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The stress: he could not face it all again

BMJ 1998; 317 doi: (Published 22 August 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;317:546

Two years ago you published an article by a general practitioner who was beginning to find general practice particularly difficult and had become depressed (BMJ 1996;313:210).That doctor was my husband. In between his writing the article and its publication, I was diagnosed as having breast cancer. This only served to fuel the fire of his disillusion with life.

Despite the BMA Counselling Service he found it difficult to persuade a psychiatrist to see him unless he was prepared to wait several months. Eventually he located a psychiatrist who was willing to see him quickly. He was prescribed antidepressants, eventually in large doses, which he has continued to take. When I was discharged from hospital after surgery he took six weeks' leave from work—a mixture of compassionate leave, sick leave, and annual leave—and then returned to work knowing, as he said in his article, that if he stayed away any longer he would never return. He saw the psychiatrist at regular intervals and it was during this time that the psychiatrist warned me of the possibility …

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