Lent Term 2012
Turning Point is a corny cliché. And like so many corny clichés, sometimes ticks the box.
I knew, from the moment Bink rang me that Saturday afternoon, that she would stay on at Cambridge to the end.
I also knew her health was improving. And would surely continue to do so…
She had a consultation with Helen once a week, alternating telephone sessions with coming home to Bedford. She credited Helen with enabling the breakthrough which enabled her to stay at Cambridge.
Helen had told her that her essay didn’t need to be good.
It didn’t need to be finished.
It didn’t need to be anything.
She could just write a little more. If she wanted.
As Serena said, taking the pressure off...
She did indeed seem dramatically better almost straight away, and making progress all the time.
The longer she was off the medication, the more clearly she perceived its dangers.
I understand the correlation now, she said. Those shocking stories of people being put on anti-depressants, and then committing suicide. She quoted someone who was put on meds to help his depression... and shortly afterwards killed his entire family.
It took away any sense of the consequences of my actions, she explained.
That’s why I did such crazy things.
She reminded me of the Girls’ Ski Clinic which Serena, she and I had been on, in March 2008. How we laughed at her recklessness. Skiing all day with her boots undone. Flying over moguls and landing inches from lethal rocks.
It’s not funny at all though, is it? I had no idea what I was doing. It didn’t feel dangerous at all.
I could have killed myself.
She reminded me, too, of her going with a friend to pick Rosie up from school, and allowing him to put her baby sister in his car. He was doped to the eyeballs, and yet she let him drive Rosie home.
I’m sure the her teachers knew there was something wrong. It’s awful, what we did.
Well, what I did, really.
I’ve always admired Bink’s honesty.
You should be writing a blog about Bink coming off drugs, Serena said more than once that winter, though I still didn’t really know what a blog was. Going through all the awful withdrawal. People need to know.
The world really needs that book you were writing with Bink. It’s so critically important to know the effects of this stuff.
And that you can get through it.
So I spoke to the Health Ed of the Mail.
He questioned me a lot, listened a bit, and then said, The internet is full of cranks. Basket cases refusing to take their meds. Conspiracy theories about doctors being in the pay of the big multi-national pharmaceuticals.
My readers need a clear message. Otherwise they’ll end up chucking their medication away and going off the deep end.
I think what you meant was, your readers need your message.
My message was very clear. That medication had wrecked my daughter’s life for over a decade and now she was breaking free of it. That she had been chemically coshed year after year instead of being treated. That coming off it had been hell. And could have proved fatal.
It’s not the end of the story yet though, is it? he objected.
Why don’t you ring me in six months’ time, when you can see where this is going?
Why don’t I not, I thought.
Sadly, by the end of six months I had no idea where it was going.
The truth was, I didn’t have all the truth.
No idea what was really going on. At all.