Depression Interview with Kitty Dukakis
You may remember Kitty Dukakis as the wife of former Massachusetts governernor and 1998 presidential nominee Michael Dukakis. What I didn't know and you may not know is that Mrs. Dukakis struggled with debilitating depression for more than 20 years.
Now, she has co-authored a book on electroconfulsive therapy (ECT), Shock: The Healing Power of Electroconvulsive Therapy, with Larry Tye, an award-winning former Boston Globe medical and health reporter. Shock details her personal experiences with ECT and includes Tye's investigation into the history and science behind ECT, it's decline into disfavor in the 1960's and its return as a viable therapy.
At the 2007 NAMI convention, Mrs. Dukakis was the recipient of The Lionel Aldridge Award, which is named in honor of former Super Bowl champion Lionel Aldridge, whose recovery from schizophrenia and homelessness inspired many people.
RC: Your story really is amazing. It's seems strange because I think that public opinion about ECT and prefrontal lobotomies have been all mixed together.
KD: Well, it has. After "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" with Jack Nicholson, that's when the initial stigma [about ECT] really started.
RC: I would think that going public and telling the story about your experience with ECT could help address the stigma surrounding it.
KD: I feel so strongly about my hope that at some period in the not too distant future, the stigma attached to mental illness and, in particular to ECT, is going to fade. That people will have this as an option especially those who are in particular categories such as suicide, pregnancy, and older patients where this treatment works faster than antidepressants and more successfully.
This interview is timely and highly interesting. Please continue reading NAMI 2007 Convention: An Interview with Kitty Dukakis.