A Statement by Kitty Dukakis

For seventeen years of my life I have battled disabling depression and before that drug addiction and during the worst of my depressions alcohol addiction. I have been told that I am a fighter and as I look back I recognize those signs. Now, at the year of my 75 birthday I wake up in the morning feeling hopeful. The despair is gone and I have resumed an extraordinary fulfilling life. It is a joy to share my message of hope with others who struggle daily with depression.

Many people know me from the 1988 presidential campaign of my husband Michael Dukakis, who also served as Governor of Massachusetts for three terms. After the presidential campaign my depressions became acute and I began drinking alcoholically.  None of the medications had worked before that time and none helped at that time.

I kept fighting back, trying every possible treatment and using any way I could think of to share my experiences with others confronting the same demons. That was the point of my two books-Now You Know, co-written with Jane Scovell and Shock, the Healing Power of Electroconvulsive Therapy, where I joined forces with Larry Tye, an award- winning medical journalist.

My driving purpose today is helping others learn about the many ways to overcome depression. I do not advocate only one approach. For some people medication and therapy is the right response. For others, whose depression is more severe, electroconvulsive therapy can make the difference. I owe my current peace of mind and my life itself to ECT. I am also grateful to my original ECT doctor at the Massachusetts General Hospital Dr. Charles Welch who has treated me and so many others with sensitivity and compassion.

I respond to thousands of emails a year from people with debilating depression. I give dozens of grand round lectures at hospitals in many states. My husband Michael has been wonderfully supportive throughout our 48 years of marriage and encouraged me to start an ECT support group which will soon be providing a web site. It has been important for spouses to join us.

My life is a testament to the truth that depression can be overcome.

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