Sunday, 11 April 2010

News of the World - ECT 'Frankenstein' treatment of Bev from Coronation St

I have just noticed today's headline in News of the World 'Bev Callard: Frankenstein op saved me from suicide'.

See the full story here

Basically she had ECT - electroconvulsive therapy - as a successful treatment for her severe depression. As I did.

I confess that I am pleased when celebrities 'come out' about their mental health problems as it does help reduce some of the stigma BUT when the reporting sensationalises and potentially scares society about treatments, it DOES NOT help.

ECT may be considered by some to be barbaric but it is done under general anaesthetic. Quite frankly I have bigger concerns about my hysterectomy operation last year. Why isn't that sensationlised as barbaric too? I was 'put out' by a needle stabbing me; a number of chemicals pumped into my body; someone plunging a knife into me and cutting pieces out of me; stitching me up and then being pumped with more chemicals for days afterwards.

By comparison ECT was a doddle! It meant I also had a needle put in my hand; a peaceful drifting off to sleep, (which at the time was a relief) and after a little while gently being woken, given a cup of tea, and walking back to the ward with no more than a slight headache.

For me ECT also brought me back to life when puerperal psychosis had stolen the 'real' me. I don't understand how it works but neither do I understand how this computer works! But I have benefitted from both! I do know that following a number of these treatments little by little I learnt to sleep again and as that happened so did my ability to function as a rationale human being again. For that I am eternally grateful.

What concerns me with reporting as in News of the World today is that people out there may well refuse a treatment which could have helped them. Words such as 'Frankenstein', 'smell of burning flesh' may have been written by Bev Callard as part of her description but need not have been used as the main focus. The fact is that she has got better!

That is the fact that needs stressing and NOT the fact that a misunderstood treatment should be sensationalised like this.

Elaine Hanzak

Just as I am pleased with the outcome of the physical operation I remain very grateful for having been given a treatment for my mental illness which ultimately gave me my life back in other ways.


Anonymous said...

I completely agree. I saw the headline passing through a station and even if it is a good thing for celebrities to talk about mental disorders it is a good thing primarily because it REDUCES societal stereoptypes brought about by lack of understanding/experience/knowledge. This article does the opposite and there should be an apology from the author, not that I expect one. If somebody had called chemotherapy a "toxic injection experiment" (I cant think of a better comparison) when it was relatively unheard of they'd have probably been been facing a lawsuit, and it is a joke that people are so obsessed with selling a product that they are ready to enhance false stereotypes that make mental disorders such alienating and solitary experiences in the first place.

HollywoodViv said...

I understand that life can be tough and you are depressed but PLEASE do some research on this. I am an advocate of the Citizens Commission for Human Rights, There is much information there to really educae you on this subject. They have a Museum of Death that shows the truth about this. Also look on youtube for videos.This is not and will never be an answer