One of the things I need to get better at is to become a better vocal communicator with my doctors (okay, and practically everyone else, but we’ll constrain it to the docs for this post). Because the ECT electrical strength, frequency of treatment, etc. is determined on what I tell them, it is crucial that I am telling the whole truth. I’ve come to realize more and more that even if I feel like a tidbit about me seems unimportant, I might as well tell my ECT psychiatrist because telling him won’t hurt. Because I don’t want to forget about telling Dr. F certain items, on some treatment days, I make sure to hand him a note that lists my thoughts so that I know they will be communicated clearly than had I tried to express them by talking.
This should not be limited to just talking/writing about how you feel. If you experience any physical discomfort after ECT, such as a really bad headache or a sore throat/jaw pain, you should let your doctor know. S/he may be able to adjust your mouth guard or give you something for the pain.
The doctors won’t be able to treat you properly if you don’t tell them exactly what’s going on. I know how it feels to not want to let anyone know exactly what you’re thinking, but this is the one time when saying those things matter.
#5 After ECT, treatment continues
#4 Write’ em down!
#3 Look pretty for the occasion
#2 Wear a short-sleeved t-shirt
#1 Importance of social support