Sherwin Nuland is the best-selling author of How We Die: Reflections on Life’s Final Chapter and many other books. As he says in this video, he had never before disclosed the experience behind the spiritual dimensions of his writing until presenting this talk at the TED Conference in 2001. Everyone’s reaction will differ, of course, but for me this is one of the most moving stories of recovery I’ve ever heard.
I want to offer a caution or two. In the first part of the video, Nuland sketches a quick history of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and the many earlier treatments that stimulated convulsions as a way of shocking people out of mental illness. ECT elicits strong reactions from many, including me. He doesn’t disclose up front where he’s going with that overview of the technology, but at 7:14 minutes in, he starts the story that puts ECT into the setting of his own devastating depression. If you prefer, you can jump to that point in the video, though it’s well worth it to hear about ECT from a point of view you may not agree with.