Hello everyone, firstly apologies for taking so long to write this next blog, the tail end of 2022 has been personally turbulent but many positive steps taken already in 2023.
I want to thank you all for standing by us, for your kindness, especially Emma -Jane Taylor and Sonia Poulton, who have been absolute rocks, giving us their platforms to share our story and giving us invaluable help and support.
Watch this video interview from the end of last year on Sonia’s Rise TV show:
To kick off my blogs for the year there’s lots to tell you about, as well as keeping up with my blog, live radio shows every Friday, I have now launched my ‘Brothers in Rhythm Podcast’ the first 2 episodes are available now on all podcast platforms. The links to these are at the bottom of this blog.
In this blog I wanted to highlight something I feel is massively important, share my experience, in the hope that it may help someone else.
Where do you go for help and support if you are struggling with depression? or anxiety? Or suicidal thoughts? The GP is usually the first line of support we turn to, but I know from experience how wrong they can get things, and the devastation their mistakes can cause.
I’m not saying they all get it wrong, and I know that for many, medication can really help, but please be careful, as it can also have the complete opposite consequences.
My brother Tim was signed off from work in November 2019, for the 2nd time over a 2 year period, this time stating he was suffering from anxiety, and mild depression.
He was then sign posted, for the 2nd time, to a 1st line mental health support service called “Time To Talk”, and the GP prescribed a drug called Sertraline, one of the adverse side effects of this drug include:
“Having feelings of overwhelming happiness (euphoria), excessive enthusiasm or excitement, or a feeling of restlessness that means you cannot sit or stand still.”
In clinical studies by the FDA it has also been highlighted to cause auditory and visual hallucinations in some patients.
This is exactly what happened to my brother, in his own words when later admitted to psychiatric hospital on 6th May 2020, medical records recorded him saying “I feel like I’m on speed” (Something he had not touched since the rave days)
I’d noticed his change in mood immediately, and he was aware of it too. He came up to see me where I live in Henfield, we had arranged a bro date previously and decided to go to the local skate park together. It was then that I really started to worry about him. He was up and down like a yoyo, and that loss of control was worrying him too. He was very aware of how unwell he was becoming and had a better understanding than us all with regards to why. It was like it had ‘taken the lid off’ and he started opening up to me, and to other supportive friends about the abuse he had suffered, and how this was still effecting him. He said that he wanted my help, and I could speak to his GP, so after a few calls between myself, Tim and his Doctors it was agreed that he should have his dose decreased with the view to come off it completely.
Tim was happy about this, he had also told me he had been struggling to sleep, and I could see he was losing a lot of weight.
Under normal circumstances, and with the right love and support my brother could have got better from this point onwards, but a lot of his pain that he had been holding in for many years was what he was starting to talk about, and not everyone in the family wanted to talk.
I have covered this in the previous blogs, but for those coming here for the first time it was historic child sexual abuse from the age of 10 – 13 that my brother disclosed after 40 years.
He disclosed to me, one of his long-term friends and colleagues, his family, his GP and the Police. Sadly, his GP dismissed his disclosure as “sounding consensual” as recorded by them in his medical notes, something that they still to this day refuse to discuss with me, and the police failed to follow up.
As mentioned, the other line of support offered by his GP, was Time To Talk, and in his transcripts he disclosed the historic child sexual abuse to them also, he told them who else he had disclosed to at that point, and spoke about how upset and angry he was with his GP.
This was to be his final session with them, and they were only really interested in getting him signed off and signposted. Tim was, in this discussion saying he believed he was suffering from PTSD, and asking for face-to-face therapy, unfortunately for him it was something he never received.
On the exact same day he was signed off he exploded with internalised built up rage. This is when his hallucinations became severe and he said my wife’s face changed into that of an ex girlfriend. It was just 2 days later that he was admitted to Meadowfield hospital after what was described by them as having a “manic episode”, whilst in that hospital he was seen for only a couple of hours maximum, by a graduate psychiatrist, who then I believe wrongly diagnosed my brother as being Bi-Polar.
My brother was not, nor ever had displayed typical Bi-Polar, symptoms, and I now understand he was having a serious adverse reaction to medication, while also suffering from undiagnosed PTSD.
Another huge failing that needs to be mentioned here is with regards to consent. What I now know and did not find out until inquest records were released in January 2022, was that Tim had given sole medical authorisation and consent to me alone, and naturally trusted me to discuss his mental health with doctors and the mental health assessment team, but I was not told this at the time.
Due to this failing, and other family members lies to the medical professionals about Tim’s situation I was blocked out of any contact, it is clear to me now they wanted him to be sectioned and silenced from talking about the historic child abuse amongst other things.
I was then physically prevented by family members from ever being able to speak to my brother again.
While in Psychiatric hospital he was prescribed an antipsychotic drug called Olanzapine, mainly prescribed for people with schizophrenia, my brother was not schizophrenic, the drug is also prescribed to people with Bi-Polar, but if incorrectly prescribed to someone with PTSD can make those symptoms much worse.
Tim was seeking help to work out why he was feeling the way he was and to make his life better, going to the services for help made everything worse for him, they misdiagnosed him and gave him another drug for the symptoms the first drug had caused.
Again, I am not saying here that everyone gets misdiagnosed, some people really do benefit from pharmaceutical medication, I’m just saying don’t blindly trust your GP, be aware of the side effects of the drugs they prescribe, don’t get hooked long-term, and be aware of misdiagnosis, get a 2nd opinion, a 3rd, a 4th, as many as you can! Make sure they get it right because the consequences of them getting it wrong, can result in total devastation, and actual loss of life.
The huge irony for me, is that since Tim started talking and being brave enough to open up, everyone has tried to stop him, and me from talking, or continuing that conversation. His GP who sent him to ‘Time To Talk’ refuses to speak to me about the failings in his care. Tragically, me and my brother never got to speak to each other ever again.
I’m keeping this blog short, but if you would like to know more, please check out my brother in Rhythm podcast where i’m sharing this journey with you
Please, if you think you need help and support, as someone struggling or supporting someone else who is, please get in touch, you are not alone.
Written by: mike wall
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