ECT Revisited

When ECT came up in therapy today I was struck when I didn’t recoil. Over the past two years I have thought a lot about my experience of ECT. I have always strongly felt it did nothing for me. It gave me 1 1/2 months of improvement from suicidal depression. But it never held. It didn’t last. Nothing about the experience of ECT is pleasant, though if you read thru the lit about it, they make it sound so lovely and effective. I am sure for some people ECT works, and does save lives. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not beating a drum to ban the practice. To each their own. If you want to submit to the treatment, that is your choice. So it is at this crossroads, where I again face a depression, that the suggestion of ECT arises again. I found myself so sure and so adamant when not staring down the barrel of depression. Now I find myself wavering. My mind flits back over it, the good, the bad, the hazy and the lost. I don’t think a discussion about ECT is complete without truly discussing the fact that memory loss occurs. It is glossed over, and not talked about much when the tx is presented. They say, oh, you may have some short-term memory problems that subside. Did they once say, well you might forget pets, people, things you did, and places you went? Nope. That isn’t in the educational packet. My question, why the fuck not? If there is a possibility of a drug having x-y-z side effects you hear about it. You hear all about it when that drug is prescribed. But with ECT it is far from that. Sign on the line, and consent. Consent to allowing them to pass electricity thru the brain to induce a minute long seizure. That is what you are consenting to. I did not consent to losing parts of my life, part of me, part of my identity. oh, and just to throw another curve ball, you won’t be able to spell after either. Guess that isn’t listed in the possible side effects. Unless you lump it under cognitive impairment (in fine print, of course).

All that said, why am I, in my right mind, even pondering it. Because I can’t help but buy the BS the APA feeds us about how effective it is in treating depression. Are they right? Did I just not have enough? should they have done maintenance treatments after? I don’t know. I just know it is a product of my worried sad brain, not wanting to travel down this path I am on. I hope a med change, or adjustment will right this. I just can’t stomach another bout of this soul sucking depression. I know as things deteriorate that is where I am. It is grey and dismal here now. I am just hoping for a way to see out of this, while I still can.


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