Treatments restore hope
When Doris Yokel tells her story, it's with a shy but earnest voice. She quietly lays out the facts: she's a 74-year-old grandmother from Friend. She raised four children and was active in her church. She helped her husband, Wayne, run a local hardware and furniture business and says she was blessed during decades of marriage.
Doris looks intently at her interviewer before continuing. Because what she's going to say next calls for her to take a risk. Because small-town Nebraskans don't usually talk openly about their depression. About ending it all.
"I guess I've always had bouts of depression off and on during my adult life, but things always seemed to improve. Then we lost the business because of the economy, and about two years ago I lost Wayne," the widow says, her words trailing off.
She regains her composure and steadily continues, saying, "In January 2008 I was hospitalized a couple of times. I was so desperate, so terribly depressed - I was almost to the point of taking my life."
That's when she sought help from the Mental Health Services team at Bryan West Campus.
"I knew I had to do something for myself, so I went through all their treatments within the hospital setting, including group sessions about issues like improving self-esteem, and was treated in inpatient Senior Mental Health and later in the Partial Hospitalization setting," she recalls. "I came there every day from 8:30 a.m. until 3:30 in the afternoon, and it was good for me." Her world appeared a bit sunnier until, as she says, she "had a little back slide" and needed to return to Partial Hospitalization at the Counseling Center.
"I just couldn't shake those thoughts of suicide," she calmly states. "When I was in Partial the second time, Dr. Rajendra Paladugu suggested ECT was appropriate for my condition."
Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a series of short electroshock treatments involving low voltage to treat specific areas of the brain. It's helped thousands of patients at Bryan Health over the years. Doris has an ECT treatment every few weeks and is enjoying her life again.
"I love to visit with the staff in the Counseling Center and in mental health," she adds. "They're like family." She advises others not to buy into stigmas so often attached to mental illness. Instead, she says, "Don't ignore the symptoms. Get knowledgeable help."
From outpatient counseling to inpatient care and crisis assistance our programs and experienced staff provide the care people need to restore their lives. For more information, call (402) 481-5991.
Not a part of aging
Many people think depression is a normal part of aging and a natural reaction to chronic illness, loss and social transition. This is not true. Depression in older persons is at times characterized by:
Loss of appetite
Vague complaints of pain
Inability to sleep