Soooooooo, as it turns out, my ECT Treatment is not only taking longer than expected, but has made me refocus my entire life. So you could ultimately say that I’ve been cured…well 99.9% cured anyways. However, one of my regrets of getting the treatment is that it severely impacted my memory. To the point that I felt like I was developing Alzheimer’s (nothing against those with Alzheimer’s). So needless to say, writing was not on my mind when my memory started to fail. While the memory loss has actually helped more than it hurt, I believe anyways, I still regret not writing about my entire experience. If I remember correctly (which I might not) I had written three or four articles about my ECT treatment on my blog, The Smiles We Bear. However! I, unfortunately, let the domain on my site lapse (I’ve also been unemployed for 6 months now, so I couldn’t really afford it anyways) but, I checked on it when I decided to write again, and some third party company had bought the domain from go daddy, and were reselling it at an outrageous price. So obviously, still being unemployed, I had to open a new blog, aptly named Out of My Mind. Not only because I probably am now certifiably insane, but also because I’m writing straight from my head. No filters, no prep work, no nothing. Straight from my thoughts to my thumbs, to the blog post. So, for those of you who know me, I AM BACK BABY!!! For those of you who joined up after I “disappeared”, my name is Alan Wolfgang. No, that is not my real name, but technically it is (try wrapping your head around that one). I’ve been blogging for about a year now, maybe more, I have been diagnosed with Severe Depressive Disorder (complete with awesome, unending suicidal thoughts!!), Generalized Anxiety, and more recently, Executive Function Disorder (kind of a branch of the ADD family). I have received, and still am receiving ECT treatments (for those of you who don’t know, ECT is Electro-Convulsive Therapy). I write about my life, my struggles, and ultimately how I’ve learned to combat my illnesses, keeping me alive for almost 25 years! I share all of this with all of you, in the hopes that someone who is where I have been, on the proverbial ledge (or a literal one), can take a step back and realize that if Alan Wolfgang can do it, so can I. So, now that I’m back, let me know what you want me to write about. I’ll try to write AT LEAST once a week, maybe more if I’m feeling it. Oh, and I would really appreciate it if you showed my “personal” blog Out of My Mind, it’s a link, some love. So for now, this is Alan Wolfgang, signing off.
So, as many of you may already know, I have been pursuing ECT (Electro Convulsive Therapy) Treatment for about the past month or so. I am very pleased to announce that tomorrow is my very first treatment! I will be undergoing treatment for about a month, maybe less, maybe more, 3 times a week. I know, that probably sounds like a lot, and don’t worry it sounds like a lot to me too. Yet, I am basically giving the steering wheel of my life to these doctors for the time being, in the hopes that when I get it back, I will be on a much brighter path. So in case you didn’t know, I will be chronicling my treatment with posts every Monday, Wednesday and Friday on my personal blog The Smiles We Bear. I will be writing everything and everything about my treatment, from side effects, to progress. I am very hopeful that this treatment will succeed with me, as it has a 90% success rate with treatment resistant depression. However, my therapist has told me to proceed with caution when it comes to my expectations for this treatment. In her words, “I won’t wake up from the anesthesia and be a new happier person.” But then again, she has no experience with ECT, like myself, so we cannot honestly say that that won’t happen. Of course there are also the extreme side effects that I will have to wade through during the course of my treatment, like confusion, nausea, headaches, dizziness, drowsiness, etc. On top of all that, even if it is successful, there is no telling for how long. Yes, I CAN relapse into depression after going through all of this. The silver lining is that not only can the treatment last decades, but if it worked once, it can work again. Meaning IF I do relapse, I can just go in for another round of ECT. Not to mention that I will be continuing my meds throughout and after the treatment. So to say the least, I have really high expectations for this treatment, exactly the opposite of what my therapist is advising me to have. How can I help it though? I mean there is a chance that I could be depression FREE when all is said and done. Why would I not be excited after 10 grueling years of non-stop fighting. I could finally have a, somewhat, normal life! So, I don’t want to take any more of your time, but if you want to read my entire ECT Journey series, follow my blog The Smiles We Bear.
So I’ve recently decided that I would do ECT treatment. For those of you who don’t know, it stands for Electro-Convulsive Therapy. Which basically means that they cause you to have seizures in order to “restart” the natural serotonin and dopamine production in your brain. It’s main use isn’t really for depression, but it can be used for treatment resistant depression. I’ve tried, and still go to, therapy. I’ve tried dozens of medications, which never really seem to work for more than a month or two. I’ve tried hospitalization, intensive outpatient, and partial hospitalization treatments. None of them really ever seemed to stick, which leads me to the belief that I am treatment resistant. It’s not an easy thing to try something new when nothing else seems to work, but I’m kinda running out of options here. I don’t want to feel the way I do any longer, and I want to really live my life. I think that the best way to do that is ECT.
Now, when you hear that electricity is used, you probably think of the old method that was used last century where they stick electrodes to your head and just zap you. Luckily for me, that has been out of practice for decades now, and this treatment is not only safe, but also wildly effective for people like me. I mean, that’s what I’ve heard anyways. The last time I was hospitalized, I met a woman who was there for ECT, and she claimed that it changed her whole life, but she was in for her second round. Like most other treatments for resistant depression, everything seems to wear off after a while, even ECT. However, unlike medications and therapy that have such a short life span, ECT can last years or even decades before another treatment is necessary. This actually gives me hope that I might be able to live a normal life (normalish anyways). Of course I’m scared, who wouldn’t be, I’m going to be having controlled seizures! Yet, I’ve expended most other options at this point, and I don’t really know what else to do. I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired, and I just want this to end. In my mind, there are only two ways my depression ends, either I die, or I find a successful treatment. For now, I’m going to go with option #2, and just hope like hell that it works. I’ll be writing about my progress and experience with ECT on my blog The Smiles We Bear