Wow! This issue, for the first time, we weren't able to publish all the letters we received—and even so, our "Letters" section runs longer than it ever has. We appreciate the fact that you, our readers, write in to praise, critique, and elaborate on what you read here; your letters further advance the discourse on important issues—not to mention the fact that they prove people really do read the magazine! The article that came in for far and away the most comment was "Evermore," a Fall feature in which writer Nancy Price Graff described her struggle with chronic depression. Several other articles in the Fall issue, as well as a couple of pieces in previous issues, drew comment, too—fire as well as praise. Please keep the feedback, of whatever sort, coming.
Eloquently told tale
The article in your Fall issue by Nancy Graff was incredibly powerful. It is essential to communicate openly about mental illness so that others will feel empowered to take these problems out of the closet. Bravo to her for her courage and her eloquence in telling her story.
I'd like to also read the feature she wrote for the Spring 1996 issue of Dartmouth Medicine. How can I obtain a copy?
Alan A. Rozycki, M.D.,
DC '61, DMS '63
As a practicing psychiatrist and an alumnus of the Dartmouth psychiatry residency, I wanted to extend my thanks to Nancy Graff for her outstanding and courageous article, "Evermore," published in the Fall issue of your prestigious magazine.
If I'm not mistaken, I had the privilege of being on the team that cared for her upon her initial admission to DHMC's psychiatric unit. I say this (knowing I'm not breaching confidentiality, as she has publically written of her hospitalization) to encourage her onward in her journey. And to echo the words in her article—just keep taking those steps, no matter how small, toward wellness and healing.
I would like to thank Nancy Graff for having the strength and fortitude to share her pain. May this be another avenue of learning for all of us, toward parity for and a better understanding of mental illness.
Jack A. Mahdasian, M.D.,
Grand Rapids, Mich.
Captivating, but not the norm
I have read Nancy Graff's remarkable account of her struggle with depression several times. It is captivating in much the same way that William Styron's lament of many years ago was.
There is, however, a danger that the medical community might use such cases as Graff's or Styron's as the gold standards against which all depressions
are measured—and that lesser versions might be minimized as mere dysphoria, disappointment, and/or self-indulgent whining.
I've been treated for depression for the last five years (taking a Celexa equivalent). As I think back upon the previous 40 years, it seems quite plausible that untreated depression played a huge role in many of the darker times that cyclically populated my calendar but were passed off as "that's life."
Fortunately, science and medicine have made it quite easy for those afflicted with depression to enjoy a vastly improved "that's life." But we need to continue to encourage sufferers to step up, and front-line practitioners to better recognize the symptoms and to act more quickly. This is best accomplished when all levels of depression, not just the extreme ones, are considered worthy of attention.
James Noyes, DC '68
Nancy Graff's article on depression in the Fall issue was wonderful. She is an amazing, talented writer and is so articulate about her struggle. It is incredibly important to have work such ashers shared publically.
I also enjoyed the article on the history of nursing at Hitchcock and have sent it to my best friend, who is starting nursing school soon.
Katrina Mitchell, DMS '06
I just read the wonderful article "Evermore," about clinical depression, by Nancy Graff. It was wonderful and poignant. I teach a class in abnormal psychology at Dartmouth College, and I think my students would really benefit from reading this article. Is there a way I may secure permission from you and the author to reproduce this?
Thanks to Nancy Graff for an exquisite account of what it's like to suffer with intractable depression, and to Dartmouth Medicine for publishing it.
Janine L. Scheiner, Ph.D.
Scheiner is a visiting assistant professor at Dartmouth College and an adjunct assistant professor at DMS. We are happy—upon request and unless copyright provisions prohibit it—to give permission for articles in Dartmouth Medicine to be used in academic contexts.
The article by Nancy Graff impels me to write. My personal medical history parallels hers in some respects. I was diagnosed with major depression 30 or so years ago and have been plagued with recurring episodes of deep depression in the years since, medications notwithstanding. All this culminated in a weeklong hospitalization at DHMC this past July, including the beginnings of a full course of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). It was my third hospitalization, first course of ECT. Nancy Graff's