ECT #20 (my fifth maintenance treatment)

Prior to coming to the treatment, there’s a ‘ECT caregiver report’ that someone has to fill out regarding how I’ve been doing. It asks questions like “Does the patient seem depressed?” among other 16  similar questions. I personally didn’t feel that the last two weeks went over too well, but to those questions, my sister answered no to all of them, as usual.  So, when Dr. F looked at those answers on the questionnaire then heard me speak about how horrible I felt this past week, he gave me a confused look and asked me why there’s such a discrepancy between what my sister observed and what I was telling him.  All I could tell him was how no one, not even family members, can really tell from my exterior when I’m sad and that I tend to come across as constantly in a good mood. I don’t know if my answer made any sense to Dr. F, but as he walked to the ECT machine, Dr. H injected me with Brevital. I’m out within seconds.

I did not feel well after the last treatment, but this time around, I felt amazingly clear-headed and okay (just a little headache, but what can you expect after a seizure’s been induced via your brain?). However, I kept thinking about that conversation with Dr. F right before the ECT. Do I present a different self to other people on purpose, or do I just naturally look happy? I think my general demeanor just strikes people as pleasant, and honestly, I’m not trying to fool people on purpose. Perhaps I’ve masked how I feel for so long that I can’t even tell if I’m putting on some sort of an act. The thing is, I used to not even be able to tell a doctor exactly how I felt. It’s not obvious, but I’ve actually come quite far in terms of expressing how I feel to others.

The one place where my true self seems to be on display pretty consistently is through my writing. Somehow I find it much easier to arrange words on the paper rather than having to speak them. This journal is probably a very good example of my inner-thought process.  I guess the problem with only revealing myself in writing is that I can decide who sees my writing so these feelings are still contained to just me and the journal (or other written material). But would my life become any better if I chose to reveal more about my insides through my exterior? Must I work to match my outer shell with my inner feelings?

Maybe my real self is what people see on the outside. It’s my inner self that needs to work to get to who I really am.


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