Throwback Thursday #14: ECT Decision

Throwback Thursdays feature relevant posts (of about 20) from a private, online journal I kept last fall. They chronicle my time during a depressive episode, which led to another round of  ECT. You’ll read firsthand what that was like for me. The entries are slightly edited for clarity, and with regard to anonymity. Also, I describe how the actual procedure is done from start to finish in a previous post. And, as stated on my About page, I don’t advocate for or against using ECT. I’m just sharing my experience.


ECT Decision – November 10, 2016

IMG_0543I didn’t wake up well from ECT yesterday. I was agitated, disoriented, and my voice was hoarse. I now dread going under anesthesia and have developed a fear about undergoing the entire procedure, and especially anesthesia. I had a phone session with my therapist today, and she doesn’t think ECT is the only answer to lifting me from my depression. Otherwise she would dissuade me from the decision I’ve made to discontinue treatment.

The bruise on my hand is barely noticeable, but is painful. It’s another reason I don’t want to go through ECT anymore. I’m what the nurses call a “hard stick,” meaning, and it depends on the nurse, it isn’t easy to get an IV in me. I have a good vein on the inside of my right elbow, but they don’t want to overuse it.

I also don’t like ECT Doctor 3 as much as I like ECT Doctors 1 & 2. But ECT Doctor 1 won’t be doing them again until December, and when we met with him in October, we hoped I would no longer need it by then. My husband still wants to meet with him again to discuss my decision, which is fine with me.

ECT Doctor 3 is nice, but he doesn’t seem as sensitive as the other 2, and seems more heavy-handed with the machine. I joked with him a bit on Wednesday, saying that I remember my dog’s name now. I told him on Monday that after Friday’s procedure I couldn’t remember Rudy’s name. The doctor said that wasn’t so much a problem with memory as it was with retrieval. I already have enough problems with that, so I don’t need more.

I feel that I should get off my butt and do the stuff I used to do, like chores, and more, like socialize. That last one’s tough. I’ll have to trust my therapist that ECT isn’t required at this point in my life in order to do those things. I’m just so used to being stagnant. I’ll have to step up.

At least I’ve been showering albeit with shortcuts, but showering just the same.


Photo provided by author

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