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!?!?!?
The 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.
The 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.