Depression Marathon Blog

My photo
Diagnosed with depression 16 years ago, I lost the life I once knew, but in the process re-created a better me. I am alive and functional today because of my dog, my treatment team, my sobriety, and my willingness to re-create myself within the confines of this illness. I hate the illness, but I'm grateful for the person I've become and the opportunities I've seized because of it. I hope writing a depression blog will reduce stigma and improve the understanding and treatment of people with mental illness. All original content copyright to me: etta. Enjoy your visit!

Monday, May 16, 2011

My last ECT?

I had my tenth ECT treatment today. That's about 10 more than I wanted to have, which indicates how far down I had gone and how much I was willing to do to get out of the black hole. And I think I am out. It's taken abundantly longer than I would have liked. But I think I have finally cleared the rim and am crawling away from the abyss.

This depression episode has been devastating, demoralizing, and debilitating. I do not wish to look back with regret, but it is hard not to do so. I am especially devastated by the loss of my ability to work again. Prior to the last few years, I spent years on disability secondary to this illness. I worked my way off of it, and I was proud of my success in doing so. Now I am back on disability and quite fearful of returning to my job. Devastating...

 Working one's way off of disability is a complicated, risky process. There are no guarantees. If I work too much, I lose my benefits. If I work within the SSDI limits, it amounts to very few hours and does not give me an adequate gage of my fitness to return to regular duty. It's complicated. It's risky. It's causing me considerable stress; stress which is compounded by my company's wish to get me back to regular duty as quickly as possible. I'm not sure how I'm going to manage this process again. I'm worried.

Perhaps I'm getting ahead of myself by worrying about work. After all, I just had what I hope is my last ECT treatment today. I'm grateful to be feeling better. As you recall, it took awhile before the treatments seemed to make a difference. It was a long while before I turned the corner and began emerging from the hole. For a time I never thought it was going to let me go, but today depression has loosened its grip. I am feeling more free than I have felt since late February. The struggle has lessened. I'm relieved.

11 comments:

tesserae said...

i know you don't know me, but i'm someone who went the ect route, and over a 2 year period, had over 80 treatments. i definitely don't recommend it. i wish you well. i hope your side effects are minimal and you can keep the depression a bit at bay. namaste.

Kinza said...

I am so happy to read you are feeling better. You will figure out the work issues as well, I know you will.

Maggie Beth said...

Congratulations Etta....

It is Monday. Concentrate on Monday.

and on the positives of this situation - there are many - the first being you spoke up and sought help rather than ignoring it, pretending it was not happening or hoping it would go away....

(SMILE)......

M said...

I agree with Maggie - it's just Monday. Sometimes I want to have everything laid out in my minds, my plan for my future, so I can feel safe. But we just have to let go and be happy that today you feel better. The rest will work itself out.

Best :)

4-Lorn said...

I have resisted resorting to ECT because of the nightmare stories I've read and heard about. Yet, every doctor, health care worker, nurse, etc., say it's the single most successful treatment ever for depression. I've virtually tried everything, but each one failed miserably. I admire your courage to undergo ECT especially more than 1 time. I have sworn to myself it will be "the last resort" if I get to the desperation point. I pray that will never come. Thanks for sharing. I sincerely hope you're at the end of the tunnel.

etta said...

I want to make it clear that while ECT is, and should be, a last resort; it does work.
I have no horror stories. I trust my doctors. I participate in making decisions about my care. I think both of those things are important in keeping one from feeling like a victim rather than a healthcare consumer.
I don't like having it done, but I wouldn't discourage someone from doing ECT if they had done their homework. This is the second time in my history ECT has worked when nothing else would. It's possible I am alive today as a direct result of ECT success.

Chantelle said...

I'm a new follower! I agree with you that ECT can work. I write about it in my blog. I have the similar ambitions, to write & share to eliminate the stigma. I want to devote my life to help others.
After medications & countless hospitalizations & suicide attempts; my psychiatrist...whom I trust...brought up ECT. I was well informed about it. It was a personal decision...not forced on me like some people say it can be. I didn't listen to what others said because EVERY SITUATION IS DIFFERENT. There are people who say it's inhumane & doesn't work. Well for me, it saved my life. For every horror story that I read/hear about, there's a story of recovery!

I was about 25 years old when I had them...and I went through 18...was supposed to get more but stopped. Along with ongoing care & the lifestyle I lead I am leaps & bounds from then. What I put into my recovery is what I'm going to get out of life!

I'm pleased to hear your story!
~CC
I'm not Crazy! I'm Bipolar.

KAH said...

I think you just have to think about now. 1 day at a time, 1 hour at a time or even 1 moment at a time. Thanks for sharing your story.

Borderline Lil said...

As always Etta, I admire your courage and your clarity of mind. I wish you continuing improvement xx

Maggie Beth said...

....and today is Tuesday : )

Huge Hugs Etta! I hope this daily reminder you are thought of finds you feeling hopeful about this day and ALL the ones to follow.....okay at least hopeful about today.....

Maggie Beth! ~

Mary Makowski said...

I have had family members utilize ECT for recovery, but none that I am close enough to talk to about it. All I hear is that no one wants to do it, but it can really turn your life around. This is all given to me in a vague way. I don't even know what is wrong with me. Maybe depression, maybe bipolar, maybe PTSD, maybe dissocative disorders. ECT is maybe something I should examine more?



.