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By Margaret McRae (auth.)

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Luckily she was at home. 'Pat, I feel terrified. I'm so frightened. ' she asked. 'I don't know,' I gasped. 'Everything is crowding in on me. I want to cry all the time,' I sobbed into the phone. Panic held me in its grip. 'Give yourself time,' Pat said. Her voice sounded nervous, as my panic transmitted itself down the telephone lines to her. ' Pat talked about ordinary things and in a while I calmed down. ' We chatted for a few more moments and then said goodbye. I placed the receiver down. The phone call had dispelled the panic but now came a feeling of hopelessness.

I was stunned. Deep down I knew that I needed help, but I wanted to believe that I could overcome the depression on my own in a few weeks' time. Rita seemed to think otherwise. She was implying that I was mentally ill and, for me, mental illness was synonymous with my brother's condition, which I felt to be the most fearful illness that anyone could have. 'I'm frightened,' I said. 'It's dreadful to have to admit that you're mentally ill and need treatment. I can't imagine anything worse. 'You are strange,' she commented.

I couldn't rest or relax. Towards evening the ward sister came with a nurse to give me an injection against pain. 'I don't need anything thank you,' I said. ' It was important for me to keep alert, in case I missed a warning sign. A pain killing drug would take me off my guard. 'You soon will have pain,' replied the sister. ' 'I don't mind. Pain doesn't worry me. ' 'You need to have a good sleep,' she insisted. ' Before I knew what was happening the nurse had thrust the syringe needle into my thigh.

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