Nearly a week ago a group of Italians sent this post written after one of their number gave up his struggle with PSSD and the system. We’ve been very slow posting it – partly because of the emotions it stirs. Its quiet beginning and contained fury at the end conjured up Marc Antony’s speech after Caesar’s assassination.
Little more than a week has passed since your last breath and only a few more days since your intentions to set up an association for people harmed by so-called serotonergic drugs. It had taken you some time, with obstinacy and patience, to gain a little trust from some important people close to you and to be believed; not the doctors to whom you turned and from whom you obtained, unfortunately predictably, the kind of hasty and unacceptable response that we all still receive most of the time.
This was despite the fact that your post-SSRI syndrome was not limited to the severe sexual dysfunction, terrible emotional numbness, anhedonia and cognitive problems it brought on. The antidepressant drug you were prescribed for a moment of despondency, after its discontinuation had a devastating impact on your health and fitness.
You had lost muscle mass at a frightening rate, your skin had changed, aged in a short space of time; you had pain and creaking joints. You had metabolic problems, you said it was as if your body was assimilating everything you took in without being able to expel it. You didn’t know what you could do to stop this dreadful degeneration of your organism; and neither did we. Nobody knows.
There are people among us who are sustaining very similar conditions of the post-SSRI syndrome. Damaged by those ‘well-tolerated’ antidepressant drugs that were supposed to help them and improve their living conditions, they find themselves, moreover, without valid medical support and, as a consequence, often not even believed by their families; ‘all psychological’, or ‘depression’ are the predictable, as well as inadequate, interpretations and answers we receive and which have the effect of further inflicting denial on our evidence, leaving us in the dismay of discovering ourselves victims of something that is not yet recognized for what it is.
Those who met you, about a month ago, saw with their own eyes your ruined body and skin; from your words, suicide was not contemplated; you would have wanted to go to a research center dealing with PSSD to be a ‘guinea pig’. You would have liked to create an association, once and for all, so as not to leave people like you in this extreme situation abandoned. You would have liked to be able to give them, as well as yourself, a valid support, some answer.
An answer that is not here now. Together we could have sought it, waited for it, or imagined it already on the horizon as a refraction of our hope. But mirages can be tremendously fragile. A local newspaper reported your death as that of a man who had ‘long suffered from depression’. Predictable. Anyone who dies as a direct or indirect consequence of iatrogenic syndromes caused by psychotropic drugs will have suffered the damage, the mockery and the burial of the truth along with his body.
It is a surreal situation this ‘invisibility’ of the damage, this apparent impossibility of demonstrating to the whole world something true, real and very serious, a criminal injustice that has struck and will continue to strike innocent people who trusted and entrusted themselves to a health system, in silence, amidst the tranquility of doctors, pharmaceutical companies and health institutions.
Its the truth that Marchino’s death will be dismissed with a facile lie – it was his depression – that is the bitterest cut. Its this that prompts a Cry Havoc and Let Slip the Dogs of War moment.
Someone else who regularly keeps us updated on her efforts to get regulators to acknowledge the risks linked to doxycycline – an honourable drug but one that can cause suicide, dependence and sexual dysfunction – got in touch after her latest exchange with regulators (Britain’s MHRA).
She is baffled at how they cannot see the obvious role it plays in cases like Amanda Cutland in triggering a suicide or other tragic event – even when a coroner writes to them and indicates there is no other way to explain what happened – See Doxycycline.
Like the person in the Bible who bombards Heaven she finally got them to slip – and a response intimated that they knew Doxycycline could do these things but they didn’t want to alarm all those on treatment by issuing a warning.
This is a Get-Out-of-Jail-Free card in the sense that it shuts down a lot of conversations. There is a twist though. Imagine saying this about smoking – we don’t want to alarm people by issuing a warning. Everybody would be furious until they remembered, regulators know how to issue warnings that will increase sales of cigarettes and sales of SSRIs to children.
It took a bunch of consumers in California to say enough is enough – no-one can smoke in this restaurant to make a difference.
We need something like this now – except we don’t want to stop people who are going to benefit from having doxycycline or SSRIs. Or Vaccinations.
Peter Doshi has chronicled exactly the same regulatory behaviour vis-a-vis vaccines – regulators are sitting on thousands of deaths but it could be millions for all the difference it would make. They never make a link between a treatment and a problem – unless companies let them. (The vaccines causing clots spun out of their control and the link has grudgingly been put on the radar).
We need some smart people to come up a Californian solution. Fantasising about having a bunch of Rabid Dogs of War running loose causing Havoc in Regulatory Departments is a pleasant balm for agitation but something clever is needed – something that breaks through the veneer,
In the meantime, while regulators keep spouting lies about us – it was likely Marchino’s depression – the only option is to keep telling the truth about them – they are more interested in the health of pharmaceutical company products than in our health or that of our children or parents.
Friends and Fellow Inhabitants of the Globe, lend me your ears….