What am I going to wear? Should I paint my nails? How should my hair look? I am fretting over the little things like tomorrow’s the first day of school. No, tomorrow’s time for another maintenance ECT, 35th ECT treatment to be exact. All I need to remember to do tomorrow morning is to keep my stomach empty and wear a short-sleeved shirt. But tonight I’m busy doing nothing—of picking out a shirt that’s going to be covered with a hospital gown, of making my hair smell good that will get funny with the gel they use for the treatment, of doing things that doesn’t really matter. I really should be reading for my classes, but I’m watching football. Well, kind of. I’m barely able to concentrate on that.

I think I’m doing all these ‘unimportant’ things to quell the actual nervousness I feel for tomorrow’s treatment. Underneath my actions of seeming like ECT’s just another routine thing to do on the planner, there’s a sense of anxiety that’s probably been on my mind for a while. And it’s hard to write out what I’m really thinking because to be honest, I’m not quite sure what I’m so nervous about.

I know the routine of this treatment so well now. I know the sounds, the sights, the smells…I have done this, a lot. But nothing in life has absolute clarity and results. And maybe the ambiguity that is left after I take away what I know about what’ll happen tomorrow is still causing me to feel uneasy. I really want to explain this state of mind, but tonight I just can’t do it, at least not in a way that’s is an accurate reflection. Maybe tomorrow will give me some clarity enough to be able to recall tonight’s thoughts?

I popped a zolpidem (ambien), just wanting for this day and my mind to stop, even though I did have some good things happen during the day (I got to go to a wonderful brunch with some friends).  While I’m waiting for my mind to be filled with fog, I think to myself, maybe it’s a good thing to still be nervous about having ECT treatment, that I haven’t just resigned my body and mind over to this procedure. Really, it’s a sign that my mind is actively working.

One Comment to “unnerved”

  1. My theory is that even though I’m under anesthesia and technically “don’t” remember or feel the ECT seizure, that my body, in fact, does experience the “shock” and that it is a tough experience. So, when I get nervous or upset about it, I tend to think it is a deeply, unconscious bodily knowledge of and reaction to the ECT treatments. In that way, I understand that I can feel “nervous” about ECT without really knowing why, without really “thinking” something in particular. But that’s just me, my sense of it. Kind of a “the body remembers–even if the mind is asleep” thing.

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