la thérapie par électrochocs

If you see someone riding a stick, imagining that it’s an animal, tell him “what a lovely horse”. (Tunisian proverb)

Here’s another thing I appreciate about our tribe, when I said that I was going to be having ECT, not one of you reacted by saying EEK HORROR, ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST etc. Of the people I’ve told irl, two were calmly supportive and the rest went into panicky caps lock on the spot. Autocorrect on my tablet responded by going on strike, claiming that having to differentiate between ECT and etc constitutes untenable working conditions. One said, “don’t be a guinea pig,” which I don’t really understand, but I will admit to a sudden urge to pee on hay. One said, “I was quite freaked out, so I googled and read a bit and now I understand,” and I doubt that she has any idea of what an amazing reaction it was or how good it made me feel. I’m still waiting for someone to say they’re shocked, so that I can say, “Oh you’re having ECT too?” I’ve found myself educating people about it and it’s starting to feel as though I’m an ECT salesman. It’s alright to some extent; if my mother was alive, we’d be sitting discussing it and I’d be educating her – I’m just tired of doing it now. What I need to do, of course, is remember that it’s their issue, not mine. I could choose not to tell them at all, or I could simply leave them to their reactions of YOUR BRAIN WILL BE TOAST, WHAT NEXT, A FRONTAL LOBOTOMY!?!?!?

 

wpid-oie_wxea8sp0gljg.pngThe ECT isn’t even the worrying part. The worrying part is the ward 13 side of things, and I’m not remotely worried about the procedure or the care there. I’m not even worried about things like the hospital running out of food again, I’m worried about the fact that me taking my own food in will mean (as it did for a guy I know who went inpatient at a state hospital) that I’d have to hide the food in my bed with me to prevent it being nicked. Things like that make me wonder whether I need to worry about the other patients in other ways,but I’ve decided not to worry about it unless shrink two tells me to; she’s very candid about her working environment. Shrink one didn’t seem concerned at all and the wife of the guy I mentioned earlier said, “it’s not ideal, but he survived it.” I’ll chat to shrink two on Wednesday and chances are that after that I won’t be worried at all. One major thing I don’t have to worry about is my dog, who will be with her favourite person besides me.

wpid-oie_58rqcnyes4ti.pngThe day that shrink one and I decided that ECT was a good option for me, I was surprised I had any negative reactions at all. My brain was clear and calm about it while my mind floundered. How the hell, I wondered through thick fog, did my life end up here? When I was a kid I wanted to be a vet, not a psychiatric patient. I certainly didn’t imagine that one day I’d have a matter of fact conversation about having a seizure induced by electricity. But there we are and here I am, and at least I can say that my decision was made by me, for me and with complete conviction (even if my mind threw a little tantrum at first).

I was going to save this for my next linkdump, till I remembered that I was writing this post at the time (apparently the bipolar memory fuckups happen partly due to the fact that our battered neurons become poor at the connections that we make in order to remember stuff) and that this is the perfect place to put it. I have crispy fried Fryane to thank (profusely) for the video that’s up next, which is a TED talk about a remarkable recovery from depression, using ECT. He’s also a warm and witty guy who used the word ‘fuck’ (what’s not to like).

The title of this post is the French term for electroconvulsive therapy and I used it because it caused me to squeak ELECTRIC CHOCOLATE at Fryane.

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Published by

blahpolar

battlescarred, bright, bewildered, bent, blue & bipolar

91 thoughts on “la thérapie par électrochocs”

  1. Thanks for the shout-out; I’m watching Dr. Nuland’s otherTED talk about HOPE of all things, ya know, the thing with feathers? In it he mentions giving a “MEDTED” talk I hadn’t heard of, so I’m gonna investigate. Let me know if you find out what that is. I didn’t even know they had MEDTEDS. What a name.

    And I found his hour+-long talk about death on YouTube – I’m stoked there’s lots of good stuff out there!

    Chocoholically and electrically yours,
    FRYANE!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Arrgh!!! I hat- hate-hate it when long comments go to the WordPress Land of Lost Socks.The $cientologists are probably behind it all….spookily enough I could envision themselves calling their staff “Happiness Engineers” just like WordPress does.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Just for fun:

    UNE Center for Global Humanities and its founding director, Anouar Majid, host Sherwin Nuland, M.D. on “How We Die.”

    Oops, I meant to write TEDMED – duh!!!! Not MEDTED!
    This is from 2010

    “Dr. Sherwin Nuland calls to attention the increasing distancing over the last 2,000 years of the doctor from the patient and implores us to help turn this trend around.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, the dude just gets better and better (even from beyond the grave). I want to watch and read loads more. That ECT talk made me think, wow the dude is a phoenix. Freaking amazing how far he came. Lol shall we start a cult?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Doctor Nuland really IS a phoenix!!!!!!

        I’m totally up for starting a Nulandian cult. We’ll dominate the $cientologists in a heartbeat!

        I thought he would have made such a cool psychiatrist; if he could cut people up, he could be a shrink in his sleep – most significantly since he truly understood what shithole depression was like firsthand, he’d rock it – and the way he was hopeful & seemed to really give a shit about people and the plight of humanity impressed me so – what shrink patient wouldn’t want to be around someone like that? And lest we forget….especially since he was an f-bomber! ;)

        Liked by 1 person

        1. F-bombers of the world u-fucking-nite. Btw I got hold of the how we die book and added it to the files and files if books I hope to be able to read when my brain returns from bipolarland. Ahhhhhh it’s good to dream.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. hahahaha!!! I was just thinking last night while I was cooking dinner (I know! I’m almost in muggle-mode!) – “I wonder if the Nulanders secret “handshake” is Blue Steel” – great minds and all that!

            Liked by 1 person

  3. I already did my version of ECT. Elective Conception Therapy. The theory was that the whole process would “rewire” my hormones and chemicals, perhaps “shock” them normal. Instead it made my condition worsen.
    On the plus side the world does now have a mini Morgue to carry on my legacy of dysfunction, sarcasm, and the pegacorn breeding trade.

    Do what you gotta do, dude. Make sure the dragon is fed while you’re occupied, though. He just might toast one of the tribe if left too hungry.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Morgue, if you were a comedian I’d watch your shows and download your videos illegally too.

      Would you mind feeding the toaster when I’m away? He insists on soy & linseed bread, cocoa (he mainlines it) and a couple of muggles every now and then.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Rofl and lol too. Thank fuck you mentioned it – he can’t sleep without his breakfast McMuggle. And he’s happy to flamethrow at R-sole (he was v touched at your consideration of his digestive system).

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Obviously I lost something along the way because I missed the part about ECT. I said I wasn’t going to say I’m sorry anymore but in this case I can truly say I am. I’ve had ECT and it’s different for everyone. It’s YOUR CHOICE and it isn’t barbaric. It’s like rebooting a computer. If I had had mine done in a different setting, with different people around me, it would have been better. I would definitely do it again looking back now I see the difference it made. I only had 1 round. I don’t do well with the waking up part. That was what stopped me from continuing. I have Conversion Disorder. The shock brought up one of the most traumatic events in my life and made me believe it never happened. The death of my mother. Waking up and asking the staff for 6 hours when my mom was coming was just more than I or anyone else could take. My sister made my father stay home so he wouldn’t get upset. The funny part was they over shot their mark and I was super happy manic for
    many weeks after that. I wish you the best. I don’t know if this helped or made things worse. But ECT needs to be discussed more.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. No worries at all, it wasn’t a post here anyway, it was a post I wrote over at Our Lived Experience and reblogged here, and I barely mentioned it.

      I’m glad to hear your (mostly) positive feedback. How long beforehand was the death of your mother?

      Like

      1. My memory isn’t the greatest so I’m guessing. She’s been gone 8 years my dad said today and I think I had ECT about 3 or 4 years ago but I’m not sure. Sorry about that. My brain either wants to forget or is too damaged. Not from ECT or anything. I had a scan in 2008 that showed a significant loss of white matter for a 35 year old that was unexplained. I’m functional of course some things are just harder like memory and finding words. I’ve thought of doing ECT again in a better setting but until my kidney issue is resolved they won’t do it. I even have problems when they put me under for the biopsies I’ve had done recently. It’s that part that my brain reacts to I think. I have to have 1 more complicated biopsy done and I’m scared because I hate the waking up alone part. I don’t know where I am or what age I am and I always wake up crying. The doctors don’t understand this. If I had a familiar face, a family member with me when I woke up it might not be so bad. They won’t allow it. Support is crucial in all that we do.

        Liked by 2 people

          1. Thank you! I wasn’t crazy about the 2nd opinion. He said it was Bladder Reflux and why didn’t anyone else think of it first when it was so obvious. I looked it up and it mostly occurs in children. So 1 Doctor out 5 says it’s an easy answer when the others are stumped. Ugh! I just want to pee like a normal person! lol

            Liked by 1 person

  5. My Dad had ECT done at UCLA in the 1980’s & it didn’t help his treatment-resistant bipolar depression at all. BUT at least he could still play violin at his former level and he didn’t lose his job at the orchestra. Everyone reacts differently; it’s up there with the other controversial & risky life choices. If you decide to go forth I will pray my $cientology-free ass off that you react to it the way I responded to it, as well as how my new dead-BFF Dr. “I Say Fuck With Gusto1” Nuland reacted to his treatment.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. What are the risks?

      And I’m laughing my ass off (If the ass has to go, there is no fucking way I’m involving prayer in it) at the fact that you and I are unashamedly fangirling about Nuland. We are the Nulanders. We are Nulander than anyone else.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. There are some freaky-sounding risks – for that I’ll refer you to the Mayo site which I like:

        http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/electroconvulsive-therapy/basics/risks/prc-20014161

        please do NOT freak too much when you read this info; I know you better than that, but still I give you a gentle reminder all the same….the psychiatrist who did my ECT told me that any memory loss would return within 6 months. I was HIGHLY skeptical and told him so. But I was lucky enough not to have much short-term memory loss after all. I’m pretty damn sure I got most of it back. I didn’t feel I had any long-term memory loss at all, although I can’t prove it to you! The memory loss issue was seriously the only side effect I had besides being a bit groggy for 10 minutes after waking up.

        Yours in chocolate-coated, electric-dreamed Nulander glory,

        Fryane Celebriwen the Celebrindal

        p.s. Nuland made me think of
        “New Land”…
        then after I gobbled my organic milk chocolate bar kicked in, I thought about how ECT can bring you to this Nulandian New Land where one’s bipolar bloodfart depression has finally fucking abated! ;) And no, friend, I had NO espresso shots today nor LSD nor cannabis-infused gourmet brownies – I swear!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Thanks for the link, you’ll be glad to hear I wasn’t even slightly freaked out. I mean, I have plenty of confusion, memory loss and headaches already – and after the side effects of meds, none of us would be scared off by nausea etc. As for heart problems, I have no heart so that one’s fine too.

          What exactly is in the “organic” chocolate Hmmm? And I already know you swear tyvm. Ba-DUM-tshhh

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Fuck yeah! God, I love to swear – it’s free, it’s easy, and it makes me happy when skies are gray.

            As far as what’s in the organic chocolate, goes, well, it’s a pricey ‘n tasty combination of organs, of course! The organs that play music and the heart -beating kind. Yummers!!!!!

            Liked by 1 person

  6. I wish you great luck! I’ve read some things about it, both pro & con. That’s just it. We’re all individuals, have our own symptomology of bipolar/mental illness. Previous trial/error failures or past treatment. Different tolerance factors in life. Different (ECT) procedure protocols including anesthesia team, med/surgical team, biochemical responses, repeat frequencies, etc,,, so no one, nobody has the right to bitch, belittle or anything of your decision. We all live our own hell & on not we know the limits of our toleration. In know your decision was not made lightly. Well meaning people often fail to realize what we’ve been though & our final decisions are based on OUR INDIVIDUAL EXPERIENCES. Me, I think your decision it’s a good one, you seem to have exhausted many other routes of treatment. I would if I was in your shoes. There’s good outcomes in the studied done. Yes, bad ones as well. That’s why in medicine referred to as ‘risk vs benefit’. I got’cher back Sis! Hugs

    Liked by 3 people

  7. “but I will admit to a sudden urge to pee on hay” – oh my word! You make me laugh so much! I’ll be laughing out loud all day over that line…

    I’ll be waiting to hear how it all works out for you. Holding thumbs, crossing fingers, and whatever else people do to wish others well. I will do all that shizzle for you.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Still wish I could be there, bring your food in so you don’t have to worry about it going missing, fill in the gaps for any mental blips that might follow (I mean more than the usual ones and this is not ECT specific any brain related treatments, even med changes can require adjustment). I could keep you company and not even need to say a thing.

    Liked by 1 person

          1. LOL. Off topic My psych just called. My med levels are too high and she wants me to cut back tonight and do levels in a week or so. No wonder I feel emotionally encased in sponge.

            Liked by 1 person

              1. There is a bright side. I walked to Walmart to pick up the lower dose meds I need and found a bottle of peri-peri sauce! The real stuff, product of South Africa, didn’t know you could get it here. Brought it home and introduced Thomas to it but told him to keep away – it’s mine and it cost almost $6. Makes me second-homesick for ZA. Miss you.

                Liked by 1 person

  9. Why NOT try ECT? I’m damn proud of you for being brave and going for it. I know you do your research. There is an American writer, Donald Antrim (who just published a well-regarded book of short stories, “The Emerald Light in the Air”) who in a recent interview I read somewhere, said that he credits ECT, received during extended inpatient for clinical depression, for saving his life. Not magically, not quickly, but over time, many rounds; a slow lightening; a helping hand; a sort of restoration. He said he was wary and resistant but received a call in his locked ward from the late David Foster Wallace, who told him to go for it. From the admittedly little I know, it is far from the One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s House/American Horror Story procedure of yore. Crossing my fingers Big Fucken Time, you old Rabbit Trousers. Bipolar plus hard grief plus everything else…I HOPE TO GOD IT HELPS. You’re in my thoughts. Much love from ‘Merica.

    Liked by 5 people

  10. One time I forgot to pee before the 6AM procedure AND I fucking wet my pants during the treatment. They put scrubs on me and when I woke up I was clothed & dry, but humiliated. Leslie (the cool nurse – shit, to be honest, they were all so kind. Every single one)
    told me to not feel bad at all. I never made that mistake again. :0

    Liked by 3 people

  11. I’ve had 80+ treatments, my opinion is mixed mostly because I can’t even remember it happening and my memory was permanently messed up by it. But I get the same OMG reaction when I tell people

    Liked by 2 people

  12. When I first decided to go on medications way back, the few people I told WHY (the bipolar) were outraged and up in my business about it all. But at the end of the day I live with my mind, my illness, and I’ll be fucked if I let anyone’s opinion sway me when all I want is relief!

    So you go get the shocks, do what you have to do, and we will be here to feed dragons, toasters, and the muggle eating trees in your backyard. I support you always!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I get why people care etc, but faaark I wish they’d bloody well educate themselves before forming opinions.

      Make sure you catch fresh muggles for the toaster, he says they get too chewy after a few days in the refrigerator.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. You are the most thorough person I’ve ever read/met, so I know this is a decision that will not have been made lightly, nor without stacks of research. As so well said above, everyone’s experience of bipolar is different, and no one lives in anyone else’s particular version of manic depressive hell.

    “When I was a kid I wanted to be a vet, not a psychiatric patient.” And I wanted to be a zoo keeper, not a x4 psych patient. As awful as the latter was, at least I didn’t have to take my own food, let alone hide it. Urggh.

    Best of SA-British with the treatment, & the hospital stay. Keep us posted, eh?

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I have to say that when I read your post about ECT a few days ago, my first reaction was, “Maybe I could get that?” As for the food issue, from what I’ve read, your short term memory won’t be so great so you probably won’t remember you brought food anyway. lol I’m sorry, I found that amusing. Can’t wait to check out the TED talk. I’m currently at work….oh heck, maybe I will look at it anyway. Let’s educate the masses shall we.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Oh me dear I apologize for not having read the post where you write about your ECT but I am not reading much these days because you know why… You are very courageous in doing it I wish I had that courage. I thought of it years ago but because of one side effect I decided not to. It seems that we may lose our early memories as in our childhood memories, and those are the few things I still have as my anchor to not totally lose it and I can’t afford such loss. As for taking your own food, good God I never heard such thing! That gives me a picture of public hospitals, in this case South Africa, of a very dark and scary system. Dam I wish we all could be there next to you and taking care of you while you go to such unknown path. I really hope and pray that you will get the results you need. I am not there in the flesh but I’ll be there with you in spirit (don’t be scared, I’m a nice spirit). Big hug! (love the fact that you and your dog are in good hands, very important to have someone you can trust entirely ”;)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your truly lovely comment, and no worries, because I have no idea how soon (or not) it’ll happen. As for hospital conditions, I remind myself often that I’m so much better off than the 75% of psych patients in SA who get no treatment at all. Hope you feel better soon.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I guess you are right but even so, there’s a lot to be done, as you said so many times, in mental health care in your country it makes me feel anxious for knowing how bad things are in something as urgent as mental care. I wish all goes well with this treatment, with all my heart, please come back better and with the results you expect. Big kiss and many hugs for support! Thank you for caring, I don’t know what to do with my brain anymore…

        Liked by 1 person

  16. Thinking of you xxx. Also, dreaming of you! Last night or perhaps it was the night before. Because I remember the feeling of it: (you were pretty cool and it was a long dream!) but alas, not the details. Good, gentle, non shocking vibes nevertheless :)

    Liked by 1 person

  17. ECT terrifies me, even though I know it’s probably the answer. I can’t read/watch/think about it because my brain gets drowned in panic. I fear it more than brain surgery or childbirth (and they’re my top three). I have the utmost respect for you being able to make a rational (not knee jerk) decision about this and I don’t know when you’re having it (I have been absent from full internets for a wee while) but I hope I’ll see you on the other side and you can educate us ignoramuses about how it went. Anyway, if it works out, maybe you can be a vet AS WELL. *hugs* (they’re on a plate so you can have one if you want but you don’t have to if you prefer not to partake).

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I wanted to get ECT myself when I was in worse state so I’m not shocked coz I was already read-up on the subject :p But even if I wasn’t, I know how much you read about your state and you keep finding real gems on the Net. Even if I wouldn’t be educated you would be and ultimately do whatever makes you feel healthier in the long term.

    Man, that ward reminded me about the hospitals in the old country. We went to visit a friend’s mother and she sent us to buy some basic snacks for her because the food was so bad. Another patient overhead that and soon we were showered with orders from others to buy them food, cigarettes, drinks what not and smuggle them into the hospital :D

    Like

    1. Goodness, I didn’t know about that. A psychiatrist recommended it? Been wanting to ask you and kept forgetting btw, what meds have you had and for how long? And lol re hospitals in our countries. I’ve always been able to connect with you on the fucked upness of things xx

      Like

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