As any of you who read this blog on a regular basis know, I suffer from psychotic depression. Not that there’s really been a ‘regular basis’ of sorts for the last few months as I’ve kind of disappeared because of it. I have felt unwell for a while now. But today I made a decision.
Before I tell you what that is, just let me also say that I have been dealing with this illness for over two decades now. I have been patient, I have tried treatment after treatment, some with much (albeit temporary) success and some with none at all. I am a big believer in psychiatric medication, and in fact, I would not be sitting here today writing this without it. Some refer to anti-depressants as, ‘happy pills’. Believe me, they are not happy pills, but they are, ‘I think I’ll stick around for a little longer and not jump in front of that truck today’ pills. But lately their effects have been either waning, or the condition is just getting worse.
This morning I had a visit with my psychiatrist and told her I wanted to try ECT, also known as Shock Treatment. Yes, it’s gotten that bad. She suggested new medications or an increase in the one I’m on, and I told her that although I’m not opposed to that idea, it’s a process that may take years, and I’ve already been dealing with this for a couple of decades. I’m 39 years old. I can’t work and I have two young children that I don’t feel I’m caring for or enjoying the way I should be. This treatment has an 80% effectiveness rate and I didn’t see any reason not to try it at this point.
So now I just have to wait. In many places they will give you ECT on an outpatient basis, but not in Halifax. You have to be admitted for the first course of treatment. So on Monday she’s going to begin the process of getting me a bed and getting started.
Am I scared? I’m fucking petrified! But I’m more scared of the years I’m going to lose if something isn’t done. I have the potential to get much, much worse. I do have an advantage over a lot of people in that I’ve seen how effective this treatment can be first hand. I’ve had dozens of hospitalizations over my lifetime and have watched other patients receive ECT and the positive results were dramatic. Even though I have this awful depression, I now at least have some hope.
I’ve been mulling this over for a while and have done a lot of research. The good, the bad, the ugly. I know what the risks are and, to me, they are worth it. So, depending on how I feel, I’ll probably blog about it. One of the side effects is memory loss, but for most people it’s minimal and for some it’s none at all. I may totally forget that I said that. On my return home I plan on telling my family that I’ve forgotten how to cook though. Dinner? What’s that? I think you guys better do it.