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Horror Story

Posted Nov 13 2009 10:01pm

S ome of this may sound very familiar: (emphasis added is mine)

She says lithium will stabilise my moods and make me better. But I wonder about this. Perhaps my extremes of emotion are a reaction to the events of my life.
For three years I have been battling forces outside my control. Can a drug help with events I couldn’t prevent? Bereavement? My mother’s breakdown? My own breakdown? Surely what I need can’t just come out of a pill.


Since I have been sectioned, I have been given a lot of drugs. I have taken, for instance, Stelazine, both the little flat round blue pills and the capsules with tiny blue and yellow particles inside.

This stops psychosis, Lee, the nurse from Hong Kong, tells me, but I’m not psychotic. I don’t understand why they give it to me. Stelazine can lock your jaw and make your joints stiff if you don’t take Kemadrine, which counteracts the side effects of Stelazine. But Kemadrine has side effects, too, and leaves you with a very dry mouth and a ’spacey’ feeling.

That’s when the Stelazine isn’t ‘bombing’ you, making you lethargic and heavy. It’s like a house of cards, one drug building on another, all of them rickety. Every drug has its side effects; the drugs that counteract the side effects have their own side effects in turn. Take one away, and the house of cards collapses.

The headline I came across, in talking about being hospitalized over 30 years ago, reads in part, “old, Victorian style psychiatric hospitals”

What’s really changed? Perhaps the conditions in some of the better places, fancy drug advertising and straight jackets being replaced for the most part by harmless looking pills; but the “treatments” seem the same.  Pharmaceutical roulette, brain shocks and pin the diagnosis on the patient.

Theexcerpts broke my heart and pissed me off to off the chart level at the same time. Dunno what you call that emotion…righteous anger?

Sectioned: A Life Interrupted, by John O’Donoghue

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