James and Susan

JAMES

James was prescribed valium when he was seventeen, after glandular fever.  The following year he went to university to study philosophy.

James thought he wasn’t like the other students, who enjoyed partying and having fun after lectures.  He preferred to go to his room, draw the curtains and close his eyes.

James came to a BAT support group when he was twenty four.  “I’m perfectly ok, but I thought it wasn’t a good idea to be taking a chemical for the rest of my life” He withdrew slowly and once over the withdrawals, discovered he was a very social person and proceeded to ‘make up for lost time’ for the next year.

He is now the principal of a music school in Iceland, married with a child.  (A psychologist’s letter to his GP when he was taking Valium says ‘This young man believes he can learn to play the piano!  I have told him to look for a clerical job”) James also plays the organ in his local church.

SUSAN

Susan was a bright girl and won a scholarship to Colston Girls School.  When she was 15 her mother died.  Susan was devastated.  Her father took her to the GP, who prescribed valium.  Susan did not improve, in fact she became more anxious, depressed, and could no longer cope with school work.  She left school without taking any exams.

Over the following years Susan became more and more sick.  She was admitted to psychiatric hospital over and over again.  She was diagnosed with manic depression.  She married and had three children, but was unable to be part of their growing up.  She did not go to parent’s evenings, sports days or any other school function.

One day she and her husband were sitting in her GP’s waiting room, when he picked up a magazine and read about a woman and her experiences on and coming off valium.  He recognised Susan.  Susan came to a BAT support group and slowly and successfully withdrew from the valium.

She has since done her GCSE’s, A’ Levels, an Honours Degree in Maths, another in Business Studies, and is now a middle manager in Social Services.

She sees her grandchildren often and enjoys a full and happy life.