When Will We Wake? Reflections on Suicide and Psychotropic Medications

Beatrice Birch
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Suicide is now the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. While antidepressants and other mind-altering psychotropic medications are supposed to decrease symptoms, they often have the opposite effect and are known to increase suicidal thoughts and actions for people from all walks of life and all ages. The impact suicide has on the lives of family members, friends, co-workers and the community is devastating. The loss of human potential is enormous.

In Christopher Fry’s play, A Sleep of Prisoners, he writes: “Thank God our time is now when wrong comes up to face us everywhere, never to leave us till we take the longest stride of soul men ever took. Affairs are now soul size… it takes so many thousand years to wake, but will you wake for pity’s sake?”

I have met too many young, thoughtful, sensitive and intelligent people who hated being medicated by the psychotropic medications. They were not aware that there was a choice, and, being told they would have to be on these drugs the rest of their lives, they chose suicide. They were not prepared to live in a fog of pain, disconnected from insightful thinking, heartfelt feeling and creative initiatives: the essential qualities of being human.

Not many people know that indeed there is a choice. There are legitimate ways to work through, understand and digest the debilitating and traumatic challenges that come with simply being human. But one needs to be proactive, humble and willing to break old patterns including unhelpful self images.

With the best of intentions and in trust, individuals and parents seek professional advice when wrestling with life challenges for themselves or for their children. Of course there are exceptions, but typically, due to insurance restrictions and ‘big pharma’ prioritizing profits, within a few minutes and without really being listened to or offered supportive, empowering alternatives, struggling individuals are stigmatized with a mental health disorder, told the chemistry in their brain is out of balance and given a psychotropic medication which they will be dependent upon for the rest of their lives.

Wouldn’t we all agree that human beings are dynamic and complicated? One honest psychiatrist stated: “…You think we understand the brain? It is more complicated than the universe!” Isn’t it time we look deeper? Some experience that the state of the soul, the seat of our emotions and habits which is influenced by life situations, actually informs the brain. Could it be that the medications are actually what significantly disrupt the chemistry in the brain which naturally is flexible and forgiving?

For some people, these addictive medications keep us in the victim mold. They disconnect us from life challenges which need to be dealt with in order for us to continue to grow and to evolve. Challenges are opportunities for growth, they are not meant to hold us down!

Looking through the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), one would imagine that simply being human is an illness. For example: if you mourn the loss of a loved one for over a certain amount of time, you may be labeled as depressed and then put on medication… so that you will no longer feel. Why? Don’t we, men and women, all have tear ducts? Tears are a reflection of the soul breathing out, of letting go. Imagine how it would be if we could be reassured that we will cry for as long as we need to, and when we have worked through the loss and the need is no longer there, we will simply stop crying. Perhaps we could choose to see tears as enablers that assist the soul’s recovery and digesting process.

As human beings we are creators, but, at times, we certainly can feel like victims. In my experience, we more or less consciously seek out challenges which stretch us to go beyond ‘our box’. We are surrounded by, and certainly history is filled with, inspiring individuals who have made their way through unenviable and unbelievable hardship guided by the resilience of their Spirit.

A remarkable English doctor colleague referred to “us doctors” as “the pushers.” Look at all the people addicted to pain pills, sleeping pills and other medications. Any addictive substance we take disempowers us at the expense of cultivating our own inner strength.

The subliminal message is: “You are a victim of life circumstances… and you need me or this pill to fix you.” Well, this fixing is not working! We are not machines! These psychotropic medications are turning too many of us into zombies. We are experiencing an addiction epidemic. Opioids, alcohol, sugar, and the prescribing of mind-altering psychotropic medications are causing chaos in our society. The spiritual essence of the human being is being eclipsed.

I’m reminded of Henry David Thoreau’s quote, “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” Ask anyone wrestling under the influence of their medications how they feel. When we do not feel, then incredibly awful things can happen.

What are we doing to our people? Never before in the history of the world have so many people been so intensively medicated, via both legal and illegal drugs, as they are in the U.S. today. The United States accounts for about 4.4% of the global population and yet consumes more than 30% of the prescription opiate drugs in the world. Some estimate U.S. prescription opiate consumption to be as much as 80% of global demand.

What life have we created for our youth? Are we listening to them and helping them to connect with their divine, creative, resilient Self? How else will they develop the confidence to take on the challenges life presents?

An elderly, wise friend stated once: “What sensitive, thoughtful person today would not be depressed?” We have so much to transform. We have schools which are like prisons where our children do not thrive. Our prison system is punitive and has little belief or interest in transformation. We can feel paralyzed by the overwhelming challenges all around us, but the secret, I believe, is to get involved with whatever you feel needs transforming, find your colleagues and try as best you can to ‘walk the talk’. Remember, you never know when you might save a life simply by taking the time to be interested and to listen with your heart.

Please do not underestimate your efforts and your positive thoughts… they are more powerful than you might imagine.

I want to believe that those struggling individuals for whom life became unbearable under the influence of medication cocktails have not died in vain. I have chosen to see their action as both a sacrifice and statement to all of us: “When will you wake, for pity’s sake?”

Will we remember that a human being has a body, soul and spirit with an innate wisdom and, despite challenges, is always in the process of healing? Will we take the time to listen and support rather than shut up and medicate? Will we allow people to feel and work through challenges which belong to them? Can we be motivated and catalyzed to bring deep and lasting change enhancing what is respectfully humane?

20 COMMENTS

  1. Interesting article.
    Unfortunately, and much as I would like it, they can’t yet find a hard and fast link between antipsychotics and suicide, or even between antidepressants and suicide except at dose changes. Don’t worry, psychiatry hasn’t nobbled me, I look everywhere for the link I think is there, and it was nearly there in carol couplands study, but not quite. I want this link nailed, maybe if the drug companies properly released their trial data it will become obvious.

    What we can insist on is honesty, now. So things like “you cannot recover without meds” and “it’s sadly a biochemical imbalance that the drugs correct” (verbatim quotations) stops right now. Next time a psychiatrist says that, anyone who is reading, ask for the evidence in print.

    • The studies are conducted mainly by drug companies and members of the psychiatric establishment. Would they even conduct such a study? And, if the results were unfavorable, would they publish them?

      James Holmes–the Batman movie shooter–murdered a bunch of people because he had been told he was incurably insane or “bipolar.” Of course mass murder was his (bad) choice. Suicide wasn’t dramatic enough for him perhaps.

      Since rejecting my own label I’m no longer suicidal. But when I was told my life was over at 20–no one could ever love me and I might never have a job, that I would have to take massive quantities of Haldol that made me seize and unable to enjoy anything…I wanted to die.

      Glad I resisted the urge. 25 years later I’m free.

    • I liked this blog, it nicely synopsizes what all of us here on MiA know is the truth about psychiatry. And the “mental health professionals” absolutely do still need to “wake up.” I’m working on a “Wake Up” painting right now, and will be putting it on coffee cups soon. In the hopes we can all work together to help wake up the sleeping masses, including our highly deluded “mental health professionals,” via the arts and direct to consumer fine art printing. Which hopefully might some day become mass marketing of our legitimate societal concerns. Thanks for speaking the truth, Beatrice.

      By the way, ConcernedCarer, I think the reality of akathisia is compelling evidence of harm, that results in suicides. And akethesia is created with the antipsychotics and antidepressants. In addition to anticholinergic toxidrome poisoning, which is also created with antipsychotics and/or antidepressants.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toxidrome

      I mean, isn’t it only logical to believe that now that we have the medical proof that the antidepressants and antipsychotics make people “mad as a hatter”/ crazy likely to cause suicides? Especially when this known form of medical poisoning is always misdiagnosed, and fraudulently claimed to be a “lifelong, incurable, genetic illness,” because this known form of psychiatric drug induced crazy making poisoning, isn’t even listed in the DSM?

    • “Unfortunately, and much as I would like it, they can’t yet find a hard and fast link between antipsychotics and suicide, or even between antidepressants and suicide except at dose changes.”

      Crikey, I’m wondering why we bother. If CC – who must read all the information on akathisia – doesn’t get it what hope for getting the wider public to grasp it ?

      I’ll try once more….’hard and fast link’ = using pharmacogenetics to prove a person is toxic (akathisia/toxic psychosis). It seems the coroners make sure this doesn’t happen and the GP’s/ psychiatrists get away with it.

      Pharmacogenetics made easy:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rskJYrQjy2c

      Kerry O’Malley: Community Treatment Orders and the Mental Health Tribunal and the use of pharmacogenetics to get her free of forced drugging:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_ceMPjJyVY

      Adverse Reactions to Psychiatric Drugs: Yolande Lucire MBBS, Peter Breggin MD:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IEoSs6Yo0DA

      • You bother because you are getting your point across, and I’ve got the point believe me, antidepressants will forever scare the cripes out of me based on experience. I also have enough evidence for my own conclusion, based on R Whitaker, P Goetzche and their sources. But, just as one example, Joanna Moncrieff seems unconvinced, and to convince more mainstream psychiatrists of anything it needs to be unequivocal proof battered into the frontal cortex from close range lol.

        I am starting to wonder if hardline biospychiatrists are reformable in the slightest. Their gloomy over-labelling and attribution of scientific failure to “treatment resistance” leaves little room for any optimism in the fact that only people get can themselves to a better place.

        Thats why I think you have to point out the dishonesty and get comprehensive informed consent and thereby enable people to reject bio psychiatry if they so wish.

        • CC – If a person has spent decades prescribing SSRI’s and just doesn’t think they do much – when in fact a science (pharmacogenetics) pretty much proves a specific percentage of a given community will not be able to metabolise the drugs correctly and therefore will become toxic – to actually face up to what they have done maywell be just too much for them come to terms with. They are also incentivised by being very well paid and – as it were – protected by the state. One might come to the conclusion that they are protecting their careers and their fellow prescribers/enforcers of neurotoxins. It’s just too appaling for them to do otherwise, so they continue and will continue until they are stopped.

          BUT would you agree it is vital THEY are MADE to come to terms with what they have done ? At worst this is utter extreme brain horror that has violently killed. Don’t be fooled by the word critical, in this context it really means hypocritical.

          • “THEY are MADE to come to terms with what they have done ? ”
            Its a good point you make StreetPhoto. I can’t begin to put myself in the mindset of those whose lives have been wrecked by psych drugs. I think I might just have dodged a bullet, but I’m still angry and sad. I do see the evidence of this damage all the time.

            For me we first of all have to try to rescue the future. But I totally understand those that want accountability for knowingly damaging patients. I hope none of that comes across the wrong way.

  2. Interesting. I’ve taken to what is perhaps a natural course of acceptance bred through loss, hurt and bereavement for the lost lives of my CPS cohorts.

    Nowadays I see walking the journey with death and dying slightly differently. To accept one’s death and then to live accordingly relieves one of expectations and false truths perhaps.

    There is the inherent right of the individual to opt-out and we must honor that separate in how it will effect you, others. That is our right.

    Thanks,

    Jen

  3. When I attempted Suicide twice in the early 1980s while in a state of Acute Akathisia, I had no choice whatsoever.

    I practically broke into the Psychiatric Unit at Galway, Southern Ireland in 1984 – because I was in danger of attempting to kill myself for a third time (in a state of acute akathisia).

    When I tried to come of the drugs (that I had refused to begin with in 1980) I found I couldn’t, because my brain had been Broken through drug exposure.

    But I successfully withdrew eventually through a careful drug taper and an “Epiphany” in 1984. And my Suicide Attempts, my Hospitalizations, and my Psychiatrc Disability ended.

    My “Epiphany” involved recognising the dynamic of my Anxiety, and that I could do something about it.

    In the “Power of the Now” Eckhart Tolle describes his own enlightenment (and freedom from anxiety and depression) in very simple and understandable terms.

    This wisdom can be found inexpensively in many different spiritual pathways, in a wait and see manner.

      • I have noticed that, too. “Chicago Med” also shows people magically coming around within seconds or minutes of an injection, and also asserts that they can determine if someone is a “sociopath” by looking at a brain scan, which is, of course, utter blather.

        On the other hand, “New Amsterdam” ran a show where a kid’s difficulties were proven to be severely exacerbated by a school psychiatrist putting him on antipsychotics and completely ignoring the context of his distress. The hospital psychiatrist took on the school psych and assumed some personal risk to his job in order to prove that bullying and the loss of his dad were the real issues for this kid and start him on the path of feeling heard and cared about. I wrote the network to let them know how much I appreciated their raising this issue in such a clear manner. It gave me a little hope!

        • One thing I like about most Law and Order episodes, they don’t always wind things up with “the schizophrenic did it.”

          Of course as many here would agree, categorizing someone as permanently “schizophrenic” is itself problematic and dehumanizing. As angry as I am about NAMI influencing Ron Howard to insert a pro drug message in A Beautiful Mind (not to mention they fudged on many important facts) it was refreshing to see a sympathetic portrayal of someone written off as “crazy” and hopeless.

          When I found later that John Nash recovered because he did not take drugs for more than a few months I was ticked!

  4. I like the article, too, but I wish that it could also talk about challenges of people being severely harmed by prescribed benzodiazepine tranquilizers and the brave souls who are trying to become free of these chemicals while enduring the suffering that is incredibly horrific. No, these people are not zombies. They feel such strong emotions through the process of reaching towards living a chemical-free life, yet an outside observer (often a doctor) just looks at them as just a “bit depressed” and a “bit agitated”. I wish the doctors actually listened and understood that people can feel so horribly overstimulated on the inside from the med withdrawal, while appearing more calm on the outside. The inner world can be far more searing and volcanic than any doctor or a psychiatrist is even mentally capable of imagining.