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 .Bob Fiddaman in his blog writes;
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.
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.Fiddaman's article continues here. Other great articles are from Stephany and from D. Bunker, here, I will let these pieces speak for themselves.
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.
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 WarningSurely they put these kind of warnings on the same drugs across the pond? If they don't, perhaps it's time.
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.
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)