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ECT Redux

Posted Dec 20 2008 7:16pm
I got a letter from someone who asked me my views on ECT, regarding my posts on Ray S anford.

It's simple. If you are an adult, and you want it, fine. Have it. If you don't you shouldn't have it, nor should you be forced into it.

My thoughts on it were first posted here, and on this blog, here. The piece was originally written at the request of Philip Dawdy, who wanted a companion piece to this piece he wrote on ECT a few days before.

Again, like I said in the piece, if you want it, fine. If you don't - it shouldn't be forced on you. My own experience is simply this. i was semi if not totally catatonic, when I was admitted to a mental hospital. I don't want to name the hospital, but it is the same one where Godel died. I was brought in by work with an ultimatum- I had almost suicided the previous day, and I went into work the next day wearing pancake makeup and a turtleneck. I thought I was a good actress, but I was called down by HR shortly and told if I was not admitted "voluntarily" to the emergency room for valuation within the next 24 hours, I would be sacked.

I did not want to be sacked! So I went the next day with my mother to the emergency room, after dropping the cat at the kennel. And spent 30 days there, the entire time on suicide watch- one on one.

I was extremely suicidal, yes, that is true. The meds were being put it me at high does, and I was getting more and more suicidal, alternating between wanting to die, and catatonic episodes. 20 days into the hospitalization, the doctors decided that the only thing would make me better was ECT and they did a very good PR job explaining it to my parents and convincing them I needed this. I was too out of it to have an opinion. I remember calling my ex, and asking him what i should do.

I had 6 rounds of ECT. The first one had complications- I felt every muscle in my body for about 48 hours after the first treatment, but no problems with my memory. After the second treatment I had to get a PIC line put in because the nurse could not find a vein on the second try. I started loosing memory from the second treatment on. By the end of the sixth, I signed off on the procedure. I had a treatment on Christmas Eve morning and Boxing Day. My next scheduled procedure was supposed to be on Dec 30. The doctor, who was voted the best psychiatrist by NJ Magazine, a year later- was adamant I should not stop- and if I did, he would not be responsible if I suicided. I told him as someone who has read Philosophy- and Existentialism, it was my right if i want to die by my own hand, and he should respect that.

So there it is in a nutshell. Mindfreedom is behind Mr. Stanford, as I am, because no one should have this forced on them if they don't want it. But if you want it, it's your right. And I support you on that. Just keep in mind, for every positive experience I have heard on this procedure I have also heard a negative. And a 50/50 shot on any medical procedure, I don't want to take that risk.
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