Renowned psychiatrist David Enoch publishes compelling memoir in a life bridging faith and medicine
04 January, 2022
At the age of 95, world renowned psychiatrist Dr David Enoch, who is affectionately known as ‘Enoch the Uncommon’ is publishing his autobiography.
Enoch’s Walk - 95 Not Out: Journey of a Psychiatrist is the fascinating life story of the Christian psychiatrist, detailing five major elements of his life, that of being a doctor, psychiatrist, preacher, broadcaster and author - and starting with his humble beginnings in south Wales. Dr David Enoch has been at the forefront of societal, religious and medical changes, making this account a valuable first-hand account of twentieth-century history as well as a candid story of one man’s journey through life. He describes his life as one that was “determined to bridge the gap between faith and medicine.”
Brought up in a Welsh-speaking family in Penygroes, near Ammanford, Dr David Enoch was the son of a miner from West Wales.
In Enoch’s Walk Dr Enoch recounts his unexpected journey to India, where he was stationed during the Second World War. He recalls standing in awe at the mountain peaks of the North-West Frontier of India in 1945, a devout Christian, 18 years old and fresh from Carmarthenshire:
“I was troubled. How could God have been mindful of me? I had planned and prepared a pathway that would have served Him directly as a priest. How could he have shown care for me when he had brought me to this wilderness place over six thousand miles from my comfortable home at such a tender age? I was angry with my God, full of doubts about the faith that had been implanted firmly in my mind and heart by my grandfather, mother and teachers.”
Dr David Enoch was stationed in India for four whole years, and attended officer’s training at Dehradun, afterwards was commissioned in to the Royal Artillery and posted to the 2nd Indian Field Regiments, the Sikh Regiment of great renown.
“The four-year period that I spent in India was to shape the whole of my life, modifying my views on humanity and my belief in God. My thoughts, ideas and beliefs were chiselled, channelled and even threatened. I had to come to terms with a world that was very different to the one that I had known hitherto, and that was vastly more complex. I had to try and understand peoples and cultures that I had never encountered before.”
A crucial decision upon his return and demobilization from India changed the course of his future, having been advised by two mentors – Tom and Rae, a local headmaster and Head of Modern Languages at a grammar school. They recognised the impact of the experiences in India on the young David Enoch and his friends and suggested that perhaps medicine would be a better choice than becoming a minister of religion.
“Their words proved prophetic. They suggested that medicine would allow me to help others physically and mentally while continuing to preach, even to more extended congregations. From the beginning, my journey has been exciting, challenging and stimulating. I’ve been present at the beginning of momentous events, such as the growth of a worldwide denomination that originated in Wales (Apostolic Denomination), the dawn of two nations, the freeing of patients from large asylums and the golden era of modern psychiatry.”
Dr David Enoch went to train as a doctor at St Thomas’ Hospital, London and has subsequently enjoyed a distinguished career in psychiatry and was at the forefront of humanising the field. He has been consistently prominent in the battle for the mentally ill to be acknowledged and treated appropriately. He has also championed the relationship between psychiatry and faith. Having been on the forefront of societal, religious and medical changes, Dr Enoch has witnessed many advances and changes in his life. Along the route, Dr Enoch shares openly of the highs and lows in both his private life and his career.
“In spite of all the changes and ramifications of this period, my faith was preserved and enriched.”
- This article was written for Y Lolfa