In 2009, my friend Leonie’s 22-year-old son Shane killed himself and another young man after taking Citalopram for 17 days.
Shane is the kind of son every mother dreams of. A student at prestigious Trinity College in Dublin, he was devoted to his younger brothers and sister, regularly gave money and the clothes off his back to homeless people, didn’t drink or smoke and was kind, handsome, gentle and much loved by his family, friends and college professors.
The media storm was immense. How could such a normal young man, from such a good family do this? How could his mother attribute his suicide and killing of another to a drug taken without incident by millions of people around the world? How could his inquest find that Citalopram affected his mind to such an extent that he was incapable of forming the intent to kill himself or another, and return an open verdict?
How could Shane’s mother not crawl under a rock reciting the rosary and hanging her head in shame for what her son had done?
The real hopeless victims of mental illness are to be found among those who appear to be most normal. Many of them are normal because they are so well adjusted to our mode of existence, because their human voice has been silenced so early in their lives, that they do not even struggle or suffer or develop symptoms as the neurotic does. They are normal not in what may be called the absolute sense of the word; they are normal only in relation to a profoundly abnormal society. Their perfect adjustment to that abnormal society is a measure of their mental sickness. These millions of abnormally normal people, living without fuss in a society to which, if they were fully human beings, they ought not to be adjusted. ~ Aldous Huxley, Brave New World