Depression Marathon Blog

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Diagnosed with depression 17 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, August 3, 2015


I'm up early as per usual here on the inpatient psych unit. I'm waiting for my fifth electroconvulsive therapy treatment or ECT. Last week I chose ECT as my treatment option for several reasons. ECT has worked for me in the past, although it didn't work the last time I tried it during my relapse two years ago. The ECT procedure has changed. It's now done in a way that spares one's memory and cognitive abilities, which have been major negative side effects of mine each time I've had ECT treatments. And finally, the only other option seemed to be a major medication change. I like the meds I'm taking, changing them and assessing whether new meds were working would have taken a long time. I was way too miserable. I couldn't comprehend trying anything that would potentially take a "long time." So after careful deliberation, and consultation with just about everyone I knew, I decided to give ECT another shot.

I believe I made the right decision. After just two ECT treatments, I was visibly better. My slow movements and speech pattern had both sped up. It was no longer exhausting just to breathe. After three treatments, I had multiple visitors who couldn't believe the difference in my mood and appearance. I, too, noticed a difference. I was beginning to feel lighter. And so far I'm thrilled to report I've had very little cognitive side effects. My memory seems to be holding. That's been a huge relief. The decision to proceed with ECT seems to be paying off.

As I sit here awaiting my fifth treatment, I'm feeling a glimmer of hope. I've got a long way to go to get back to being me, but this has been a good beginning. The doctors are even considering discharging me and allowing me to complete my treatments (8-10 total) as an outpatient.

Going home is an appealing, albeit worrying, thought. As well as I am taken care of here, I hate being hospitalized. I miss my house, my dog, and my work routine. But facing them all again at this point is a little scary. However, I am feeling hopeful. I'm hopeful I will continue to improve, I'll continue to gain strength, and I'll continue to gain the confidence I need to get back to my life. The cloak of gray is lifting. I pray it continues. Thank you for your prayers, my friends.


cehope said...

It is remarkable what hope and complete shift ECT treatment can offer.

Two months ago I was hanging onto threads. After being hospitalized several I mean several times I decided more aggressive treatment needed to occur as I had tried just about every medication option along with nutritional and exercise treatments. I am happy to say I continue to do well. I wish the same happiness and peace to you. I continue to work everyday to stay well and depression-free. I find it is totally a combination of many many factors.

It is a journey many of us are on... one moment, one step, one day at a time.

Hugs to you on your journey from a fellow survivor...

Tricia said...

I'm VERY glad to hear things have taken a change for the better, and that you're feeling a little better at least. It's good for me to hear about your experience with ECT because that's my next stop should Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) not help me. I've read a lot about ECT, but it's still a little scary, especially the cognitive impairment. It's comforting that you think it's progressed to the stage that impairment is more minimized. Well, feel better and thanks for the update.

Anonymous said...

Oh a glimpse of hope! Praises for the light.
It's funny about ECT. A psychiatrist I work with told me if he got depressed, he would first try ECT. He is from Ireland and I guess ECT has a better reputation in Europe. He thinks the movie, "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" tainted a lot of people's thoughts about this treatment.
May hope and peace flow into your heart and mind.

HBF said...

Glad to hear the "molasses movement" is abating, I hate that feeling! Hope your recovery is smooth and easier than before too :)

Iscah Iakobus said...

A vote of support and confidence

Speaking of ECT, running, alcoholism, despair and Man's Best Friend, I am reminded of the comment that I first heard from James Fixx that was said by Samuel Johnson (8 January 1751)

" much happiness is gained and how much misery escaped, by [the] frequent and violent agitation of the body".

And this remark from WSC, "If you are going through hell, keep going!"

A woman fighting back, a recovering alcoholic, who runs, is interested in WW II and the holocaust: A warrior. I am almost doubtful you are for real. But if so, I am an instant admirer.

I am not sure about ECT but fracking your endorphins and a good Dog
just works. And I am not sure if you can do anything about the stigma of depression. I don't think you can. But really why bother yourself?

One foot in front of the other. That's what I keep telling myself. And it looks like you've already nailed that.

I see a runner, in passing, male or female and I smile to myself, I approve and I envy them their courage, their perseverance and their endorphins.

Anonymous said...

Etta, so glad to hear you are feeling a little better. My positive thoughts go with you as you progress towards full recovery.

Nyawela Gianna said...

Wow! A lot has happened since my last visit. I'm having breakthrough depression which is why I haven't been keeping up. But I'm so glad and it's uplifting to hear that things are turning around for you. It's also great to hear that there has been advancements in ECT. A close friend of mine also swore it off due to the cognitive effects. I'm gonna share this with her. :)