Fresh Perspectives on Global Stories

Anthea Turner Sister Wendy


Therapists have saved my life: ‘I contemplated ending it all, but therapy has saved my life: The epidemic has led to a significant increase in depression rates. Wendy Turner, Anthea Turner’s sister, opens up in this raw conversation about how she overcame her own feelings of hopelessness. Since she was a child, TV host, Wendy Turner-Webster has struggled with anxiety and melancholy.

Since her late teens, she’s been plagued with anxiety over money, employment, and relationships, but she’s learned to deal with it.

However, after years of relying on medication to alleviate her depression, which first struck in childhood, psychotherapy has just recently been able to do so.

It’s been over a decade since Wendy Turner, the younger sister of TV host Anthea Turner, felt overburdened to the point of considering self-immolation. Wendy Turner-Webster has battled anxiety and depression since she was a child.

For years, she’s been plagued with anxiety over money, work, and relationships. But she’s learned to cope with it.

But after years of relying on medication to treat her depression, which began in childhood, psychotherapy has only just been able to do so..

Wendy Turner, Anthea Turner’s younger sister, has contemplated suicide for the better part of a decade now. Wendy admits that she’s “lent on Gary enormously through the years.” Because of his affection and support, “I often think I’d be long dead without his love.”

Public Health England conducted a poll this week, and the results show a significant increase in the number of people dealing with mental health concerns as a result of the outbreak. People’s mental health has deteriorated by 56 percent since March of last year, with 48 percent reporting an increase in anxiety and 46 percent reporting a decrease in mood.

Since Wendy and Gary are now ambassadors for the organization Silence of Suicide, which aims to break the stigma around serious depression and its potential to lead to suicide, Wendy has decided to speak out about her own experiences.

Following the death of his daughter Anna, Michael Mansfield QC and his third wife, Yvette Greenway, founded the foundation in 2015 in memory of a friend who had committed suicide.

Wendy was ashamed to talk about her darkest moments of melancholy for many years. In 2017, as she reached her 50th birthday, she was assaulted by one such wave.

‘It seemed to me that life would never get better than this,’ Wendy recalls.

‘I was increasingly troubled by thoughts that questioned my very being. ‘Waves of negativity washed over me.’

Sertraline, an antidepressant administered to her in the 1990s, was already in her system. From 50mg a day to the highest allowable level, her doctor progressively upped her dosage over time.

However, it was not enough to put an end to her bouts of despair, and a recent filming gig last summer was the catalyst for her most recent descent into deep sadness.

Undercover with a charity, she was investigating a pig farm to learn more about the living conditions of the animals

When we recorded in the middle of the night in a cramped, dark hangar, we were only able to fit about half of the pigs, Wendy says. This was something I’d never seen before.

She Was Inconsolable For Days, She Said.

As though my body had shut down, I became so depressed.’ I was in a semi-paralyzed state and spent days in bed. For counselling, her doctor recommended her to a local mental health centre. In spite of this, Wendy had no hopes that anything could be done to help her.

She admits, “I was sceptical.” Counseling, in and of itself, is of no use.’ How may words help me with my engrained depressive state? I’d come to terms with the notion that this was how I’d be feeling for the rest of my days.

It took her a few hours of sobbing and crying to get through an initial assessment, which was conducted over the phone due to the pandemic. It means “life has no significance” or “hopelessness” to the average person.

Wendy says she was surprised by the diagnosis, but yet relieved because it was more serious than typical depression. After all, at least I knew what it was now.

Cognitive behavioural therapy, which tries to enhance mental health by questioning and modifying problematic attitudes and beliefs, was also recommended to her as part of a three-month course of treatment.

Three months had passed since Wendy had been assigned an NHS counsellor. As of November, she had weekly one-hour phone sessions.

As she reflects on the past eight sessions, she says she is astounded at how beneficial they have been in teaching her how to remain calm and critically analyse her feelings rather than give up in despair.

She says, “I’m fortunate because I get to talk to the same person every time.” It would have taken an army of therapists to get you to open up like this.

Every week, I’m required to complete homework assignments that include reading and writing activities in which I record my everyday ideas. ‘It’s been an eye-opener,’ I can only say.

But things haven’t always been easy. She had a full-blown panic attack regarding her finances three weeks into the course.

Wendy’s mental health has deteriorated over the years due to the family’s unstable financial situation.

The family now lives in a rented home in West London, but they had to stay in a Travelodge hotel for a time since their credit rating was so bad that they couldn’t pay a guaranteed lump sum to a potential landlord. People are going to question her for feeling so down when she has so much to be thankful for

‘What some people don’t understand is that depression isn’t tied to material stuff or being comfortably well-off. As a distinct entity, it is far more essential.’

Only when she confided in her GP in the mid-90s did she seek medical attention. It made a ‘big change’ in her moods, she claims, thanks to the sertraline she was prescribed. ‘I started to feel the best I’d felt in a long time,’ he said.

However, Wendy’s Deep-Seated Despair Was Still There.

She’s astonished that CBT is helping so much, given how much she’s been through.

In the beginning, she was skeptical, but now she’s convinced that these people are professionals. A blueprint for the finest way to live the remainder of my life is gradually being shown to me.’