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12 September 2005

A smaller newspaper and a little self-disclosure

Of course, I had to buy the new Guardian today. Britannia has been all abuzz about the new "Berliner" format, quite like a tabloid but more serious and attractive. (I also had to buy an Independent, but that was because it had a banner that said "Life Without Sex" by Belle du Jour, which turned out to be a bit of a bait-and-switch. When will I ever learn?) The Guardian had this story, that everyone has, no exclusives, about the NHS recently discovering that - shock, horror - depression is rampant in the UK and the handing out of anti-depressants like candy is having almost no positive effect. A few skillion pounds is about to be invested in more cognitive-behavioural therapists. I could have told them this years ago. I first suspected the problem because almost everyone I know is clinically depressed, and almost all of them have tried drugs, and I don't know a single person who has "recovered" or even been helped. Oh, they sometimes say they are helped; they say they would be much worse without the drugs. But I wondered. So, after over 20 years as a diagnosed but unmedicated depressive myself, I gave two anti-depressants a try (not at once, obviously). The first made me want to die with almost the first dose so I quit it immediately. After a six month hiatus I tried again. The second one, I could tolerate and took for a few months. I noticed no improvement and stopped it on my own without consulting the GP. The only possible lingering side effect of this ignoble experiment is possibly a few (well more than a few) extra pounds I could ill afford. Grr. Bring on the CBT on the NHS, I say.

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