Thursday, 12 February 2009

Florence Nightingale, Bipolar disorder and Ketamine

Gosh, what a week - or two. I dunno. This country is in some kind of turmoil. Every day another scandal. Maybe it's all being done so that we don't actually consider what's happening to our economy. But then of course we now have some kind of 'hearings' where the recalcitrant bankers are hanging their heads 'in shame' and saying 'sorry.' As if they were. Seen any flying pigs recently? No? Neither have I. 'Yes, we earned far too much...' they now say. What a surprise. I could never understand how 28 year olds could be earning £150,000 bonuses. It didn't make sense to me. If it didn't make sense to ME who has the numerical understanding of a six year old, one would have thought that there would have been even more whistleblowers out there making the point that, hey, there's something wrong here...

Then we had silly Carole Thatcher and her 'gollywog' disgrace. I didn't have a gollywog when I was a kid. I was deprived. I had a bald teddy (handed down) and a panda with one eye. I loved them both. If I had been given a gollywog, I'm sure that I would have loved it too. Weren't there gollywogs in Enid Blyton? There were gollywog brooches that I collected from Robertson's (Robinson's?) jam. Very proud of those I was. It certainly didn't make me think anything sinister about black people. I don't think that I even made the connection between the two.

This week the ultra-silly Professor Nutt(?) posited the view in his review of whether to make Ecstasy a Class B drug that taking Es was no more dangerous than horse riding. Tell that to the millions of 20 year olds who now have long-term short term memory loss. And the others who suffer from mental illness because of their over use of same drug. I read a report yesterday that there's another view that LSD should be downclassed. What next?

This leads me on to a piece I saw yesterday. A teenager killed his friend in a row about the fare in the back of a taxi. Both high on Ketamine, Louis Chambers (18) killed Dylan Bates-Fox (21). As I have said on so many occasions - and especially so in the context of my book - Ketamine is toxic, lethal and far more dangerous than it is given credence for. Of all the drugs that Zach used, it was the one that posed the greatest danger to his mental health. Whenever we brought it up with 'Dr. Goode' the foolish doctor fobbed us off. How many more kids are going to be completely 'fried' as a consequence of sniffing Ketamine?

Oh, and before I forget, a new report suggests that Florence Nightingale was Bipolar. This I had never heard of before. I guess that she must have been on somewhat of a 'high' all the time that she was in the Crimea. How else could she have worked those hours in those conditions? The sad thing is that if she were around today and having to notify her employers that she suffered a severe mental health condition, would she have been allowed to set foot in Turkey with her blue lamp?


Anonymous said...

Ketamine may well not suitable for kids to use as they please, but low doses of it are clinically proven to be a medicine of the highest order when it comes to lifting people out of depression. Google it, I am not having you on. To simply label it toxic and lethal is poor judgment. You might as well say alcohol is toxic and lethal (which, incidentally, it is) everytime someone udner the influence of alcohol kills another person. Why not simply assume the drug was merely a trigger, and to seek the root cause in the person who killed? Personally I wish ketamine was freely available on prescription to responsible adults in need.

Anonymous said...

I have been suffering from bi-polar disorder since the age of about 13-14 yrs old and have struggled on pretty much on my own up til now at the age of 28. I was partially diagnosed at the age of 19, but due to the attitudes and negative feedback from the mental health services, decided that I would rather try to learn how to deal with this myself. Thus followed years of trying to delve into my consciousness to try to "fix" what was wrong, before finally, painfully, having to realise and admit that this was not something I could deal with on my own anymore after almost destroying my life completely. I have, as many before me with this condition, "self medicated" trying anything and evewrything in a desperate attempt to learn how to deal with myself. I can't honestly say that these attempts haven't made matters worse, but sometimes it was what I desperatly needed to keep me alive while in the pits of total despair or the highs of mania. Amongst my many experimentations, I tried ketamine and have to admit that in some ways it really did help and had less undesirable side affects to the meds that were being pushed at me. Of course, I then started taking it in larger and larger amounts, to the point of totally insane quantities, which obviously isn't gonna help anyone. I am now clean of all mind altering substances, ilicit or otherwise and can see that my addiction was a VERY dark place for me, BUT, I do believe that ketamine, when used in a supervised and moderated way CAN have beneficial (more so than a lot of medication currently used) effects for sufferers of this horrible condition.
For my efforts to deal with my mental health and the lack of mental health services cooperation, I very nearly ended up serving a 6 yr prison sentence because of my drug issues. If there was greater access and understanding, there's a much higher possiblity that my life would not have been ruined and that I wouldn't now have to be in the possition I'm in to try and rebuild it.
Ketamine, dangerous when used as a recreational drug, useful when used in small quantities under supervision.

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