Personal Testimony

 

I said above that psychosis is a lack of art therapy.  It is lots of things actually including a situation which happens to just the same proportion of persons in West Lapland as here in Great Britain ie 1/100. What is interesting is that in West Lapland 2/100,000  get labelled something people  like  the  press in the  UK  call a paranoid schizophrenic whereas here it  is most of the 1/100 who are. I don't  know  if  the famous "Livingston Rose" actually exists and for obvious reasons of hers we may never do having returned her NHS 1p misdiagnosis damages cheque enclosing a long tirade of abuse.  I heard there is a Liverpool one too with her own tirade.  Either way something, shall we say, happened in my life in April 1994, aged nearly 33. I think I was a bit burnt out really after no proper holiday in 4 years but a change is as good a rest and I felt highly refreshed, perhaps too much so at times! A little bit unhealthily over excited a couple of times.  Whatever it was that happened to me there have never been any reports of similar in my family past or present. However my father was a coeliac, that illness being linked with this thing paranoid schizophrenia I read somewhere, so I may have inherited the whatever it was from him. I had drunk three pints of beer every night for years, more on Friday and Saturday and that might not have helped though I don’t think smoking some weed ten years earlier from this pipe while travelling in Africa can have caused it, however bad the reaction at the time.

The pygmy pipe Clive Hathaway Travis smoked weed in Mt Hoyo Eastern Zaire May 3rd 1984

Pipe obtained from Pygmies Mt Hoyo Eastern Zaire through which I smoked weed on my birthday 1984

I became challenged shall we say  almost overnight although I had paid certain aspects of my life scant attention for some time. I felt wonderfully excited as though I had been the only person in the country to be let in on a great secret. I spent that summer travelling around Britain, Ireland and parts of Europe in search of more investigative excitement. At the end of the summer I was misprescribed an antidepressant. I  was not even told it was one and since I had had depression before I knew I did not have one and had only gone to the GP for a sick note to send work so I could work from home, not for help with any medical condition. It was like pouring petrol on a fire to put it out. I ended up a week or two later 'causing' £10,000 worth of damage in a few minutes and was sectioned in an old asylum, quite an experience. Later I noticed the 3 symptoms I developed after taking the drug, imipramine were exactly as described in the side effect list including "violent impulsive behaviour".  I was prescribed Chlorpromazine. No alternatives were mentioned or discussed. It made me suicidally depressed.  Nobody asked me what had happened.

Chlorpromazine gave me retroejaculation. I knew I could not live my life feeling so low and as soon as I was released secretly stopped taking it, the effects of the antidepressant having gone into remission. That was all that had really had happened wasn't it? My GP had sent me on an almighty great drugs trip and I had done the nasty cold turkey. Its the only sensible way to look at it. It was a lonely decision to stop taking the drug. I felt there would be no support if I told anyone. Nobody had given me any hope that I could either recover completely to the point of requiring no medication or find a medication I could reasonably be expected to take. I felt a great stigma towards myself and acute embarrassment at my diagnosis. It was not possible to really acknowledge to myself I had been ill in myself as the consequences of that were unthinkable, yet they succeeded. It was a sort of protection mechanism in a way to not let them, most of the time. Although I encountered one or two good nurses on the wards I was very unimpressed by almost all the psychiatrists (except a Scottish one) and this pattern would be followed throughout my journey. I spent the next 10 years of my life in a cycle of gradually getting to the point of being arrested, being sectioned (at first for criminal damage and later for written material I had produced) and made suicidal by the NHS whose, as we now know mostly pointless drugs for schizophrenia almost invariably even with one of the modern so called atypical drugs, gave me suicidal clinical depression as a side effect. At the same time all fight would go and at risk of suicide because of depression I would be deemed ‘well’ and released from hospital. I would then stop my treatment because of the side effects prior to the next incident over 6 months later. I was quite sure that since the introduction of Chlorpromazine many patients, though I do not know what proportion, had committed suicide because of the clinical depression the drugs had caused them. I was and still am absolutely staggered that I was given no warning or understanding in this respect. How could this country lock a person up and force chemicals into their blood stream which made them suicidal? What misery of depression, akathisia and other side effects e.g. sexual had I to put up with! I escaped from hospital on the second occasion I was sectioned, so frightened of the side effects was I and went on the run until the section had expired. My benchmark for happiness was not being medicated and so I was able to find joy as a street beggar. I disappeared from home for a whole year at one point to avoid treatment and later absconded, rightfully terrified of the injection I was to have had the next day. Again I found some happiness on the run. After a decade of this I was told about an illness called post-psychotic depression. When, eventually, I was given a drug which did not list depression as a side effect I did not get depressed, a major advance in my treatment. So I wondered if there really was such an illness as post-psychotic depression rather than some protective delusion of the psychiatrist. It seemed vanity prevented him from seeing he was driving his own patients to suicide with drugs which should have a warning on the box like cigarettes. Another step forward took place when I got a new CPN (Community Psychiatric Nurse) and she agreed to try and treat me without medication. It did not work, whatever that might mean, but it showed me (if only subconsciously) we could perhaps work together. She also helped me with my advance statement to stop any of the drugs I had had already so unsuccessfully had being forced into me again. When the MHRT (Mental Health Review Tribunal) released me from a section this showed me I could get at least some justice, another key moment. Some 10 years, and 8 sections after I first became ill I was released from hospital by the Hospital Managers. Before my release the patient in the next bed to me had told me he was getting no side effects from his treatment. As none of the Managers was a doctor I felt an eronneous responsibility to them for releasing me. So out of an ultimately sick and deluded sense of indebtedness I went to my GP (with whom I had generally maintained a good relationship, another major mistake) and told him it did not require a genius to see I would be back again in hospital after a few months if I was not taking something (I should have also said if I remained in the locality) and asked him to at least try me on that drug the other patient was on so I could say to the Managers I had. I was on that drug for the 16 years from April 2004 and avoided hospital. Its not really true to say I was well though and this was finally shown up when to my joy the DWP told me I was not or no longer disabled. They erred here by not asking me what time I got up or whether I had any interest in procreating so I deduced their questionnaire was written by an antipsychotic drugs company proxy. Generally I did enjoy being what people called ill.  I thought of being buried next to Spike Milligan whose grave stone says "I told you I was ill"  mine saying "I told you I wasn't ill" with the guy's on the other side saying "I've seen guys worse than this". I felt very positive and purposeful. On the other hand the treatment was appalling: criminally and murderously shocking for 10 years until I found this drug, pointless though it was. But I would really not change anything (now I am through it!) as it all gave me the material to write a book, something I would not otherwise have done. I remain well and have surmounted any mood problems I think associated with my employment situation. This is greatly helped by going to the gym. I go most days. My family are very happy that I have avoided hospital for so long (17 years now) and don’t look like I am going back. If I was what is there to fear? That in itself is grounds not to require medication. And other than to mollify the needs of others my time in the last year without so called antipsychotics together with the Open Dialogue and Pertti Karppinen Transworld Sport videos in themselves proves for me so there is no reason I should take any antipsychotic and I can indicate this on my advance statement. Why can I put that in my advance statement? Because I can defer, even without referring to Open Dialogue and Pertti Karppinen, to the pre Open Dialogue statistics at the foot of the Causes, Definitions and Prognosis section and assert, salutarily, I can stay well without antipsychotics and anyone who disagrees with me is simply manufacturing mental illness in me for, ultimately, the drugs company. It's been a lonely voyage to this point so in case you didn't see it in the Definitions section here's Mr Karppinen again as one can't over-labour the point!