Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Dave Batters, 1969-2009. R.I.P.

Dave Batters, who served as a Conservative Member of Parliament in the Canadian House of Commons from 2004 to 2008, died yesterday by way of suicide. He would have turned 40 next month.

Batters, who represented the constituency of Palliser which covers Regina & Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, took a medical leave of absence from Parliament nearly a year ago. Last September, Batters announced he would not seek a third term in the 2008 federal election.

I have written about suicide previously. What is it that compels a person to take one's own life? Particularly if that person has achieved success in the public arena. Whatever the success a person might have it is clearly inadequate in the face of whatever demons overwhelming him or her.

It is worth noting that the incident which precipitated Batters' leave of absence took place on July 1, 2008 (which happens to be Canada Day.) Given that Batters took his life two days shy of the anniversary of the incident I cannot help but wonder if memories from that incident came back into his thoughts and perhaps he could simply not cope with those thoughts.

Whatever his reasons a life with unfulfilled promise will now never be realized.


Anonymous said...


I read your post on Dave Batters and your previous post on David Wallace suicide and I must tell you that regardless how moving your posts are you are completely missing the point.

We are living in the era of psychotropic medications and widespread use of antidepressants and many suicides are results of using these drugs.

Let me try to explain: we all have painful memories. These memories are formed at the times when painful events take place in our lives. Painful and scary events that affect us cause our brains to release fight of flight hormones into out bloodstream. Once released these hormones circulate in our bloodstream for a long time unless they get metabolised by physical activity like; fighting or running away.
Simply put; we get scared by an outside trigger and we deal with it by fighting or running away from the cause of our fears. In such case our brains return to normal state so when we fall asleep memories of events of the day that are stored in short term memory are transferred and stored in part of the brain that are accessible to easy retrieval. (We have a total memory recall of the event).
If for whatever reason we are unable to fight or run away from the cause of our fears and fall asleep at the end of the day with high level of fight or flight hormones still circulating in our blood and in our brains the memory of painful event gets transferred from short term
memory to inaccessible part of long term memory (we have no instant recall of what scared us) because we failed to cope with the threat when memory got transferred for long term storage. High level of fight/flight hormones causes massive release of various neurotransmitters in our brains to better cope with the threat that we are facing, so when we fall asleep with high level of fight/flight hormones in our blood our long term memory storage is set to high numbers on every (neurotransmitter) dial (proverbial #999 distress call on an old telephone exchange). Normally we should get recall of these emotionally charged (emotionally unprocessed) memories only if and when we encounter similar scary situation.

Anonymous said...

Among many other factors; Illness, physical injuries, disability, lack of daylight, emotional stress caused by other people’s aggression and hostility, aging, poor nutrition, are natural causes of depression and depressive reaction to such causes serves useful function as depressio causes reduction in level of physical activities allowing for recovery from illness or physical injuries and survival in hostile or harsh environment. Depression by itself as discomforting as it is rarely leads someone to commit suicide.

Now, we enter into this mix modern psychiatry and their reckless use of psychotropic substances and antidepressants.

What antidepressants of SSRI type do is bock re-uptake of neurotransmitter serotonin and allow for a build-up of the level of serotonin in the brain. Other antidepressants give a big bust to a level neurotransmitter called norepinephrine. By boosting level of neurotransmiters antidepressants crank up numbers that can be dialled on a proverbial old telephone exchange and cause that #999 distress calls from these emotionally charged (emotionally unprocessed) memories start to flood our consciousness and cause our brain do suffer more emotional stress that is caused this time not so much by other people’s aggression and hostility (useful depression) but by memories past painful events – reactive depression.

This starts a vicious circle – more antidepressants to combat depression and as a result of boost in level of neurotransmitters more painful memories flooding conscious pat of the brain causing more emotional distress and more depression until victim of such psychiatric treatment hunted by the demons of his or her childhood calls it quit and commits suicide.

BTW, regarding your puzzlement regarding suicide following great success; even without use of antidepressants success in life or exposure to constant daylight can cause such a boost in levels of neurotransmitters circulating in the brain that they trigger flood of painful and emotionally unprocessed memories and start a vicious cycle leading to a suicide.

No psychiatrist in Canada or US is willing to go on the public record with such information because if any of them did Big Pharma would make sure that his or her psychiatric career is over.

Anonymous said...

Dave Batters apparently took significant amounts of Xanax (alprazolam), Halcion (triazolam), and Zoloft (sertraline), medications that, as a Pfizer pharmaceutical rep, he would have had ample access to free samples.

Unfortunately, in particular, the two triazolo-benzodiazepines triazolam and alprazolam, are known to be the most notorious for causing suicidality, tolerance, and side effects, especially if taken for long periods at high doses.

Zoloft-induced suicide isn't unheard of either. While Dave was likely under the care of a psychiatrist, too many people in Saskatchewan have very limited access to properly trained psychiatrists, and many walk-in clinic GP's are left to deal with complex issues regarding anxiety and depression with a minimal of psychiatric training, or even knowledge of appropriate prescribing practices for psychotropic medication.

Just from personal experience, a GP nearly killed me when she prescribed Paxil (paroxetine), a SSRI that almost immediately sent me into an akithisia reaction and made me become suicidal (on just half of the recommended starting dose!).