By Margaret McRae (auth.)

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He was visibly shaken, pale and drawn. My worst fears were realised as I learnt that my dear brother was dead and gone forever. ' But I struggled to hide my feelings. As a Christian I believed it was wrong to question God's actions, and in a fit of stifled anguish I reasoned to myself that this sad loss was of God's choosing, and who was I to argue? I felt emotionally numb. The Hysterectomy and its Aftermath 41 At the funeral the church was packed. Alan's coffin stood on two trestles by the pulpit.

I placed the receiver down. The phone call had dispelled the panic but now came a feeling of hopelessness. I sat at my desk with my head on my arms and cried. On Fridays I managed better. I normally visited elderly people, and in the afternoons I called on mothers with postnatal depression, which involved listening to the mothers' anxieties. This I was readily able to do. That became the pattern of my week. It was relentless. No matter how hard I tried I failed to control the panics and depressions which swept over me all the time; yet I had to keep working and struggling and fighting because I knew that Depression 45 if I gave in, I would be finished.

Sleep would no longer come at will, and my mind couldn't avoid the fears and anxieties which were crowding in. I wasn't unduly concerned about my medical condition. My discomfort would last for only a few more days. I believed that physically it was just a matter of time, and I would be fit again. But I was worried about the state of my mind. In all my nursing experience I couldn't remember seeing a patient behave in the way that I was behaving now. I wouldn't relate to other patients or to the staff.

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