A Statement by Douglas

My wife, Paula, went through a horrible bout of depression after being placed on the wrong medications.  Initially, my daughter sought help for my wife. I sat in with Paula on the sessions that she had with a nurse practitioner.  My wife pleaded with the nurse practitioner, telling her that she could not function and that she was not herself. She said, “I am a vibrant woman who loves life, but now everthing's changed.” Paula's an active ballet dancer with a zest for life. She enjoys every day. 
We described Paula's condition during her depression.  My wife would pace back and forth and wring her hands for a half an hour or more multiple times during the day. She kept saying, “There is something wrong with my brain; I can't function.” Paula could not cook, which she loved to do. She was afraid to go to bed at night because she did not want to wake up in the morning to face another day. She would stare into the closet and would say, “I don't know what to wear, I can't think.” She washed herself up but could not do any house work. She barely acknowledged her 13 year old dog, her faithful friend.

The nurse practitioner responded only with, “You experienced a very serious depression and it will take months to become better.”

My wife did go on medication. The week before Christmas of 2010, before a visit to my mom, the nurse practioner prescribed an increase in the dosage of the medication. I mentioned to my wife's sister that, “something is really wrong and your sister is getting worse.”  I saw my wife, who I love deeply, begging this nurse practitioner for help, but instead she was getting worse.

I asked God for help. My wife was sinking deeper and deeper into a dark hole and I could do nothing to help pull her out. This scared me greatly--I was losing my wife to a deepening depression. We were both trying to stay as positive as possible. When I was alone I would cry and say to God, “What is happening? She is getting worse every day. What do I do?”

At one point, at my Mom's home, Paula became severely paranoid. She tried to convince my mom and I that our cell phones were being tapped and that there would be an ambulance at the end of the driveway to take her away, or that the police were going to put up a road block and would take her away in a police car.  At that point, I became afraid that the medications prescribed to her, and that she was taking, were so strong that they were changing her thinking for the worse.

As we drove back home, a series of events occurred. I believe that God was answering our prayers.

After seeing my wife's condition, other family members came to our help. They told me to take my wife to McLean Hospital in Belmont, MA on the Tuesday night after Christmas, going straight there from my mom's house. Paula admitted herself to the hospital.

At the hospital, they immediately took her off the medication she had been using. They tried another type of medication, which did not bring about relief from the depression. The doctors then suggested ECT.

After taking a quick look at information about ECT on the internet, I first thought, “No way are you going to put my wife through that type of brain shocking.” But as I researched more and viewed the information from McLean Hospital, I realized that this might be a good option. I talked with Paula and other members of our family, and we finally agreed to try ECT.

After six sessions we started to see a change in Paula for the better. Now after 12 sessions with one left to do, you would never know anything had been wrong with Paula. She and I agree that the ECT treatments were a success and that ECT saved her life. God did answer our prayers.

During that time I had no voice and no place to express how I felt about the way my wife was treated by the nurse practitioner, who gave us no hope for relief. But now through this Light In The Darkness website I can describe what had happened.

We found out later that this nurse practitioner was affiliated with McLean Hospital and yet she did not mention anything about ECT to us. My wife shared our story and our concerns about the nurse practitioner with a counselor after she was discharged. The counselor said that when a patient reports that they can't function and they wring their hands and pace back and forth, this is a red flag and that the patient may well be on the wrong medication. The nurse practitioner who did not handle my wife appropriately is still practicing out of her office. She is still administrating medications to her patients. How many people are taking the wrong medication? How many more people will she be damaging?

ECT is not an answer for everyone.  But if patients continue to receive the wrong information about treatment for ECT, or their medications don't work and they are simply told to suffer until their condition gets better,  many people will suffer unnecessarily.  If it were not for the ECT treatments Paula received, who knows how much longer my wife would have been depressed and how much more her thinking and behavior would have been twisted and changed by improper medications. She might have been medicated for the rest of her life, giving her a life of depression and paranoia.

Thankfully, ECT treatments have given Paula her personality and her life back. We are here and happy to help others. We repeatedly thank God for Paula's healing. And we thank Kitty Dukakis for telling her story and for allowing us to share our story. You are an inspiration.

Douglas C
Play Frank Maroney's song, "A Light in the Darkness."