A-Z

Enid

Age at interview: 74
Brief Outline: Although Enid has always experienced periods of sadness, she only became very depressed after retirement. She was treated with ECT aged 73 and has found it helpful for a short period of time. Enid feels that depression should be considered an illness like any other.
Background: Enid is a retired nurse and lives with her husband and two dogs. She has five children and describes her background as White British.

More about me...

Enid felt she had ‘real depression’ in her childhood where she found it difficult to cope. However the worst episode of depression she experienced happened a few years ago when she couldn’t do anything and couldn’t stop crying. In the end she felt she wanted to die because it would be easier. She remembers she was at a friend’s house and was taken down to the GP and then rushed into hospital.

Enid was offered ECT at hospital and feels she was at a stage where she ‘couldn’t care less’ what happened to her. She had been a nurse previously and was aware what an ECT session was like. She had a course of 12 sessions, which she says helped her ‘enormously’. She then came home but found she experienced mood swings and then she had a low patch. Enid then had another period of ECT treatments, but this time as an outpatient. Then she had so called ‘maintenance’, where she had one ECT treatment every month. Later she got unwell and wanted to self-harm and had another 12 treatments. She found that the people in the ECT department were an enormous help and were very supportive.

In addition, Enid did dialectical behaviour therapy but had to stop half way through as she had ECT. At first she thought the therapy was nonsense - the “Americanisms” annoyed her. However, over a period of time she made sense of a lot of things through therapy, and therapy helped her to stay much better than she had been in the past. Now she tries to live in the moment and not worry about things that have happened. She is having ECT once a month and her consultant is reluctant to space it any wider as she had a ‘big dip’ when she was not having treatment. 

When she retired Enid felt life lost a lot of meaning, but didn’t think that what she was experiencing could be described as ‘depression’: she just felt that everything was falling apart. Enid had struggled along and had assumed that it was ok to feel the way she did. Initially she thought that because she had a ‘mental problem’ people would treat her differently and found people reacted strongly to the idea of ECT. Even though she was trained as a nurse, even she wasn’t that familiar with the process of the treatment. Now she feels that depression is an illness like any other and isn’t anything to be ashamed about.

Enid can remember liking the feeling of “drifting off” during the anaesthetic. She says that she feels ‘absolutely fine’ after a treatment, but occasionally finds her memory isn’t good. However she was amazed it worked in a short time. She says that it is always the same people who give her the treatment and that they are friendly. Enid likes the psychiatrist she is being treated by at the moment. Although she thinks that ECT probably isn’t helpful for everybody, she has found it enormously helpful for her. 

Enid has found that many things have contributed towards her well-being such as membership of a church, her husband and looking after her two dogs. She finds that her medication is effective and that she doesn’t get many side effects. Enid says her husband is ‘brilliant at caring’ and she says that she is very fortunate to have him. She is also a member of a support group Hafal. Through God’s loving care, she feels that she can get through even ‘the worst things’.
 

Enid kept diaries when she was depressed and found it “surreal” looking back at them. She says when you are well it’s difficult to understand why you wanted to self-harm.

Text only
Read below

Enid kept diaries when she was depressed and found it “surreal” looking back at them. She says when you are well it’s difficult to understand why you wanted to self-harm.

HIDE TEXT
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
It’s and looking back on it, it almost seems surreal. You know, it’s quite difficult at the moment, almost to even understand how you feel when you’re bad, I’ve cut myself, I’ve done all sorts of things. And at the minute you think why did you do that? Because you know, I don’t have any urge to do it at all, and you look back in the diaries that I’ve done, and it’s, you know, you feel so different. Right now I feel as though everything’s fine and I’m doing okay, and then you, you read back and it’s almost like reading what somebody else has written because it just seems, you know, why would I want to do that? And it’s quite hard to realise just how bad things can get. 

And I think at the time you’re going through it you’re not thinking about it in that way, you know, you’re kind of… well it’s almost like an existence, instead of being able to live you don’t want to carry on, you don’t want to do things and so it’s a whole different way of being.
 

Enid received support through a mental health charity and the friends she met there and through her church.

Enid received support through a mental health charity and the friends she met there and through her church.

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
Well I got involved through the Mental Health Team. They asked me if I would, you know, like to join and… [name] who was in charge at the time, I used to go out with her on a one to one basis once a week which was, you know, really good, because it was more of a social thing in a sense then, you know, like that again but at the same time you know, she was aware of, of how I was feeling. And then we joined in a group once a week as well. We’d do all sorts of things really. Go to next week I think we’ll wander the Millennium Coastal Path. Some of the people will be riding their bikes and some of us will be walking. And you know, we just have a good social get together. We do all sorts of things and it’s just as I say, I’ve met some incredible people through these things, and I just enjoy getting round being together and that’s good, and church has been very helpful as well. They’ve done a lot of things for [name of husband] when I’ve not been around and… I’ve got some very good friends there that I can talk to, you know, kind of through thick and thin, which is fantastic. I’ve got a good friend there who, who likewise suffers quite badly from depression and it’s good to, you know, have other people that you can talk to who understand kind of, you know, what you’re going through. That’s so er... Yes. I’ve had a lot of support.
 

Her faith has helped Enid make sense of her life. Although terrible things have happened to her, she feels she can get through the worst things knowing God is there with her.

Her faith has helped Enid make sense of her life. Although terrible things have happened to her, she feels she can get through the worst things knowing God is there with her.

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
Obviously you’ve got the people at the church and so on and what role has faith played if any in your life, your well-being?

Well you know, for a lot of people I think… kind of question, if you’ve got that much faith, you know, kind of, why do you get ill? But… that’s… that’s like the 21st Psalm, ‘Yea though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death’ I won’t kind of feel any fear. Not because nothing bad happens, but because no matter what does happen… the Lord’s there with you. Even you know, kind of it’s not terrible things don’t happen, terrible things do, you know, people die, people become ill, people have all sorts of things, but, but at the same time God’s love and care is there with you. And… you will get through the worst things. And some things are pretty awful, but no it’s been, been an amazing experience of, and when I went back this time, the first time I got back to the big church because I wasn’t driving and went to the little one locally kind of the first thing that happened, somebody kind of put their arms round me and said, “I’ve been praying for you every day.” And kind of the feeling, that people you know, kind of done that for you. And I know that people are there and they do care about what happens to you. And the love and the acceptance and the things that have gone on are amazing. So yes.
 

Although Enid had worked as a nurse, she didn’t know much about ECT but thought it was for extreme cases. When she was offered it she was so ill she didn’t care what happened.

Although Enid had worked as a nurse, she didn’t know much about ECT but thought it was for extreme cases. When she was offered it she was so ill she didn’t care what happened.

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
And I was offered ECT then and… I don’t think I even thought about it much, you know, kind of they said it might help and quite honestly at that point I couldn’t care less what they did or what happened and I think probably I was fortunate in that, when I’d done my nursing training, because I became a nurse when my children were growing up I had actually been to an ECT session. So I suppose that, for me, in any case it wasn’t something that was totally new. But as I said, I couldn’t have cared less what they’d done at that point.

And obviously, you know, from your medical background you’ve seen ECT and so on. Can you remember what you thought about ECT before you…?

Well I thought it was probably for extreme cases [laughs]. And that… you know, kind of, it wouldn’t be for most ordinary people you know. I suppose really because I didn’t do psychiatry it was just a little part of the training. You king of go in one day and you see it, but you don’t know anything much about psychiatric problems and diagnoses and so on. So you don’t have a very sensible idea of what it’s used for. You know, you learn very little in one day’s visit really. It’s surprising how little you do learn.
 

Enid had ECT as an inpatient and now has maintenance ECT as an outpatient. Along with dialectical behavioural therapy ECT has helped her improve her mood enormously.

Enid had ECT as an inpatient and now has maintenance ECT as an outpatient. Along with dialectical behavioural therapy ECT has helped her improve her mood enormously.

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
And I had a course of twelve sessions then, and then once a week and once a fortnight and kind of, they tailed it off, and it helped me enormously and that really did make a lot of difference to how I was and I came home, and started, I was on tablets and various other bits and pieces and for quite some time, because my moods were, were swinging but I didn’t get to a, you know, very low patch for a while and then I did and had another lot of ECT. But stayed home this time. I wasn’t in hospital for it. I had another session of twelve and then it… Initially it went to once a month and then the sessions got wider and wider apart and at the beginning of this year, I was very poorly and wanted to do myself harm. I wanted to end it all, and ended up with another set of twelve sessions.

But during that, during the last eighteen months, well it’s a bit more than that now, but I did a dialectic behaviour therapy course as well. I had to stop part way through that, because of the ECT. I couldn’t get to the sessions because I couldn’t drive myself. But I have completed that now. And I actually think that that is helping me to stay much better than I have been in the past. But I am still having monthly sessions of ECT at the moment. My doctor currently is reluctant to space it out any wider, because last time I did a big dip again, so this is early days yet you know, it’s only a few months since the last set of twelve ECTs, so I will have to see how things go.
 

When Enid was self harming in hospital she felt everyone would be looking at her. Later she realised that was their problem, and opening up helped her make new friends with whom she has a lot of fun.

When Enid was self harming in hospital she felt everyone would be looking at her. Later she realised that was their problem, and opening up helped her make new friends with whom she has a lot of fun.

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
I can remember, I was trying to hurt myself with everything I could lay my hands on. I just felt, I felt very frightened. The staff they were very good, but, you know, they tried to help me through everything every day but it was a very frightening experience the first time of going and having treatment and you also feel, almost as though, kind of I’ve got a mental problem and everybody’s going to be kind of looking at me, people will treat me differently. Well if they do, you kind of come to realise that that’s their problem not mine. And the funny thing is I’ve met some incredible people. That I would never have met any other way and some of the nicest people. And I’m really grateful for that, because there’s a good group of, of us, you know, kind of go around together do things. A lot of fun, and yes it’s a pretty good side to it… and people have been very supportive, very helpful and I always feel that I want to tell people that, if it’s appropriate that I had a problem with depression and it’s amazing how many people kind of, will then open up with problems that they wouldn’t otherwise mention to people. So it’s a good way of helping other people to.
 

At first Enid thought that Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) was “nonsense” but then found it made a lot of sense. She finds she’s able to live in the moment more and enjoy whatever she is doing and not worry.

At first Enid thought that Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) was “nonsense” but then found it made a lot of sense. She finds she’s able to live in the moment more and enjoy whatever she is doing and not worry.

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
And I started off very anti, thinking “this is a pile of nonsense” and it’s a bit like waving a magic wand and, but over a period of time I realised that there were actually things in there that made a lot of sense, and if you just ignored the Americanisms and I suppose there are different bits that work best for different people, but I have found it helpful in the end, and I did the year’s course and yes, I think it still, it’s still helping and I do, you know, kind of think of various bits of it during the day and it does help.

What are the bits you tend to think of?

Well in the mornings I always think this is a new day it’s open to a lot of opportunities and you don’t have, you know, what’s gone is gone. What, don’t I spend all your time worrying about what’s going to happen tomorrow. Live now. And enjoy, you know, the things that you’re doing now and make the most of what you can do today. And I think for me that’s, that’s probably the best bit of it. Just live in the moment. Live now. This bit’s fantastic. You know, I’ve got a lovely house, I’ve got a lovely husband, I’ve, you know, everything’s absolutely fine. Why worry about all the dreadful things or kind of make things not good. Now is a good time to be, and I think that’s been an enormous help. 
Previous Page
Next Page