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Both sides

BMJ 1999; 319 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.319.7215.1013 (Published 09 October 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;319:1013
  1. Belinda Brewer, specialist registrar in accident and emergency medicine
  1. West Sussex

    Iam a specialist registrar in accident and emergency medicine and a patient with mental health problems, and I have experienced both sides of psychiatric care. I realised that I was in the throes of a major depressive episode in January 1995. I was a senior house officer in medicine and had completed the membership examination of the Royal College of Physicians. Until this point everything had progressed smoothly. I was a young and successful doctor; I had completed all my postgraduate examinations and had the financial security of a professional job. I had hardly had a day off sick in four years.

    I am not sure if I will ever unite the doctor and patient parts of me

    But then I lost two and a half stones; my sleep was disrupted; I had early morning panic attacks; and I noticed a marked deterioration in concentration and memory. The turning point came in a lecture, given by a consultant psychiatrist in depression. I was horrified that I fulfilled all the criteria …

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