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COMING OFF MEDICATION - starting a diary

(Note from Voices Forum: People shouldn't seek to discontinue medication without the advice and support of their doctor, psychiatrist or other mental health professional).

In 1982 I was detained in a locked ward for 5 weeks and diagnosed with schizophrenia. A grim experience with the walls smeared with human excrement that the staff refused to clean off. The effects of the drugs I was forced to take were so severe that I cut my wrists. This is the only time in my life I have ever harmed myself. It was an act of protest. I reasoned if I attacked those who had detained me and forced me to take medicine, even though I begged not to be given it, I would be sent to a secure hospital. The consultant asked me what I was unhappy about as I had three square meals a day. The effects of the drugs were like having a plastic bag pulled over my head. It felt suffocating and I became desperate. After the month's section ended the hospital refused to release me and the consultant said if I didn't like it he could detain me for a year. I knew this would be the end and I would not survive. Fortunately junior staff intervened on my behalf to secure my release.
(The hospital was later blacklisted by the Royal college of Psychiatrists and has now been pulled down.)

I had had an unhappy childhood which was emotionally and physically violent, and people around me believe my depression was caused by this.

I spent the next few years attending a day hospital before finding a job and fully participating in society. In recent years doctors have thought that the diagnosis was incorrect. The decision has been made to take me off the medicine I take. Although the dose I take is low, I am terrified of stopping the medicine altogether, having originally had the fear of God put into me about what would happen if I did this. I almost need to be deprogrammed.

I intend to write a diary for Perceptions of my experience coming off anti-psychotic drugs to inspire and help provide information for readers of the magazine. Even if you do have schizophrenia, is it still OK to stop the drugs after a time? What are the risks? Is it worth it? Is life better without drugs? Please email me or Perceptions if you have any thoughts or comments.

Bob Sexton

[PART 2]