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My Experience with ECT

I think as a blogger it’s important to touch upon a lot of different topics. It’s also important to know the audience you’re writing for, and I’m finding this topic of ECT being discussed a lot within the mental health community online groups. Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a procedure in which electric currents are passed through the brain, intentionally triggering a brief seizure. ECT seems to cause changes in brain chemistry that can quickly reverse symptoms of certain mental illnesses. 

I know ECT is a very controversial topic among the mental health community. Some doctors push for it, while other doctors shy away from having anything to do with it. 

I find it ironic as I’m sitting here at my desk preparing my words to  share my personal experience with ECT, I’m having a tough time remembering details . One of the biggest issues with Electric shock therapy is the possibility of severe memory loss, and I’m one of those who dealt with that. I still have traces of it from time to time.

If someone were to ask me what are my thoughts on ECT, am I for it or against it. I would have to say I’m on the fence and I will explain what I mean. So let me take you back, back to when my bipolar was at its worst and my doctors were trying to figure out the next course of treatment for me.

I had been on just about every medication that’s out there. At the time I had 9 hospitalizations, I felt like a guinea pig trying to find the best med combo that would work for me. My therapist and psychiatrist at the time were concerned the meds had stopped working, like they once were, my body had just adapted to them. I was considered a severe case. I was up to 24 pills a day. I was like a walking zombie or I was lost in my symptoms.

I was unable to care for myself or function on a normal capacity. My doctors agreed doing the ECT would be the next best course of action, they laid out the pros and cons and the success and failures. He reminded me that everyone is different and it effects everyone differently. So after much discussion, prayer and research we chose to take this avenue and pray for the best outcome.

I had it once every other week, for 8 weeks. It was like having a small procedure, because I was out under anesthesia and then awake in recovery and be there in the recovery room for about 1 or 2 hours. It’s not something I like to reflect on because this was such a difficult time in my journey. I was hanging on by a thread, this was my last hope of treatment at this point.

After the first few times I didn’t want to complete it, but my doctor convinced me to follow through with it and give it some time, so I did. I completed the 8 weeks and I felt amazing afterwards… but that was short lived, which I was told was a possibility. I was also told my short-term memory loss would only last a few weeks to a few months. That wasn’t the case, it lasted much longer.  Is there a part of me that regrets taking this road? Maybe a little, because I couldn’t get back the memories I lost. But on the other hand it saved me at a crucial point in my journey.

Sadly, that was not the end of the worst. I relapsed 2 years later and was hospitalized after my mother in law passed. But shortly after that light returned. I became stable and I’ve been stable ever since. I’ve gone back to therapy, but to help me deal with other issues. My health mentally is good, I’m happy to say it was not because of the ECT, but because I learned to deal with my illness, how to cope and I learned to accept what was and to love myself again.

Electric shock therapy has to be a personal choice. That is really what it comes down to. Would I ever consider doing it again, if I needed it? No. However, I will not tell someone else not to. They have to come to their own conclusion, through research and time. Remember that ECT is not the first course of action, it’s usually the very last resort. 

I felt it was important to get my story out there. There is always hope and recovery is possible for anyone. That is going to look differently for each individual.

Comments

I had a positive experience with ECT, which I write about in my International Bipolar Foundation blog "Are You Shocked That I Got Shocked" in which I briefly touch upon TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation, which has been presented as an alternative to ECT by certain providers) - I thank God I had no bad, permanent ECT side effects. I totally realize that everyone has a different reaction, just like we do with medications. My Dad did not have a good ECT experience. This is a very well written post, Natalie - I'm sorry that it didn't work long-term and I appreciate your sharing your experience with us. Take care! Dyane Harwood

http://www.ibpf.org/blog/are-you-shocked-i-got-shocked

Hi, I'm 34 years old and have struggled with major depression and a binge eating disorder for 3+ years. I've been to the top treatment centers in the USA and kept relapsing leading me to feeling suicidal on a week to week basis for as long as I can remember. I wasn't always like this, actually the complete opposite as I competed as an elite marathon runner traveling the states to all the big races. I was at the top of my game, great job, beautiful girlfriend and not wanting to trade my life for anyone else's. After competing in the Chicago Marathon for the 3rd time in 2013, I slowly let go of my disciplined lifestyle finding it nearly impossible to experience any joy and living in isolation. This sounds ridiculous but the only thing I would look forward to throughout the day was eating and sleeping. I spent countless evenings calling the crisis line, seeing the psychiatrist and trying all the new meds. For years I was on a good medication regime with 75mg Effexor, 200 mg lamictal, and 500 mg. of Depakote. Letting myself go off the deep end led my Dr's to try any and every medication available. A holistic approach without meds is something I wished for but just couldn't keep it together. I've been a complete Zombie and finally took my families advice of starting ECT. I've had 6 treatments so far unilateral at 35%. Twice per week with one week off due to the Dr. Being out of town is what I've been through. I can't say things are coming naturally, but the block of not believing I can get better is lifting. I ran 33 miles last week, have kept my commitments, am enjoying being around others and am setting goals. I'm not sure what ECT has done, but my quality of life has definitely improved since starting treatment. I have to say my thought process has been so clouded the past couple years as I've been stuck in my own tracks. I haven't noticed any major memory loss. The days of my treatment are foggy due to the anesthesia (I had treatment yesterday), but have been motivated to read scripture when I get home, do yoga, and get out for a run. I told my sister yesterday that I'm getting my life back and truly believe it. I've talked with my ex girlfriend who is a Physician and she says it's the real me that she's talking to again. My psychiatrist and a couple friends couldn't be happier about how I've opened up with them. Do I think all this pain and suffering could have been prevented? Yes. But I'm trying my best to take the High road and not feel sorry for myself. Ever since I was in High School I've been scared to death about ghost stories of people needing ECT but strongly believe I am going to be a success story and not a statistic. My hope is that I can help someone who has tried literally everything but just can't stay with it and tell them they are worth whatever it takes and not to fear what options they might be left with. I am continuing to journal this process and know that there's no easy fix, but for me this is what it has taken to get back on the road to wellness.

Hello Mark,
Thankyou for sharing your story. About 10 months ago my sister received 5 ect session whilst she stayed in hospital for 3 months. What led her up to that point im not sure she won't disclose with me. She has been mixing prescription medications for depression / sleeping tablets with illegal drugs and I was told she was in Catatonia and was sent to the hospital where my mum had to consent to the ect treatments. We do have some family problems especially communication issues where my mum loses her temper. And I find it difficult to discuss anything with anyone in my family of origin . I'm just concerned for my sister... I don't know if she is going to be okay ... She doesn't really want to communicate with me about her treatments. Does anyone have any advice on the best approach?

I'm a 36 y/o male diagnosed when I was about 18 with bipolar disorder. I have had more than 40 Electroconvulsive treatments and been in and out of treatment facilities. If you are a danger of hurting yourself and have tried all possible options, this would be the last line of defense against depression. My memory is extremely cloudy or gone completely and my thought process is slow and difficult. I do not remember my childhood, teen years or even what I did last week. It may have saved my life, but my brain is now damaged. My last ECT was about 5 years ago and I am still this way. I am disabled.I used to have a lot of creativity and had no problems handling daily tasks. Now, I have to have my mother go to every Doctor appointment with me because I Cannot answer simple questions about myself.

Thank you Mark....I am in a desperate place...

i'm currently going thru a course of ECT and will continue with monthly maintenance. Yes, this was my last hope. Tried all the meds with varying successes, failures, and side effects. Too many hospitalization a to count. 3 in the past 4 months. I feel a world happier. My memory and cognitive skills have suffered. But I'd rather be happy with life. My marriage has improved immensely. ECT is an inconvenience, but struggling with meds, therapies, and hospital stays is horribly depressing in itself. My NP and therapist gave up on me and passed me off to others, until I found an MD that pushed ECT. I'm thankful for the procedure, otherwise, I may be dead.

I have 3. Children. 2 step sons 3 1/2 and 6 we have week on week off custody...and a niece we have full guardianship of who is 8 months old.

Hi Wendy,

How successful was ect and do you still take medication.

Thanks Nick

Thank you for sharing your experience

Thank you for sharing this experience with us. It helps to have first-person knowledge when making decisions about treatments.

Can anyone share an experience with TMS as I may be having to use it. Thanks

I had TMS for 6 weeks right after my 26 year old daughter died and it saved my life. It was a pain having to go all the way downtown everyday and my insurance didn't cover it at the time. I can honestly say it saved my life at that time. The only problem is that you need one or two booster treatments a month to keep up the effects. After 2 years the effects have COMPLETELY worn off and I am pursuing ECT. Jill

Hey try to TMS and different cocktails of meds not even sure the noise and the headaches got so intense that I couldn't even function I wear hearing aids and had to get them turned down the noise of even going into the job truly made a difference TMS is different innovative but wasn't for me

at this point having run a course of numerous medications and combinations and being drowned and depression symptoms that have made me incapable of living a full life my condition worsening to a point where I'm barely surviving my doctors are severely insisting on ECT… I'm researching it but quite frankly I'm ready to jump off the fence and run because it scares me and I don't know quite frankly if it will work. The other alternative is what though? I don't think I can go on like this much longer so what other solution is there?

I had a reaction to one of my medications and had to stop it right away. Within two weeks I was very depressed and crying all the time. After 5 months of severe depression my psychiatrist suggested ECT.

I was desperate. I decided even if I lost all memory it would be better than constant suicidal ideation.

Before I could have ECT I had to have medical clearance and a second opinion from a psychiatrist that ECT was appropriate for me.

After the 3rd treatment I felt a weight lift from me. After 12 treatments I felt "normal". My memory problem was mild & temporary.

I had a relapse 6 months later and had 8 ECT treatments. Again ECT worked so quickly and completely. After 6 months I had another relapse. This time my psychiatrist suggested after the course of 8-14 ECT treatments I would have 1 ECT a month for mantainence.

So far the monthly ECT is keeping me stable. I am actually waiting to get ECT this morning. I was so depressed before my latest course of ECT, I attempted suicide.

I had 14 ECTs 3 per week, then 2 per week for 1 week then every other week. I have had 1 per month since October.

Hopefully everyone knows ECT is performed under general anesthesia. I never felt the shock and they also give oxygen which helps avoid or reduce memory loss.

I hope if someone finds themself severely depressed they will consider ECT for themself.

Hi Nancy in FL - antidepressants cause my many suicide attempts. I did try ECT and only made it to the 8th treatment and ended up in the psych hospital. I can't take "any" pmeds with my history and ECT only made me worse than I was before. I have terrible memory issues, get confused easily and now have terrible anxiety that I never had before my depression. My main mood over the last 3 yrs has been a fairly steady below average with my random bouts of depression and anxiety. I am now a complete loner due to all this as well. So this is not necessarily good for everyone. I did research and decided to take the chance due to being treatment resistant anyway. I feel a different kind of bad now with memory/confusion issues on top of it. I am glad it worked for you though.

I started receiving ECT almost 10 years ago and will soon be commemorating 4 years without a treatment. Many people weigh the pros and cons and the risk of what might be lost versus being dead and what people forget is it may save your life for the acute episode or rough ride of treatment failures but I lost everything in a couple weeks of treatments and I have had to accept that. though I am alive still after all these years of the many treatments and of the tine not doing the treatments I am now on a similar meds and counseling plan as I was before I started and am now fully disabled and unable to work. I was even reassured that in time my memories would return. They said in a few months and not permanent. After all these years and 4 years for brain healing I still have no memory of my kids being born or getting married or much of my career in the military and even the things from my childhood. What was disheartening through it all is that though the memories are gone, as I heal or try to the find the memories if i do they are eerie tricks of the mind and dejavu that I can't remember without a doubt. And to top it off some people will remember the traumatic events of their life and what may have led them to these treatment options but they are still the vivid things that never went away when I had my treatments. They are buried a bit deeoer so i was told. I do have my life now again that I struggle with everyday and just the thought of telling someone that I allowed my family and doctors to subject me to these treatments for so long is embarrassing and has isolated me from much of my life or an interest to explore the past I can't remember. My cognitive skills suffered permanently but I have learned to adapt. Over the course of my treatments in all those years I received almost 200 treatments and only thing I would suggest is anyone considering this needs to make sure they are willing to accept that the risks and permanent side effects are real and will have a lasting effect regardless of if they save your life temporarily or for the long haul. I stopped doing them to take care of my family and I refuse to go back though doc recommendation was to continue on indefinitely? There are other treatments similar to ECT that are less invasive and though people might make these decisions out of desperation the final outcome could be a person's identity. I would miss that person but I am realizing I don't know who that is. But I have learned alot about human resilience and my own abilities to allow this experience to be something I will not soon forget. Ahhhh. Yeah. Bad joke. Bottom line I had a life destroying experience with a long list of events and the important parts gone forever. Unfortunately photos aren't like being there. Best
of luck to all here to find a solution that works before really considering this as a "last resort"

Hi Donna,I was deeply moved by your portrayal of your treatments,effects and your current state. Your candour, courage and sense of humour humbled me.I came across this site after the possibility of me choosing ECT for the on going chronic depression I have suffered for decades. I am particularly frightened by the prospect of it as I remember my father hated the prospect of it back in the mid 1970's.I am hoping that the treatment has progressed sufficiently since that time.The film,one flew over the cuckoo's nest,with its graphic depiction of what it was like then terrifies me.Thank you for your post and God bless you.

I am looking for some releif for a person i love very much. she has had 7 ect. her dr has stopped them for now. she has been dealing with very severe pain. has anyone had this happen ?

I saw an add for tht machine. Does it work. Seemed to good to be true to me.

i have found a home ECT machine,,i want to try it,,,,if ECT works for hard core bi polar people,,,then one would think it will do wonders for those that have a lesser form of the disorder....
the product i found is called fisher wallace company.... i hope this will help some people

peace all

Leo J

After many many years of antidepressant, counseling and suicide attempts and a pdoc calling me pathetic after I told him I felt everything he was giving me was making me worse. Off all pmeds for 7 yrs and no suicide attempts but fighting continued depression I gave in to see a new pdoc. He determined it was anti-depressants that made me suicidal and tried various combinations of mood stablizers with constant problems due to side effects. Depression was pretty bad so he suggested ECT. After a lot of research I decided to try - at this point I was treatment resistent. I had 8 ECT treatments and ended up in the psych hospital for 5 days on the day of my 8th treatment. I have like 3-4 extremely vague memories leading up to treatments. This was in mid 2012. I lost my job. I now get confused easier. I never had anxiety much before and it is terrible now. I have a lot of short and long term memory issues. Not all my job loss was my brain (but could have been), as I had a lot of pain I was also still dealing with from a lumbar fusion 11 mos earlier. My son always thought I was mad, aggravated or negative when in fact I thought I had a very neutral demeanor. He stood by my side to this day as he went thru a lot of it with me and saw my struggle. My folks and any friends I had just couldn't or didn't want to deal with me anymore. I have become a loner, don't like leaving the house now and live alone. I feel hopeless due to being treatment resistant. Always feel tired and pressure in my head. I wish I had just one friend as life is unbearably lonely. My son tries but is 27 and busy with work and girlfriend so I try to give him tons of space. Very hard time in my life. So much for the golden years. I just don't know where to turn anymore.

Hi DEB in Az, I hope you find my comment to yours & can reply. I'm feeling very isolated & lonely same as you. I just started ECT treatments last week (I've had 3 ECT treatments), & I continue to get them every Mon, We'd, Fri., with the suggested total up to 12. They state average response is between 6-12 initial treatments. At this point I'm feeling quite scared. I actually feel worse, & don't quite feel like myself. I feel mentally slower & not interested in the things I normally am. I'm 43, & have always been an excellent student, writer & reader with a great memory. I don't know if it's ok to feel worse initially, & I'm concerned of creating any cognitive problems. I'm isolating myself even more than before because I feel worse

How are you doing now Deb in AZ

Hi Deb in AZ. I had ECT back in 1998, and I too, feel extremely isolated and lonely for all these years even. I manage to get to mass, will turn 59 soon, and I haven't known my daughter since she was 8. I had a very happy full life before forced ECT. I relate to you 100 percent. How are you doing?

I have battled depression on and off since I was 8. I am now 46 with 2 daughters and a wife. A little more than 2 years ago the depression became severe and it started to destroy me. I haven't driven in almost a year due to poor judgement, couldn't work and have been unable to take care of my young daughters alone. I have been on countless meds... seen dozens of therapists and nothing seemed to help.

In mid October to mid December of 2015 I had 17 bilateral treatments of ect. I remember nothing at all of those two months minus a few memories of treatments. Honestly except for a couple of bad experiences including being awake but paralyzed ... what little i do recall I don't remember it being that scary. Mostly everything was smooth and staff was wonderful. Looking back on old messages however it appears there was some hesitation and apprehension.

Ect treatment did not help me in any way. After 17 I quit and left the doctors and nurses baffled and disappointed. Now I feel creeped out by the experience and look back on it fascinated like watching a horror film. I am not traumatized at all but being anethesized 3 times a week is a disturbing feeling. I remember my eyes rolling back in my head and becoming disassociated like I was dying peacefully. Knowing what they were doing to me still spooks me.

I look back on it as an interesting but disappointing time of my life and the memory loss is troublesome.

In January of 2016 I met a cognitve/behavioral terapist who figuratively is saving my life - I am not or ever was suicidal. She is strict, tough and puts me through hell at times. She will not enable me. She puts up with nothing and tears away my self lies exposing me to years of safety behaviors and unhealthy thinking patterns. For 25 years I have gotten little from therapy and it took that long to find someone who could help me. I also joined a dbt group which is a fantastic experience. I am grateful and I am slowly making progress.... up and down but on the path to return to my life.

My slow recovery and watching my therapist me through intense exposure therapy has inspired me to return to school for therapy and counseling when I am healthier. Perhaps a year. I am leaving my old career in graphic design behind as I return to the world. I am trying to look toward a future using my experience, insight and intuition and put positive energy back into the world by helping others.

Much love,

Thank you to all for contributions. I am trying to learn as much as possible because my mother had ECT when I was a child and it changed her personality for the worst. My father says that she was never the same person after that and we have all been living with that ever since. Mother will not go for talking therapies and does not see that there is a problem with her angry outbursts etc etc but does take anti depressants. It's all a big secret and even myself and sisters are not supposed to know or tell. Not even mother knows we know. So now I think it is time to try to understand and accept the situation instead of fight with it. Thank you for listening. Best wishes to all.

My husband's pdoc has recommended ect for him yesterday. He suffers from a genetic anxiety disorder, been hospitalized twice, and just diagnosed as bi-polar last year after his last hospitalization. He's supposed to return to work next week as well as start ect in the near future.

1. Where are some good places to do more research on this?

2. Did you work while you were being treated? How did it affect your job? Did you lose skills?

A Brown, with regard to research, I would send you the WebMD and Mayo Clinic websites. Both are quite good.

As to working, I work part time now while undergoing ECT on a maintenance schedule. I did lose some skills, mostly procedural stuff because I lost the steps. In general, though, ECT has done a tremendous amount to improve my quality of life.

My sister has severe clinical depression and was diagnosed with Bipolar disorder. She was on medical leave from work for her depression when she decided the ECT route. She went to about 8 sessions. Things never seemed to get better for her. She has severe anxiety about returning to work. She has lost all short term memory and didn't feel she would be able to function at work. She had to keep a note book of daily activities, conversations, passwords, etc because she couldn't remember anything. Even conversations she lost from one hour to the next. 3 days after her last treatment, she took her life. As an outsider, I feel ECT never helped her.

My sister took her life in July. I'm so sorry for your loss. She batteled depression since middle school. I was diagnosed Bipolar and PTSD in my early 20's, now in my 30's and I'm worse for the wear. I lost my best friend, finding it impossible to go on without her, she was the only one who in understood me. Best wishes to you and your family. Seek counseling please.

E.C.T made me worse. I didn't want to go back after the 2nd treatment. I went back for the 3rd but that was it! It made me, extremely agitated, mean,depressed, violent, unable to function ,constantly sick to my stomach and couldn't eat. It was my last option and failed. I do NOT recommend it!

I'm glad I found this site. I start ECT treatments in a few days. I stopped researching it because some of the comments were so negative. I was getting VERY cold feet. I feel, for me, I must try this procedure. I've been on what I call "Med Roulette" for about 12 years. I am non-responsive to most, or have unmanageable side effects to about two meds that seemed to help (in all of those years). My main concern is that I will be nonresponsive to ECT also. Still, I will go through with it as I feel being a complete zombie is better than my depression and severe, severe, severe mood swings. (Rapid cycle). Wish me luck! I am encouraged to read that, even with unwanted side effects (what's new?) that a lot o f you folks are writing that ECT does have positive, (and sometimes very positive) results. Thank you for giving me hope and much needed courage.

JoAnn, how did your treatments go??

I have had depression my whole life and I'm on the brink of trying ECT. I've been on many many meds, but still feel completely lethargic and withdrawn from the world. I would like to connect with others who are going through this. JoAnn--would you like to connect?

I feel the same. Heavy headed and dizzy as well.

I had a close family member receive ECT and it ended badly. This person started with depression and psychosis. She expresses suicidal thoughts. At first the ECT appeared to help but then she became manic and began to cycle between mania and depression. She became angry, depressed and violent. She had to be institutionaliked. Do any of you know from a personal experience or a stidy showing ECT can cause a person to become violent.

I had 17 ECT forced on me in 1998. Through the years I have been violent, and I have never been me again. I am like a zombie and other things I won't mention. But yes, ECT can and does cause violent behavior.

I have dealt with bipolar 2/depression (formally diagnosed since 2000). For years my meds seemed to work. Since the birth of my daughter in 2010 I've struggled and two years ago it really started to be rough and last Christmas I think it was beyond rough. The only reason I didn't give up was bc I've always wanted to see how my kids turned out. Sounds lame...but it truly has been the only thing that's kept me alive at times.
This summer I think all meds stopped working and I really spiraled out of control. My family convinced me to find a new dr who decided I had become medicine resistant and explained that really ECT might be might true "last resort" since I was a walking zombie, I didn't know what to do. I think my family/husband was so desperate for something to work...they pushed for me to do it. My first treatment was 10/10. I did 3 treatments the first 2 weeks, one week of 2 treatments, and then 2 weeks of 1 treatment. My last treatment was on 11/10. I've lost basically since the first day of October until 11/20 in memories. I might have a snippet here or there...but we called it (my 3 little kids 11,9,6 and husband) mommy asleep and mommy awake time. I woke up and found out that I voted...I volunteered for things, I went through Halloween/parties. No one had a clue that I wasn't remembering a thing. I missed concerts...soccer games. It's tough. But I can laugh...although it's hard for me to even understand what this emotion "happy" is? I can't even comprehend it at times.
I'm supposed to go in for maintenance treatments. The first one was supposed to be 12/15...but I refused that one bc no one could guarantee I'd remember Christmas. So my first maintenance treatment is 1/5. I now have a journal and the plan is to document things until I wake up.
I've been told the Hillary that people interacted with was either very tired or rather laid back. (Unless you talk to my mom/sister...they say "she" was difficult and upsetting...everyone else on the planet saw a different person...since I can't remember a thing...I don't know what to believe...I think they felt guilty bc they weren't here to help).
I'm interested to see how long the "other Hillary" sticks around after my maintenance treatment and what she's like. My husband said he'll take videos of her interacting with kids and such so I can see exactly what I'm like. The kids have strategies in place to help themselves determine when "awake mommy" is back. They said they did find it odd that I couldn't remember normal stuff during treatment time and I'd agree to do odd things. (I took them out of school to see me vote...I'd typically never do that...). So they feel that they are better prepared to figure out when awake mommy is really back. I don't know and I think that is what scares me the most??
Would I do it anyway...obviously yes at least once more bc I know what I was like pre-treatment. And we'll I'd like to never go back to that again. Right now I'm down...but I don't know if that's typical holiday aftermath or depression returning or what. I'm so hard on myself...I'm so quick to say...well my depression has returned I'm back in hell...god forbid I allow myself a bad day...LOL
Sorry for the ramble...but if I can help even one person then hopefully this ramble was worth it...I'll try to remember to post here again after my first maintenance treatment.

Hillary, I'm a mom of three as well. 11,almost 9 & 6 and like you my kids have kept me wanting to go on.
I've been with my husband since 1/19/2000.
I am on a path to wellness after suicidal thoughts and many depressive and manic episodes. I am finally newly diagnosed and it's scary for many reasons. Reading the painful stories and having a family member die last October from the disease has been a trigger. And yet knowing my behavior is not my fault and I have a disease is going to save me. I was on antidepressants on and off before and after having my kids. I remember telling my family I felt do great when I was pregnant. As I research I am grateful for the open shares like yours online and I feel less alone. Thank you ❤

I made it through 10 sessions. #'s 8,9 an10 were absolutely horrifying, I was terrified. While the anesthesia was being administered my heart was absolutely pounding out of my chest and my breathing was near hyperventilation. I felt as though I was going to have a heart attack. Has anyone else had this type of experience? Thanks.

I'm thinking about going through it. I have an aversion to pills to the point where I gag when I take them and even though I've found a way to take them 'right' I avoid being consistent with them, which is dangerous for my health {anyone's health at that} and I would make myself sick by doing that. I want something that I can do that won't hurt me like the pills can, even if I do take them consistently. They are bad for you.
I do benefit from taking them, but I still experience melancholy moods and sometimes, at worst, suicidal thoughts. I just want it to stop. I just want to feel content, I have no reason not to. I lead a life full of opportunity and support from my family and friends. I don't feel alone in this, yet they can't help me and I can't help myself.
I've been strange in the mood department sense I was very little. I got worse and worse as I got older. Some things I know are deep rooted in me. I imagine this procedure can help zap it away and help my inner positive attitude overcome the disappointments life inevitably hands us and I can't seem to let go of. Therapy hasn't changed me. But meds are thing only thing that has helped and revealed to me that it is all a chemical disorder and if I got that right I could move on in my life. But my doctor has told me I've maxed out the medications and this is the only other option other than taking gobs of pills which I will never do.
I know it's not magik. But am I making the right choice?

my husband has had 17 ect and is now worse than ever . he has a psychosis now something he has never had. he sees things, he hears things that are not real. he is a former shell of himself. we are going to insist no more ect next week. he is far worse now than when he started ect

I HAVE BEE DIAGNOSED AS HAVING A BIPOLAR DISORDER. ASSOCIATED WITH THAT I HAVE HAD 3 SERIOUS/DEBILITATING DEPRESSIONS IN 1982, 1998, AND 2016. EACH TIME I HAVE HAD 8 ECT TREATMENTS, ONE AT LEXOX HILL HOSPITAL IN NYC, AND TWO AT 4 WINDS HOSPITAL IN SARATOGA, NY. ALL 3 TREATMENTS WERE SUCCESSFUL, WITH NO ADVERSE SIDE EFFECTS THAT I CAN DETECT. I DO NOT SUGGEST HAVING ECT AS A FIRST RESORT, BUT WHEN YOU ARE DESPERATE, AND OTHER REMEDIES ARE NOT WORKING SUCCESSFULLY, THIS MAY PERFORM BEYOND WHAT YOU THINK POSSIBLE. IMPROVEMENTS IN THE TECHNIQUE ARE BEING MADE ALL THE TIME, INCLUDING A VARIANT WHERE THE PATIENT DOES NOT NEED TO PLACED UNDER AN ANESTHETIC. IF YOU DECIDE TO HAVE THIS PROCEDURE PERFORMED, I SUGGEST GOING TO A PLACE LIKE 4 WINDS WHERE EXCEPT WHEN HAVING THE ECT, YOU ARE NOT CONFINED TO A HOSPITAL BED, AND HAVE FREEDOM TO MEET WITH OTHERS, HAVE MEALS IN A CAFETERIA, ATTEND EDUCATIONAL SESSIONS, HAVE YOU OWN OR A SHARED ROOM, ETC.

I had 7 treatments of ECT and was scheduled for 8 within 3 weeks, with weekly maintenance. I refused to do the last one due to how bad I was feeling. I have severe memory loss; for the past 6-12 months I am unable to recall anything, it is like looking in a pitch black room. I get confused easily, have to write everything down and do believe it affected my cognitive ability negatively. There needs to be more scientific studies done on this. The doctors were not even able to explain what ECT was doing to my brain and why it would make me feel "better". I still have suicidal thoughts daily and am supposed to return to work in 2 weeks. I do not think I will be able to hold a job again. I have lost interest in what I used to enjoy (family, painting, crafts, sociam) and am unable to sleep. When there is so little scientific information available, I would be cautious.

I had ect 11 times after my son was killed in an auto accident in 2001. He was only 19 and I became VERY DEPRESSED. I now all these years later have total memory loss of time during & some years later. At present time I have problems with memory, spelling words, rapid speech, depression. I am taking 4 meds (Epival, Seroquel, Zapex & one for shaking). I am afraid of getting alzhiemer's or dementia. It is a horrible feeling to not remember. I am 60 years old now.

Hi All- I had a round of ect, 11 total treatment starting March 31 ending May 5. I had postpartum mood disorder and was hospitalized but wasn't given adequate informed consent. My memory and cognitive abilities are extremely impaired and I'm devastated. They keep telling me it will come back but I don't believe them. Any encouraging words you may have would be greatly appreciated.

I have had 3 ECT treatments.my cognitive thinking and feelings are zapped.i would not do it again I tell you now.please do research people.

Hi Cindy, did you do it for depression? Did you have unilateral or bilateral? Do you feel like you lost your emotions? What do the doctors say about this? I've had 5 bilateral sessions back in July/August and have become severely depressed as a result (I wasn't even depressed prior to the ECT treatments - the ECT doc said I had a "rare form of Bipolar disorder.")

I had 12 ECT's two months ago. Short term memory problems were severe. I was treated at Carrier Clinic in N.J. and drove back to Mississippi afterwards. I drove to a gas station and couldn't remember my card pin! Oh great! How the hell do i get home? My appetite is totally hosed. I've been living on tuna fish and cereal since i left the clinic. I've had problems spelling words and seeing things that aren't there. I can't truly say it did me much good. Anxiety, that i haven't had in a long time has returned. They (DR.) wanted me to have maintenance ect's but it's not going to happen while i feel i'm in bad shape from the first batch.

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