Brian; Roger a highly offensive play review: a mad endeavour

hen picturing the rebirth pangs of London theatre, I never imagined anything quite as odd and hilarious as this. Based on an award-winning comedy podcast in which two divorced men exchange voice messages, it s barely a drama, yet it scales absurdist heights of fantasy.

David Babani s production inaugurates his Menier Chocolate Factory s new studio, a forbidding basement that formerly housed the Bunker Theatre and smells of damp. As the show s subtitle states, it s sometimes highly offensive. I had a whale of a time.

Roger is a gentle soul, struggling to survive on dwindling benefits and menial catering jobs but quietly, hopelessly dogged in his hopes of winning back ex-wife Clare and teenage son Jamie. He s played like an affectionate, beaten dog by Dan Skinner, who co-wrote both play and podcast with Harry Peacock, and was Angelos Epithemiou on Shooting Stars.

Brian (Simon Lipkin) is a narcissist hedonist in sockless loafers who bullies his friend into increasingly outlandish schemes. One minute Roger is impersonating the ghost of Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceau?escu at a dodgy seance: next he s security, then collateral, in a poker game in an abattoir; then he s enlisted in a plot to build a concrete autobahn over Asia s silk road.

At first, I couldn t quite believe I was just watching two men leaving each other messages on flip-phones (it s set in 2011). But the show draws you in with its mix of banality, tragedy and lunacy. Roger shares a flat with a nearly-blind 82-year-old woman, with lavatorial consequences. Brian sleeps in a marijuana farm in student digs. Both men love James Cameron s Avatar. They address each other, hollowly, as mate .


This excruciating banality is underscored by CGI backdrops of charity shops and bus stops, and it s the springboard for ideas of breathtaking silliness that echo the Goons and Monty Python. The creators of those shows never joked about bestiality, pegging or shelving a speedball to compensate for the dulling effects of heroin, it s true. But they d all surely admire a squirm-inducing scene involving a pair of bolt-cutters that s played in complete darkness.

Either you ll respond to the don t-give-a-monkey s audacity on show here or you won t. The first half is short, the second half long, because of the necessity to get Skinner out of a costume that largely consists of pig entrails. Babani s production really doesn t feel like a play, but it doesn t feel like anything else either. You have to suspend disbelief, and accept that a loser like Brian could compete, and lose, in increasingly high-stakes enterprises. And that Roger would always go along with him.

Once you do, Roger s Panglossian optimism seems almost heroic. A bit like opening a second auditorium in your theatre after a pandemic that threatened to close it entirely. This is a mad endeavour all round, and I wholeheartedly salute it.

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Berrow death: David Jackson was no threat when killed by wife, jury told

Penelope Jackson, 66, stabbed husband of 24 years David, 78, three times in Berrow, Somerset, in February.

Prosecutor Christopher Quinlan suggested she had deliberately lunged at her husband and he was no threat when she attacked him a second time.

Mrs Jackson admits manslaughter but denies murder.

She says her husband was coercive, controlling and physically violent, and that she lost control when he called her pathetic and later taunted her in the kitchen, Bristol Crown Court heard.

Following a row over a gourmet meal on Zoom with their daughter and son-in-law, Mr Jackson was first slashed across the chest in a bedroom of the couple's house, jurors heard.

He was then stabbed twice in the kitchen while on the phone to the emergency services, the court heard.

I didn't intend anything. I had lost the plot, I had reacted. I knew I stabbed him - it was the blood - I was horrified, said Mrs Jackson.

Referring to the 999 call, in which Mr Jackson could be heard summoning help, Mr Quinlan, cross-examining, said: He was not threatening to you when you stabbed him again?

Mrs Jackson replied: It was that face.

Mr Quinlan continued: He was calling for help. You did it twice when he was calling for help, Mrs Jackson. No threat to you, was he? Was he?

Mrs Jackson replied: He was in my taunting me I never thought I lost it.

Breaking down, she told the court: I didn't know what I thought, I wasn't thinking. He was always a threat when he had that face on.

Son-in-law witnessed row

Mr Quinlan said that in her defence case statement there was no mention of Mr Jackson being face to face with her in the kitchen.

The court was also told Mrs Jackson had called the police in December when Mr Jackson smashed a glass door with a poker during a row over the TV remote control.

Also giving evidence, son-in-law Tom Potterton told the court he and his wife had joined the defendant and Mr Jackson for the Zoom meal and that he had witnessed the argument, over bubble and squeak.

David said that if Penny didn't stop going on about it, he would walk away and my wife started to diffuse the situation, he said.

[David] said something along the lines of, 'You can't admit when you are wrong'. He was really calm, he just said it as anybody would, Mr Potterton said.

SFA investigate inappropriate Rangers tweets by St Mirren chairman

Needham, who took up the role at the Paisley club this summer and has been a board member since 2020, posted messages on Twitter earlier this year, with an earlier tweet in 2015 calling Rangers fans h**s.

Another message earlier this year was in reply to a photograph of thousands of Rangers supporters crossing a Glasgow bridge, with Needham saying: Heres hoping the Squinty Bridge tips as well. Second thoughts… the pollution would be awful.

The tweet was followed by a laughing emoji.

The St Mirren chairman has since tweeted an apology, saying that the messages were inappropriate and expressing regret, claiming that they do not reflect his character.

Rangers have written to the Paisley club, the SFA and the SPFL about the comments.

As an official at an SPFL club, Needham is bound by the rules of the Scottish FA and footballs governing body has now begun an investigation.

If the SFAs compliance officer finds that there is evidence he feels actionable then a disciplinary case may be brought against Needham.

The comments could be in breach of Rule 77, which reads: A recognised football body, club, official, team official, other member of team staff, player, match official or other person under the jurisdiction of the Scottish FA shall, at all times, act in the best interests of Association Football.

Furthermore such person or body shall not act in any manner which is improper or use any one, or a combination of, violent conduct, serious foul play, threatening, abusive, indecent or insulting words or behaviour.

The punishment for club officials who break the rule would normally be a fine.

St Mirren have been contacted for comment.

Storm Arwen: Tens of thousands face fourth day without power

More than 100,000 homes had their power cut off by the extreme weather over the weekend.

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Tens of thousands of homes in Scotland face a fourth day without power as the country is slow to recover from the chaos wrought by Storm Arwen.

More than 100,000 homes had their power cut off by the extreme weather, with Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) saying that 24,000 still had no supply.

The energy distributor said many homes will not have power restored for days.

Ive never seen anything like it, said Louise McBride, of charity 2-3 Group, who, along with fellow community councillors in Lossiemouth, opened up the community centre to give people something to eat and a warm place to go.

It was perishing outside and the temperature was just going down.

One of the families that we have been supporting, they have three children and there is no heart whatsoever, an old barn conversion, so its very cold.

Storm Arwen claimed three lives as it swept across the country including the death of an Aberdeenshire driver after his pick-up truck was crushed by a fallen tree on Friday night.

Communities, emergency services, councils and utility supplies have been offering support with emergency shelter and deliveries of essential supplies.

The chaos is affecting areas in Aberdeenshire, Moray, Angus and Perthshire as well as the Borders, Dumfriesshire, Fife and the Lothians.

SP Energy Networks spokesperson said: Our engineers have been out working since Friday night to try to get power on as quickly and safely as possible, but it has been difficult as the damage across our network has been extensive, we ve seen over 600 faults in Scotland.

SP Energy said 4500 customers are affected with the worst areas being the Borders, Dumfriesshire, Fife and Lothians.

Overhead lines were damaged as Storm Arwen felled trees across the east of the country.

Michael West, a tree surgeon at Langley Arboriculture, responded to the disruption all the way from Southampton.

It s the worst we ve seen in a long time, he said, We ve been working in snowy conditions with the driving, we ve been having to do long walks to site to where the trees are down.

I was up 18 years ago, and it wasnt as bad.

Police Scotland declared a major incident in the north west in the wake of Storm Arwen.

On Monday, the force urged people only to travel if absolutely necessary and to pack warms clothes, food and water if venturing out.

Mark Rough, director of customer operations at SSEN, said: The extent of damage means the repair work needed is complex and often requires lengthy clearance of access just to reach the problem areas, with substantial tree cutting and re-erection of overhead network infrastructure.

We continue to work closely with our local resilience partners to prioritise support for our most vulnerable customers. We would encourage any customer with a vulnerability who has concerns about remaining off supply, or if you have concerns about a vulnerable relative or neighbour, please give our teams a call on 105.

Schools in Aberdeenshire have been closed for Monday and Tuesday to both pupils and staff due to the ongoing weather issues.

NHS Grampian also said that vaccination centres in Aberdeenshire would close on Monday and urged patients to rearrange appointments.

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FM calls for travellers arriving in Scotland to isolate for eight days

Nicola Sturgeon has called for urgent talks with the Prime Minister over the new Covid-19 variant.

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The First Minister has called on the Prime Minister to introduce a tougher four-nations approach to travel restrictions after six cases of the new Omicron variant were detected in Scotland.

In a joint-letter, Scotlands First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and the First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford called for a tightening of restrictions.

At a coronavirus briefing on Monday, Sturgeon explained that the proposed change would see people arriving in the UK from overseas being asked to self-isolate for a period of eight days.

They would then take a PCR test on day eight after their arrival, as well as on day two.

The First Minister said: We believe this measure would be more effective in identifying cases of this variant, which result from overseas travel and therefore help us prevent further community transmission from imported cases.

Now, as we know from earlier stages of the pandemic with so many people travelling to Scotland, and indeed to Wales via airports in England, anything less than a four-nations approach to requirements like this will be ineffective, so we hope that a four-nations agreement can be reached.

A four-nations approach obviously requires the four-nations to discuss these issues together and hear the best advice available.

So Mark Drakeford and I have also called on the Prime Minister today to immediately convene a COBRA meeting with representation from each nation to discuss what additional steps we might have to consider and how we work together to tackle this new risk.

Sturgeon also said confirmation has been sought that funding from the UK Treasury will be made available to any of the four nations in the event of further Covid protections being necessary.

She said: Mark Drakeford and I are also conscious of the very real concern businesses and staff will feel at the possibility of further protections becoming necessary.

Now, let me stress we all hope that this will not be necessary, but it is prudent to plan ahead and so we have also sought confirmation that should any further protections be necessary, Treasury funding would be available to any of the four nations that require to activate business support schemes.

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Scottish Child Payment set to double to ?20 per week from April

The First Minister confirmed the move on Monday in a keynote speech to the SNP conference.

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The Scottish Child Payment will be doubled to ?20 per week from April 2022, Nicola Sturgeon has announced.

The First Minister confirmed the move on Monday in a keynote speech to the SNP conference.

She said next week s Budget will include a ?10 increase of the weekly benefit, which supports low-income families with children aged under six.

First introduced in February 2021 as a ?10 per week payment designed to tackle child poverty, it provides regular, additional financial support for eligible families.

The benefit, which is unique in the UK, will be fully rolled out to children under the age of 16 by the end of 2022, subject to data on qualifying benefits being received from the Department of Work and Pensions.

It is expected more than 400,000 children could be eligible for the doubled payment from that point.

From 2023/24, it will represent an annual investment in tackling child poverty of around ?360m a year.

The First Minister, who credited the coalition with the Scottish Greens for achieving this as quickly as possible , said the Scottish Child Payment is the boldest and most ambitious anti-poverty measure anywhere in the UK .

However, she warned that the decision will cause hard choices elsewhere in our Budget .

The FM said: The Scottish Government is determined to lift children out of poverty.

This is the boldest and most ambitious anti-poverty measure anywhere in the UK. Delivering it isn t easy. It will involve hard choices elsewhere in our budget. But it is a choice we are opting to make.

Eradicating child poverty is essential if we are to build the strongest foundation for Scotland s future. And that is what we are determined to do.

Chris Birt, Joseph Rowntree Foundation s associate director for Scotland, said it was welcome news and would provide vital support to families with young children following what is expected to be a challenging winter as the cost of living continues to rise.

He added: Doubling the payment for older children cannot come soon enough.

As we noted in our Poverty in Scotland report, this investment alone will not be enough to meet the interim child poverty targets, but it is an important step in the right direction and will make a real difference to families.

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Body found in woodland identified as missing teenage girl

Amber Gibson, 16, went missing in Hamilton on Friday night.

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The body of a girl found in a wooded area in South Lanarkshire has been formally identified as that of a missing 16-year-old.

Amber Gibson, also known as Amber Niven, disappeared in Hamilton shortly before 10pm on Friday.

She had last been seen on Cadzow Street.

On Sunday morning, at around 10.15am, emergency services were alerted to a body near to Cadzow Glen.

The death is being treated as unexplained and inquiries remain ongoing.

Chief inspector Briony Daye said: At this time, our thoughts are very much with Amber s loved ones, as they come to terms with this terrible loss.

As we continue our enquiries, there will be an increased police presence in the area. I d like to thank the public for their assistance so far and ask anyone with information who hasn t already spoken with officers to please call 101, quoting incident 1281 of November 28.

On Monday afternoon, South Lanarkshire Council warned that Cadzow Street, between Leechlee Road and Auchingramont Road, remains temporarily closed.

Cadzow Street, Hamilton remains temporarily closed between Leechlee Rd Auchingramont Rd due to an ongoing Police matter.

Drivers pedestrians are advised to avoid the area seek alternative routes where possible.

Thank you for your co-operation assistance in this matter.

South Lanarkshire Council (@SouthLanCouncil) November 29, 2021

Posting on Twitter, the local authority said: Drivers and pedestrians are advised to avoid the area and seek alternative routes where possible.

Thank you for your cooperation and assistance in this matter.

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Man charged after cat and kittens killed in flat fire

Police said the loss of the animals was 'extremely distressing' for their owner.

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A man has been charged after two kittens and a cat were killed in a flat fire.

The blaze erupted at around 4.15am on Saturday, October 23, on Keir Hardie Street, in Methil, Fife.

A 25-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the incident and police said a report had been submitted to the Procurator Fiscal.

Police Scotland previously said a 36-year-old woman left the flat at around 8pm on Friday, October 22, and the property is believed to have been unoccupied after that time.

Detective sergeant Clark Forrest, of Levenmouth CID, said the loss of the womans kittens and cat was extremely distressing.

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One-day care frees up thousands of beds at under-pressure hospital

More patients are being sent home on the same day as their treatment at NHS Forth Valley.

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One of Scotlands biggest hospitals says it is freeing up 1000 beds a month by sending more patients home on the same day as their treatment.

Patients who would normally have stayed overnight for the likes of intravenous antibiotics and blood transfusions are now regularly being discharged within hours at Forth Valley Royal in Larbert.

The innovative approach at the Day Medicine Unit is designed to tackle increasing pressure on a health service suffering from the longest accident and emergency waiting times in Scotland.

Bed-blocking or delayed discharge, where patients remain in hospital despite being fit to leave is also adding to the problem at NHS Forth Valley and elsewhere.

Deputy medical director Dr Juliette Murray told STV News: We re focusing our efforts on that transformation, because if our hospital is full and we can t get patients home who are ready to go home, we then can t bring in those that do need to come in from the emergency room.

That impacts on our waiting times, because there are patients there that we would like to have in beds.

Everything is interdependent and we are trying to think about the best structure for the resource, the space and staff that we have.

While the unit has been running for several years, the Covid pandemic has led to its expansion, and nurses are also being trained to carry out procedures which previously needed a doctor.

Dr Murray said: The pandemic has forced us to look at how we do things and to challenge the way that we have always done things and maybe be a bit more innovative.

Im quite excited that it gives us opportunities that we will benefit from long after the pandemic comes to an end.

Its very convenient

Janet Hedley undergoes fortnightly transfusions at Forth Valley Royal to manage her blood cancer.

Having previously had to stay overnight, she can now come in, have her treatment, and head home on the same day.

She said: On a Thursday, I go to the GP who takes a blood sample, then thats sent off here and they phone up to say whether or not I have to come in the next day.

I dont think anybody ever likes to stay away at night, so its very convenient how this works out and the doctors are kept out of it. Its the nurses that do most of it.

Analysis: Scramble should be a bit less intense

By senior reporter Gordon Chree

As winter approaches and we wait to see what impact the new Covid variant will have, weve heard several warnings in recent weeks about the pressures on the NHS with delayed discharges leading to a lack of beds and longer waits at AE.

Another key to making this work is upskilling nursing staff to take on procedures which previously may have needed doctors to free up more staff capacity.

The unit has been running for a number of years, but the Covid era has led to it being expanded and seen as a model for wider modernisation of how healthcare is delivered.

The hope is that the unit will help take the pressure off AE the department here had Scotlands worst waiting times figures recently.

Hospitals are always busier in winter with slips and falls added to seasonal illness, but the set up here means theyre hopeful the scramble for beds should be just bit less intense.

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Storm Arwen: Major operation ongoing to help thousands affected

Rest centres and food vans were setup to provide warmth and hot food to those affected.

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A major support operation is ongoing as thousands of people are

still without power or water following a devastating storm that caused havoc over the weekend.

Storm Arwen cut off electricity to more than 100,000 homes and thousands were left without running water.

Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) said that 24,000 still had no power with work to restore the network expected to take days longer.

Councils, communities, emergency services and utility providers are continuing to offer support to those affected on Monday evening as many brace for a fourth night without energy, water and heating.

Boris Johnson pledged to help those affected. He said: My thoughts are with those continuing to face any disruption caused by Storm Arwen.

The situation in the north east of Scotland is among the most concerning and, while forecasts are improving, we are on standby to provide further assistance to the Scottish Government.

Those affected have been advised to contact their local authority for help and advice.

Aberdeenshire schools and facilities have been set up to provide hot food and welfare facilities to those who need it.

Meals and facilities are available at Alford Academy, Aboyne Academy, Crimmond School, New Deer School, Hatton Cruden School, Auchnagatt School, Boddam School and Westhill Primary until 8pm on Monday.

SSEN catering vans are on location at Braemar, Kintore, Turriff, Aboyne at Old Huntly Hotel Car Park, Torphins, Alford, and Rhynie (also covering Lumsden).

There are also food vans at Echt Hall, Sauchen, Hilton Hall and Crudie.

Rest Centres have also been established at the following locations; Ballater at the Victoria and Albert Hall, Eassie and Nevay Hall, Fintry, Knockraich Farm, Strathyre Primary School, Aberfoyle Primary School and Doune Primary School.

In Braemar, the Fife Arms Hotel is providing community assistance and in the meantime the council is delivering diesel to keep their generator going and arranging deliveries of food.

Alford Public Hall is open as a welfare centre providing hot food, hot water and hot drinks until 7pm for anyone who wishes to use these facilities from the surrounding area.

The Scottish Governments Resilience Room met on Monday afternoon, chaired by deputy first minister John Swinney.

He said: While we are hopeful for a further recovery as soon as possible, the scale and complexity of the situation cannot be underestimated. Many people are still without power and water, and that s why local authorities and partners are stepping up welfare support in affected areas for those who need it.

I would like to reassure anyone who has been affected by outages and shortages that help is available please do not hesitate to get in touch with your local council to be directed to the relevant support in your area.

We will continue to monitor progress closely, ensuring every possible resource is deployed and provide updates as the situation develops. In the meantime I would like to express my gratitude to all those who continue to provide vital support to local communities.

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Six cases of new Covid-19 variant Omicron confirmed in Scotland

The Scottish Government revealed that six cases of the new variant have been identified.

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Six cases of the new Omicron variant of Covid-19 have been identified in Scotland.

The Scottish Government revealed the positive cases on Monday.

Four are in the Lanarkshire area and two have been identified in Greater Glasgow and Clyde.

Some of the new cases have no travel history, which suggests there is a degree of community transmission.

Public Health Scotland and local health protection teams are supporting those involved and contact tracing is being undertaken to establish the origin of the virus and any individuals they have come into contact with in recent weeks.

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf confirmed the news as he urged the public to redouble their efforts.

He said: This will be a worrying time for the six people now identified as having the new variant.

All will receive expert help and support and Public Health Scotland will undertake enhanced contact tracing in all cases.

This will help establish the origin of the virus and any further individuals they have come into contact with in recent weeks.

There is still much to learn about the Omicron variant.

Questions remain about its severity, transmissibility and response to treatments or vaccines and scientists are working at pace to provide additional information. Until more is known we must be cautious and do everything we can to minimise the risk of spreading infection.

We have already taken steps and are aligning with the new border restrictions being introduced by the UK Government which will require fully vaccinated arrivals to take a PCR test within two days of arrival and to self-isolate until a negative result is received.

These measures will be introduced as soon as possible and kept under constant review. However, we reserve the right to go further if necessary. We are also adopting the expanded red list of countries identified by the UK Government.

This will also be kept under review.

Yousaf also highlighted the need for a booster shot for those that are eligible.

He said: We must now redouble our efforts to follow the basic rules that have served us well throughout the pandemic wear a face covering on public transport and in all indoor settings for food and retail; open windows especially if you have people visiting at home; keep washing your hands regularly and thoroughly.

Work from home where possible, take regular lateral flow tests especially before mixing with others outside your household.

If you have symptoms, self-isolate and take a test and if contacted by Test and Protect or public health teams please co-operate and follow their advice. All close contacts of suspected Omicron cases will be advised to self-isolate for 10 days, regardless of their vaccination status.

And of course, if you are eligible for your booster, or are still to have any dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, please get vaccinated now.

Scotland s Deputy First Minister John Swinney told BBC Good Morning Scotland: We obviously have some travel history on some of the cases, I don t have all of that detail available to me at this stage, but on some of the cases we are aware that there is no travel history involved on some of the cases.

So what that tells us is that there must be a degree of community transmission of this particular strain of the virus in the absence of direct travel connection for some of the cases in the southern African area.

So that obviously opens up further challenges for us in terms of interrupting the spread of this particular strain of the virus and that will be the focus of the contact tracing operation that is under way already.

The first two cases in the UK in Nottingham and Essex were announced on Saturday, while a third Omicron case was detected in the UK on Sunday in a person with travel links to southern Africa.

Britain will convene an urgent meeting of G7 health ministers on Monday to discuss the variant first detected in South Africa amid concerns it could spread rapidly and partially evade existing jabs.

I Was Given Ketamine Injections To Treat My Depression

Behind my eyelids, a kaleidoscope danced. My seat threw me around as though I were aboard an unrelenting roller-coaster. Nausea rolled my insides. The distinct stench of an over-sterilised room hung in the air.

It was February 2015, and I was receiving ketamine injections for my major depression. I d been on prescribed antidepressants for four years after having been diagnosed with depression and anxiety at age 13. My mum had paid for countless psychologists and psychiatrists. She d dragged me to therapy and asked my teachers for homework when I refused to go to school for months. Shed sat in hospitals and doctor s clinics watching nurses stitch the skin on my arms back together.

She d heard an advertisement on commercial radio that a Melbourne clinic was offering ketamine injections to relieve depression. We spoke to my regular GP about it. Hed never heard of either Aura Medical (the company offering the injections for $150 to $200 a pop), nor ketamines role in treating mental illness. However, we decided to go ahead with it anyway.

My mum drove me to and from appointments twice a week. I remember her perched in the cubicle, reading her book or typing away at her phone, unaware of the chaos unravelling in my own mind nearby.

Ketamine was discovered in 1956 by the American chemist Calvin L. Stevens. It was approved for use in the United States in 1970, and was used extensively during the Vietnam War as an emergency medicine and anaesthetic. It often induces a powerful hallucinogenic and dissociative effect, which is why it became such a popular recreational drug.

While its started to gain traction in research trials around the world as a treatment for mood disorders, in Australia, its classed as a Schedule 8 controlled drug and is only approved by the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) for use as an anaesthetic, not a treatment for depression.

So how did Aura Medical advertise and sell patients on a drug that hadnt been approved? They used a loophole in the regulatory framework, the ABC reported in 2015.

I recently learnt that it was investigated by the Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency (AHPRA) for giving some patients take-home syringes to administer ketamine at home, with no supervision. Aura Medical shut down just weeks after my final treatment.

I felt like my vulnerability had been taken advantage of to turn over a profit, and I was not alone. But at the same time, I cant say it wasnt beneficial to me.

Aside from vivid highs, I don t remember much from my premeditated K-holes. I sat there, as you do in a dentist s chair, unbothered and catatonic.That was how I coasted through most days, having mastered the art of hiding how I felt for years. I was numb and my poker-face remained intact.

I began noticing changes around the third or fourth visit. Emotions kicked in, sensations made themselves known and conversations edged toward having more meaning. Something was chipping away at my numbness, but it was like taking a pickaxe to the Great Wall of China. I stopped the injections after my eighth round.

While I don t think the ketamine alone worked as some miracle drug that cured me instantly, I feel like it aided my recovery. I d tried so many things that I thought it would just be another failed attempt and I d never get better. Yet I write this as a person free of medication, free of depressive moods, and free of suicide and self-harm ideations. And it was following the ketamine injections that my depression began to subside.

Ketamine continues to be studied as a treatment for depression, which affects at least 700,000 people globally each year. Recently, a trial by the Black Dog Institute in Sydney found it delivered astounding results for people with depression (although noted that the treatment is still prohibitively expensive).

Despite the experience I had, I don t want anyone to disregard the possibility that ketamine can treat depression when administered ethically. It seems like the jury of medical professionals is still out on exactly what role it could or should play. But if you re feeling like I was, that there is no longer hope, then its definitely worth talking to your doctor about all your options.

Nikki Richardson is a young journo and writer based in Queensland, Australia.

If reading this article was distressing for you, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14. If you would like to seek treatment for anxiety, depression or suicidal thoughts, you can call BeyondBlue on 1300 22 4636 or speak with your GP.

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