Psycho-Babble Medication | about biological treatments | Framed
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Re: Electroconvulsive therapy

Posted by Kelli P. Harrington on January 8, 1999, at 13:06:37

In reply to Electroconvulsive therapy, posted by didimartin on November 3, 1998, at 19:31:40

> Am considering ect after trying many meds. Anyone out there who has had ect? Willing to share your experience? Would love to hear from you.

>Hi! I have had ect treatment for 2yrs and have recently finished with my maintainence treatments. I have BiPolar Disorder and have gone through consecutive manic episodes for the past 2yrs. i have taken every possible medication(s) and have finally found that Lithium works for me when I am not in a Manic phase. I had tried lithium before my 5 hospitalizations over the past 18 months. I take other medications with Lithium and have beencompletely stable for 7 months. However, my stability would not have been possible if my family and I had not made the decision to have ect. The treatments saved my life and gave me the ability to respond when response was completely unavailable. I was in a "coma" for 2 years and there was the possibility that I would have to be institutionalized on a permenant basis. I had to leave my teaching job for 6 months in order to get back on my feet. But, if it were not for the ect I would have never been able to come out of my manic and following depressive episodes. It was a tough and frightening decision for my parents, brother, grandmother, and most importantly myself. We all had these images in our heads that I was going to have permenant brain damage and that it was going to destroy my memory and cerebral functioning for the rest of my life- I think we ALL think that. We have images of Frankenstein and "One Flew Over the Cookoo's Nest". All of those images are wrong. This is not the 1900s where doctors would drill holes in the heads of psychiatric patients in order to "release the deamons". We've come a long way and its a shame that ect receives such a bad wrap. However, that does not change the fear. At first I was not scared because i was so sick that I had no idea what was going on. But later, I was terrified- it was only natural. We all hated it- my mom, dad, grandmother, brother, and of course me. But, I now look back and see that if I had not gone through with it I would never live a normal life again. In total I have probably had about 50-60 treatments and they were all a struggle. You are first given a series of 6 in order to see your response and then it is followed up by maintainence treatments that can go on anywhere from 2 months to forever. The details are complicated and stressful but it's so worth it in the long run. You don't feel a thing physically because an Anasthesiologist administers muscle relaxers and medication to put you under. They say that the seizure the doctor induces lasts about 45secs.-1 min. They put you into a recovery room and you usually wake up 45mins- 1hr. later. You are completely monitored- heartrate, breathing, etc. You will have a headache and soar muscles when you wake-up but, I sure that doesn't surprise you. I'm sorry I have written so much, I just feel compelled to help out everybody and anybody who has to go through what I have gone through with this treatment and mental illness itself. You have to make the choice whether you want to be sick for the rest of your life or "suck it up" and go back to who you one were. I hope this was helpful and if you need anything don't hesitate to email me. My name is Kelli and I am a High School History teacher in New York City. I'm 24 years old and have had BiPolar Disorder for most of my life but have gone undiagnosed until 3 years ago. Everybody thought it was just "strange" behavior. Good Luck to you!




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