Brace yourselves, humans. I’m booked in to be electrified. Yep, the ol’ noggin is getting a 12 session seizure makeover. I’m booked to go back into hospital for three weeks in a fortnight, so perhaps I was a little hasty in packing my bags, but a gal can never be too prepared. I talked about it with my doctor today and he was really keen to get me in to begin ECT. It was me who stretched it out to two weeks. I don’t know why. I think I just panicked as the scenario I’d thought of became real. Plus, I’m waiting on a bag to come from Ebay that I can carry my phone and smokes and room keys in while I’m in lockdown. I usually just carry everything in my bra, but given the ECT’s propensity to fuck with one’s short term memory, I figured a bag might be a better idea to keep all my crap together.
To be honest, I suspect my doctor may have been thinking similarly about giving ECT a go, because as soon as I mentioned it, he was straight on the phone teeing it up and nodding his head. Toward the end of the EC therapy, he’s going to start me on Lithium as well. He took my case to his peer group of neuro professors he meets with once a week and they discussed my case and Lithium to augment my Anafranil was the suggested solution to my issues. He said I have a really good chance of maintaining recovery between ECT and the new medication. Just to hear him say that made me tear up. Like, I wanted to just cry there and then in his office with the thought that perhaps this could be it- this could be the cocktail that keeps me well. I’ve never even had a Shrink use the word ‘good’ in terms of my recovery once, so to hear him say that was like winning the lottery. I obviously don’t want to get excited prematurely, and there’s going to be a few really tough weeks ahead where I’m going to feel pretty shithouse, but I’m trying to stay optimistic. God, even to wake up in the morning and not feel like I want to die would be a welcome change. Anything more than that, and I’ll be rapt.
I know the idea of ECT might feel pretty drastic to some of you. It did to me too until recently. But when the Shrink suggested taking away my antidepressant that keeps my OCD under relative control, I freaked out. I started grabbing for all kinds of alternative ideas, and ECT was one of them. I could have gone with the less invasive TMS, where they use magnets on your brain to help it somehow, not entirely sure what the science is, but reports about it’s benefits are fairly mixed and it’s much newer technology than ECT. Plus it takes a lot more treatments for less obvious effect, so seemed like a dud. I don’t know many people who have had long term success with it, as opposed to ECT where I know people who have had life changing turnarounds in their moods. But like with all medical interventions, what works for one person won’t necessarily work for another. It might not help me at all, but purely wipe my short term memory and give me three works worth of misery. But I’m willing to take that risk on the off chance it works.
I found a little video about ECT on Youtube to help explain how ECT works if you’re curious. Don’t freak out. I know those electro knobs look kinda terrifying but I’ll be under a general anesthetic the whole time, time travelling through space.
I’m just hoping the mouth guard fits well, lest I bust my new porcelain veneer, because that would really suck. That’s seriously one of my most pressing concerns. I know most people would worry more about their memory, but to be honest, I really don’t have a lot of good memories from the past few years, so it wouldn’t really be any true loss. Hell, it might even help me forget some events and people my memory is better off without.
So, that’s todays news. I left group early to get to my appointment with the Shrink upstairs so I didn’t snap today’s blackboard. But essentially we had a really laid back day where we did a lot of talking. Well, I talked a lot especially. Mostly about how few fucks I’ve given about myself and my life lately. When the question why was posed, my response was I’ve just given up caring. And not in the Rage Against The Machine ‘Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me’ way, but more just the ‘fuck you’ without the youthful rebellion in addition. It’s more like middle age malaise. Depression has just robbed me of all my ability to care. It’s sucked up all my empathy and motivation. Today, when I was with the Shrink, it was the first time I felt like I’d cared or been enthused about anything. I’m not necessarily overjoyed I’ll have to stay in the hospital three weeks, because the days there are ridiculously long and the weeks feel much longer there than they do in the real world, but the Shrink has given me the prospect of hope, something I haven’t felt for a long, long time. It would be nice to care again. To have fucks to give. To be anything but despondent. I’m not aiming as high as happy. I’ve learned to aim low to avoid disappointment. But I’ll take any positive change this therapy can give me.
I’m curious, have you had ECT? Did it work for you? What advice would you give me? I’m keen to find out your opinions.