More threads by David Baxter PhD

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
Margaret Trudeau rediscovers joy after treatment for bipolar depression
May 5, 2006

OTTAWA (CP) - Margaret Trudeau says she has rediscovered joy after treatment for bipolar depression which dogged her for years, and she's urging fellow sufferers to seek help.

"I have my life back after years of struggles," a radiant Trudeau told an audience at the Royal Ottawa Hospital on Friday. "I felt I was broken for a long time and now I feel whole. "No one should suffer needlessly any more. There is help, there is recovery."

The former wife of the late Pierre Trudeau said her battles began with post-partum depression following the arrival of her second son, Alexandre, who was born on Christmas Day in 1973.

Her husband was puzzled by her condition and didn't know how to help.

"I can tell you that living at 24 Sussex was very lonely, a long tunnel of darkness for me."

During her marriage to Trudeau, she earned notoriety for escapades such as partying with the Rolling Stones. She sought medical help at the time, but found no effective treatment, and struggled on her own for 25 years.

"It impacted my family life for years, it tore away at my two marriages and ultimately the very meaning of my life," she said at a hospital fundraising event.

"It was not until I suffered the unbearable loss of my son Michel, followed by the loss of Pierre, that I needed and had to seek treatment."

Michel died in an avalanche in 1998, and the former prime minister died in 2000.

Trudeau, 57, said she did not decide to seek treatment on her own but was driven to the hospital by one of her sons.

"My mind let go of me. I lost my balance and couldn't get up."

She said there have been great strides in psychiatry in recent years.

"I'm here today to encourage others who live with mental illness to tell them that the treatment works, that there is no shame in coming forward for help.

"If you feel you're being judged, and I certainly have always felt that I've been judged, you must ignore the unfair prejudice of society.

"If you feel there is no hope and the pain is too much to endure, remember how much you have endured and what bravery has taken. Use that courage to come forward for help."

Bipolar disorder involves unpredictable swings from deep depression to inappropriate euphoria. New drugs to treat the condition have been introduced in recent years.

Trudeau now is the picture of health, with a broad smile and flashing eyes. "Yes, I take medication, but I also exercise, eat well, live well, I don't abuse my body, I don't abuse drugs or alcohol, I have joy back in my life."

Pierre Blier, a researcher at the Royal Ottawa Hospital, said the incidence of disability due to mental illness is twice as high as for heart disease and cancer combined, and the stigma it carries is not justified.

"It is time that society understood that the brain as an organ is susceptible to dysfunction in the same way the kidney, the liver or the thyroid are.

"Treatment is effective, treatment is available and our research worldwide must continue to be funded and valued."


David Baxter said:
"If you feel there is no hope and the pain is too much to endure, remember how much you have endured and what bravery has taken. Use that courage to come forward for help."

I really liked this part.

Thanks Dr. B. for the post. I saw the interview on TV but to see it written was great as I missed parts of her speech and some really important information. ;)

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