Dylan’s story eerily echoes, very closely ,to my personal Seroxat story..
One which I will be bringing to closure soon on this blog…
Dylan Tighe: ‘Instead of relieving my distress, I felt the drugs were compounding it’ The first time Dylan Tighe, who is 34, attended a psychiatrist was at the age of 18, after experiencing a prolonged bout of depression. “I just felt listless. There was a complete lack of desire and absence of joy that was overwhelming. It was an experience that would be repeated again,” says the award-winning theatre director.
After a brief consultation, he was prescribed Seroxat, an antidepressant, for the best part of a year. It was the beginning of several years of being prescribed a range of antidepressants and mood-stabilisers which, he says, had often severe side effects, such as an increased heart rate, short-term memory loss and sexual problems. In the meantime, he felt other options weren’t being made available, such as talk therapy, which might helped him resolve underlying issues. “Drugs were always the first port of call. There was a dismissive attitude towards talk therapy . . . instead of relieving my distress, I felt the drugs were compounding it.
“My engagement with the service and lack of choice disempowered me to the point where I’m sure it was a factor in the depression itself. “I found the relationship between the psychiatrist and patient quite patronising. They are the ones with the knowledge and power. Yet, all the assumptions on which I was being prescribed medication were very challengable – but it’s difficult to do so when you’re at a very vulnerable point.”
He says he would have liked to have been listened to about what he felt would work in his case – but says there was little leeway outside of the medical approach. After exploring options on his own, he found psychotherapy “infinitely more helpful”.
“The most helpful therapists were those with the most empathy. That was almost totally absent from psychiatry, in my experience.” Tighe hasn’t used drugs for about two years. He has serious reservations about psychiatric medication, but accepts that some people find them helpful. “You can’t generalise. Everyone’s different. In my case, I was told I may have to take them for the rest of my life, so I feel an enormous sense of relief now that I made a choice to stop taking them.”
Tighe is now putting the finishing touches to an album and stage production called Record, which will draw on his experiences of the mental health system. It will premiere at the Cork Midsummer Festival on June 25th and will go on to tour nationally. “The material uses my starting point of diagnosis and examines the area of emotional distress and ideologies around psychiatry, and looks towards a new way of conceptualising emotional distress . . . I feel I’ve made huge progress in coming to my own understanding of my experiences, which has been very empowering and enlightening.”
RESOLUTION is a creative exploration of life from people who have met adversity and challenge with courage and compassion. People who are living from the inside out…
Dylan Tighe: Musician,Theatre-Maker,Writer
Dylan Tighe’s debut album Record, inspired by his personal experiences of emotional distress and of the mental health system, was released in February 2014 to widespread acclaim. The Sunday Times declared Dylan an “exquisite songwriter”,while RTÉ proclaimed the album “starkly brilliant” and “a deeply personal and deeply moving piece of work”. The Irish Times described it as “brimming with tunes” and “an audacious and seriously intelligent suite of songs. Dylan has also worked extensively as an actor and theatre-maker, winning the Irish Times Theatre Award for Best Production in 2010 for his production ‘No Worst There is None’ inspired by the ‘dark sonnets’ of Gerard Manley Hopkins. His stage production Record based on songs from the album at Cork Midsummer Festival and Dublin Theatre Festival was described by the Irish independent as proposing “a new theatrical form for a new way of thinking”.
A radio version for RTÉ, featuring songs from the album and challenging a scientific view of mental health, was nominated for the Prix Europa prize 2014. He has recently contributed a chapter entitled ‘Start Making Sense’ to ‘Madness, Psychiatry, and Performance’, newly published by Palgrave. A new work for radio- ‘Pulse Music/ Ceol Cuisle- about the poet Michael Hartnett and created in collaboration with musician Seán Mac Erlaine, was recently broadcast on RTÉ.
Dylan Tighe’s new play “RECORD: Questioning A Scientific View of Mental Health” Features Madness Radio!
Theatre-Maker and musician Dylan Tighe uses his own psychiatric history to probe some of the assumptions underpinning a scientific view of mental health. The play proposes artistic expression, and lived experience- as capable of offering insights into the mind (and heart) which science cannot penetrate. This alternative record of mental health centres around Dylan Tighe’s psychiatric records and personal research and includes songs from his debut album RECORD exploring his diagnosis and experience, along with a collage of sonic and musical sources, documentary, dramatic scenes and archive samples relating to the science behind the concept of “mental illness”
Director, Writer, Original Music: Dylan Tighe, Actors: Aoife Duffin, Daniel Reardon, Dylan Tighe, Sound Design: Jimmy Eadie, Sound Supervision: Richie McCullough, Producer: Kevin Brew
Songs are from Dylan’s debut album RECORD, produced by Jimmy Eadie and feature Dylan Tighe (Guitars and vocals) Conor Murray (Drums), Seán Mac Erlaine (Sax and Woodwinds), Donal Mac Erlaine (Saw) and Cian Murphy (Double Bass). Album available at I-tunes, amazon and Dylan Tighe’s website.
Samples of interviews with David Cohen, Gary Greenberg, John Horgan, Jay Joseph, Robert Whitaker, and the voice of Will Hall, appear courtesy of Will Hall and Madness Radio
Featuring the voices of former Taoiseach (Irish prime minister) Bertie Ahern, Antonin Artaud, Dr Pat Bracken, Dr. Peter Breggin, Dr. Andrew Harkin, Prof. Jim Lucey, Pat Kenny, Mary Maddock, John Mc Carthy, Seán Rocks.
Additional music by Mary Maddock. Dramatic scenes were inspired by Ingmar Bergman’s 1966 film ‘Persona’.