Thursday, 24 July 2014

Life After Darkness: NMD Ninewells "recovery" story then suicidal depression recurring taking "much longer to get better from"

On 7 June 2014 I was researching the book by Cathy Wield in 2005 on her recovery from depression following NMD/brain surgery for mental illness at Ninewells Hospital, Dundee, with the Advanced Interventions Service when I came upon a recent article in the Baptist Times, from January 2013, by the same person, telling of the suicidal depression returning and it taking "much longer to get better from this bout".

I immediately sent an Email to Prof Keith Matthews head of the Advanced Interventions Service, copied to his colleague Dr David Christmas, with the subject heading 'Cathy Wield - neurosurgery for mental disorder then another severe suicidal depression taking "much longer to get better from"' concluding with:

"I am interested to hear your comments on the fact that Cathy Wield underwent serious brain surgery, irreversible and risky, only to again experience suicidal depression, hospitalisation and repeat ECT."

As yet I have had no response.

'Life After Darkness: A Doctor's Journey Through Severe Depression' by Cathy Wield, foreword by Keith Matthews, Professor of Psychiatry and Head of Advanced Interventions Service/Neurosurgery for Mental Disorder Service, University of Dundee.

Publication date 31 December 2005:  

'My life journey took me through a single, but continuous seven year episode. It was a terrible nightmare of torture and imprisonment. I am one of the fortunate ones to have survived and recovered. I hope through my story, I will be able to bring to you some insights into this kind of suffering and I hope that the stigma which is attached to mental illness will lessen as a result.' The remarkable and moving story of a doctor and mother of four who endured seven years of severe depression. 

Years of self-harm, attempted suicides and admissions to psychiatric units culminated in her resorting to brain surgery as a final attempt to escape her illness. The story of Cathy Wield covers the horrors of time spent in archaic institutions, the loss of any hope of recovery and certain death, to a full recovery following surgery. Today, she has returned to her career and rediscovered the joys of life and her family. This story is one of hope from an often hidden and stigmatised disease." Amazon UK

Then 5 January 2013: 'Cathy Wield Shares Her Experiences of Living with Depression with the Baptist Times'


"I have suffered two bouts of major depression; the first lasted for seven years continuously with no break, during which time I received just about every medical treatment available – psychotherapy, drugs, ECT and then when the prognosis was that I would die, brain surgery ...... On the eighth day post op, I suddenly experienced a light switching on in my head and I was instantaneously better; the depression had gone!"

"I thought since I had been healed in such a way that I would never suffer with depression again so we were surprised and disappointed when I began to have symptoms just at the time that we moved to Aberdeen in Scotland ..... This time it was more gradual, but eventually the illness became so severe that I was once again suicidal and therefore hospitalised. 

The church was extremely supportive – they had had teaching on depression and so recognised that this is not something you can snap out of, or that it was the fault of the sufferer or that I was not as spiritual as I should be. They sent cards and presents, visited and prayed. I had to have ECT again and thankfully this time it was successful and my recovery began.  It has taken much longer to get better from this bout"

"We now live in Watford.  My husband, who is a counsellor, and I run a workshop on depression, for churches and other organisations.  More details are on the website  We would love to hear from you if we can be of help." 

Read complete article

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