Anecdote 1/1

Well I had just finished a dissertation for Southampton University, where I had taken statistical methods as part of the curriculum, so I had a lot of data and was playing around with it, which led me to finding a significant correlation between stress and the personality dimension psychoticism. As it happened, the very next day Hans & Sybil had been invited to give a talk on psychoticism at the local asylum, Whitecroft hospital on the Isle of Wright, to be held in the chapel. I was very shy and had to write my question down so that I could read it. I didn't know where to sit and decided to sit at the front - that way I wouldn't see faces turning to look at me which might make me tongue tied. Hans and Sybil took questions following the talk and I couldn't pluck up courage to put my hand up. Hans then said "one more question!" I shot up my hand and he pointed at me. "Is there a correlation between psychoticism and stress", I asked? "Why?" he said. "Because I've found one", I replied. "See me after", Hans replied. The party of consultants left the chapel and were going to have sherry before lunch. They made their way along the long corridor in procession and I followed a safe distance behind. As they turned to mount the stairs Hans turned and said "where's that girl?" Someone pointed me out and he beckoned me forward "what's this?" he said. I told him and he said "write it up". I wrote it up in a practical no nonsense way interpreting what conclusions I'd drawn from the results and sent it to him - 3 weeks later I was asked to correct the proofs! It was published internationally. That was the beginning of my relationship with Sybil and Hans. They are the most wonderful people oozing integrity, wisdom, kindness, extremely generous, and modest. I can't thank them enough. I also wrote to Mrs Thatcher requesting that they both should be recognised!

Wendy Thomson


Fellow of the International Society for Affective Disorders