DEPRESSION – SOME MEMORIES
By Rosemary Garside
In olden days before modern drugs, many people with my condition (chemical imbalance) or (Manic-Depression) died by committing suicide during episodes of severe depression, or by fatigue and not eating during a manic attack.
With the introduction of modern drugs, good psychiatric care and follow up, much has been done to alleviate this problem and people with my condition can lead normal and productive lives, as long as they continue to take medicine and follow medical advice. I did for a number of years.
Unfortunately, sometimes things go wrong and after a period of 10 years without an episode of my illness (I had continued to take my medication), I had another “manic attack” and as a result had to be hospitalized. I was stabilized and in time, returned to work and hoped to continue in this way
In some cases, the drugs I was given did not agree with me and I felt worse than I did when just suffering from my mental condition. I reported this to my medical advisors, however, the establishment I was attached to was not very sympathetic. The nurses and doctors always appeared too busy to really find out what was happening. I got this impression that they had made their minds up about what was the matter with me without me and my family being involved or consulted. I really don’t think they listened or made notes of what my family said. They had an idea in their heads and that was it!
The drug I was prescribed initially produced severe side effects, resulting in my losing my memory for four days, after a ‘manic attack”. (That was a weird episode, I felt I had the flu but was manic also). I was never questioned about this, it was dismissed as one of those things. I was also thought to be an alcoholic and at times felt I knew the ‘Blood Department’ better than anywhere else in the hospital. I forever seemed to need further “Blood Testing”.
During my 51st year, I was in and out of the hospital on a number of occasions and in general got the impression that nobody quite knew what to do with me.
I felt that some people thought I was an alcoholic, some that I had organic problems and others that I was such a psychological mess, that I could not adjust to changes in my life. I was told I was manipulative and that I felt unloved – all these to some extend had an element of truth to them and caused me much unhappiness, because I, too, was questioning what was the matter with me. Personally, I felt awful. I tried to do things but somehow couldn’t, my family tried to help me, but even them felt that I was a very poor mother and otherwise useless. I dragged myself around, managing always to get dressed in the morning – obviously good upbringing. I made it to church on Sunday and to a friend’s place on Thursday evening – very often this was an effort on many occasions.
My other predominant dread was the thought of spending the next 20 odd years feeling like this. I was 51, but in more ways than one, felt one hundred. Life was frightening at that time. I felt I was deteriorating and indeed might be becoming retarded, nobody explained to me why I was feeling the way I was, and I was left to speculate on my own. I really was treated as if there was no hope for me.
In desperation I think, I tried to commit suicide, which I did on three occasions. I honestly felt I couldn’t live the way I was. I couldn’t write, because my hands trembled, my daughter had to sign cheques for me. At times the walls of my apartment seemed to close in on me and I hated being there. It took me three days to pack to go to England and that was all I had to do. Even the effort of going out with friends was often too much. I had to change. Reading was difficult and I spent much of my time wondering if other people felt the same as me, that, and feeling guilty because of my inability to do things.
I did, however survive, and I’m glad I did. I actually am not prone to contemplating suicidee and do in fact, find a great deal of enjoyment now in life. Also I am a Christian and have found much strength in that.
I did not enjoy that period of my life. Hopefully, with the excellent medical care I am now getting, I never will try again to commit suicide.
Thank you to:
Dr. S. Dziurdzy and the Henderson
The Rev Alan McPherson
The Rev. Bruce Herrod
My friends at church and elsewhere.
Originally published by: P.T. Publishing