My name is James and I have struggled with anxiety, depression and emetophobia for many years.
In late 2011, after many years of trying to “tough out” my anxiety and depression, I found myself unable to work and practically house-bound with fear.
Prior to this, I had worked in the Civil Service for over twenty years and, although I recognised my anxious tendencies, I just believed that my feelings and thoughts were normal and I was somehow weaker than others around me.
After several months of treatment and medication, I decided that I wanted to stop my anti-depressant; Mirtazapine. The advice of my local G.P. was “just take half for a week then stop”.
I found the experience of trying to stop my anti-depressant very difficult. I made repeated attempts to reduce, only to suffer physically with insomnia, nausea, panic attacks, restlessness and agitation. This inability to reduce my medication easily intensified my feelings of being “weak”.
My Doctor told me that what I was experiencing was a return of my original symptoms, but I didn’t agree. Eventually, I managed to reduce to the lowest possible dose available in pill form but I wasn’t able to reduce further. I asked for a liquid version of my medication but it was too expensive for my local health service to provide.
One day I started to wonder, the pharmaceutical companies manufacture most of these drugs in a wide variety of doses, how difficult would it be to be to create “tapering kits” to help people taper off at the end of treatment. It was this that led me to create my petition and this website.
I created, produced and hosted the Let’s Talk Withdrawal podcast which aimed to share both expert views and the lived experience of those who have taken and withdrawn from a range of psychiatric medications. Since September 2017, I have hosted and produced the Mad in America podcast, where we interview leading figures in the field of critical psychiatry and those with lived experience of the psychiatric system. To subscribe to this podcast in Apple iTunes click here
My sincere hope is that we can reach a point where users of these drugs who have come to the end of treatment and wish to stop, can do so in a controlled, safe and well-managed way, with the support of their local health service and the relevant drug manufacturer.
For recent TV, radio and podcast interviews, click here.