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Interview 20

Age at interview: 47
Age at diagnosis: 32
Brief Outline: Her recovery initially came about after hospitalisation including Electroconvulsive Therapy. With supportive long-term therapy and medication (Prozac and lithium) she has been in recovery ever since 1989.
Background: Originally from Northern Europe, is a health professional. In 1989 her 'emotions caught up' with her, and she became severely depressed and also had psychosis.

More about me...

 

Says that parents can be part of the problem in depression, and just as they can be abusive, they...

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Says that parents can be part of the problem in depression, and just as they can be abusive, they...

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My family were initially very supportive and I don't think to this day they really understood what was going on' sometimes it's difficult because parents are part of the problem. Just as parents can be abusive in terms of, hitting you over the head with a brick, equally some parents, and probably my parents, were just too, supportive, too kind of' they didn't allow me to get out and get a couple of knocks. 

I think that I certainly know that my father was worried whether they had done something, it was something that they had done that had made this happen....They can't help with the therapy. They can help with everything else, but [pause] I don't think until you're better you can really explain to them what's going on, so, it's probably good that they can hear or read somewhere about the sort of things that happen. I again'. I'm pragmatic about that. I just.... they don't... I organise my life and they don't necessarily ask me about things. It's a bit of a Mexican stand off I think because I don't tell them, and they don't ask, so nobody knows.

 

While she was unable to give consent to ECT (Electroconvulsive Therapy) in hospital, her recovery...

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While she was unable to give consent to ECT (Electroconvulsive Therapy) in hospital, her recovery...

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The treatment inside the hospital was very good in terms of I'm sure I got the best possible care. It's scary, because for the first week or so you you're not really too aware of what's going on, and my depression caused a psychosis which had to be treated with ECT (Electroconvulsive Therapy), and all I can recall of that, because I was not in the.... because I was not aware of my consent being sought, I remember though that, there, I was examined, or interviewed by a group of people including a social worker, I think there was a minister, religious minister, and somebody else, to see whether my condition warranted my having ECT. 

So I wasn't given that without their consent, so the change in me though after the ECT was almost miraculous' it all sounds very scary, but you really don't... you don't see anything because you are anaesthetised, so you are asleep. And you wake up, and I... you have a slight headache, but apart from that, I had no side-effects. 

And, I'm not too sure how it works, but I... my mood improved instantly, and I was talking and laughing... and to the point where the nursing staff were saying, you know, "What's the story you're meant to be depressed?" [laughing] And the doctor was quite surprised by my recovery and he said though that for many people that happens. You the ECT I had, I think I had five lots of ECT, and with each successive lot I got slightly better, but, I, with the first lot I was pretty well better, and then I was in hospital for three, three weeks, and they put me on some medication.

 

Says that once you are well and can judge, you need to view your sessions with your potential...

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Says that once you are well and can judge, you need to view your sessions with your potential...

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You know when you're in hospital, or you're severely depressed, you just have to hand yourself over and think, you know, 'I'm just going to have to work with this.' Or, 'these people are going to have to look after me because I can't look after myself'. But then when you get better, it's like anything, you need to feel that you can relate to the person you might go and see, I've been lucky in that I've seen three psychiatrists, and the current guy that I see I get on like a house on fire with. I trust him'. 

He is open, he tells you, he doesn't pussyfoot around, he tells you. You have to feel comfortable' this is dealing with your psyche, and unless you feel you can trust the person and you like the person' You have to like them, you have to like them, you may' On occasions you may not like what they tell you, but you have to like them. And you have to understand that they've got your best interests at heart and that they're interested in you'.

I'm sure there are psychiatrists who are not, but you have to feel that they are interested in you. That they are worried that you do stay well, or that you don't stay well and that they like you as well'. 

I guess it's like marriage, you've gotta kind of work with someone initially to sort of figure out whether or not you can work with them because you're gonna be seeing them for a while'

 

Says that being intelligent can be unhelpful when depressed if it means you look for explanations...

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Says that being intelligent can be unhelpful when depressed if it means you look for explanations...

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I ah.... I think, being intelligent when you're depressed is not a great thing, because I think what you try to do is you try to, I think I said it before, you try to intellectualise everything, you try to make, understand it, why these things are happening to you, without necessarily confronting the emotional issues. I think also that it, ultimately it gives you an insight, which sometimes makes it more difficult, you know you sort of understand too well about what can happen or what can't happen, but I think the big thing is that it doesn't matter how smart you are, you've gotta deal with the emotion. And I think sometimes intelligent people run away from the emotion by, literally, burying their head in a book, or, trying to find some sort of solution or biochemical explanation why they're sick.

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