ECT Treatment #2

ECT Treatment #2

Today (October 1, 2014) was my second round of ECT treatment. You’ll be reading this tomorrow because I just don’t seem to have it in me to leave the hospital on days I get the treatment done. This one went just as well as the last one, except for the fact that I woke up crying. I have no idea why, but I cried all the way back to my room where they gave me some Gravol and I passed out for the rest of the afternoon.

I’ve never had a good relationship with anesthetic and so I blame it on that. After I was forced to have a caesarian birth with my son (not the spinal block kind, but the kind where they knock you out completely) almost nine years ago now, I woke up the same way. Hopefully Friday will be better. Not that today was bad. It actually went pretty well. I’m happy with the way things are progressing so far. I don’t feel any different, but perhaps once I rest up over the weekend I’ll see a little bit of a change. Then it will be three more treatments next week. I’m not sure how many I’ll have all together in this beginning stage yet, but we’ll see. I’m willing to stick with it if it’s going to make me better.

The hospital itself is fine, all except for the food, but since when does any hospital have good food. Thank god for hubby who comes to get me and takes me to get something decent to eat once in a while.

Well, that’s about it for now. I hope all of you are doing well. The next update will probably go up sometime during the weekend.

Chow for now.

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ECT Day One

lightning

Today was ECT treatment day one. I had the bilateral procedure (both sides of the brain) done and I have to say it was not at all like I was expecting. The anticipation of it was much worse than the procedure itself. When I woke up I didn’t even realize it was over. I was laying on the stretcher thinking, “Geze, I hope they take me in soon.” Then someone appeared over me and told me they’d sit me up in a few minutes.

The treatment is done in a separate building on the hospital grounds and I was taken back through a series of underground tunnels. I assume they took me there the same way, but I don’t remember that at all.

Right now I feel alright. I’m a little out of sorts and have a slight headache. If I stand up too fast I get a little vertigo, but it’s not bad. I’m writing this from my room and will post it tomorrow when I feel more up to going out. For today I think I’ll stay put. I have The Big Bang Theory on DVD and will probably just marathon that for today.

Wednesday will be treatment number two and hopefully it will go as well as the first one. I have three scheduled so far and beyond that I’m not sure what the plan is yet. So far I’m very hopeful. If today was any indication, this treatment is nothing to be afraid of, but I’ll reserve my full judgement for when it’s all finished.

Chow for now.

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Stumbling In The Dark

depressionblog2

Hello Blogosphere!

Last time I wrote about my decision to begin ECT treatment. Looks like that’s going to happen on Monday, Wednesday and Friday of next week. That will be the first round and we’ll go from there. I am very much hoping for a good result.

I’m sitting here at Starbucks, looking out the big glass windows and it’s a beautiful day in Nova Scotia. 26C (That’s 79F for you Americans.) Everyone is out in their shorts and tank tops, sipping their Frappuccino’s and enjoying summer’s one last hurrah. They all seem so happy. I wish I felt as happy as they did. I can fake it pretty well. Today however I am just jealous. They might be faking it too, who knows? But they are smiling and laughing and I can’t feel happy at all, not even a little.

I’m hoping that in a few weeks that will change. I’m tired of feeling this way. Right now it feels like the world is closing in. The only thing keeping me going is that perhaps this treatment will cause the world to open up.

Terrible depression is hard to explain, but if you’ve been there I don’t have to tell you because you already know. That’s the place I’m in. I’m stumbling around in the dark right now, but I hope to join those of you in the sun, sooner rather than later. God, I hope this works. People have asked if I’m worried about the risks. Sure, but you know what? I’ll do anything…ANYTHIHG to stop feeling this way.

So, send me all the good vibes you can muster starting Monday. I really need it. A lot of you have expressed your support and I can’t tell you how much it means. I just need you to bear with me for a little bit longer.

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Decision

storm clouds

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.

She agreed.

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.

Stay tuned.

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I’m Still Here

depressionblog

Hey everyone! My apologies for taking so long between blog posts. I was looking at this the other day and realized I haven’t posted since July. I don’t have an excuse, but I do have a reason. That reason’s name is depression. Yeah, yeah. I know what you’re saying.

“Here she goes again with this whole depression/mental illness thing that she’s already talked about multiple times on here. Holy cow! Give it a rest woman!”

Hey, I get it. It’s a bummer to read about someone with depression if you’re not depressed. And if you’ve never experienced clinical depression you might even be saying that it’s stupid to feel that way. That it could be worse, yadda, yadda, yadda.

I’ve heard it all before and I really wish I could just snap my fingers, think positive and change my perspective, but the truth is, I’m really struggling. I have multiple writing projects I should be working on. Usually, at least the writing is an escape, but right now I don’t even seem to have the motivation to do that. There are very few days of summer left and I feel to not get out into the nice weather right now is to waste a day. Today was a gorgeous day…and I couldn’t leave the house.

I tried.

I forced myself to get ready, but when push came to shove, I just couldn’t walk out the door. I couldn’t face it. I just kept thinking to myself: “What’s the point anyway? What’s the point of going outside? Everything is meaningless. All the things that people make a big deal out of – the way they look, their jobs, their families, their nights out or plans for the future – It’s all just utterly pointless because we are all going to end up dead anyway. Ultimately everything that we do or anything that happens to us, good or bad, is irrelevant. My existence and the existence of everyone walking around out there right now is useless.

Crazy right? But that’s really what I’ve felt like for a large chunk of the last few months. I’ve been fighting this war with my brain for so many years that I’m smart enough to know that this too shall pass, and my brain will start to function in a better way at some point. When that will be I don’t know. I just know that it will happen, because it always does.

So, my apologies for not updating. I’m just sitting here, waiting for my system to reboot itself and come back online. I’m sad. I’m bored. I’ve watched all two seasons of The Mindy Project (which I highly recommend). This needs to scat! And soon.

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SUMMER!

summer

Ah, summer.
Is there any better time of year? I guess we all have our preferences but for me personally I am a summer person all the way. Every year when summer rolls around I always take a moment to be grateful that I’ve lived to see another one. Not that I expect to die any time soon, but one never knows. Summer, especially in Canada, is a rare and beautiful gift. One that should not be squandered and I spend as much time as I can soaking up the warm sunshine to prepare for the horrors that are to come. As George R.R. Martin so aptly put it, “Winter is coming.” Whenever I hear that line I’m convinced he’s writing about Canada, not the seven kingdoms in his novels.

Don’t get me wrong. I know winter is important. Like every season it has its place. And as much as I love beautiful weather it seems that every climate that has nothing but summer like conditions year round produces some type of scary animal or insect that will kill and eat humans just for shits and giggles. Cold seems to kill those things off before they can evolve, so that’s a big plus for Old Man Winter.

I missed a good chunk of last summer when I was sick. I spent four weeks in the hospital and didn’t really get to do much of anything fun. This year I have been running around with my kiddos as much as I can. The problem is I also have a novel to finish. Progeny is due out in October and that means the draft for the betas will have to be cemented by no later than late August or early September. I love writing, but it’s cramping my summer style. I spent four hours at Starbucks today, and made great progress, but every few minutes I kept wondering what my little boy was up to and what I could possibly do with him in the evening. He’s at that age (eight) where he’s just a lot of fun and full of questions and I’d rather be off answering them than doing almost anything else.

I’m lucky though. Right now I’m not working a regular job (for medical reasons) so if I really don’t want to write tomorrow I don’t have to. It’s not like I’m going to get fired. I’ve had summers where I worked forty or fifty hours a week (and one summer where I worked two jobs!). Those are the pits because when you do get some time off you’re too exhausted to do anything, but you gotta do what you gotta do. If you’re having that kind of summer my heart goes out to you. I hope you get to enjoy at least some of it.

If you can call in sick on the next sunny day without getting fired you should do it! I read somewhere that for the average person, if they were to drop dead tomorrow, their place of business would have them replaced within two weeks. Two weeks! They’d fill in your slot and move on. So you know what? Most employers aren’t worth your having a nervous breakdown for. Take some time for yourself! “Hello boss? I can’t come in today. I’m calling in sunny!”
Happy summer everyone!

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Now Available! – THE DEVIL AND THE DIRT ROAD

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When Lucy Morgan, a small town newspaper reporter living in Oban Cape Breton, is given the assignment to interview a dying woman who served life in prison for the murder of her own son, she believes it may be the springboard to a bigger, better job. Soon the story Alice Sutherland reveals on her deathbed disturbs her so deeply that Lucy’s own life is thrown into chaos. Alice has never denied the murder itself, but when she finally reveals the reason for it Lucy is left reeling. Soon a similar string of events begins to unfold in Lucy’s life and the only way to stop it may be to walk the same road as Alice.

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