Tag Archives: ECT


I don’t know why I’m still shocked by the things people say or the questions they ask when they find out something from my past. I try to keep a low profile in the town I live in but I’ve been arrested a few times and I did go out every night for many years.

I also live in the smallest state so it isn’t hard for gossip to spread to people you don’t even know.

What I have a problem with are the idiotic questions from people who should know better. These are not teenagers, these are adults.

Here are some questions I’ve been asked.

“Do you get really good drugs?”

“Can I buy some from you?”

“Is that like One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest?”

“You must have felt like Frankenstein, did you?” (ECT)

“Did you meet any real crazy people where you were?”

“You’re not that bad are you? Like dangerous?”

“Aren’t there bugs and people writing on the walls with their own feces? That must have been awful”

“You’re okay now though, right?”

“Are you cured?”

“Oh, so you’re like the guy in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest?” (If I hear it one more time I’ll scream)

“So what kind of drugs are you on? Anything good?” (this is asked often)

I’m not sure why people have this specific image of the mentally ill but they do. It hasn’t gotten better if anything it may have gotten a little worse with violent acts being blamed immediately on the mentally ill in the media. I notice that people are more weary around me at times. I don’t feel comfortable with this. I don’t to frighten people.

I admit that I also feel anger at the entire situation. The lack of empathy and basic humanity is appalling to me. MV5BMTc5ODUyMDI5Ml5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNzM5OTQyNw@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1480,1000_AL_MV5BNDc2NjMwNTUwOF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwOTUzNTIwNA@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1499,1000_AL_MV5BMTA3MTE1ODE0NDReQTJeQWpwZ15BbWU3MDQ2OTQ5NzM@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1494,1000_AL_


I’m going to do this in two parts to hopefully make it easier.


Patient 1 suffered from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Anxiety, Bipolar Disorder and severe Depression. She was in and out of Inpatient Units, unable to work, sleeping most of the time and self-harmed.

It was at her lowest moment that one of her doctors suggested ECT or Electroconvulsive Therapy. She researched it and talked it over with her family. The success rate is actually as high as 60 to 90% Nationwide. She decided to give it a try.

When she arrived at the Hospital she found that there was a whole floor just for ECT.

“You go in, get settled in bed, they ask how you’ve been feeling, physically, emotionally, mentally. They get an IV ready and take your blood pressure, then they wheel you into the room where they actually do the ECT. I then have to state my name and birthday right before they put me to sleep”.  After waking up she finds a nurse or Doctor by her side.

“They already have me out of the room with a little oxygen mask and one of the doctors or nurses sitting next to me. Then we go into the other room where we get to snack and wait to get picked up”.

“It’s really, really helped with the depression. I mean I’m more afraid of the depression than the ECT, it’s saved my life.”


I had also researched ECT and talked it over with my Dad and sister. I had reached a point where there was nothing else to do. I was getting worse by the day. The depression part of my Bipolar Disorder had me thinking suicidal thoughts and my Conversion Disorder was out of control.

My doctor suggested that I go to the Hospital where he works during the day and tell them how I was feeling so they would admit me as soon as possible. Then I was to tell them he was my doctor and that we were planning to do ECT. This is what I did.

I was under the impression that I wouldn’t be in the Hospital for long but this was not the case. Even though my doctor worked there and they had access to my files they still had me wait for 3 days before scheduling the ECT.

During those 3 days they didn’t have one of my medications because it was too new. They also didn’t give me medication to sleep. Instead they use Benadryl. Most hospitals do, you just don’t know it.

The day of the procedure they got me prepared and gave me a light sedative first while they hooked up the heart monitors. The next thing I knew everything was called off because there was a “blip” on my EKG. They told me they would have to send me to another Hospital to have the ECT done because they did not have the “emergency equipment needed” if something went wrong with my heart during the ECT.

I was frustrated that a Hospital wouldn’t have the basic equipment needed if a patient went into Cardiac Arrest. They didn’t have a defibrillator? So I was sent to the nearest Hospital. I was there for another 3 days.

This Hospital had a doctor that didn’t believe in Klonopin so he refused to give it to me even though I had been on it for some time. They also didn’t have the same medication that was new to the market I had been on. So I went without my medications the entire time I was there. A nurse who happened to live near me told me not to disagree with this doctor because he had a habit of keeping patients longer than necessary if they did. Too late I had already had words with him.

No one explained what was going to happen. In fact no one talked to me at all before doing the ECT. When I woke up, I woke up alone and frightened. There was no doctor or nurse by my side.

Unfortunately because they did a Bilateral ECT and because of my Conversion Disorder I woke up thinking I was about 5 years old and I was waiting for my mommy. My head felt like it had been split in two. The pain was horrendous and my eyes wouldn’t stop tearing. I regret that they allowed my sister to see me like that. I know it scared her.

It took over 8 hours for me to slowly remember where I was, how old I was, and that my mom had passed away. The doctor kept me there another 3 days for no reason. My sister was pissed to say the least. I had not support from the staff at all and was forced to attend AA Meetings where AA members came to the Hospital and spoke. I wasn’t there for that, he wasn’t my doctor, I had been sober for years already, I screamed inside the entire time I was there.

When the ink was dry on my release form I told him exactly what I thought of him in front of 10 of his colleagues and got the hell out of there.

The actual ECT did work and my depression was gone for almost a year. The only down side is that it had sent me into a Manic Episode for about a month.

Would I do it again? Yes. But only if it was done the way I wanted it done. The “blip” was nothing but a “blip”. There was no reason to send me somewhere else. Patient 1 lives in the State next to me. I find it strange how the quality of care can be so different.

Part IV No More Mr. Nice Guy~ Focus on ECT Information

If and when you personally decide to undergo ECT it would be a good idea to do a few things first.

I wouldn’t get all of my information from the Doctor doing the procedure. Most likely he/she has done it more than a few times and no longer sees it for what it is. Try to get a fresh set of eyes. Talk to other people who have either had ECT or even RNs or Orderlies that work where they are done. I have found that these people have more sympathy, empathy, compassion, and insight when it comes to patients and families. After all they’re the ones who spend the most time with you, not the Doctor.

Keep in mind that everyone is unique. Not everyone reacts the same to anesthesia either. You can ask the Number 1 Scientist in the World and he will tell you that we will never know everything there is to know about the Human Brain in this lifetime. It’s a guessing game.


Right Unilateral treatments usually have a slower response time for the patient. The Doctor places an electrode on the crown of the patient’s head and on the right temple. The patient is under anesthesia. A brief electrical pulse is sent through to the scalp causing the brain cells to fire in unison producing a seizure. This type of treatment usually has less memory side effects.

Bilateral treatment involves placing electrodes on both temples. There may be more memory side effects and is usually used for severe mental illnesses like Bipolar Depression with Psychosis, Manic Episodes of Bipolar, Catatonia, and Schizophrenia.


Some Doctors believe the seizure itself alters the neurotransmitters in the brain causing it to “reboot” like a computer. Others believe the stress hormone is adjusted during the seizure or treatments. The stress hormone involves a person’s mood, energy, and sleep patterns.


Normally a person receives 3 treatments a week. The total number of treatments ranges from 6 to 12. The average is 9 but I have seen patients that have had more than 20. Mild improvements may be seen after the first 3 to 6 treatments.


My Doctor told me the best and fastest way for me to receive ECT was to go to the Hospital where he was on staff and tell them I was Bipolar and I felt I might harm myself. The Hospital would admit me and I would tell them about the ECT and they would perform the first treatment, after that my Doctor could do the treatments outpatient. I wasn’t expecting everything to go so badly. I didn’t expect it to leave so much damage, not just on me, but my sister and dad too.

It would’ve possibly been okay if a blip hadn’t shown up on my EKG. They didn’t feel comfortable doing the procedure at their facility because they didn’t have the equipment if I went into Cardiac Arrest. They were mostly a Psychiatric Hospital. They decided to send me to a Medical Hospital close by. Biggest mistake ever made. The Doctor was stuck in his ways, made his own rules, and liked to “punish” patients he thought disrespected him. It was a nightmare.

The actual procedure I don’t remember much of. I remember waking up feeling like someone was taking an axe to my skull. I was confused about the year and tears leaked from my eyes nonstop. I thought I was little, around 5. This lasted for most of the day. It frightened my sister so much I still think she hasn’t processed it. It was bad enough she told my father not to visit under any circumstances. I guess I kept asking when “Mommy was coming to get me” or when “Mommy was coming to visit”. This must have killed my sister. Our mom had passed away at least 5 years by that time. The Doctor told her and the staff that they couldn’t “correct me or tell me what year it was because it could be traumatizing”. So instead I leaked tears and asked for my Mommy with an axe in my head for almost 8 hours. I then had to go through flashes of my life and her death all over again to get back to the right time period.

I wouldn’t wish how I found my mother on my worse enemy. If it was enough to bring an extremely proud, never shows emotion, never cried in front of anyone, Navy man to his knees howling in pain with tears and snot running down his weathered face than you can only imagine how I took it.

The Doctor also overshot his mark. He didn’t follow the instructions given to him by my Doctor and I went from a Bipolar Depressive Episode to Extremely Manic. He also refused to give me my prescribed medication because he “didn’t believe in it”. He kept me longer because I embarrassed him in front of staff and patients. This was when a nurse who happened to live near me took me to the side and told me to “pretend, do whatever you have to or he will try to keep you as long as possible because you pissed him off”.


After I finally left that Hospital, a few weeks went by and I noticed that I was leaving the house, making a ton of jewelry, going places in other States! I was as close to happy as possible for about a year and that was after one treatment.

The problem is I don’t think I can go through the after effects again. It eventually worsened the Conversion Disorder. I am not sure how much it has effected my memory, I know it’s worse. There so much wrong with me it could be anything. It was a good year though.  (Pic is from Craigslist, a Papillon mix I thought was way too cute!)

It was a good year though.00g0g_7slmuwmsw5k_600x450

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