Mental Health

Sexism in Healthcare

In my mid 20s I was diagnosed with a 17cm cyst on my left ovary. Prior to this my ex partner would gaslight me, saying I had given myself these symptoms of bloatedness, pain and nausea, because “the brain is a powerful thing”. The diagnosis came after months of to-ing and fro-ing with my GP, then Brixton based, who dismissed my concerns instead choosing to respond with wildly inappropriate remarks like “women don’t drink enough water, you’ve probably given yourself a UTI” and “stop eating your Bangladeshi partner’s cooking then” when I insisted he refer me for further testing. He didn’t and I had to seek alternative treatment, taking myself out of work for a couple of hours without telling anyone (I was a temp on a short-term contract and didn’t get paid for hours I took off) and visited the local sexual health clinic. I asked for a female doctor, because I felt she would take the matter more seriously. I hadn’t always thought of gender as having such a pronounced effect on the sort of service I would receive but here I was.

It didn’t take very long for this doctor to ascertain that something was indeed wrong. Following an internal exam where she pressed down on my stomach simultaneously, she announced there was a mass and it wasn’t small. She wrote a note to my GP insisting he refer me for an ultrasound. He wasn’t too pleased when I turned up with it and grumbled “I’m only the doctor, what do I know?” Not a fat lot of good, as it turned out.

6 weeks later, I had a scan at King’s College hospital where I watched as the sonographer’s face flitted from one part of the screen to another and she rolled the probe further and further up my abdomen. “You have a cyst, a larger one on your left ovary, and I’m just checking to see whether it’s affecting your kidney function”. This was all rather alarming, to say the least. She said she would be recommending an elective surgery to have it removed and they would need to test the mass for malignancy. After my surgery they told me they had drained 1.2 litres of fluid off the cyst but had managed to get it all and it was benign. I was perplexed then, when barely 6 months later, it had grown back to 14cm. Following this surgery I was left with very little functioning ovarian tissue but my doctors said my other ovary would compensate leaving me with about 80% function overall. I read a study that said people who’ve had more than 2 large ovarian cysts have an increase likelihood of premature menopause, which was just the shite icing on the shite covered cake.

A decade on and I am settled back in Birmingham. It’s not been more than a few weeks since I changed my GP (for the umpteenth time). I had an exceptional experience with them when I first fell ill with mental health in 2010. My female GP was a rock, she made all the right referrals and got me started on therapies and medication, honestly without her support I dread to think what could have happened. She left the practice a short while later and I was seen by 3 male doctors, whichever one was on duty. I felt as though I was a nuisance and they were just patching me up instead of looking at the causes of my symptoms. It all came to a head when one of their new partners, whom I’d never seen before, withheld my pain meds just before a weekend and only relented when all hell broke loose (me blubbering on the phone and my aunt actually marching on reception, plus the local pharmacist having a word). He said I was due a review for these meds they’d never put on repeat prescriptions because I was ‘a suicide risk’ and candidate for cardiac arrest. When I attended the surgery on the Monday following the weekend, he shouted at me, and threatened me and my aunt with police action, prompting me to run out of the surgery.

I registered with a new GP who did a review of my pain meds and decided to keep me on them because I ‘wasn’t abusing them’ and the risks of taking me off one drug and putting me on a new one outweighed the potential fallout from codeine. No surprise this was a female GP. She even put it on my repeat prescriptions so I wouldn’t need to speak to a GP to have it prescribed. When I mentioned the palmar erythema and tingling on my top lip and how I’d read that these symptoms are caused by elevated oestrogen levels and how I’d suffered with ovarian cysts when I was younger, she booked me in for a blood test to check my hormone levels. She was surprised this hadn’t been done before but I wasn’t. She said I’d need to be tested on my period, so they can gauge what is and isn’t normal. That must have been what done it for the male GPs, all that icky period talk, who can be bothered with that eh? What is most unsettling is that the symptoms all point to a bunch of scary conditions that can be life threatening, things like lupus or ovarian cancer, other auto immune diseases, cirrhosis of the liver.. things you don’t take chances with and yet.

Doctors are putting women at risk of premature death because sexism. All that power goes to their heads and they cannot conceive of a scenario in which a patient knows their own body better than they do. Yes, I use Dr Google, with the caveat that I am not a trained medical professional and am only seeking clues as to what could be wrong. I can understand medical jargon and make reasonable assessments that I would then like a doctor to follow-up on. I think this pisses them off because being a doctor is such hard work that mere plebs shouldn’t even attempt to understand. Perhaps it diminishes their self-worth, to be shown up like the sexist job’s worths they are.

I am proof that those of us on multiple axes of oppression will fall through the net, again and again. We’re easy to write off and brush under the carpet. I say this as someone who will scream injustice even when I’m on the floor and giving up, but most people aren’t like me. Most people do curl up and die, without a whimper.

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So over the DWP

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It has been almost a full year since my personal independence payments were stopped on the 27th January, a whole year sat around waiting on a tribunal and I still haven’t heard anything. A whole 550 pounds taken off my budget, impacting my recovery in ways that have only become apparent this many months on. I was awarded the higher level, based on my conditions and medical reports. My spine is fusing at L5/S1 following two surgeries to remove a prolapsed disc that had caused marked damage to the nerves in my left foot, leg and buttock. The second op was an emergency and doctors were amazed to discover I wasn’t incontinent considering the position of the disc. A stroke of luck. Adhesions following the surgeries have left me with chronic pain in my lower back and surrounding areas. I also suffer from complex post traumatic stress disorder. Commonly affecting prisoners of war, this condition was inflicted on me. PTSD happens when a life threatening event causes trauma that is still evident more than a month later. Complex PTSD arises when your life has been threatened multiple times. I am due to see a rheumatologist, to find out whether I have lupus or rheumatoid arthritis. Lupus is an autoimmune disease that seems to affect groups affected by white supremacist imperialism, funnily enough.

Of course I would rather have a life filled with new experiences. I would have liked to do a bungee jump. I would have loved to travel the world a bit more, gone to more music festivals, and taken that foodie holiday I used to dream about. A tour of all the foodie heavens; Italy, France, Spain.. I also wanted to go on a walking holiday, Camino de Santiago, even as a non believer, because it sounds delightful and you get to meet lots of people along the way, and I love people, despite all their bullshit. I would have liked to take in the world’s ruins and visited Frida Kahlo’s Blue House. I would eventually settle far away from the rainy fascist island I was birthed on, once I’d got my bearings in the world.

Life dealt me another hand. One full of pain and suffering, of unfulfilled potential. I don’t like asking for my dues. I don’t appreciate having to reel off my trauma history every time my status is called into question. That’s what doctors are there for surely? To confirm the treatment you have been receiving, to give their expert opinions on the state of your health? I asked for a supporting letter to send to the DWP who were insisting I come in for another ESA assessment, a thing I absolutely could not do. They are aware of my mental health, they’ve been advised numerous times. The admin service said a supporting letter would cost £46, approx 1/3 of the emergency rate they have now placed me on (because I failed to provide a GP’s letter). When I explained my circumstances they sent an identical email reiterating the cost and clarifying that supporting letters are considered ‘private work’ and not available on the NHS.

So this is how they’re going to kill us now is it? Make it impossible to jump through the hoops they expect you to jump in exchange for their meagre offerings?

I’ve stopped talking to everyone. I’ve stopped asking the GP for help, stopped bothering the DWP, don’t see any point in talking to my therapist or advocate. I guess I’m resigned, hurtling towards the inevitable. I’m calm, eerily so. I just haven’t enough fight left in me to tackle the system. I haven’t even told my family, because what good would come of it? Nobody is in a position to carry me. I have survived this long only because of the kindness of friends and even strangers. I don’t really have that access any more. I can’t be bothered to do anything about it either.

The British government has wilfuly caused the deaths of many thousands of sick and disabled British citizens. I have seen firsthand how they’ve implemented this, every step of the way. I have only made it this far because of all the support I receive but even that is insufficient now. I truly have no vision for tomorrow. I don’t see how my circumstances will improve and more to the point, I am done trying. This isn’t a statement of intent, just a heads up that I’m sitting down now and I’m not getting up.

Nothing compares to the truth

Sinead O Connor says white people are disgusting and she wants nothing more to do with them and that is her right as a white person and citizen of a country that prides itself on free speech. I’ve lost count of the times I said Pakistanis are disgusting though I have to admit it’s been a fair while since I did. Growing up it was my party trick, to show everyone how much I was not like all the others I’d stroke their egos, demonstrating my eagnerness and willingness to please with my local accent and knowledge of pop culture. I beamed with pride when a random girl on the bus complimented my accent as being so Brummy, you could never tell (that I was a Paki?) and when assorted friends rewarded my compliance, (which often translated into unabashed verbal paki bashing) with praise for how much I was not like all the others, I lapped it up, convinced this endorsement would save me from the racists. I resented it even at the time but I hadn’t fully realised the extent to which I would grow to abhor my own cowardice. I performed like the proverbial monkey, unaware, or perhaps unwilling to recognise the power play, reinforcing my lowly status every time I entered into this dance with my alleged superiors.

When Sinead O’Connor talks about disgusting white people I know who she means. It’s those people I felt compelled to please. I met L when I was 15, as a runaway, isolated, stuck in a rut, desperate for interaction. We were like chalk and cheese and not in that good opposites attract way. Up until my escape I’d been a straight A student and prided myself on learning and bettering myself. I had to dumb myself down so L wouldn’t feel like I was showing off. She was aggressive, using her body to push you where she wanted you. She wasn’t particularly big, just white. It was a feature of our friendship, to constantly reiterate how I’d managed to do well for myself, being friends with these white people on a council estate in Northolt when my folks were so alien and unworthy. She wasn’t the last white person to make me feel this way, I almost married another one. He said very early on in our relationship that he would only say it once but I might be smarter than him. I guess I could have spoken up, if I wasn’t paralysed from fear at the time, when he barked up my street at 3am it was his country and he’d talk as loud as he’d like, when I asked him to keep it down because people were sleeping. I was disgusted with his behaviour but didn’t locate my backbone until the relationship ended and I could finally be honest with myself. In the end I was grateful for the lesson, how white people will use a single person of colour to shield themselves against accusations of racism, all the while exerting unchecked white privilege to say and do as they please with no consequences.

These white people behaved in disgusting ways, and they are by no means the exception. When I said Pakistanis were disgusting I was reacting to the microaggressions we absorb as soon as we are able to verbalise. The racialised system of deserving and undeserving which places Pakistanis at the very bottom, in Asia but also the world. We are a slur weaponised against all South Asians, even non Asian Muslims. I had the impression Pakistani men were the most lecherous, the most violent, until I started working in domestic violence services. It was a long process but once I had made the decision to let the veil drop I was coasting. It was so much easier for me to be anti racist, to listen and go with my gut. So much less stress. Of course this means conflict is almost a permanent feature of my life but I’m nobody’s bitch. Being your own person of colour, respecting your past and acknowledging the hurdles your ancestors took for you to exist today, that’s empowering. Shaking the white gaze away from your eyes to see the strength of character and sheer bloody mindedness it took to survive the barbaric British empire, when it set out to destroy our cultures and peoples and very nearly succeeded, is catharthic and goes a little way to heal the fractures in our psyche.

I no longer think of Pakistanis as disgusting but broken and doing the best we can. We were and still are treated disgustingly by disgusting people wearing whiteness like armour against criticism of their inhumane and savage treatment of non whites. If you’re white and you found Ms O’Connor’s comments disgraceful consider the following:

You are a racist. A revisionist. A liar. A fake.

I thank Sinead O’Connor for having the courage to speak up in these threatening times. By making herself a target she takes some of the heat off the usual punching bags, and gives marginalised people everywhere a smidgen of hope that things are slowly changing, the world is righting itself.

End Kiwifarms Now

A few weeks back I was locked out of my Twitter account for suicidal ideation. I suspected this was the work of nazi incels who’d been monitoring my every move on social media and the resulting misery was compounded by the sense Twitter was using its safety guidelines to further victimise targets of far right extremists. It was happily enabling them, but to be fair, it always has.

Chloe Sagal, a young trans woman from Portland Oregon was hounded by the same people who doxed me. She had been stalked mercilessly, her life scrutinised and twisted beyond the pale, just like mine. Described as ‘brilliant but tortured’ by her friends she was an activist, a force for change but sadly the real life demons that haunted her succeeded in their campaign to kill her spirit and end her life. She wrote in her suicide note:

“My death cannot be silent. It has to be loud and political. My entire life, my experience, my education has led up to this moment. I can only expect trauma and death from my existence.”

This resonates. What must it take to feel so isolated, so alone and battered by the tide of unending misery the only solution is a violent death? It’s a thought that often keeps me awake. Yet even in the depths of my own despair I cannot fathom the level of anguish and sheer numbness that would lead me to self immolation.

Kiwifarms get off on the suffering of others. They target the people no one else cares about and that’s why they’ve been around since 2014, the year I had my first run in with them, and as it turns out Chloe did too. 4 years of nazi incels being allowed to network and organise, connecting fascists from the Americas to Australia. I reported them to the police in 2014 and regretted it. The cops didn’t care, they said I should log off and warned me for using a feminist slogan. How will they now answer for the murders and suicides committed by the same fascist rapists targeting me and Chloe and about another 1500 individuals, selected for their vulnerability to mental illness?

How many people need to die for these sadistic sons of bitches to be brought to heel? It was barely a week ago we heard about Rizzydraws, a stranger from Indonesia who was outed as gay by KF to the homophobic Indonesian authorities which led to him taking his own life. Kiwifarms were gleefully celebrating this all over Twitter. They blamed others for Rizzydraws suicide. Similarly in the wake of Chloe’s passing, kiwifarms were on Twitter apportioning blame to other trans women. It’s another one of their tactics, to pour salt into the wounds of grieving friends of their victims, like the sadistic savages they are. Julie Terryberry was just 18 and they cheered her death without a single paranoid thought that someone might take serious issue with it and come for them. They have acted with impunity and they’ve been allowed to. We tried to tell the authorities, we were victimised again. In those moments the cops and kiwifarms were on the same side.

They can’t afford to ignore it anymore, the death toll is rising. If only Chloe hadn’t felt so isolated, so alone and unheard she felt her most valid contribution would come from her dying. I wish I didn’t feel the same way.

Update: I’ve been informed Rizzy has recovered from their suicide attempt. Sending best wishes, sorry you were ever in that position.

Neutralising The Nazi Incel Threat

For more than a week, Nazi Incels (proud white supremacists who can’t seem to get laid) have been stalking my social media profiles, trawling for information that will reveal my location for the purpose of racist and sexual violence.

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That threat came fairly early on. They had hoped that it would scare me into closing/locking down my accounts because the intention is to silence women, especially of colour, because nazis don’t like it when women speak back, never mind minorities. I stopped reading it after a while, there are only so many threats one’s brain can process without feeling profoundly disturbed.

This is the admin of the site, allegedly. jm-e1527175427625.png

An anonymous account sent me this information. It could be entirely true or a ruse to get us looking in the wrong direction.

 

Kiwifarms had originally targeted me back in 2016 when a member of their forum, Mark Sabine, a lecturer at Nottingham University set up a thread in a similar vein. For reasons unbeknownst to me at the time, Sabine deleted the thread and offered an unreserved apology. I was taken aback, I hadn’t expected it to be quite so easy.

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I couldn’t understand why a troll would use their real name for a start. I’m still not convinced it’s the real Mark Sabine but it should be easy enough to ascertain with a simple email. Mark supposedly teaches queer culture yet frequents a site set up to target queer people. I guess he didn’t think anyone would fight back?

By now we all know what a nazi incel is. For those who need clarification, a nazi incel is a white supremacist who is ‘involuntarily celibate’ meaning no one will have sex with them. Instead of questioning why this might be and making an effort to better themselves they’re weaponising it. Far from being ashamed by this, they are proudly stating the case for forced marriage and promising sex abuse if this demand is not met. Their self proclaimed messiah, another supposedly educated man, Jordan Peterson with his fetish for crustacean porn has been attempting to intellectualise sex abuse with pseudo evolutionary pop psychology that has been debunked all over the internet but it doesn’t seem to have bothered them in the slightest. Imagine if non white men had made a similar statement. Imagine if the asian grooming gangs had turned around and said they were entitled to violate bodies at will and they were not sorry and they would do it again. Imagine the outrage.

Sarah Champion, disgraced Labour MP who resigned as shadow equalities minister following her entirely racist article regarding grooming gangs is awkwardly silent on the growing threat of white supremacist rapists who are emboldened by the authorities’ impasse on the single biggest threat facing women and various other marginalised groups. Selective outrage with regards to sex abusers enables rapists because racism hurts all victims of sex abuse, even white ones.

The internet is heaving with articles alerting us to the dangers of incels and the forums they have set up to avoid accountability.

The internet is enabling a community of men who want to kill women. 

‘Incel Rebellion’

The Official ‘an incel murdered somebody’ thread – Reddit

Hosts like Versaweb have been tripping over themselves to afford nazi incels anonymity when mainstream organisations have been forced to comply with their own community guidelines and take down offending posts. Versaweb  host the nazi site ‘Kiwifarms’ and as yet have failed to respond to correspondence informing them they are enabling abuse. Their silence translates as unequivocal support for nazis and the abuse they mete out to often vulnerable and marginalised targets. The collaborators and enablers, the sympathisers, what are they if not nazis themselves?

On the 25th May GDPR means organisations will need our explicit consent before sharing our data. For months now I’ve been inundated with emails begging to be allowed to continue sending me bumf I have tried to opt out of numerous times over the years. It seems to me they’re really desperate to get my permission and yet I am not confident this will have any effect on nazis stalking and harassing women on the internet. Mostly because the authorities have failed to hold anyone to account for the multiple threats to rape and kill me. However I am in the process of compiling evidence for the police, yet again. Because people have been murdered by nazis and we can shame them into action, even if they don’t personally care.

I have a group of white professionals (mostly male), some with legal backgrounds, prepared to accompany me to the local police station. It’s easy enough to fob off minorities, especially when they have mental health issues and can be harangued into breaking down and disengaging, but white people, white middle aged men, well they know their rights and they’re not averse to demanding them.

Last time I reported nazi incels to the police, in 2014, they said that they could not prove in a court of law that I was distressed or intimidated by the numerous threats to slit me from ear to ear or the images depicting rape followed by promises of the same. They went on to warn me I could be prosecuted for my use of the phrase ‘kill all men’. Well, it’s been a few years since I said those words, once I’d been reminded that my speech was not free. I haven’t responded to many threads promising violence, or the stalking and harassment of my friends and family, many of whom have deleted their online profiles. I have been a good little victim. Let’s see where that gets me.

(PS: The nazis would have had a harder job of tracking me down were it not for the abusive ex partner (also journalist) Shihab Salim Joi outing my full name a coupla years ago in a bid to slander me for exposing him as a domestically and sexually violent abuser. He set up a profile on Twitter which was eventually taken down for impersonation but not before the damage was done. Well done Shihab, for enabling nazis *slow clap* As a father of two daughters yourself, I’m sure you’re pleased with your work. All hail the entitled patriarchy, whether brown or white, they just want the freedom to abuse women and shut them up just because they can. This is usually where I say my favourite phrase but as I am censored you’ll have to imagine it instead)

If you have any information that might help, please contact me on Twitter or via the comments below.

Punish a Muslim Day is Cancelled

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You may or may not have heard about the threatening letters sent to Muslim MPs and homes across the UK calling for a day of violent attacks against Muslims. The letters, entitled ‘Punish a Muslim Day’, feature a table awarding points for violent acts such as verbally abusing a Muslim for 10 points to butchering a Muslim for 500. It goes without saying many people are feeling scared and unsure of what to do or who to turn to.

The authorities are aware of the threat and are said to be investigating but let’s be honest, can we really trust the authorities to have our back? Organisations like Tell Mama have made us aware of a whatsapp message doing the rounds which is advising Muslims to stay at home on April 3rd, the date given by the perpetrators for their hateful day of action. However Tell Mama are suggesting we treat it just like any other day, and not succumb to the fear mongering, as though we have a choice.

Just recently Mark Rowley the former assistant Met commissioner warned that National Action was proving to be an organised threat of which the likes have never been seen before and the public should be ‘gravely concerned’. He said this shortly before stepping down from his role in counter terrorism policing. This certainly fits their MO. National Action, a hate group proscribed in December of last year, are the first far right extremist group to have been banned under terror legislation. Far right white supremacist groups account for 1/3 of all the case work undertaken by the counter terrorism unit. Do we really feel safe enough to keep calm and carry on in the face of such a threat? It’s easy enough to advise people to rise above the violence promised to them if you personally feel safe under the state’s watchful eye but for many of us, we have seen firsthand how the state enables threats like these to propagate through their wilful inaction. They actively promote racial discord, citing cultural reasons as an excuse for why they didn’t do their jobs investigating abuse of white working class minors.

I reported racism a few years back and not only did the police deny any laws had been broken they went on to threaten me for my political beliefs. I hadn’t made any direct threats, just used a vague generalised statement said by many thousands of women before me, but they decided it negated the many racialised threats to kill and rape made against me. I am one of countless victims of police negligence, they are not my saviours, never mind in matters of racialised violence. It is irresponsible for any organisation to advise marginalised folk to ignore their gut instincts to protect themselves and their loved ones and throw themselves out there. These are our lives at stake, we have no sense of English superiority to bolster our confidence in the state. We aren’t here for the blitz spirit. We can’t keep calm and carry on when disgusting white males sexually assault Muslim looking women in the streets. We shouldn’t have to rise above the abuse meted out to our children. I am not too proud to admit I am frightened for my life, I’ve been like this for years but the fear has escalated because I’m worried for my neighbours, my community, people I’ve never met before.

I am forced to think of Bosnia, the Rohingya, Muslims who’ve been systematically targeted and killed by organised militias with very little intervention by the state, because the state arms them and lets them organise but keeps a safe enough distance so as to deny any culpability when it is all done. Why hasn’t the state called Cobra? Imagine if white people were put at risk in this way? We are not just Muslims, we are British citizens, we pay our taxes and yet..

Until the authorities; the police, the state, make a point of condemning white supremacy and the enablers, the Farages and Hopkins, the lefties and liberals, this looming threat will consume us. Until they make a stand, we can only do our best to protect ourselves. Tell your loved ones that fascism isn’t dead, whatever the liberals might say. Trust your gut not theirs. Stay at home on April 3rd and remain vigilant. Doing your job, making money, none of that means anything if you’re dead or disfigured for life.

BBC: A Predispostion for Propaganda?

I didn’t watch Panorama last night. I didn’t feel like I needed to see where it was going, I had my suspicions the BBC were rooting for something to make a focus of our outrage, a scapegoat. We’re not short of real life monsters threatening our way of life, many of them even had jobs at the BBC but it felt like the scene was being set for a ‘debate’, a distraction from the constant slew of actual things that have been proven harmful, like racism and historic child sex abuse cover ups for example.

I have been on SSRIs for 7 years. I started off on Citalopram and for a very brief time I felt as if I finally had the space to breathe and not feel like I was crawling out of my skin. As the meds settled in my system I became aware of the dulling effect it was having on my reality, something that no doubt worked brilliantly at crisis point but as my mental health improved I felt like it was holding me back, I wasn’t feeling as extremely as I did but I also wasn’t able to laugh as hard as I’d like or think too deeply about anything. I tried to come off them at first but was soon reminded of the reasons I became medicated when the symptoms returned; I was shocked by how intensely bad I felt and unable to function so I saw the GP about an alternative. He referred me to a psychiatrist and after a couple of visits we figured the best thing to do was switch to Sertraline, a drug that many users responded to after Citalopram. It’s hit and miss, prescribing mental health meds. Part of the process to healing is trial and error, you have to try things before you know how you’ll respond.

I was pleased with the change in my mood only a few weeks after I started taking Sertraline. I didn’t feel as foggy or tired and I was less fixated, a benefit of this particular drug which is often prescribed for people with obsessive disorders. It worked for me, I was struck by the fact I could pun again, something in my brain had changed. I spoke to others who weren’t so fortunate with Sertraline and went on to try other drugs but our brain chemistries aren’t one size fits all, we still don’t know enough about mental health to make this an exact science.

Before I became medicated I can’t say I was in favour of antidepressants especially SSRIs. I was even an audience member on a BBC talk show about antidepressants hosted by, I think, Nick Ross and said stuff I’m sure I’d cringe at now if I could remember, it was so long ago. I remember there was a big fuss about Seroxat a while back too, it was linked with increased risk of suicide among teenagers. I really did not want to be the sort of person who took antidepressants, someone who gave in (as people were all too keen to point out to me when I first started taking them), who’d failed or any number of negative variations on this, like I’d let people down or myself or whoever. Sadly, I did not get much of a choice on the matter if I had any hope for survival.

I took the drugs despite all my misgivings and prejudices, I really didn’t want to feel or exist in the way I had for so long, and I was scared I would die if I did. I had been seeing a therapist, sometimes multiple times a week but it just wasn’t enough, I felt I would kill myself probably. I never thought about killing anyone else, I couldn’t bear to be near anyone or more to the point, outside my bedroom even, that I kept locked most of the time. I took the drugs because my nephew was on his way into the world and I felt I owed him a cool aunt. I took the drugs because I’d hit rock bottom but inside me something chose to live. I felt almost embarrassed when I disclosed to the therapist I had started them already. She wasn’t the biggest fan herself and I felt like I was letting her down, like saying your therapy isn’t all that but she immediately said “GOOD” and leant forward to touch my knee. She said she’d never advocate for meds and wouldn’t have suggested I take them but was glad I had come to this decision myself because I really could do with them, these drugs exist because people in my situation need them.

I do not regret for one minute making that decision. I never thought I’d be on them so long, and I never believed they’d do me much good but it’s been 7 years and I am so pleased with myself and how far I have gotten. I recently cut my SSRIs by a third. If there is one thing I can say for certain and you must be aware of this before you go in, withdrawal is a bitch and you must do it slowly. I am aware that I could suddenly feel like I made a rash judgement but for now I’m enjoying being a 3rd less medicated and wondering what it will be like when I reduce them again.

The BBC makes a tenuous link between the many millions of users who safely take SSRIs so they can function in this society and the tiny minority who kill but this can be said of so many things it makes you wonder why they have singled out people who take drugs for their poor mental health. Most people who take recreational drugs for example, do not pose a risk to others but some might react violently. We could say the same about men, right? Most of them tend to adhere to some semblance of law, at least on the surface but a minority kill women and children. Should we point the finger at beards?

Once again, the BBC reminds us how little we should care about it, yet they insist we pay for this propaganda too.