Antidepressants don’t cure 'life'.

I have just read an agony aunts response to a letter in a well known magazine, and I’m really bloody annoyed about it.
(It's a shame because normally her answers are fantastic).

This 57 year old woman has been made redundant and is struggling to find a job. Companies aren’t replying to her applications and she’s feeling really fed up with the situation.

This is the agony aunt’s response and I quote:

 “You sound severely depressed, so please see your GP immediately so he or she can prescribe antidepressants. I know it won’t attack the cause of your depression but if it lifts your mood, you will not feel as if you are looking down a long, dark tunnel with no light at the end

(The woman in her letter hadn’t even mentioned a dark tunnel) W.T.F.

The agony aunt then went on to vaguely mention the job centre will help in updating her CV.

Now, either this agony aunt was having a really bad day, just couldn’t be bothered to put a descent reply together or has shares in Prozac, I don’t know! But I do know it’s really dangerous to keep throwing antidepressants at life, like they’re the answer to everything.

Most of us have heard that depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain and that medication can correct this. The theory is that the levels of serotonin get low and lead to depression. Raise the serotonin and ‘hey presto’ your life’s a bed of roses again. Right?

Well if that’s true I think Ill get some!

No seriously, we all know a lot of people who have had antidepressants and they certainly didn’t wax lyrically about the experience.  I mean, some of the known side effects are ridiculous:
Nausea, Insomnia, Anxiety, Restlessness, Decreased sex drive, Dizziness, Weight gain, Tremors, Sweating, Sleepiness or fatigue, Dry mouth, Diarrhoea, Constipation, Headaches

Not to mention the risk of suicide can increase rather than decrease. That’s just not funny!!!

Yes, I do know a bit about antidepressants, not because I've taken them myself but because I did a lot of research when they were offered to my daughter when she was only 9 years old. (Yes 9!)
The conversation went like this:

 ‘They’ said - she has clinical depression and will need to start straight away on antidepressants
 I said -“no way! She has a brother who’s desperately ill with cancer at home, who wouldn’t have depression?”
‘They’ said – she needs antidepressants
I said – you say that again and you can pick a window, coz I'm going to throw you through it.

I won, no tablets and shock, horror….she’s perfectly fine!

Seriously though, I’ve got to state: If you think the world is better off without you and you are seriously thinking of ending it all, please don’t do it and please, please get yourself off to the doctors straight away, nothing is that bad, honest!

Or alternatively you can go and visit a cancer ward and see what it’s really like to be desperately fighting to live.

Anyway, my point’s this –

Shut up - Dark tunnels and bad bleak times ARE LIFE.

Did you really think you were going to get to a ripe old age without suffering some bad times? OMG

Truth is, you don’t need tablets, you don’t need drugs and you don’t need wine (although that’s my personal favourite) to get through any bad time because it passes. Time passes. End of.

I personally spent the last 3 years praying my dark tunnel wouldn’t come to an abrupt end. 3 long and lonely years with only one thought in mind ‘please keeping fighting son, please just live’

So don’t talk any of that ‘dark tunnel,’ shit to me.

And just going back to the original letter, the REAL problem that this woman has is that she is over 57 in a world where, ‘age’ is deemed as revolting and doesn’t place any real value on experience or knowledge.

At 57 she must feel nearly invisible, it's disgusting but obvious at times that a lot of companies will employ ‘cuties top totty’ type girls, who whilst they may be really bad at their jobs, are useful to take to business meetings and sales conferences.

Disagree? Well how many receptionists have you seen lately that are old, ugly or even male?

For the record, here is my reply to the letter:

Dear Mrs. 57;

Try not be too down hearted about being made redundant, it’s not personal and your definitely not alone in this economic climate. Equally, try not to be too upset because you’re not getting many responses from your applications. Employers are reporting receiving unprecedented high volumes of applications for each individual post so; therefore, it would be incredibly costly to the company to reply to each applicant individually.
Do check out some of the specialist over 50’s recruitment agencies that are on the internet. They work along side ‘age friendly’ companies. Though, with people living longer it seems absolutely absurd not encourage and promote people to work longer too.
You have a huge wealth of knowledge and experience. Make sure you don’t undersell your qualities and achievements on your CV.
Know your rights – the campaign against ageism is starting to appear everywhere. Just recently the BBC lost an employment tribunal to Miriam O’Reilly who was sacked from her presenting job ‘country file’ because she was deemed too old. She received a 6 figure pay out and more importantly, the BBC has shook up its ageist policies.
So just keep trying and I wish you all the luck for the future.

How easy????


  1. Sarah! I know how tough this was for you and i am proud of all of you, but this story just makes people think. So incredably proud of you all love Jordan x


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