and anxiety, he experienced strange sensations in his head and a buzzing sound in his ears. We went to see his doctor, who didn’t make the connection-he sent him to a psychologist to treat the panic attacks, not suspecting that the problem might be Prozac withdrawal (nor did I). For the past 2 months, his symptoms have grown steadily worse: he’s been in the emergency room for severe headaches, has seen a neurologist, had many expensive tests, and been diagnosed with Migraine.

No one made the connection between his symptoms and the fact that he had stopped the Prozac abruptly (all doctors knew of his decision). It wasn’t until I saw Dr. Tracy on the Leeza show recently that I started to suspect that this might be the problem. Since then I’ve been researching Prozac on the internet and am amazed at the information I’m finding! I’ve spoken to Jeff’s doctor who was as surprised as I about these complications (I printed and mailed him lots of info.)I will order your book, as I want to know what I can do to help my son at this point apologize at the length of this e-mail, but I had to tell this story to someone.
Thank you.

Followup Letter to Dr. Tracy:
Dear Dr. Tracy,
Thank you for your kind response to my e-mail. It’s obvious that this is an issue very close to your heart. It’ s easy for me to see how frustrating this battle can be: the more information that I find on this topic, the more appalled I become that the medical and psychiatric professions are allowing this to happen to unsuspecting and trusting patients. Amazingly, Jeff seems to be doing much better. Just within the past week, his headaches have all but disappeared, and his anxiety level is greatly diminished. It’s been about 2 1/2 months since he stopped taking the Prozac- from what I’ve read however there can be delayed withdrawal reactions, so I’m not sure we’re out of the woods yet. I’ve been very busy printing information that I find on the internet and sending Jeff’s doctor and counselors letters and packets of information. My hope is that they will at least begin to question these drugs and do some research on their own. I’d like to show you an excerpt from the letter I wrote to the psychologist Jeff was referred to for the panic attacks he experienced shortly after discontinuing the Prozac. I am particularly annoyed with this doctor because he told me that Jeff’ panic attacks were the manifestations of OCD and that he needed to be on medication. From letter to Dr. Robbins: Coincidentally, now that Jeff’s withdrawal symptoms seem to have abated, he is much more like the son I once knew. He’s more relaxed, he’s stopped drinking, his sense of humor is back, and he’s actually able to focus on schoolwork ( he got an A on a recent College Comp. paper.)What does this say about Prozac? Basically, I feel that this drug took my son away from me for two years! I have also written a letter to the Rochester editorial page; a Speaking Outessay. I’ll let you know if they print it. If there’s any way I can help you with this cause, please let me know .I feel very strongly about it: this drug took my 16 year old son, who had been identified as gifted, was well-liked by his peers, and had a great sense of humor, and reduced him to a barely functioning shell of a person. I am thankful to you and God for rescuing us from this terrible shadow that hung over our lives.

Yes, I would like my e-mail (the original and this reply) posted on your website. You may include my first name and e-mail address. I would also like to remind people who’ve had negative experiences with Prozac or another anti-depressant to send a med-watch complaint to the FDA. The number for your local FDA is in the Federal organization section of the phone book. There is also a link from this ICFDA web site.] The more complaints they get the more likely it is they’ll investigate (I hope, unless they’re in this with the drug companies- but that’s a whole different topic)


This is Survivor Story number 27.

Total number of stories in current database is 96