This week I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to sit down with Brooke Siem, award-winning chef, writer, and author of the memoir May Cause Side Effects.
Brooke Siem was among the first generation of minors to be prescribed antidepressants. Initially diagnosed and treated in the wake of her father’s sudden death, this psychiatric intervention sent a message that something was pathologically wrong with her and that the only “fix” was medication. As a teenager, she stepped into the hazy world of antidepressants just at the time when she was forming the foundation of her identity. For the following fifteen years, every situation she faced was seen through the lens of brokenness. A decade and a half later, still on the same cocktail of drugs, Brooke found herself hanging halfway out her Manhattan high-rise window, calculating the time it would take to hit the ground. As she looked for breaks in the pedestrian traffic patterns, a thought dawned on her: “I’ve spent half my life—and my entire adult life—on antidepressants. Who might I be without them?”
Unfurled against a global backdrop, May Cause Side Effects is the gripping story of what happened when, after fifteen years and 32,760 pills, Brooke was faced with a profound choice that plunged her into a year of excruciating antidepressant withdrawal and forced her to rebuild her entire life.
My conversation with Brooke truly opened my eyes to the many issues with our medicated society and the perilous influence of Big Pharma. I would encourage everyone to take a listen to this podcast episode and to read Brooke’s memoir. If you are considering waning of prescription medication, be sure to consult with your doctor. To learn more about Brooke, you can follow her on @brookesiem and check out her website: https://www.brookesiem.com/
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