When I came across this photograph of Queen’s Park, Glasgow, in the CANMORE archive I shed a tear. You might wonder why?
In 2005 I became very familiar with Queen’s Park and walked around it nearly every day with my friend Jamie. We were then both psychiatric patients in the nearby Priory Hospital. It is fair to say that Jamie and the park did me more good than any of the drugs that I was prescribed. I will never forget Jamie’s kindness and how we were able to share thoughts and feelings with one another in a way that was incredibly special.
In 2005 my children were of a similar age to the children that appear in this old photograph. It hurts me still to think of the pain and distress my hospitalisation may have caused them and their dear mum.
I eventually took my own discharge (unauthorised) from the Priory but within a week was admitted, on a voluntary basis, to St John’s Hospital, Livingston. There I was given high dose psychotropic medication and then ECT:
ECT did not help me. You see I was experiencing the truly awful consequences of withdrawal from SEROXAT a medication that I had been prescribed in 1998 for anxiety and on which I had become physiologically dependent.
For sharing this, my experience of the harm caused as a result of taking medications as prescribed, I have been labeled by some of my former colleagues as being “antipsychiatry”.
Despite my personal experience I do not consider all medications to be bad. Any intervention can bring about a wide range of responses from helpful to harmful. Unless we consider – I mean openly consider – all responses to medical interventions then evidence-based medicine will lose authority.
I made this film about Queen’s Park a few years ago: