Douglas Bastard's Rants of Rage

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This article was written on 29 Dec 2017, and is filled under Uncategorised.

Happy pills

It’s a given that anyone with a pulse and a conscience hates the Daily Mail. But today the headline was so leaden, so stupid and so harmful that I had to break my blogging silence which descended by accident when I got a half-decent job. This headline told us that the nation is addicted to what it called ‘happy pills’. When you’re ready, I’ll begin.

The most basic, most essential piece of information is that I don’t take anti-depressants, which the Mail thinks are ‘happy pills,’ to induce a state of mild euphoria. There are some tablets, both legal and illegal, for that. I took Xanax once and that made me feel like I didn’t care and my partner took morphine after an operation and it took her two hours to leave the bathroom, such was her sense of happy dislocation.

No. I take anti-depressants because I don’t want to die. Even with them, my head often tries hard to make me feel appalling, either by dredging up the time my parents shouted at me when I was eight or, most effectively, by just making me feel bad. I took Sertraline at about two o’clock. It’s now five in the afternoon and I’m sitting here wondering how long it would take to die if I hung myself with the rope tied to a beam in the loft.

I won’t do that, of course. And I won’t do that because I’ve been here enough times to know that the feeling passes and tomorrow, after a sleep, I’ll feel better. Also, I have the Sertraline which acts like an emergency brake in my head, saying that when the cable on the tatty, piss-filled lift that is my mind breaks, it will kick in and stop it from plunging to the bottom of the shaft with a loud bang and lots of dust.

When I see headlines which invoke ‘happy pills,’ then, I get angry. Not in the kind of way that makes me want to throw every single copy of the Mail in the rubbish or stride up to people who I see buying it and punch them to the ground, for all that it might be briefly satisfying. But my anger is telling me to do two things.

Firstly, it’s to tell people who are taking anti-depressants that they aren’t happy pills. They are pills that stop you killing yourself. If you’re tempted to let the shabby shitstains at Associated Newspapers make medical decisions for you, and I understand that when you are depressed there are many dissonant voices that you may pay heed to, don’t. If you’re prescribed those tablets, it means you need them. Keep taking them until you there are things which mean you don’t have to. Newspaper journalists don’t care about you.

Secondly, it’s to tell whoever at the Mail wrote that piece that I’d like to talk to them. I know that when you’re a journalist sitting up there in your office, winding the wheel on your little hurdy-gurdy and playing tunes for the boys and the girls in the outside world, you feel like you’re absolutely invulnerable. You can say things that hurt people and that are designed to make people worry about anti-depressants without worrying that anyone wants to remonstrate with you.

Well, I do want to remonstrate with you. I’d like to sit down in an office or a coffee shop with you and know what you were trying to achieve and what you thought your words, so irresponsibly chosen, might do. They don’t go out into a void. They affect real, living people with complex conditions that are treated by these ‘happy pills’ which you don’t like us taking but which you don’t have an alternative for, at least one that you will stick around to implement.

Of course, you won’t do this, because you’re a bunch of gutless cowards, unhappy bubbles of anal wind popping and winking in the primordial ooze, to borrow a phrase from Fry & Laurie. There will be more halfarsed stories, more garbled misunderstandings of mental health conditions trotted out to give the pious hordes of middle England a guilty little tingle and a cheap moral judgment over their cornflakes. You’ll move smoothly on to the next story. And then the next.

For the time being, it’s enough for them to know that they are hated and that, one day, they may realise that they have made one enemy too many. We’ll see. Oh, and if you want to traduce me because you think I’m anonymous, my name is Richard Pendleton and, I say this from the bottom of my heart, fuck you.

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