Wednesday, July 14, 2010

E.C.T. Part Duex "Shock The Badger"

 Hello again folks, did yah miss me? I am back still in hospital but back blogging all the same. As you may or may not know I have been waiting for E.C.T. (Electro Convulsive Therapy) for a couple of weeks now. It seems that it has been booked solid. It is easier to get into a New York City hot spot on a Saturday night wearing flip flops, a I Love NY tee-shirt and mesh shorts than to get ECT here in Vancouver.

  So this made me think, and you know it is dangerous when I think. back to my thought now. If ECT is so booked up how come you never hear about it or know someone who has had it? You would think someone would talk? Right? Well in my opinion there are two reasons why you never hear about it and the big one is once again "Stigma", yes the word of the month and rightfully so. You can go to a party, event gathering and hear people talk about i took Zoloft, or my wife takes Prozac. I have overheard many a conversation on the manic need for carbs from Seroquil. But you never hear, "Hey I just finished a course of ECT now I am going to Disneyland like some bad Pharma Advert.
 It is because ECT carries a stigma, not only the horrific media stigma like from film, but also the stigma that it is used for the worst of the worst. The most dangerous mental health patients. These myths and urban ledgends keep darkness and silence on the fact that ECT is a common and widely used treatment for, Depression, Mania, and Parkinsons, yup folk even Parkinsons. People who get it are afraid others will judge them for it, like employers who would not bat an eye if you took Prozac but get a little electricity and bamm you are unclean and untouchable.  So we keep quiet, but not me figures. And if you look on the googles it is full of modern horrific tales of ECT gone bad and little positive. The net loves bad stories and maybe people who have good experiences just go on with their lives without feeling the need to youtube their asses off.

 There is also the Pharma industry they have a profit motive for not talking about ECT they sell drugs, lots of them. And in a lot of cases ECT lowers the amount of drugs you must take. So they do not like that they want to sell more drugs. I am not saying Pharma is bad, a lot of people are alive because of Big Pharma friends, family and myself included. What I am saying is ECT is kept quiet a dirty little secret.

 So if someone starts talking about depression or meds at a event or party tell them you know someone who had ECT and i worked great for them and it is not cruel, does not lobotomize you or make you vote Republican . It is another tool in managing mental health, and you can think of it as a kinda natural way, no chemicals, like the "Whole Foods" vegan form of Mental Health Care. Seriously though lets help reduce stigma everywhere in Mental Health and not just on the topics and treatments we like.


  1. Not sure if I linked to this before, but my dad had ECT (or electroshock therapy, as they called it then) 40 years ago, and continues to say what a great treatment it was for his depression:

  2. I'm glad you're sharing your ECT experience. I myself have always wondered what the effects would be like ... out of both curiosity and personal interest during the really dark times ... you're right, it's good to talk about these things so we can all start to realize that it's more common than we think.
    ... also, I like your "natural" slant. :)

  3. my friend got me on to your blog - she found yours through a link to a blog she reads.
    Anyway, it's really good and I've been going through the archives and I see that in addition to being bipolar, you also have incurable cancer and have lost your mom and wife. wow.
    And your blog is written so well.
    I live in Vancouver and struggle with my own happy little piece of the mental health pie - hence I enjoy ativan (worship it a tad too much, who knew your brain could get addicted to .5 mg), Trazadone, zopiclone and Effexor, the first 3 for sleeping. If I tell anyone about my little cocktail, they get a delightful little look on their faces that says, "crazy" and "why don't you just use natural herbs." Oh those mentally healthy people, they really don't get it. I'll keep reading your blog whenever you feel like writing.

  4. awesome - does not lobotomize you or make you vote Republican. i think in Vancouver, at least, when people hear ECT they think RIVERVIEW and that is not good, we do need to keep working at changing that stereotype.

  5. hi there. i'm just an american who recently had over 80 shock treatments. It's been 6 months since my last.

    I am conflicted with many things, including whether or not I would do it again. The mental damage is undeniable. I have lost the entire time during my treatments - people, conversations, events, etc. I have lost the ability to map anything out in my head or read maps. I couldn't read anything for a couple of months after.

    As far as being a great secret, it's becoming more and more of a common treatment everywhere. Survivors are starting to talk about it; both online and in "real life."

    Perhaps it is the general public who perpetuate the stigma. (...perhaps??) and there is a valid one. but it's true the therapy has gotten more humane, and that it is making a comeback.

    There's an excellent TED talk about ECT by Sherwin Nuland here:

    It was what finally convinced me to have the treatments. Now, on the other end, I'm more dubious and slightly disappointed.

  6. HI Renee,

    Wow 80 I have now had only 12 in my lifetime with little side effects. I write not as a you must have ect but more for first person education and experience on it. I have know people who have had bad experiences and those who have had good. It is not an easy choice and should not be for anyone. For me I am so drug resistant that it is the best option. I am sorry to hear how it has effected your life so and I wish you peace and happiness in the future.