People Respond to Eric Zorn and Marilyn Lemak

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September 7, 2022 | 8 Comments


    • Such a shame that this is unavailable for us in the UK to watch.
      All that I can say on this matter is that unless you have witnessed the changes, that SSRIs can cause in some people’s behaviours, then there really are no words which can fully describe the depths to which a person can be taken and at what speed. The urge to destroy seems to overtake them completely – and that can apply to self-destruction or to the destruction of another person. It is horrific to witness and almost unbearable for the perpetrator, on his/her return to a more normal form of behaviour, to recall. That recollection will be in part only in our experience.

      • Akathisia, disinhibition and emotional blunting induced by SSRIs, and prescriber/patient awareness of AKATHISIA and the risk of violence towards self or others are indeed very difficult to conceptualise unless they have been personally observed or experienced.
        When sertraline lead to the intense, acute, overwhelming AKATHISIA with its unbearable pain, constant writhing restlessness and crescendo agitation in our treasured young adult daughter, I had never heard this word. At that time I had been studying and/or practising medicine for some 43 years. I believe it is likely that my ignorance of akathisia would have been the norm in my profession at that time. I also believe now that ignorance of such a common, serious and life-threatening adverse drug reaction (ADR) resulted from deliberate concealment of the condition via ghost-written, data manipulated clinical trials and denial by ‘Key Opinion Leaders’ collaborating with the marketing of antidepressants. Promotion of the ‘Chemical Imbalance’ theory of depression and the denial/concealment of ‘antidepressant’ ADRs appears to have the potential to lead to egregious miscarriages of justice in addition to misdiagnosis of ADRs as serious mental illness (SMI). Both are likely to lead to inappropriate incarceration, further inappropriate psychotropic drugging with cascade iatrogenesis and profound physical, societal and emotional injury. Might those in my profession who have contributed to the hiding and denial of akathisia be considered to have contributed to tragic and avoidable outcomes of ‘medication’?
        To hear and read of this poor woman being vilified and condemned by those who remain totally ignorant of AKATHISIA is almost intolerable. May justice prevail.
        My daughter could have been saved from tragedy if I had been aware of akathisia as a prescriber who was concerned to try to avoid/minimise ADRs. How much more life-destroying tragedy might have been preventable had all prescribers been aware of this phenomenon? How can politicians, the media and the judiciary begin to understand when there appears to have been over three decades of medical denial of Involuntary Intoxication by prescription?

        • Tim, they can hardly claim not to know about it by now so yes they are culpable. How do they get revalidated if they don’t know? The whole of the ‘teams’ involved who keep quiet are also culpable l. Maybe we should be ‘targeting’ nurses more with information as well as doctors. They actually spend more time than doctors with people who suffer the horrors of side effects. Back in the day though I remember some real cruelty towards one lady who had movement effects – they knew how to to trigger them off to make it worse and more prolonged and thought it hilarious. That level of sadism still exists as we know. But I f they were give the opportunity of better specific training including knowledge of the drugs they dish out and could choose to work with people experiencing severe side effects
          with better skills as well as compassion it would make the job more attractive to their benefit and those obliged to receive the what is a disgrace of anything called treatment The training could also weed out more of those unsuitable to be anywhere near vulnerable people. That approach has at last begun to worked in pockets of good care with people suffering dementia – although again the horrors of how the majority are treated are still rife. The drugs are vile but how would any decent person expect the harms would be deliberately covered up by the network you describe who are/were trusted to look after them. Especially your generation Tim before the age of the internet. If it had been available I wonder if the lies could have been bedded in as much as they are by now?

          • Thank you Susanne.
            “Handing over a loved one to doctors and nurses is an act of trust. It represents a major crisis when you begin to doubt that the treatment they are given is in the best interest”.
            (Bishop James Jones: Inquiry into multiple drug induced deaths in a UK Hospital).
            Yes, the abysmal ‘nursing’ knowledge, skills and attitudes in those whom we were so ill-advised to trust were beyond comprehension. We were lead to believe that our loved one would be going to a ‘Hospital’ where priority would be afforded to rehydration and restoration of fluid and electrolyte balance. It was immediately clear that they were completely incapable of this basic, urgent medical management. I doubted they had ever seen a giving set for intravenous fluids, or indeed had any adequate knowledge of the basic management of acute medical emergencies. Our loved one was too akathesic to eat or drink but they recorded this as ‘Manipulative Behaviour’.
            The initial ‘treatment’ for the misdiagnosed akathisia was olanzapine and fluoxetine. Petite, athletic and very skim, there was no dose adjustment for body weight. I was terrified to observe that the neurological toxicity had induced the intense windscreen-wiper eye flicking of nystagmus. Had a brain tumour been missed, or was this the beginning of iatrogenic brain injury? The ‘nurses’ didn’t know and didn’t show any concern. I told them that this suggested there was a risk of tardive dyskinesia. “It doesn’t happen on olanzapine” they insisted, demonstrating their ignorance of ADRs.
            There was mockery, deliberate cruelty, coercion and a palpable absence of empathy. Involuntary Intoxication was an opportunity for them to falsify the ‘case notes’ misinterpreting neurological injury as behavioural abnormalities which served to justify their diagnostic failure and therapeutic incompetence.
            Yes, these cruel and vindictive staff were in need of ‘targeting with our information’. They also needed to have some basic O-level nursing skills.
            I can now appreciate that I have occasionally met psychiatric nurses who did afford care and compassion. These were ex-nurses who I understand to have given up working in ‘Mental Health’. I have read that there is a Critical M.H. Nursing movement in the UK apparently. They must be very brave if this is correct.
            The impression that I am left with is that the ‘mental health’ nurse-training (of those whom we believed were going to help our loved one) served primarily to regurgitate drug marketing propaganda with absolute certitude.
            They would not listen to me when I pointed out the indisputable physical signs of cranial nerve injury and /or brain injury.
            Yes Susanne. They are the ones who spend most time with their pacing, agitated, ceaselessly moving patients. They ignored akathisia and considered it to be a feature of mental illness, not an adverse drug reaction.

            There are none so blind as those who will not see. There are none so deaf as those who will not listen.
            This doesn’t mean that we should not try to target them with more valid and scientific information.

        • Tim thank you. I had a look and found there is a network set up by the sort of people who should in a far off world be running the nursing colleges/training courses They are indeed extremely critical of the profession and have published this and some other interesting stuff.
          Critical Mental Health Nursing: Observations From The Inside
          Pete Bull Jonathan Gadsby Stephen Williams
          The argument that propels this emphatic book is that mental health nursing cannot continue to pin the blame for its own actions and failings on the psychiatric hierarchy. As the editors point out, mental health nursing is a degree-level qualification; it has achieved its ambition to be ‘a profession in its own right’. But it has failed to find its own voice and identity or to challenge the coercive, invalidating and traumatising culture and practices within the mainstream mental health services.
          It has failed above all to subject itself to its own critical scrutiny.
          This is what these chapters set out to do, starting powerfully with an apology from the editors to all the many millions of users of mental health services who have been subjected to the profession’s failure to care: ‘We cannot think of a new knowledge, approach, skill or kind of empowerment that nurses have themselves forged as a “profession in our own right”, of which our service users are identifiably beneficiaries,’ they write.

          The editors and several of the 13 contributors to this book are members of the Critical Mental Health Nurses Network, formally launched in 2015. The aim of the network is to provide an identity and forum for shared experience for mental health nurses who are able to admit that the world is far more complex than many would prefer to believe, that people’s messy lives cannot be tidied away into discrete diagnostic categories, and who are, above all, ‘critical’.

          Chapters highlight the dilemmas and assumptions encountered daily in mental health nursing practice and ask readers to reflect and challenge them to take collective and individual action to bring about change. Topics include:

          • recovery and recovery colleges, written from very different viewpoints
          • rooting out the violence culturally embedded within mental health nursing
          • nurse education and how to translate theory into ethical best practice
          • negotiating the complex pressures of delivering frontline crisis care
          • playing the power game within the mental health system
          • how the Mental Health Act blocks creative nursing practice
          • embedding critical thinking and reflective practice within the profession
          • forming political alliances with social movement activists
          • the role of social contexts and cultures in shaping mental health and relationships
          • mental health nursing as a therapy.

          A continuing theme is the ubiquity of coercion both embedded within and perpetrated by the mental health nursing profession. In the editors’ words, it is time for the profession to ‘open new forums… share our honest experiences and fears and, above all, look to all of the places in which imagination has been reignited… [to find] new possibilities that make coercive options fall away.

          and a snippett

          Committed mental health nurses asking questions about mental health nursing

          Brief response to queries about the new All Wales Psychiatric Genomics Service
          Thank you to all those who have been in touch about this. It would be wrong to say that the Critical Mental Health Nurses’ Network takes the following view, because a network of critical thinkers does not aspire to have just one view on a subject. However, our network (which is not something with a membership, but includes any nurse that wants to be involved and think critically about mental health nursing) is very welcome to add comments discussing the following post on the subject of this new/old development (which can be read about here:

          Very few people are qualified to fully interpret the findings or critique the design of the new research members of that group have published in Nature and I am not one of those people. But then it has been my repeated experience that very few of the people who believe that they can do those things know very much about mental health and mental health services and I always wonder where they are after the initial excitement has been seen in a more sober light. Not only that, the people who present such research almost never have anything to contribute to discussion about the history and political implications of their claims. As such, they do not seem to be able to consider how their research will, or could potentially, be used within a complex society and complex mental health system. A less sympathetic view might even wonder if they really understand the breadth of meaning and context of their own work. I’ll explain:…….There’s a good article by someone ‘Mark’

          I” suspend my optimism as they are experiencing the same undermining power games which ‘user groups’ fight against which means they just dont get into positions of any real influence. Still fighting against the system but nowhere near being equals with medics and researchers. Is there still a problem with snobbery about nursing…Often the best of them are fooled into joining the establishment After 10 years the same old is being stated. I do respect what they are doing though and still going after 10 years is a triumph.

  1. Help or Hindrance?

    I don’t buy this Eric Zorn reporting and have picked out some salient points. He is using headstrong language and despite some tendency to support Marilyn, he has actually caused more rancour than perhaps he even intended. The “Why?” when Marilyn has clearly described Zoloft puts him in a league that is positively dangerous and I certainly would not want him anywhere near me, if I was Marilyn and going for clemency.

    “We’d say she’d lost her mind, gone crazy, come unhinged. We’d say she had snapped, fallen out of her tree and gone around the bend. … Deranged, loony, bonkers, cracked, touched. (But) these are not terms of law. You don’t find them in the statutes or hear them in court. They are terms of common sense. She was whacked. Cuckoo. Meshuga. Mad as a March hare.” Zorn

    “It seems pat to me to conclude that an otherwise normal, law-abiding person who precipitously commits a monstrous act is definitionally a monster.” Zorn

    Zorn co-wrote the 1990 book “Murder of Innocence,” about the schoolhouse shooting in suburban Winnetka, Illinois.    The book served as the basis for a 1993 made-for-TV movie with the same name.

    The shocking story of innocence destroyed by a rich young babysitter inexplicably gone mad made headlines all across the nation

    “OK, she was out of her head. But it’s almost impossible to believe she didn’t know the act was terribly wrong.” Zorn

    “She knew what she was doing. She had a full appreciation of her conduct. It was a combination of depression, revenge and guilt over what she had done to her marriage even before she had killed her children.” Judge

    “How and why she got to that state and how much if any mercy she deserves 23 years later is less obvious, and a question that I know from long experience will prompt harsh and angry reactions along with probing philosophical queries and even expressions of sympathy. “ Zorn

    “At the time of my offense, I was under the influence of 200 milligrams of an antidepressant drug called Zoloft. At that time there was nothing on the label of that medication to warn … that this drug could trigger mania or psychosis and / or that it could precipitate irrational, out of character violence toward myself or my children. (Since 2005) a specific patient medication guide about these risks must accompany each prescription of this drug. …

    A separate Black Box warning is now distributed to the prescribing physicians alerting them to the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors and advising them to closely monitor all antidepressant treated patients in clinical worsening and for emergence of suicidal thoughts and behaviors.” Marilyn Lemark

    “Why?” Zorn

    …..and then a post by Janet Lagerloef offering some context.

    With you all the way, Janet…

  2. We see this pitiful, frail, bespectacled woman sitting silently at the defense table in jail fatigues (a bit of stagecraft by the defense), her lethal, veiny hands holding a cup of water and her entire body shaking slightly but constantly to the rhythm of her ever-swinging crossed leg, and we know only that she is neither innocent nor wholly evil.

    I doubt he ran his article past Marylin Lemak (he might as she allowed him a rare interview have had the basic courtesy of not referring to her only by surname Lemak by the way. This happens commonly when reporters are painting a negative picture of someone ). I agree with you Annie reading this i would think he has done her no favours and possibly harmed the case. It is a nasty betrayal or abuse of the vulnerable position she is in Regarding the terms he thinks are ‘common sense’ they would not be acceptable in most reporting now.
    . How close would he have had to be to observe lethal ‘veiny hands’ along with the cup of water and so on – he is writing a ‘story’. There’s no real investigatory work. A middle aged woman does not usually have veiny hands. Neither would someone be likely to swing their leg in such an environment ( i suppose it might be put down to nerves) But nobody seems to have asked whether Marylin had been put back on drugs which can cause these symptoms when I read elsewhere she had been allowed to come off drugs.

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