RoAccutane and the Perfect Circle

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December 12, 2016 | 16 Comments


  1. Drugs, drugs and more drugs and all those fatuous comments coming out of the mouths of babes..

    And, the shining lights in this spiralling journey to nowhere; meet the parents..

    What these people don’t realise as they come out with so many jumped up and inordinately egoistic and hubris driven remarks is how this combination drives the outcome

    Those searing remarks to Olly when his mind was trying to cling on to himself will not have helped him in any way shape or form

    You were far from alone in being excluded as his loving parents.
    This seems a common theme when someone is ‘under the care’ of psychiatrists

    The Seroxat denial was evident to my own mother, who at 82, tried to take the line that you and David did. She was brushed aside, haughtily and disrespectfully. All she wanted to know was, what was wrong with her daughter. My mother took the brunt of it as it got to the point I was too bedridden to see anyone..

    She was constantly stonewalled and made to feel inadequate for asking the obvious. We ended up taking matters into our own hands as if we hadn’t, I would not have lived and it would have ended up as with drugs, drugs and more drugs and more and more condescension.

    My mother had the patience of Jobe and was acutely distressed, but, her profound belief in herself and me and my little family unit, set her on my road to recovery with the physical help and the mental help during the first horrendous withdrawal and then the second the following year

    What chance did Olly have when they were excluding the parents and excluding the mix and match of all those drugs

    A vulnerable man with a poor image due to acne and really Heather and David, his ‘treatment’ over all those years was frightful

    We don’t forget do we, those belittling and unnecessary barbs…….your story is bravely told and you were fighting a losing a battle right from the beginning when Seroxat came along

    All credit to Olly for all those years that this went on and how he was so badly let down and I really can’t see what more you could have done..

    All these things you are doing in his memory are right and true…..this takes courage

  2. Dear David and Heather,
    I am so sorry for the loss of your beautiful son, Olly.
    What on earth is going on with these medicines?
    Unfortunately, it seems that many people I talk to, seem to be suffering from severe anxiety issues, related to the medicines they are ingesting.
    If clinicians are informed about this, they will surely say that it is coincidental, a mental condition or something else?????
    How can patients be their own doctor if these meds are impacting their minds????
    If the patients stop taking the med(s) that may be causing the problems, the poor patients experience severe horrible withdrawal symptoms.
    If another med is added to compensate for the other med that was inducing the problem, the results to one’s mind can be catastrophic.
    Prescripticide is real and very dangerous.
    Poor Olly was experiencing terrible bursting pains in his head.
    The poor man was put into a ‘grid lock’ and did not know how to alleviate his unforgivable symptoms.
    Pain killers would of only compounded the situation.
    These medicines, once combined, are a ‘nasty cocktails’ of chemicals drugging to the delicate brain.
    What are some clinicians thinking when they mix meds?
    David and Heather, I grieve with you.
    I am lost for words.
    Every living being is a gift and Big Pharma are responsible for the unnecessary deaths we are witnessing.
    If meds improve lives, why are so many minds being destroyed by the very meds that save lives???????
    I question how many poor people could not cope, once they are at the mercy of these meds.
    One story, can be another parents worst nightmare.
    We need to embrace each other and make other people aware about the RXISKS of these meds.
    I am so sorry that no one understood the anguish he was going through. Only David and Heather understood the pain their lovely son was in.
    David and Heather, you are wonderful parents.
    You did your best.
    If your son’s life was tragically ended because of these horrible meds, other parents and teenagers, need to know.
    What does one do when the meds permanently impact the mind?
    One has to wait a long time before these meds come out of the system.
    Even then, it may be too late because permanent damage may have already been resulted.
    By telling your story, David and Heather, as difficult as it may be, you are helping others to make better informed choices.
    Let Olly be the light.
    Let there be HOPE for others so that many do not need to suffer unnecessarily.
    Be brave, be strong because I know Olly would be proud of both of you.
    All my love and best wishes, Carla

  3. Heather and David, words seem insufficient to portray my deepest, most sincere sympathy for your suffering. I have read a good few comments from you, Heather, on David’s blog over the past weeks – those were snatches of your story. Reading it again now, as part of the full picture, is extremely harrowing. It is hard to believe that any human ( never mind a professional person) could treat a fellow human in such a way – and, unfortunately, to those who haven’t suffered in such a way, it probably is classed as ‘unbelievable’ and dismissed. However, those of us who have gone through similar ( thankfully weaker) experiences can fully empathise with your suffering.
    We find it very hard to forget those words and looks which, roughly translated, meant “back off, he’s my patient – he’s only your molly-coddled son”. We still remember clearly our horror as more and more drugs were added – either as replacements or as dose increases. We can still remember the rejection we felt whenever we tried to explain the reason, in our humble opinion, why things were so dark for our son during that time. It all began with Seroxat – but that statement was like a red rag to a bull and brought out the worst side of the professional. It always reminded me of the advert of old for Smash, where the aliens found an actual potato and made enquiries about it. On being told that it was a potato, they fell about laughing – remember it? Well, quite honestly, the professionals we encountered in those days behaved in much the same way! – and this was soon after the Panorama programmes on Seroxat!
    I said that we find it hard to forget – but we are lucky enough to still have our son. Many of the ways of Olly were also the ways of our son ( who, funnily enough, I never do name here simply because he IS still alive). Many of those ways are still with him now. We almost lost him to a massive overdose at one point – but thankfully he surprised all hospital staff and recovered. The fact that you lost Olly must make the suffering so much harder to bear.
    I can only say that you must both take comfort from knowing that everything you could possibly do, you did for Olly – and therefore need not question yourselves or feel any guilt about what happened. It was the professionals, the ones PAID to care for him, that let Olly down. Both of you, who voluntarily cared for him through love, gave your all to keep him safe. In the end Olly, himself, decided to end his life on earth and to return to a place where he knew he would be safe and welcomed. Despite knowing that your hearts would be broken – he knew he’d live forever in your hearts. He also, unfortunately, knew that he’d immediately be forgotten by the professionals as they moved on to treat the next unsuspecting patient.
    At this time of year, your days will appear harder I’m sure but I sincerely hope that by reflecting on the true message of Christmas, your time will be spent remembering the better times and leaving the bad times behind for a well-deserved break from your battle. May you have a quiet, peaceful Christmas – and we’ll hope that there is a real ‘awakening’ on the public front in respect of these horrid drugs in 2017.

  4. This is good, very good, Heather and probably follows much of your line of thinking as it draws attention to a few aspects you have talked about in your Odes to Olly and for us to get some “satisfaction” from a rolling stone gathering moss..

    Hope you like it and we are not all petitioned out..Leah Wood has status and appeal and a knack for getting it right…?

    We’ve added your signature to the petition:

    Jeremy Hunt MP & Lord Prior of Brampton: Remove Big Pharma Influence over MHRA

    Share this petition

  5. Heather and David,
    The pain and desperate anguish you must both have endured to place on record the scale of Olly’s suffering and despair, the callous, cruel contempt, and predictable failure to recognise iatrogenic akathisia must be immeasurable.

    Those who have pleaded and begged, for both GP prescribers and psychiatrists, to consider that their none specific and irrationally prescribed “medications” are both causing and intensifying the alleged “disorders” they believe they can treat, understand your despair.

    We share the disbelief and incredulity that such appalling words, actions and deeds can replace the basic tenets of safe and scientific medical practice.
    To those familiar with the hubris of psychiatry – (based on it’s own practitioners “drug dependence” to pass muster as “clinical care) – find every unfolding paragraph painfully predictable.

    We too could see our own dear soul being poisoned and destroyed, abused and injured in brain body and soul, but every appeal for fastidious listening and understanding of the true history of the presenting complaint, lead to them to excommunicate us.
    With contrived malevolence, they were simultaneously and maliciously coercing a delusion that: – “your parent’s interference is preventing us from making you better”.

    We found that trying to explain our convincing evidence of overwhelming drug toxicity was received as if we had delivered an IED.
    We were to be scorned and despised in our pitiful ignorance.

    You similarly had to endure Olly’s suffering and your own torment, and in addition, suffer their contempt and ridicule.
    What a deplorable manner in which to pose as doctors and experts in the twenty first century.

    After reading Olly’s story for the second time, I was compelled to read thrice the words written by psychiatrist, Simon Wessely in the Huffington Post,
    6th December 2016 (in the context of the prevention of suicide).
    I have been as careful as I can to be accurate: –

    “As a psychiatrist I know that often the best asset here is not myself, nor another mental health professional, but someone close to the person in crisis, such as their partner, parent, carer or close friend” – –


    “However the painful experience of many parents who have lost their sons or daughters to suicide is sufficient testament to the need to improve practice in this area”.

    Whilst acknowledgement is made to the context that professional perceptions of confidentiality are preventing this from happening, I do hope that even a few of his colleagues might be convinced of the value of this belief.

    They would of course have to recognise that their drugs cause akathisia, suicidality, aggression, self harm and harm to others as well as toxic delusions manic shift and can mimic none-drug induced psychosis.
    They would also need the strength and skill to confidently and compassionately discuss these facts with the newly “re-befriended” loved ones and family.


    Please accept our own intense sorrow and despair for the avoidable loss of Olly and the destruction of all those whom he loved and who, so understandably loved him.

    He would be so pleased with this post, and this seized opportunity to save others at risk from prescripticide: –


  6. Annie, Carla, Mary and Tim, thank you so much for all your wonderfully kind and uplifting responses to Olly’s story. The one thing, apart from such comforting solidarity from you all, that I am grateful for, is the end of the gut-wrenching fear which dominated our lives for 11 years whilst we constantly dreaded every time the phone rang, that the awful news would come that we had lost our battle to keep him safe. I still can’t hear the little Vodafone ringtone without a lurch in my stomach. I don’t think the prescribers can possibly imagine how their poisons affect the lives and wellbeing of entire families.

    You are right when you say he is safe now, because I feel he is. His agony is over. We have managed to cope without him by trying to raise awareness of what happened to him. We went through all the proper NHS Trust complaints procedures, battled the MHRA and Roche, begged the GMC to listen, and apart from adding to our frustration, none of it made much obvious difference. But finding RxIsk and its amazingly supportive community, has renewed our hope and our determination.

    Today, by coincidence, came the CQC Report stating that no Trust investigates such deaths as Olly’s properly and with transparency, as well we know. At the same time, another NHS official, who will have to remain nameless, told me today that raising the subject of Akathisia in an NHS meeting recently was inappropriate and ’embarrassing for the other attendees’. There are so many mixed messages out there, kidding us along that lessons are being learnt from these tragedies. But RxISK tells it like it is, and thank goodness for this honest forum. Bless you all for your encouragement and enormous kindness.

    • With you all the way on the dread of a phone call and the Vodafone ringtone, Heather. A call after 9pm has my stomach lurching to this day and my mobile going off at night (which rarely happens thankfully) causes a real feeling of panic. Our son doesn’t phone in crisis mode anymore – he now shares his concerns far more openly and takes advice – but when that phone rings, all I can hear is his voice and his pleas for help. I guess these feelings will remain with us, Heather, and are a small price to pay compared with their suffering through those dreadful times.

  7. Heather, thank you, and, this is not goodbye it is hello..

    I sincerely hope that you will always give us thoughts on anything and everything that come to mind.

    Olly took Seroxat and it is quite possible that everything that happened after this drug was ingested took him somewhere that no matter what was given afterwards, the Seroxat could have directed his mind.

    Once on the Seroxat, this harrowing tale on the Seroxat might give you some understanding.

    It has to be said

    David Carmichael and Paxil

    This is harrowing and appalling and awful and god bless, David Carmichael, but, it has to be said that once Seroxat is swallowed, anything can happen and what happens next is irrelevant as it was the Seroxat/Paxil that drives..

    The pain cannot be extinguished


    That is another matter..

    DC speaks as a parent and father and the pain must be on a level that not many could withstand.

    • I totally agree with you Annie – the moment Seroxat was given to Ollie, the person that Ollie really was, would have been changed beyond recognition. So many of us have seen it happen before our very eyes. Those in denial can argue as much as they like but we know that we speak the truth concerning these drugs. It is not just a coincidence that we see so many similarities in our stories – the common denominator is a drug not fit for human consumption, yet handed out like a sugary treat.

  8. Thank you, Heather.
    You and many others who are grieving, are always welcome to come here and tell us how you feel.
    Your invaluable input is always appreciated. We are very proud of you.
    No parent, or any other loved ones, should have to go through, what you, your son, I or others have had to endure, NO ONE!
    It never ceases to amaze me how many other souls suffered with similar symptoms.
    What worries me the most is, some clinicians will hand out more meds, to make it look like one has depression.
    Wouldn’t anyone be depressed if they were suffering in horrendous pain and complete silence?
    You are all in our thoughts and prayers.
    I know, very soon, these meds will have to come with all the warnings that have been deliberately deleted.
    No more EXCUSES!
    Our voices will be heard.
    Sending you lots of love and warm wishes, Carla

  9. I’m so sorry. I have been in a similar situation because a severe crash of my ME (Myalgic Encephalomyeltisi) was deemed ‘catastrophising’. I am only here because my family recognised that the drugs were making an already bad situation horrendously worse and we between us (or rather ‘they’ as I was pretty much ‘out of it’ and bed bound for a year) used the Heather Ashton protocol to wean me from the cocktail of meds I had been Rx. I was very severely iatrogenically damaged..oh and 12 years on the akathisia doesn’t go away. I am much more unwell now because of my underlying disease, but I don’t suppose it will ever be possible to quantify to what extent that doctor-prescribed- harm has impacted my disease process.

    There are so many of these stories… when will they ever learn?

    • Isn’t it funny how some doctors make these bland descriptions like ‘catastrophising’ when they really don’t have any idea of the hell the patient is going through. It’s one thing to suffer, but at least you hope the doctor, ‘fount of all medical knowledge’ or at least having access to it, will help. But then, when your pain, symptoms, concerns, are rubbished, where do you turn? Like you said, you were ill, so naturally you were effectively out of it, but thank heavens your family understood, believed in you, and offered the Heather Ashton protocol. I’m so sorry to think of your long period of suffering, but delighted to learn that you’re coming through and coping, and with such a positive attitude.
      It’s vital that families and carers trust their own judgment and don’t let themselves be bullied away by arrogant and unfeeling doctors. I shall always regret that we didn’t back our own judgment, knowing Olly as we did, and forcibly override the terrifying psychiatrist; naturally we felt we must defer to Olly, but we weren’t taking into account the fact that Olly was too ill to think or even care if he lived or died, his pain being too great and his fear too encompassing. With the gift of hindsight, and with the knowledge gained from RxISK, we would do things so differently now.

  10. It’s all down to TRUST in the end, isn’t it? We ‘trust’ the expert, ‘trust me, I’m a doctor’ etc. When Olly was told RoAccutane would clear his skin, he trusted the dermatologist. When Olly was told Seroxat was good for shyness, social phobia, low mood (or whatever it was he sensed had come in from left field to zap his normal feelings of well being), he trusted the doctor. We trusted the doctor. We blithely went along with hearing and accepting the calm platitudes because we trusted that ‘first they do no harm’. Where and when did TRUST become a dirty word? A mugs’ word. And we have the NHS TRUSTS now too….

    Mary, you are so right. Once on the Seroxat, Olly was changed forever. We made excuses for the change in him. We put it down to stress, worry about his skin, his work, his concern that I would be paraplegic after the car crash, but no, it was the meds. And yet, we trusted that no doctor would, could possibly inflict something so unsafe on him. And every moment of every day, others now are trusting their doctors, just like we did. Because it makes us feel safe to do so, we hand over our precious trust, often because we are feeling ill and vulnerable and we expect to be treated as we would treat anyone ill and vulnerable reaching out to us for help.

    The Perfect Circle describes the case of Olly and others like him. First the wretched acne, then the bullying at school because the skin looks different, then the RoAccutane – isotretinoin, then the weird low mood it sparks off, brain not working right, then the physical limitations from it too, so distractions like sports, creativity, socialising etc, get removed, then, ah, the trip to the doctor reporting feeling low. Have some Seroxat, says the smiling doctor. Then the free fall into paranoia, the fear (you know not why) and the insomnia, the akathisia. The skin may be better, but madness has arrived. Confusion reigns in your head. The downward spiral of terror. Friends fall away. You drop out of Uni, your planned future you began training for, slips away too, into the mist of lost memory. Like a drowning swimmer you keep reaching out for a passing lifebelt, another doc, who offers more meds…still smiling. When you don’t improve, the smiling doctor turns to sarcasm, disbelief, irritation, you are branded as attention-seeking, a time waster, a mollycoddled immature parasite, and you trust them all; you believe that you really are as they describe you, so you maybe struggle on as best you can for as long as you can, awash with suicidal thoughts which keep engulfing you, and then, when your poor brain hurts too much to bear, and your loved ones turn grey before your eyes with helpless worry, you think, ‘I am a burden’ and you fly away. Seemingly there was no way out of this Perfect Circle because of misguided innocent TRUST compounded by humiliation, heaped onto the patient and the parents by the trusted medical ‘experts’.

  11. At our new supermarket, adjacent to our village, I was struck by one of the staff behind the till a few months ago. She was so cheerful, so polite, so articulate and had a very ready sense of humour.

    One of my characteristics is to have a little chat with most people I meet and almost, at once, me and this person hit it off. Meeting her, buying the fodder, you had to come away feeling uplifted.

    I don’t know if other customers noticed her, particularly, after all, the food shop is always fraught with decisions and choosing and it can be a relief to leave with at least something…

    Anyway, today, we starting chatting about how we had come to be in Argyll.

    She told me she used to have a position in Mental Health, had written papers and given talks and had left because it was like ‘hitting your head against a brick wall.’

    We couldn’t go on much because a couple of people were behind me, so we wished each other Happy Christmas as it was her last day before the hols and her grandchildren were arriving.

    Huge beaming smiles.

    As I left, I suddenly, thought…..what’s your name?

    She told me.

    Having an investigative bent, I did a search on the pc.

    This turned up, and there she was…the wonderful Tracey Holley giving her experiences of anti depressants, panic attacks and her doctor…

    After I listened to her talk, I listened to this one

    Agnes’ Jacket

    How stunning is that…and a very good speaker..

    There are so many people out there that usually we never hear about and it is uncanny how a brief encounter can become a major encounter

    Agnes’ jacket…..the story was told:

    the check out girl:

  12. Annie, I think this is what they call serendipity. Your chance meeting and conversation with the checkout lady has brought forth real riches. The ‘Agnes’ Jacket’ story is really wonderful, as is all the rest by the psychologist who tells it. Isn’t it funny how we get moved to speak to someone or take a course of action when really our conscious mind seems almost elsewhere. I want to listen to it all again and again, but felt moved to thank you for finding such a marvellous resource. Quite amazingly uplifting. I love the reference to Tony Blair and the psychologist’s comparison between his belief in weapons of mass destruction (which could not be substantiated but HE was not branded as paranoid and popped into hospital) in comparison with the patient who had been incarcerated in hospital for years for her own perfectly logical ‘paranoia’ triggered from her own earlier political activism. Horses for courses, perhaps?

  13. Breakfast on BBC1 this week is, in part, looking at police work involved with mental health issues and ‘preventing suicide’ issues. Maybe it’s time to help them out with some examples of the reasons behind the increase in the number of suicides – and ways of possibly reducing the number of people who present ‘in crisis’? Let’s see if we can get a mention of the problem as we see it!

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