Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Remembering Clarence

I'm a Jersey girl. I've lived in NJ since I was 8 months old. With the exception of other year of my life, I have lived in the Garden State my entire life. As much as  I hate it here, I love it here. If you take the area around exit 13- and 13A of the turnpike  (Newark, Elizabeth, think the opening montage from "The Sopranos") out of the equation, it's really a beautiful state.

New Jersey has given the world some great musicians. My parents generation had Sinatra. The generation between had Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. My generation had Bruce Springsteen, and then later Bon Jovi. Today the big group is My Chemical Romance. But in my heart and head, it's all about Bruce and the E Street band. And the best saxophonist to come from NJ had to be Clarence Clemons.

Clarence passed away a week ago,  at the age of 69, and to many of us who grew up listening to the Boss, hearing him play in the Stone Pony and the later in the Meadowlands- the loss hit hard. The man was a genius on the sax. He made it look easy. I tried to play sax in high school. It's not an easy instrument to play. If you look at his biography on Wikipedia, you can see all the bands, way to numerous to print here he played with. All the TV shows he made guest appearances on, including 'The Simpsons'.

Clarence wasn't born in NewJersey and didn't die there. But he was an integral part of the E Street band, in my eyes he was part of the New Jersey music legacy. He's really going to be missed.

Below is my favorite Springsteen songs- you can hear Clarence on the sax. The photo is from Wikipedia.
Clarence can be heard at 1 minute 31 seconds in all his glory.

My favorite Springsteen song:

Irish Lawyers Threaten Blogger Mom

In this world, I cannot think of too many things worse than a parent loosing a child. In the great scheme of life, children outlive parents. It doesn't always work that way, and most parents I have read about never get over the shock of loosing their children, no matter how old their child is.

Somehow it seems worse when the  child, a teenager or young adult, for what ever reason takes their own life. Even my own mother told me she doesn't know how one of my friends stayed alive when her son died. "I would have buried myself with him', she told me.

I understand the pain and sentiment even though I will never have children. You bring them into the world, you fight for them, you love them so much your heart swells with pride as you see  them grow up and become the people you hope you did a good job raising. You love your spouse, yes, but the love of a parent with their child- it's something different, something wonderful, and something I know while it's tangible for me to understand, you never really do understand it until you hold that baby in your arms for the first time.

So when I got a letter the other day about  Leonie Fennell my heart broke. This mother lost her son to suicide last year, a son that she describes on her own blog as
Shane was the nicest, kindest, funniest guy you could meet. He was loved by all his friends and family.. and adored by his younger  siblings . 
He took them out every weekend to the beach and eddie rockets. He babysat for us all the time and even minded them when we went to New York for a weekend. We put him down as guardian to his siblings, and never had to worry about what would happen to them.. because Shane was so reliable.
He had a huge passion for the homeless and often gave his dart fare away and walked home (Trinity to Dalkey). We regularly had christmas dinner late because we had to wait for Shane who was handing out dinners in Dublin.
He told people he didn’t want presents at his 21th ..to make use of the saint vincent de paul box instead as he had everything. 
He was known by his college lecturers as an craoi mhor (the big heart). He had lots of really good friends and always had a job. This is the Shane that we all knew and loved.
 He was working one night in the conradh (the Irish pub on Harcourt street) and this guy came in and tried to hit a girl. He was so upset that someone could hit a girl. We said “why didn’t you box him?” and Shane said that he didn’t do violence and he wasn’t going down to that guys level.  He wasn’t capable of hurting anyone or himself. 
Bob Fiddaman in his blog writes;
Irish lawyers, Brophy Solicitors, have sent a threatening letter to Leonie Fennell, the mother of Shane Clancy, who writes about her son's death and offers opinion as to why he died.

Shane was just 22 when he killed a young man before turning the knife on himself. The subsequent inquest found an open verdict, large traces of the SSRi antidepressant citalopram [Cipramil UK, Celexa US] were found in his system.

Irish psychiatrist Patricia Casey was present at the inquest representing and observing for Psychiatry Ireland and to ask questions if the need arose. Casey has come under fire from Fennell on a number of occasions, in particular her relationship with the pharmaceutical industry and fees, grants etc that she has received from them.

Casey was at Shane’s inquest and took issue with some aspects of it, according to Leonie, Casey has publicly stated that there is no evidence to suggest that antidepressants can cause suicide or homicide and she is also a member of psychiatry Ireland  and has worked in association with Lundbeck, the manufacturers of citalopram.

Fiddaman's article continues here. Other  great articles are from Stephany and from  D. Bunker, here,   I will let these pieces speak for themselves.

Just a quick Google of "Celexa, black box" brought up pages of sites stating Celexa has been given a black box rating- something the drug companies in the USA put on pharmaceuticals that can cause people to want to self harm. Here is something from one of the sites:
FDA Issues Proposed Revisions to Celexa Blackbox Warning
In 2009, based on new evidence of suicide and suicidal or dangerous behavior in adults taking antidepressants, the FDA proposed revising the blackbox warning to include the increased risk in patients up through the age of 24. The proposed Celexa warning outlines the age groups that are most at risk for suicide, suicidal thoughts and suicidal behavior according to short-term studies. Those groups most at risk include children, adolescents and young adults ages 24 and younger. The risk decreases beyond age 24. The proposed revision recommends close monitoring while patients are taking Celexa and for those in high risks groups, that the benefit from the drug be closely weighed against the possible risks. The proposed revision also notes that Celexa is not approved for use in pediatric patients. The FDA revision itself can be found online at the FDA website.
 Surely they put these kind of warnings on the same drugs across the pond? If they don't, perhaps it's time.

 I didn't know Shane, but from what his mother wrote about him, he sounds like he was a remarkable young man, and left this earth way before his time. I wish I had met him.
(Picture of Shane used with kind permission by his mother)

Monday, June 20, 2011


I made it here but in a lot of pain. Bless you who showed up at Psych Out- the people who put it together and the ones who had the courage to speak.

And to Mr. Robert Whitaker,
who took time to talk to me without criticizing.

I gained convince to keep on going through hell and staying alive, and the courage to keep on living by the remarkable people I met today.

And Mr. Whitaker gave me the courage to keep writing, no matter how impossible it seems at the moment.

Thank you all.I am truly blessed

Sunday, June 19, 2011

I'm still here

I'm still here. Between being so depressed I cannot get out of the bed, my Mac dying, and more problems with my health- I haven't been blogging. It's back to 18 hour days, asleep in tremedous pain. I am on meds for my kidneys, meds for my blood pressure, meds for my bladder, meds for pain. Meds for sleep. My kidneys aren't outputting like they should be and I sit on the toilet, tears in my eyes while I attempt to do something that should be as easy as breathing.

I got my old mac up and running, while my newish one is being fixed. Never have an iced coffee near a computer. Never. And miss my newer one, almost 2 years old now. My 8 year old one is slower than anything!

Cutting to the chase- I miss writing and got so much confort from those who took the time to coment. Seriously. Epecially Wonder Woman. I just don't want to get into a bitch fest on how much pain, we all have our crosses to bear, and there is a saying in AA , 'Get off the cross, someone else needs the wood'.

So I am going to do something that is going to be one of the hardest things I've ever done. I am going into the city tomorow for Psych Out. It's going to be a nightmare getting into the city- i live commuting distance so it's just a short bus ride but I can bearly walk. I cannot take my walker with me. And I am abashed to let others see how damaged my health is now since the kidney episode in November. I haven't even let my two best girl friends in real life see me.  I look a score older than my age. Oh G-d, what happened to me?

It's going to be a huge leap of faith to go, to have people see what I really look like. To trust them to help me walk. To let them lean on me. I'm scared. In my mind, I look like a date for Joseph Merrick. But I want to go. I want to meet Robert Whittaker and hear him talk. I want to meet those from other organizations,  such as Psych Rights, Icarus, Mind Freedom and Opal Project, to learn from them and get strenght from them.

I hope to live blog and Tweet from there. So please check this blog in two days, and check my tweets on Tuesday as well.
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