ECT One Year Later

It was a year ago today that I underwent my first electroconvulsive therapy.Though I don’t remember everything, I can still recall the nervousness I felt throughout my body as I was first led to the ECT room. It was supposed to be a six-to-twelve time event, but it somehow stretched to fifteen, and now, to twenty-five. A year ago I was really scared about how things were going change after these treatments. What I find now is that it’s not so much that things have changed as much as the fact that I can now realize that things are okay as they are.

So, where am I now? I’m currently in school studying sociology and have a part-time job. I haven’t spent too many days hidden under the covers, and I’ve been pretty good about taking care of my body, whether by bathing or otherwise. All these little things matter, but the biggest change from last year is that I’m actually alive. I mean, last January, my body may not have been dead but I had stopped living a life and had planned on really dying by the following month. For months, that was my only plan. Though I do not have concrete goals and plans at the moment, I don’t find myself considering suicide as a logical option.

I do give much credit to ECT for getting me to where I am today, but I must acknowledge that without support from my family, I would have never been able to go through this procedure. (My mother left the country, with my father left at home, and stayed with me for three months so that she can take me every other day to these treatments.) Also, I thank everyone, whom I know and don’t know, who sent me notes of encouragement throughout the year. It is so easy to think that only you exist in your journey, but I am constantly reminded that I am not alone. And then, there’s my “Dr. Melfi.” She is the one who advised that I give ECT a try, and without her guidance, I doubt I would be alive.

I am thankful, but am I no longer depressed? I don’t know. I am not sure at what point I am declared “normal.” I still have my ups and downs, though they occur as fleeting moments rather than debilitating crises. I am often in a state of self-reflection, and I wonder to what extent such is connected to an illness and what’s just who I am. What I can say for myself is that I think I’m doing okay, which doesn’t sound all that great, but to me, it’s a huge accomplishment. I still don’t know what it means to be ‘happy,’ but perhaps I’m on that road to find out.

I suppose there’s more to say, but I can save it for later entries because I plan on being around to write them.

My house is still messy, but I guess that’s just me being me. Maybe I’ll learn to clean as I learn to live one day at a time.

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4 Comments to “ECT One Year Later”

  1. I have only just begun reading all you have written but wanted to say thank you. I have been living with (through, in spite of, under) depression for over ten years and am currently back in a downward spiral. Today my doctor and I decided that trying Abilify would be a good idea and then when I went to fill it I was told it would be nearly $150 for 30 pills which is prohibitive. I sat down, feeling even more defeated. I came across your blog looking for financial assistance programs but then started just reading yours story. I know that I just have to keep going forward until I find something or get to a place where I feel like my head isn’t being held underwater. It helps to see someone else in an upswing. So thank you and all the best. With your writing you might be helping yourself but you are helping others significantly as well.

  2. Well I’m glad you are here as well! I just found your blog and like Meredith said, you are helping others so much just by sharing your experiences. I also had ECT, about three years ago, and I swear it saved my life. It didn’t “fix” my depression, but it stopped my obsessive love affair with suicide and self-harm. So many people have a bad view of it through negative media rather then real life stories, so I am so glad that you are speaking out about the ability for ECT to really work and make a difference.

  3. Meredith, thank you so much. I really don’t know why Abilify has to cost so much. Having to think about the cost of our meds is definitely not what we need when we’re already depressed. I hope that you feel better soon.

    By the way, your Etsy site is so cute!

  4. Linea, thank you so much for reading. I’m so glad to know that there are people like you out there who are still living their lives years after having ECT.

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