An Electrifying Experience

Hey y’all, how goes it? I’m getting lazy, can you tell? I’m halfway through my third ECT round, and I guess I should just be glad that I even remember you at all…the first two rounds erased my memory for over an entire year. I have a very strong feeling that that is not supposed to happen. Every time I tell a medical professional they either look at me like I’m insane (whaaa-?) or like I’m trying to say the most desperate thing I can think of to get maximum attention. I would much rather they think the former because I couldn’t give a rats fat ass about attention. In fact, if everyone would just pay a little less attention to me I think it would solve at least half of my problems.

But you’re a blogger/vlogger/social media-er…doesn’t that mean you want attention? Yes, indirectly; I would like to share my experiences semi-anonymously with strangers. It’s different.

I do care about having my memory erased and nobody being overly concerned about it. I’m telling you simply to share my experience, and maybe to give a bit of a heads up to anyone considering it. Memory loss is a real thing, and people will not believe you. Just throwin’ it out there cause I love ya peeps. Also I’m inexplicably grumpy and I keep holding this post for review until I’m in a better mood but I don’t see that happening anytime soon so you get to experience grumpy-bear-Manda firsthand. Lucky you. I did say that I was going to be myself here, so I guess that means you get all of me – the good, the bad, and the indescribably bitchy. Happy Friday the Thirteenth!

So how does the whole shock-your-brain-into-submission thing work? Well, it really depends on where you go. My first two rounds, I had to travel a bit and go to a hospital for the criminally insane because my local hospital was taking a break from scrambling brains. I must say, it was a model of efficiency – props to you prison system – and it paved the way for some serious culture shock when I had to start going locally to a regular old hospital.

So, you go in, hungry, thirsty, anxiety off the charts because no meds the day before or of treatment. They snug you up with a warm blanket, poke you full of IV lines, and take you into a private theater for the actual procedure. Two deep breaths and you wake up in recovery with a killer headache and a vague memory of something you were supposed to do today. They give you a juice box, and send you on your way. I don’t know what happens during the actual procedure, I’m asleep, duh, but I know my jaw hurts like a bitch after and my brain screams to be put into recovery mode for the rest of the day so I mostly just sleep. (I actually do know because we’re all aware of my serious information addiction by now, but I want to stick to the actual experience). If you came here for an in-depth look at the mechanics behind ECT, you’re in the wrong place. Google can help you with that, I’m just sharing my thoughts m’kay?

So, the jail is very good at what they do. They have a system. Everyone knows what they’re supposed to be doing, and I felt like my brain was in good hands. Then my local hospital got their program back up and running. It’s like a whole new world. I have to wear a surgical gown. The machine that does the actual procedure is on wheels and they just move it around to everyone in the recovery room. I woke up after the first one with my ass hanging out and an unrestricted view of the dude across from me. Check your shame at the door peeps, hospitals don’t fuck around. There’s a lot of standing around…nobody seems completely sure about what they’re supposed to be doing, and even if they are they’re in no hurry. Efficiency is a foreign concept, along with privacy and general confidence in the job, and everyone seems to regard you like some kind of lab animal. My very first day, a nurse informed me that he was filling in for the doctor, who was unavailable. Wait, what? Props to nurses, I think most of the time they know as much as, if not more than, the doctors anyway, but what? Is that even allowed?? Apparently the doctor ended up finding time in his busy schedule because he came racing in right before I passed out, so win for me…the nurse looked scared to death so I guess it was a win for him too.

They ask you the same questions at least three times. Every. Single. Time. And they’re all standing or sitting in front of computers – like, can’t you write it down for the next person? Last I checked, computers were really good at passing along essential information. I get that you want to make sure I’m me, and I’m not scamming the system or whatever, but that’s what my photo ID is for no? It doesn’t exactly inspire confidence when the people responsible for keeping you alive can’t seem to figure out how to communicate simple things like allergies, height, and weight. What are you gonna do if something goes wrong? Shake me awake and double-check my measurements before saving my life??

Anyway, not exactly awe-inspiring, but so far I’m still alive so…yay? Maybe secretly erasing your memory is how it really works. You just forget that you’re depressed. So far, that hasn’t happened for me. Realistically, I don’t even know if it’s working because they keep asking me if I feel any different while conveniently ignoring the fact that I can’t remember.

I know it sounds like I’m whining, and I guess maybe I am. I don’t do well with change, and I also kinda feel like I’m frying my brain for nothing. Plus the hospital way of doing it has been sending my anxiety through the roof so it seems counterproductive. So stop doing it, obvs. It’s not that easy though…the meds alone aren’t enough, and I guess I’m hoping that eventually they’re going to short the right circuit. I do want to “get better”, and I don’t have the inner strength to fight the demons on my own. So where does that leave me? Passed out with my ass out three times a week for now I guess.

I’m sorry that this post is such a downer and that I’ve resorted to whining online like an angsty tween. I’m pretty mad and disappointed in myself – I always thought I was stronger than this, and letting my brain win is making me a very sore loser. Maybe my experience is the exception – but I wanted to give you my honest opinion. Would I recommend it? I honestly can’t say. I don’t know if it helps, I know that the success rate is supposed to be rather high, so maybe I just need to give it more time. I know that given the choice I would take the prison over the hospital any day…never thought I’d say that in my life, but that’s part of the fun of mental illness. You learn new things about yourself all the time, and you find yourself doing and saying things that you never thought would apply to you because you were doing so well at keeping your sane face forward. Maybe I should be taking this opportunity to revel in the madness…where’d I put that damn tutu…”I said laces OUT!”

Um, where were we? Ah yes, this is the part where I say something encouraging and inspiring like “maybe in order to find our true strength, we have to first find our weakness”…that’s pretty, right? Did you get all warm and fuzzy? Then my work here is done. Until next time,

Stay awesome peeps.