Saturday, June 7, 2008

Depression: Still The Great Taboo

If you’ve ever spent time as an in-patient in a psychiatric hospital and later had to endure the pain of people treating you like you were some kind of oddball then you’ll know what I went through ten years ago following my admission for nine days to such an institution. I was severely depressed shortly after completing my thirtyieth Holotropic BreathworkTM session and both my therapist at the time and my family doctor felt I needed to be in a place where I could get the rest and treatment required to get me well again.

I definitely don’t remember the first three days in the hospital because seemingly it is psychiatric hospital policy to drug patients silly on admission probably to make life easier for the staff in cases where they’d be dealing with very distressed patients. The last thing I needed was sedation. What I needed was someone to listen to my pain and try to understand the weird feelings I’d been having during the previous few weeks, keeping me half stoned all the time wasn’t the way to go.

The hardest thing for me to deal with was when I arrived back in the real world and found people who meant a lot to me suddenly treating me as someone not to be trusted. A typical example was when I applied to work as a volunteer in my local childrens’ hospital and my friend who I’d asked to be my referee actually wrote to the hospital explaining that I’d been an in-patient in a psychiatric hospital. She never even discussed this with me before writing the letter. Luckily, I got the job and spent six happy years there until I had to quit because of a mild heart condition.

I put my friend’s action down to ignorance as a lot of people, even in this day and age still regard any form of mental illness, albeit in my case depression brought about by what’s known in transpersonal psychology terms as a spiritual emergency, as something to be greatly feared.

Ten years on I’m thankfully in excellent mental health and haven’t taken any anti-depressant medication for over eight years. My demons have finally been put to rest.



Anonymous said...

you are an amazing lady

Margaret Coyne said...

Thank you so much for your nice comment. I just felt I needed to express my concern about how, even in today's society, people still regard those suffering from mental illness, whether it be in its mildest form or slightly more severe as people to be wary of, not to be trusted. I hope some day that kind of thinking will be confined to history. Cheers, Margaret