Shortly after the birth of her daughter, Rebekah Beddoe was diagnosed with postnatal depression. Two years later she was taking six different drugs, including lithium, a tranquiliser, an antipsychotic and antidepressants. She had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, given electric-shock therapy, made numerous attempts on her life and was alternately manic and consumed by crippling despair, when she could barely move. She had a two-year-old daughter she hardly knew and a mother and partner who were at their wits end, unable to recognise the formerly ambitious, vibrant and highly successful woman they loved so much. The global antidepressant market is worth a staggering $20 million, but what do we know about the effect of these drugs? The idea that they correct a chemical imbalance in our brain is by no means proven and, indeed, there is much evidence that contradicts this view. And SSRIs - the new generation of antidepressants - may be thought not to be addictive, but as Rebekah found to her great distress, they are hard to come off and those who manage it may suffer debilitating side effects.
This is a powerful memoir of the nightmarish three years Rebekah endured as she was repeatedly misdiagnosed, only to realise that her medication was the cause of her mental deterioration. It is also a story of hope and of triumph over adversity. She is now fully recovered, with an urgent message for all those who take and prescribe antidepressants.