OK folks, here is the big reveal: I am currently a patient for ECT, also known as Electroconvulsive Therapy. Sit down, sit down, this is the 21st century, it's voluntary, and my hair didn't catch on fire.
After over 15 years of therapy, my therapist mentioned it almost in passing earlier this year. After an initial feeling of creepiness, I let myself seriously consider it, and we moved forward. That process itself has taken about two months. There have been doctor's appointments, consultations, tests, and an EKG. All things considered, I'm pretty healthy and a good candidate for ECT, so I was green-lighted last week. Today was my first appointment.
It went very well, actually. Per usual, the thing that I was most fearful of was the IV insertion. My needle phobia is very real, and very annoying, so Eric stayed with me and showed me a little slideshow of pictures of Kailea. That plus the lidocaine were sooo helpful. In fact, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that lidocaine may be one of the most amazing medical advances of our time. Seriously. I hardly felt a thing. I still felt like I was going to sweat myself away into a puddle if I didn't vomit on someone first, but very quickly recovered from that and it was on to the next - No, actually, it was on to more waiting. Why is there always so much waiting with doctors?
Eric did not stay for the procedure, something we agreed was a good thing because neither of us thought he should have to see me in that state. I have seen him pass out and it's one of the most disturbing sights I've ever witnessed, so I was not about to let him see me have a convulsion.
Fun fact: it's actually the convulsion itself (caused by the electrical current) that they believe helps the brain, not the shock. So with muscle relaxants, anesthesia, and very low level electricity they can do a world of good without negating it with so many horrific side effects that gave 'shock therapy' a bad, scary name in its first decades. That and informed consent. Thank the gods for informed consent. I knew almost exactly what to expect going in, which was a big part of my decision to consent.
After everything was wrapped up and we left the building, I had a nice "guilty pleasures" lunch of a corn dog and jo-jos (I never got that corn dog I was dreaming about Saturday when we went to the fair!). Eric quizzed me off and on about the weekend and last night and earlier today. I seem to remember everything just fine. Wow!
So why am I telling you all of this? Because it's a big deal and kind of scary and I want you to have all the facts, but my depression this year has taken a scary turn and become a big deal itself and it's easier to talk to you about the ECT than the facts of my depression. Know that I didn't come to this decision lightly.
Today was day one, and I have another 4-6 weeks of treatments to go, every MWF. It's going to be a full schedule for me for awhile, so if I seem even more elusive than usual, that's why. And also, I'm not allowed to drive during the entire 6 weeks. I would insert a "grr" here, but I rarely drive these days as it is (thanks sciatica!).
That's it for now. I'm not sure how much I'm going to want to reveal here. Part of me is tempted to just data dump, but (a) this is long enough, and (b) I want everyone to be able to read about my decision without anyone getting TMI right off the bat. I am perfectly happy to discuss it with anyone who may be curious about details, so feel free to PM me on Facebook or shoot me an email.
I just want everyone to know that this is a positive thing, I feel really good about it, and I have hope for the first time in what seems like forever. Those are all huge pluses to outweigh any possible side effects, and now that it seems there won't be much in that department, it's looking like a win/win situation! Keep your fingers crossed for me!