Sifting Through Life After Suicide


From The New York Times: A new documentary film entitled “32 Pills: My Sister’s Suicide” tells the story of one woman’s efforts to recover from losing her sister to suicide.

“What I am really hoping is that people who see the film feel like it’s for other people like me. It’s for people who were left behind and who were so alone that when they walk down the street they feel like a Martian and nobody can understand what they are feeling. I hope they feel less alone by seeing someone else who has experienced the same thing. I hope that people who love people who have lost someone to suicide will understand there’s no time limit to the pain. Just be patient with the person that is still in mourning. All you can really do is listen and be there. Don’t try to pretend it didn’t happen. Don’t not talk about it. It’s the not talking about it that keeps us all isolated and sad. If people go home or go out to dinner and talk about the film, that to me is an incredible success.”

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    • I have the same question. I am an executor for the estate of a close friend who took her own life last year. I don’t call it suicide. I call it murder. Prescripticide.

      I had to clean out her apartment. I had to arrange for a decontamination crew to clean the deep stains left on the floor by her decomposing body. I have many of her medical records. I have her emails. I have my emails to her doctor. I have her computer. I have a box of pill containers – some still full – some empty.

      It was her very first antidepressant – citalopram. I warned her against it. I even warned her doctor three times. My friend told her doctor she felt the citalopram was making her feel suicidal. Her doctor told her that was impossible and increased the dose.

      My friend complained of insomnia. I found out later her doctor wrote a script for a two-month supply of sleeping pills. The doctor was on her way for a month in Europe. I was out of the country at a conference. I came back and my friend was already dead. I suspect she stopped the citalopram cold-turkey. The citalopram container still had pills in it. The sleeping pill container was empty.

      The police detective and the coroner suggested I file a complaint with the medical governing body of our province. I didn’t bother. Doctors are never held accountable – I’ve learned that from experience. My friend experienced the current acceptable standard of care.

      I photographed her apartment contents and the stain which was all that was left of her – bodily fluids, bits of scalp, bits of hair. I haven’t picked up my camera since. Last week I offered a small pearl necklace to another woman who had also considered herself a close friend. She declined the necklace – she stated she couldn’t wear anything that had belonged to a person who had “committed suicide”. I almost screamed at her: ‘She didn’t commit suicide – she was murdered by her doctor”.

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  1. “prescripticide”!…. I like that word. Iatrogenic prescripticide. Thanks to Grammarly, the word is now in my dictionary. Thank-you, “amnesia”…..And I do mean this with respect: your friend’s tragic death has given us the word “Prescripticide”. I’m sorry for your loss, and yes, I think you should have filed the report. But I also respect and understand your decision not to.

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  2. ‘Prescripticide’ was actually a David Carmichael word. I use it a lot – unfortunately. I had a small card printed with the heading ‘PRESCRIPTICIDE’ with links to a number of websites including RxISK , Peter Breggin and MIA. I handed them out at the wake. The doctor was at the funeral but not at the wake – probably back at work murdering more people with her prescription pad. I have supported at least 6 people with their complaints (and appeals) to the medical governing body. I have been stunned and speechless to see the complaints dismissed by the old boys’ network. ‘Admit no harm’ is the war cry. I have lost respect for the medical profession.

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