Psychotic depressionBMJ 2012; 345 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e6994 (Published 24 October 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e6994
- Rebecca Lawrence, psychiatrist and patient1,
- Stephen M Lawrie, professor2
- 1Ritson Clinic, Royal Edinburgh Hospital, Edinburgh EH10 5HF, UK
- 2Edinburgh University Division of Psychiatry, School of Clinical Sciences, Royal Edinburgh Hospital
- Correspondence to: R Lawrence
- Accepted 4 July 2012
I had an easy early life. My family was a combination of conservative and intellectual, and throughout medical school I fitted in. There were, perhaps, a number of warning signs of what was to come—a long period of blackness after a relationship ended, and one of poorly controlled mood before final exams—but hardly different from many others. I was unaware at that time of family history.
I coped well with the stress of house jobs followed by a number of senior house officer jobs and a period of travelling. I then decided, for romantic and literary reasons, to do my GP training year in Cornwall. It was hard work, but all went well until, after my marriage, I found myself rather unexpectedly—though not unhappily—pregnant. Quite suddenly my life fell apart. I don’t remember feeling depressed, but I became terrified of everything, afraid to eat, and convinced the baby would die. I saw a psychiatrist, who dispensed with note taking as it might apparently affect my career, and ended up briefly in a psychiatric hospital before being looked after by one of my fellow GPs, my husband, and my mother-in-law. I had no idea what was wrong with me.
When I was around five months pregnant, we moved back to Edinburgh and went to our GP, who immediately referred me to a psychiatrist, who sent me straight to the local hospital. I had last been there as a medical student, several of my friends and colleagues worked there, and my previous life as a doctor was instantly shattered. I had hoped to train as a psychiatrist …
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