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Interview 27

Age at interview: 43
Age at diagnosis: 40
Brief Outline: Her main helpful approaches include hospitalisation, various therapies (including art therapy), Citalopram (40mg/day), reduction in work hours, Christian prayer and diary writing.
Background: Is a divorced part time carer. Before her depression and suicide attempt she was a workaholic in a job that was becoming more demanding. Her depression required hospitalisation.

More about me...

 

Says that praying is like talking to someone who already knows you well, and that no formal...

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Says that praying is like talking to someone who already knows you well, and that no formal...

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I think because' it depends on how you look on praying. A lot of people find praying' they think you've got to do something really intelligent and you've got to have some special way of praying. But it isn't'. it's all about talking to God as if you were talking to your friend, or you Mum and Dad, you know, whoever. And it's just about being you when you talk to him, he knows everything about us, he knows what we've done wrong, he knows everything before we even say. But its about talking to God as if he was somebody sitting next to you. And I think until you actually realise that that is what praying is about, talking to your friend'. who Jesus is your friend. And there isn't anything you can tell him he doesn't already know, but he wants you to say it yourself. It's a bit like a therapy I suppose'.
 
 

Found it difficult to cope back in the community after being in hospital and had panic attacks,...

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Found it difficult to cope back in the community after being in hospital and had panic attacks,...

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I hadn't been out of the hospital grounds for 4 months and then suddenly I thought, "Well maybe I should just go to the corner shop". I went into the corner shop, and that's when my panic starting coming. I went in that corner shop and I put things in my, I had a list, and I was shaking there and I put these in my basket, and I went to the checkout desk and every... there was a queue of just 2 or 3 people there. 

And I was OK if I was the one at the end of the queue, but once somebody came up behind me, I couldn't cope with it. And then I had visions of me walking out of the shop with this stuff in my bag and not paying for it, so I suddenly went into a fearful panic attack of, "Oh, I'm going to be a shoplifter," and I can understand why people do it when they're not thinking straight. 

And I dropped the basket and I just ran down the road to the hospital and I was, I couldn't go out for ages. I went into a massive panic attack and they put me on medication to cope with it, which was at the time, you know I was in such a state I took it. But it wasn't until... the next time I had gone into panic attacks, anxiety, all these things had come to me, you know, I couldn't go out. 

Then what happened was that they had to get a CPN, a community psychiatric nurse to bring me home for one hour, gradually to see how I could cope with being in my flat on my own. And  then she'd come in here, she would spend an hour in here with me, we would do some cleaning or something and she would take me back again. Then the next time she would bring me in and we would stay 2 hours, and then the next time she would come, she would come in for 2 hours and then she'd go away for an hour and leave me here on my own and then come back.
 
 

It takes time to know if you can trust a therapist and divulge sensitive information, but you can...

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It takes time to know if you can trust a therapist and divulge sensitive information, but you can...

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I think when you actually have therapy, it's not easy until you get to know the person who's giving you the therapy, because it's a, it's a trust thing. Because you're going to divulge an awful lot of very intimate things to somebody that... you don't know whether you can trust. 

Because you might have had a lot of let downs in your life and it doesn't matter whether it's just, for example like, OK work set on... because of my job it set on my depression, but I've had depression previously, but never a bad as it was this time. But it can dig up all the dirt from previously and you... it's knowing whether you can gel with a therapist. I mean when you first have your first meeting with a therapist, it's usually about for half an hour to see whether you gel with each other. And I think when you meet someone you kind of either feel relaxed or you can't... 

And then it's, they will say to you, "Well yes, you know, I feel fine, I feel quite happy to take you on." And then they will say to you, "How do you feel about it" and if you say you feel that you are comfortable with that person, then you go ahead with it. And your sessions go on from there, depending on whether you, you know, I mean privately I was on 2 sessions a week, in mental health I'm on 1 session a week on NHS. But it can take months before you can divulge enough to start making the therapy work.
 
 

A friend of a friend turned out to be very supportive during her depression and recovery.

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A friend of a friend turned out to be very supportive during her depression and recovery.

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I had it was a friend of a friend, and I had only met her really once or twice, I didn't really know her. And she was just so lovely, she would write me notes and, you know, even now I can't get over her... she'll come up and see me once a week or, you know, after work she'd come on her way home from work, and we'd sit and have a cup of coffee. She sat here when I've been in tears and I'm going, "I'm really sorry [woman's name]." She'd say, "It's not, no it's no problem" and I, me even now I can't go out at night, I won't go out at night and ...so I will, say on a Saturday morning, I will meet my friend for a cup of coffee and that's only just out in a coffee shop. And that's only just happened in the last 5 months that I've been able to do that.
 
 

In therapy she could talk to a stranger about issues she had never discussed, and work out what...

In therapy she could talk to a stranger about issues she had never discussed, and work out what...

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It's not so much about, really... some times... in my case it was a relief being able to talk about things that I'd never, never been able to talk about to anybody else. And I think that the fact that I didn't know this person and was never going to meet them again as long as I live, it didn't matter that they knew the things that I was going to say. And it wouldn't matter, it wouldn't.... make any difference to them because they don't know me from Adam. 

But I think in a sense it's a relief that you can talk about something that is really... you don't realise that that is what has caused everything. But you, when you talk about it and divulge things, it... you suddenly get this kind of relief and you don't always know exactly what it is when you first start. And it's only through regular therapy sessions that you suddenly find yourself talking about things that you never ever expected you were going to talk about.
 
 

Believes there is an over emphasis on medication for sedation in the NHS hospital she went to.

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Believes there is an over emphasis on medication for sedation in the NHS hospital she went to.

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Yes, it's right, in the NHS it's more, "Oh, we'll give you another tablet to make you shut-up," and that is obvious in the NHS. Because it was a long time before I would take any medication because I'm not a great lover of any form of tablet.... And it was only they pers..., in the end, in the private hospital before, before I left there, they'd persuaded me that I needed to try some medication and OK, yes, you know, it did work at the time. But then I went then to a NHS hospital, and not only for myself, but I saw so many people who had been taking just about every drug the psychiatrist wanted to give them just to keep them quiet... and change from a totally different person to like a vegetable, not knowing what they were doing or anything, you know, totally wondering whether that person's going to live next week because of the state they're in through the medication they had been given. If I had taken every single drug that they wanted me to take in the NHS I probably would still be there now.
 
 

Says that while some nurses did care in her NHS hospital, there was more care that felt genuine...

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Says that while some nurses did care in her NHS hospital, there was more care that felt genuine...

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The private hospital was, there was a lot of love, a lot of care in there, sincere care. And I won't knock the NHS because they are obviously very limited to money in a way, but there was no care, not in the sense of'. you feel like you are'. I wouldn't say the word is alien, but, when' In the private hospital you felt like you were being treated as a human being and they were understanding and, you know, you felt they understood. You felt that yes, you could get well here because they cared. 

Whereas in the NHS it was like'. when, if you needed to talk to somebody, if you wanted a nurse at all you had to go to them' and you had to say you know, 'Look I need someone to talk to', rather than' Privately people can see you need someone to talk to, or a nurse was allocated to you and so many people, and you had to have some private time with them everyday, whatever. Whereas in the NHS it was like, if you were lucky, if you went to say you wanted to speak to someone, it wouldn't necessarily be there, and then because as I say they were all too busy. And you might be lucky to see one that day, you might not, by which time you might be in a worse state. 

And there were several times when I was in an even worse state because there was no one to talk to there when I needed to. But then I can't knock all because some of the nurses there, some of the nurses are generally genuinely there because they want to care for people and they were different. But there's an awful lot there who' you felt as though it was people saying to you, 'Oh, for goodness sake pull yourself out of it', and, 'Get yourself together', which you don't want, it's the last thing at the end of the day. I just don't think that there is enough, in regards to, against private and NHS, there is just not enough funding to be able to' I don't know, train the nurses in a certain way. I think that nurses in a private hospital are trained totally different to ones trained in an NHS, you know, there was a hug there when you needed it in a private hospital, but there was nothing like that in the NHS .
 
 

Wrote a poem called 'Time' in hospital to express her experiences of working and living in a...

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Wrote a poem called 'Time' in hospital to express her experiences of working and living in a...

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And I wrote a piece called Time and I didn't know about it, but the art-therapist entered it for the competition, and it wasn't until.... I wasn't even in the hospital anymore and they passed it onto my NHS therapist and I'd won first prize in the prose contest and  '50 of book vouchers and the, one of the psycho-therapists is putting it into a book that, he asked if he could put it into a book that he'd written.

What were you expressing in that poem?

Just, it was mainly how hectic today's world is, and it was really based more around exactly my own experience of how work had become for me. And it was a bit like a tape recorder, there was a forward and a rewind and a... but no stop button, you know, and life was like this there was fax machines and mobile phones and there was never any stop, you know. There was never any time to sit down and watch the sunset or the sunrise or, and it was basically it's just about saying that this is what the world's like now, there isn't any time to....  Do you remember the last time you walked along the riverbank and really watched what was going on, you know. Quite emotional all the prose pieces I wrote, were all emotional in the sense that... expressing how I actually felt at that time. And people that I'd showed them to, people who suffered from mental health have found a lot of the pieces that I wrote very helpful, because they couldn't express that themselves but that was how they were feeling.
 
 

Says depression helps you to put your life in perspective. She still finds it hard to relax, but...

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Says depression helps you to put your life in perspective. She still finds it hard to relax, but...

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I have to say now, you know, you can see the benefits are.... that you put your life into perspective, you try and look at what is more important. Things that you really forgot about, you know, reasons for, other reasons for being on this planet basically [laughs] other than just spending 24 hours, 7 days a week, working for what reason at the end of the day. 

Making you stop and have time for friends I suppose as well. And the hardest part is trying to get this time, relaxing time for me, which I find very hard and I still have to learn that because I'm not easy to relax, I find it very difficult to relax. To sit down like this now is probably the [laughs] longest I have ever sat down but it's set in my mind, I'm saying, "I have to get up and do this, I've got to get up and do that", and now, "you've got to sit here and do this", you know and more. I suppose, more, more time in my home as well, which I didn't...  and more time to like enjoy things that are free, like watching the sky, or the birds, the trees. 

I think you really appreciate those sort of things more and I appreciate that fact that, you know, I love trees and I've watched trees in the last two years and I could never watch trees in my life before. And because I've watched them I can draw them, whereas before I used to draw branches in the wrong directions and then suddenly I'd look at trees and thought, "They don't, that's not like that, it's like this", you know. I've looked at trees and I've watched the way they've changed over a period of months, especially when I was in hospital and related to it in a way of life and so I appreciate nature much more.
 
 

She loved her work and was a perfectionist, but after redundancies at work she was doing...

She loved her work and was a perfectionist, but after redundancies at work she was doing...

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Works had always been really important to me and I'm more like a perfectionist. So everything has to be a 100%, you know, and all that. And I got made promotion several times with my job, and then suddenly, I think like many companies, people started making people redundant, and requesting people to take on more and more and more. In the end I was doing the job 5 people used to do. I was enjoying it. I enjoyed it to the point where it was just getting, physically it was just getting an impossibility. But I'd always loved my job, but it was then becoming that I was away 5, 6 days a week, getting home and I couldn't get away from work basically, because I would get back here and there would be faxes and messages and goodness knows what and..... A lot of my job was travelling a lot I was covering a huge area, not just the UK. And one day I just sort of came home after I had been away for a week, parked my car outside, sat on the pavement and just broke down, basically.
 
 

She was not getting the help she needed to do her work, her director had been bullying her, but...

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She was not getting the help she needed to do her work, her director had been bullying her, but...

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And I wasn't getting the help that I had been told I was going to get for some of the training sessions that I was suppose to be doing. Because it was basically a physical impossibility for me to be in 2 or 3 different places at the same time and I had been told that I would get.... it was part of the new agreement in my contract that I would be getting the help during this particular time of the year. And only later to be told by the Director that if I couldn't do it by myself, what had I been doing all these years? And so it was a little bit of bullying really, which is another story altogether because one of the seminars that I went on actually covered one of those items. And in that case the company kind of supported me because they know I could sue them basically, not that I would because I just couldn't be bothered dealing with it. But because all the work and I, mentally I just couldn't take it any more...

Because of exhaustion, bullying, burnout?

Yes, I mean, people all knew how much I put into my work and how important it was to me. And yes I had this person who come along, and basically told me I wasn't doing the job. And gone back on what we he had previously agreed on. Whether it was to, I don't know... Anyway since he'd left the company, he had been asked to leave the company because he had be doing it to several people. But yes in that sense I have to say it was partly to do with just an impossibility of work overload.
 
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