Ward 13

I think that if I’d written this post for my own blog I’d probably have gone into more graphic detail. I will be posting more about the whole thing as time goes by though. In the meantime, please could you tell me about your experiences with ect if you’ve had it (Fryane, if you’ve posted about it, please link me). So weird, my brain is fine with the idea, I researched it ages ago and I firmly believe it’s a good option (I’m starting clozapine soon too, why hello regular blood tests, it’s been a while). My mind, on the other hand (and I have no idea wtf it’s doing there), is asking how the hell my life took this route. My mind will catch up with my brain though.

Our Lived Experience


[…] there are only 1,12 psychiatrists, 1,28 psychologists and 1,6 social workers per 400,000 people in South Africa. And, of the 23 mental hospitals in the country, only 18 (mental health) beds are allocated per 100,000 people. To say that this is a national crisis would be an understatement. (source)

Ward 13 is the psych ward of a state hospital an hour’s drive away. I’m an outpatient there, I get roughly half of my meds there, blood tests too, and a CT scan (amazingly enough, they managed to locate a brain). I’ll be taking my treatment resistant bipolar self there for ECT as an inpatient when there’s availability for me to do so. I’ve had nothing but excellent care there and the staff have all been incredibly efficient and friendly. Considering the psychiatric department runs at between a quarter and a half of the staff quota, they’re heroes to me…

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battlescarred, bright, bewildered, bent, blue & bipolar

22 thoughts on “Ward 13”

  1. Liked twice over. I have known people who have responded well (and others who swear it has ruined their lives). But when everything else has been tried and you are choking back an enormous amount of meds I think it something to consider. Some of the meds you take (like old order anti-psychotics scare me more. And you know I only wish for the very best for you. I plan to come back and visit, so you have to look after yourself (and I have recovery to attend to here). What a sorry pair we are, eh luv?

    Liked by 2 people

            1. Just found this and started watching it and he’s funny – looks good:

              Sherwin Nuland
              How electroshock therapy changed me
              Surgeon and author Sherwin Nuland discusses the development of electroshock therapy as a cure for severe, life-threatening depression — including his own. It’s a moving and heartfelt talk about relief, redemption and second chances.

              Scroll down to select his talk – sorry I couldn’t get more direct


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              1. I just realized that Sherwin Nuland gave his talk in Monterey, CA, which is a bit woo woo to me because that’s where I went for my ECT at CHOMP. I’m not sure where had his his ECT yet….

                He spoke in 2001 long before I was diagnosed in 2007. 2001 – that was an awful year due to 9/11, but for me it was good as I got married and didn’t think I had fucking evil bipolar!

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              2. I’m going to watch it on the last day of the month, which is when I use up my data (when there’s any left). Ooh just thought of a friend with uncapped WiFi who wouldn’t mind me watching it there.

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                1. I got bummed out when I found out he died last year of stupid-ass prostate cancer, which my Dad had as well but didn’t die from. He was so fucking vibrant in his talk and we need people like that on the planet – he has another shorter one about hope of all things; I want to watch that too. I’m STOKED beyond the beyond that you liked his talk. Interestingly (to me, anyway) I read some of his bio. on Wikipedia. e was born where my Mom was born (Bronx, New York) and his family was Russian Jewish like my Dad’s side was. His name was originally Shepsel Ber Nudelman and he changed that sucker; my Mom was friends with the designer Ralph Lauren’s brother Jerry in the Bronx while growing up. Their original last name was (get ready for this…) Ralph Lifshitz!!!!! Yep. Catchy, eh? Anyway, I’m happy you’re including the links in the next dump draft – thank you. I’ll let you know if I encounter anything else of interest…..Xo

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                  1. Here’s Dr. Nuland’s other TED talk:

                    “Surgeon and writer Sherwin Nuland meditates on the idea of hope — the desire to become our better selves and make a better world. It’s a thoughtful 12 minutes that will help you focus on the road ahead.”

                    Dang, that sounds pretty durn optimistic to me after all the shit he went through!

                    I read various TED content directors remark that Dr. Nuland’s ECT TED talk was one of the most popular TED talks ever…

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                    1. Last comment I kind of swear —- I LOVED how Dr. Nuland said “Fuck” several times in this talk!

                      And “Aw, fuck it!” So perfect.
                      My Dad would have LOVED that!

                      I might have shared this with you, but a while back I listened to one of Dad’s ancient tape cassettes with his playing some high faulting’ violin concerto on it. At the beginning of it it was silent, then I heard him say “Testing, 1-2-3- fuck you, fuck you!”:))) That completely cracked me up!

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                    2. I’m laughing my ass off at your very cool father. I think I want to watch the Nuland video “how we die” too. While getting a YouTube link to the ECT one, I stumbled across the French term for is, which is apparently la thérapie par électrochocs. ELECTRIC CHOCOLATE!

                      Liked by 1 person

                    3. I didn’t know there’s a video of the ‘How We Die”- of course I want to see that so thanks for the lead….& ELECTRIC CHOCOLATE!!!!!!! – behold! The ECT terminology of my dreams!!!!!!!

                      What was funny about Dad’s little tape surprise was that I never heard him drop F-bombs during the countless hours he practiced next to my room (he was all of 10 feet away) & he practiced almost every day except when he was in the nuthouse or bedridden with depression. I think he & Nuland would get along really well!


              1. Her face reminds me of Minnie Driver (who I like, especially with Eddie Izzard in “The Riches”) I liked her sense of humor and the short TED talk length suits my er, highly distractible nature! I did hold out for all of Nuland’s ECT talk – I thought that one was amazing and I just wished someone told me to watch it while I was getting outpatient ECT!

                Liked by 1 person

  2. The very idea of ECT scares me. Brr. But I’m forced to agree with roughghosts; if you’re down at the bottom of the barrel, it’s a viable option and has worked for people.

    The pictures are stark, in many ways, yet I appreciate the small touches I see. Looks like they are trying. Sad to know help is so scarce.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I try to see it all, without the tint of crazy my mind adds to everything. And if the care there is good, well, that says enough about the place. Too many places don’t offer good care.

        Liked by 1 person

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