I have gone through 37 ECT treatments 2 years ago and have not gotten any better. After all my treatments were over, the hospital nurses in charge of the ECT's told me that I only convulsed three or four times.
Shouldn't they have told me sooner before there was so much brain damage done?
Maddie asked you some great questions. Can you elaborate a little more? Did the nurses basically tell you the ECT treatments were ineffective? What were you told at that point? Were you given other treatment options? What else have you tried? Which meds? Therapy?
I'm sorry you're still suffering. It's one hell of a battle for some people, that's for sure. You're in the right place. You'll get loads of support and help here. If anything, you know you're not alone, and among people who care, and who understand.
Thank you for your response. I still see my physician every four to six weeks. I know that my brain does not and can not use one of the chemicals that involve the feeling of happiness, it’s nor epinephrine. I know this for a fact through some physical chemical research done by a friend of mine that is a pre-med student. I explained everything done in the test, in detail, to my doctor and asked him if he thought the Mayo Clinic could help me. He basically told me that the Mayo Clinic just likes to do ECT’s and that’s it. It seems to me that he just wants to shoot the breeze, prescribe my meds., and end the session. I really cannot discuss, to any great level, serious issues with him. He is a physiatrist and not a physiologist. Is that normal? I have been considered to be disabled by my employer and the department of social security. At this point, I feel helpless and hopeless. I get mail with important information which requires my immediate attention. A lot of times I cannot make since of it and cannot handle it. It’s too much for me to handle at one time so I pile it up. This has been and has caused a real problem for me. I do not have someone that can be of help with this. The following are my current conditions as I can best describe them or which I have been diagnosed as having:
Severe, untreatable depression
Lack of motivation
Lack of energy
Lowered level of intelligence
Life with no future
Feelings of worthlessness
I do not feel sorry for myself at all
I am angry about this whole situation and just want it to end. Other than my grown son, I feel no other reason to be around.
I don't even like re-reading this, I sound pathetic and I don't like that. I want to feel upbeat again, at least sometimes.
You do NOT sound pathetic, you sound depressed!! Your self esteem is in the pot. You've suffered so long, I'm SURE you're just tired of it all. I don't blame you ONE bit. I know it's hard to believe, but there's always hope, and coming here was a great idea. It's always nice to get a fresh perspective.
If I may ask...what kind of research did your friend do? Were you a participant? What was the conclusion? Did you seek treatment based on those recommendations? What meds have you tried?
Sorry to hit you with so many questions, I'm just trying to get a better picture of how you got to where you are.
Hi again, you sound as though you are a mature gentleman.
The thing about not opening post is same with me. I have just been fined £200 because I did not renew my driving licence. It was one of those things I put aside when I was low with depression, and forgot about!! Also did not pay bills, for same reason. So I know all about that.
It is marvellous that you say you don't feel sorry for yourself. Most people would in your situation.
When our depression is due to lack of certain chemicals, I think it can be worse, because therapy does not help. In the UK where I live, I have found that psychiatrists only deal with medication, nothing else.
I am 71 now, but I lost my job because of depression. I went onto invalidity benefit until I received my retirement pension. Because of loss of job I could not pay mortgage, and had to move from a house to a 1 bedroomed flat. So much of our life is affected by the depression.
You sound like a fighter, and I commend you for that. I am so sorry that your depression is untreatable, and with all those ECTs it has not improved.
I presume no anti-depression medication has been effective in your case either. I presume you have tried them all. You certainly don't sound pathetic, I admire you for being such a fighter. Seems the doctors and
psychiatrists have given up on you.
Well I do not know what to suggest you do next, seems to me you have tried so hard. Keep posting here, and at least there are people who will befriend you, and who understand about depression. I admire your fighting spirit so much.
In answers to various questions I have been asked. First of all I am a 50s something female. This forum has me listed as a male and I have no idea why. I did initally start writing answers to questions with my first response. It ended up being too long. I saved it in word and went back after I did respond and just closed the document with 29 typed pages so far. I typed anything I wanted to about the things that have happened in my life, including the time of my first awareness when I was at the most, three years old. I feel better and will continue to write.
I did not benefit from the treatment of the ECT's because I was not convulsing. The patient has to convulse to receive the benefit of help with depression. Since I had only convulsed three or four times, I walked away with all of the very bad side effects but without any of the benefits. My point in bringing this up initally is that I believe that I should have been told right away the first time I did not convulse and definately the second time. The third time of treatment without convulsing and not being told, in my book unethical to say the least.
Yes, I was informed of the risks and signed a consent form for the treatment. I did not sign up for treatments that were known by the medical staff to be ineffective, only to learn after my very last treatment that I had only convulsed three or four times.
I was put on anti-depressants for the first time when I was thirty. My understanding is that different anti-depressants affect different chemicals in the brain and stop the reuptake of these chemicals. I have tried different ones with the help of a physician and am on two that effect different neuro transmitters. Unfortunately, depression is inherited and my son is effected by it. He almost died at the end of his freshman year of high school after attempting suicide. My life was rapidly falling apart. About a year later things were so bad and I was in such a bad place that I attempted suicide and was considered dead. Obviously, I'm not dead and not only had to face the tremendous dificulties associated with my son's attempt and then my own. Believe me when I say "Do not attempt suicide" It will not fix anything and you will end up putting so much pain in the hearts of the people you love the most. If you live, you can plan on going through a hell you can not even fathom. My fiance had been going to see a psychiatrist and asked him if he would take me as a patient. He said yes and the rest is history. Years went by but things were not easy. It was four months before my fiance and I were to be married and I could not get ahold of him. I had tried for quite awhile on a Tuesday morning. We both were creatures of habit. We pretty much followed the same routine each day. It wasn't like him to not answer his phone. I received a call from his mother and from his sister with the same concerns. I couldn't get to his house fast enough. He lived about fifteen minutes from me and I got there as soon as I could. I opened the door and called his name, no answer. I continued this while I searched his house for him with the same result. I was in his living room, there was only one more room to look in and I could see in that room if I just turned my head all the way to my right. At that point, I knew but I had to look anyway. I found him hanging there. He had either killed himself or had been practicing and he made a mistake and it was too late. His doctor knew he was doing this and told me about it later. I thought he had done it one time. He had visited me the night before and I felt that he might take his life. I'm not sure why. His visit with me was unusual and he had done and said some things that are known warning signs. I had asked him if he was ok and he assured me he was. He always used the same glass to drink water out of and would keep it on the top of the refrigerator. I felt better because he had put the glass back on the top of the refrigerator so he could use it the next time he was there. I kept telling myself that everything was ok. Big mistake. I keep thinking things over and over. I keep thinking what if. Finally, I have had to come to terms with the fact that he is gone and I have lost one of the two best friend I have ever had. The second best friend I have ever had is my mother and she passed away in June of this year. For too many years it's been one thing after another. I don't meen little things either, I meen life altering terrible things. I wonder when it will stop and pray that it is now.
His sister was waiting outside his house because she couldn't go inside if he had done what we had feared. Once I started screaming, she started screaming. The whole thing is a nightmare. I will never do anything like that to my son.
I cannot tell you exactly what the experment entailed because of issues that I cannot discuss on this open post. I can tell you that they were done by someone that knew what they were doing in a controlled enviroment and I was not at any time put in danger. The results were absolute, factual, and showed the results as being as what I had mentioned earlier. I would just like to find out how and where I can seek medical help with this. I am starting to questions some of my doctor's statements and motives. Like I have stated earlier, we all have to be in charge of our own health care and choose our doctors wisely. If we do not feel we are getting the treatment we need or deserve, make a change.
I'm sorry, I didn't answer your question about if the nurse told me the ECT treatments were ineffective. I was told that in order to benefit from the ECT treatments, one needs to convulse during treatment. The conculsion is the key element in the treatment. Without that there is to treatment and no help for depression.
I want to let people know that ECT treatments are not like they are depicted on movies. They are very relaxing before and after. The patient is not awake for the procedure. After the procedure was done, often times patients ask if they are next. The nurse will tell them that they have already had their treatment and they can just lay there and relax.
The worst thing about ECT treatments are the side effects. I'm sure with the benefits being experienced when administered correctly, the side effects may not be so upsetting like they have been for me. This will probably sound a little wierd but I did not realise how smart I was until after the treatments and I had brain damage. Oh how I would love to have all of my intelligence back. Ha. My spelling is very good anymore.
Since I am alone, my ex-husband took me to my treatments very early in the morning and waited an hour and took me home. The patient is not allowed to do anything for the rest of the day. Usually I just stayed in bed for the most part.
Oh my. Your post brought a tear to my eye. I'm SO sorry you have had to experience such heartwrenching losses. Certainly, I'm sure you lose a part of youurself after having to endure so much tragedy. Now knowing what I do about you and your life, I'd have to say you do pretty well considering. I know you don't FEEL like you do, and you FEEL that there is no hope...but look how you have pushed on...still plugging away at life. I think you're a lot stronger than you give yourself credit for. Again, I'm SO sorry you've had to experience such tragedy, such panic, and fear and loss. My heart goes out to you.
I'm also sorry for the way your ECT treatments turned out. I agree completely that you should have been told before about the lack of seizures. You could have then made your own decision on whether or not you wanted to keep trying.
Out of curiosity, have you ever tried any of the older tricylic antidepressants? Like Elavil? How about a MAOI AD? The very first recommendation I have for you is to get a second opinion, preferrably from a psychiatrist who has experience dealing with treatment-resistant depression. It's always helpful to get a new, fresh outlook.
You don't say too much about therapy. Have you tried any kind of psychotherapy? CBT? In the very least, I think therapy would help you sort through your losses. I know therapy probably hasn't been super helpful in the past as far as treating your depression, but I would look into it anyway. It's always worth a try.
I understand why you cannot share the experimental info. I guess my major concern with that is, since you have kind of used that info to guide your depression treatment with your doctor, it just worries me that perhaps you aren't being given all the treatment options as a result. I'm all for any kind of way we can help ourselves, but I also recognize that limiting ourselves based on our own midsets and theories can be self defeating. I'm not saying that's what's happening in your case...just throwing it out there.
An example of what I'm trying to say here is the anxiety diosorder patient with health anxiety, who cannot accept that their symptoms are anxiety based, they are CONVINCED they have a strange medical condition, and they chase their tails, sometimes for years, rather than trying to open their mind and accept that indeed anxiety may be the cause. Once they finally broaden their thinking, and accept help, they improve.
Please keep in touch, stick around. You will get loads of support here. As for you being a boy on your profile, that happens a lot. Hover the cursor over "My Medhelp" on the top right of any page, a drop down menu will appear. Go to and click on My profile. There are all kinds of options to edit your profile on your profile page. Let me know if you are having any trouble.
First of all, I took a look at my profile and changed my personal information to show that I am a woman.
Secondly, I am not upset that anyone thought I was a male instead of a female. It was because of something I hadn't changed on my profile. Things like that don't bother me at all.
ECT treatments damage a person's brain because the medical staff has to send electrical waves through your head in order for you to have a seizure. Brain damage is a side effect that takes at least two years to recover from. I was told that it was mostly temporary brain damage and during the two year recovery, you would improve slowly.
I have and am going to do something that will stimulate my brain and thought process. It's a computer program. I had a trial version and it helped me a lot.
Another side effect for me is that I cannot spell nearly as well as I can now. It's was and is sometimes still very hard to remember things that need to be taken care of. For that reason, I write myself a lot of notes. I have been told by my family that my personality is very different than what it was before the ECT treatment. I was given a book the hospital printed out and it stated that "You will never be the same person you were before." Even though I was depressed on and off during the years, I had a great since of humor. I'm not really around anyone very much anymore so I don't know if I still have one or not. Thinking back, I remember being pretty silly the last time I saw one of my sisters. At that time we decided that I should do stand up. We were just being silly. It was pretty funny.
Before I got better, I would just blurt out anything that was on my mind, which is not a good thing to do. My sister told me that I needed to learn to filter what I said and not be an open book.
Right now I don't feel hopeless or helpless. I'm far from it. I have so many interests that I can't wait to get started on again. I do have things to look forward to.
It was nice to hear from you. I guess I need to explain some things. The ECT treatment normally causes the patient to seize. I didn't seize because without being aware of it, I was taking a medication that prevented me seizing. Had I seized during my treatments, I would have gotten the help for depression that I so desperately needed. Unfortunately, the hospital staff in charge of the ECT treatment didn't even tell me until after they had administered 37 treatments. That means that during every one of my treatments, my brain was damaged. The hospital staff was well aware of what the treatments were doing to me without the benefit. I do think that this situation is mal-practice.
About the experiment I participated in, I told my treating physician every single detail in what was done and what the findings were. I don't know if he didn't know what to do to get me the help I needed or just didn't want to deal with it. I am in search of a new psychiatrist at this time. I am questioning weather or not he has my best interests in mind.
The fall before my fiancé died, he was very ill and had to have major surgery. Had I not spent almost every available minute with him, I honestly do believe that he would have died in the hospital due to the incompetency of the staff. That's the same hospital I went to for my treatments. My fiancé had a bed sore from lying in bed so long in the hospital. I had heard him tell a nurse that his tailbone hurt. The nurse did absolutely nothing. After she left the room, I looked at his tailbone and there was horrible bed sore. After the doctor examined him and did some blood workup, he told us that the infection was one eighth of an inch from his tailbone. He also told us that if they couldn't stop the infection from getting worse, he would die. He was in so much pain so I asked the nurse for an inflatable donut for him to lay/sit on. She said she would look into it and I never heard from her again. I went up a couple floors to the maternity unit and begged for a donut. The nurse told me that I should be able to get one from the nurses that were taking care of my fiancé. I told her that she new as well as I did that the nurse’s two floors down would never take the time to give my fiancé a donut. I pleaded and she gave me the donut.
He got out of the hospital and was told to go to the hospital's wound care clinic. They put him on a wound vacuumed. I asked if they would teach me how to care for him with the wound van., they said they didn't think I would be able to do it and it wasn't a good idea. Again, my fiancé and I pleaded with them. My fiancé was not going to wear the wound vac. and I had to talk him into it. We were told that without the wound vac., it would take at the very least 12 months for him to heal. With the wound vac it would be 4 to 6 months. Every time we went back to the Wound Care Clinic, he was much better. The doctor told me that I had been doing a better job hooking the vac. up to my fiancé than the nurses on his staff did. He told me that he wished I could come in and teach them how to do it. I thought that was nice of him to say since the nurses weren't going to let me do it in the beginning. My fiancé was able to get off the vac. after one month and he was totally healed about a week later.
It was the end of October when he was released from the hospital. Since he was a competitive international body builder he was quite upset that he had lost ninety pounds while in the hospital. He went a week or two without being able to eat at a time. They fed him protein through an IV. He couldn't wait to start lifting again. He regained his previous muscular body in no time. He didn't go out much and didn't go to work any longer and he told me that he was so lonely. We had both worked for the federal government and that's how we met.
On December 31st of that year, my son and his girlfriend went to the movies and I went to his house. While we were gone, my house was broken into, robed, vandalized, and almost destroyed. If they couldn't or didn't take it, they destroyed it. I met my son in our driveway, went into the house through the garage, and I knew something was up. I opened the door from the garage to the house and just saw black. As I turned on the light, I saw used motor oil all over the bathroom and kitchen. They had even cut up the floor, cabinets, and countertops. They dumped oil in every appliance I had. They took something sharp and cut up a lot of my wooden furniture. My bathroom was horrific. The police said that it looked like a hate crime. Anyway, after taking care of my fiancé for so long and being so tired all of the time and working anywhere from forty to sixty hours a week, I was emotionally and physically gone.
Since the police and the insurance company couldn't find the people that committed the crime, my son and I were the ones they decided to try and blame. I was questioned by the insurance company and the police for twelve hours, under oath and tape recorded. My son was questioned also but not for such a long period of time. They tried to turn my words around and I wouldn't let them. There was no way I was going to take the fall for this. I was not scared, I was angry. My house was full of a carcinogen and since there was used motor oil spilled in our beds and both of the couches, we had to get a temporary place to stay. My son and I stayed at a hotel that rented suites for short periods of time. My son spent the next two days hanging out with his girlfriend and then would come to the suite to sleep. I was so exhausted and depressed; I stayed in bed for two days.
I had to fight the insurance company for months. They were not going to pay the claim. I can't remember what their excuse was but that was just not acceptable to my son or me. I fought with them for months. Finally, I had to hire two attorneys and I was taking them to court. At last they settled out of court for $110,000.00 less than my insurance and my losses. I had had insurance with them for almost thirty years, both homeowners and auto on two cars.
During the struggle with the insurance company, my fiancé was becoming more and more depressed. All he seemed interested in was getting his body back. He was so obsessed with it and began taking steroids. I believe he was taking very high doses of them and that is why he made the decision to hang himself with his own belt. Along with so many drugs, steroids change the way a person thinks if taken in extremely high doses. To this day, I can still see him on his last day alive. Unfortunately, I didn't get to see him that way. What a waste of a wonderful human being.
I wanted to let you know that it has been one really bad thing after another and I am still hanging tough. I'm not a quitter. After the incident with my fiancé, I was in such bad shape because I couldn't work most days. and ended up loosing almost everything I had worked my entire life for. Thank God I still had my son. After that I still could not get myself together enough to get to work like I had in the past. When speaking with a union steward I was told to file for disability through my employer. I filed and was approved a few months later. I stopped working and shortly after, I started being treated with ECT's.
They were right; I never will be the same person as I was before the ECT treatment. The fact of that really bothers me, especially since I am still suffering with severe, untreatable depression.
I'm going to have to find help myself. My doctor doesn't seem interested in helping further so I guess, at this point, I'm going to find out what I need to do and do it.
I'm just speechless. I don't even know what to say. You've just endured so much, and yet, you still have such an amazing attitude and are still working so hard to help yourself. You are an inspiration. Sincerely.
I couldn't give you advice if I wanted to...you've got your bases covered. Please keep us in the loop. I hope and pray you find something that will help you. You deserve some happiness.
I also am sincerely amazed by your great motivation in spite of so much that has been so difficult. You are an inspiration to me too!
I'm so glad to hear that you are looking for a new psychiatrist. I think that you should question your current doctor's motives. You see your doctor quite often and for them to discount Mayo Clinic with such a stupid remark really makes me wonder. You could also perhaps be helped by a research study on something new that you haven't tried. I would also keep your mind open to what chemical imbalances you may have. You definately need more in-depth help. Mayo Clinic does require another doctor's referral, so again you are right to find another doctor.
Wish you the best and more happiness in your future.
I appreciate the help from everyone. I know it's a rough road and I want to let the people, who post on this sight, know suicide is not an option. That is unless you want to affect everyone in your life. I speak from experience as I have lost my fiance a couple years ago. I am still asking myself if there was something I could have done. He was my best friend and I think about him often. Even today I have thought of him. I see or smell something that reminds me of him and, If I let myself, I can think about the loss of someone that is in my heart forever.
Please do not take that road. Please remember that it's your choice but that by making that decision, you will hurt EVERYONE that loves you, and I do meen EVERYONE.
Therapists are different from psychiatrists. Psychiatrists are different from counselors, Psychiatrists can prescribe you medication you need. They can listen to what you tell them and determine from there what medication you need. If a medication doesn't help you, your psychiatrist can change your meds. as they work with you to help you. In my experience, it's somewhat difficult to find a good doctor. Hang in there and find the help you deserve.
We can all make our own choices. I have instilled it in my brain that whatever I do or do not do, is in my control and it's my choices that I live with. I cannot feel sorry for myself. I understand very well that I will continue to go through life's ups and downs. I know that I have to fight if I want any sort of a happy life. And yes, I do know that things can always get worse. Things can also get better. Hang in there, a lot of people are your support on this websight.
Thank you and everyone for all of your positive feedback. Please don't feel sorry for me as I don't feel sorry for myself. My concentration has to be on the chemical imbalance and how to combat that. I am realistic with my condition and have always been open about it. I made that choice after I began medical treatment with anti-depressants. I cannot even begin to tell anyone how many people have told me they are also suffering with depression and are relieved to be able to talk about it. Also, many people have asked me questions about it. They aren't used to someone being so open. I just hope I have or can help anyone that needs help to seek medical help.
No one feels sorry for you, hon...we're just sorry you have endured so much. I think you're incredible.
I'm repeating part of your post above....it bears repeating. Amazing. I wish everyone "got" that. That's one of the hardest things to explain to people. Here it is, in black and white:
"We can all make our own choices. I have instilled it in my brain that whatever I do or do not do, is in my control and it's my choices that I live with. I cannot feel sorry for myself. I understand very well that I will continue to go through life's ups and downs. I know that I have to fight if I want any sort of a happy life. And yes, I do know that things can always get worse. Things can also get better."
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