My life

Lurching from one disaster to another...just a suburban princess trying to get by!

Friday, 13 March 2015

Catching up

Warning: This post contains details regarding mental health and suicide.
If you are unable to cope with these concepts or would rather not proceed then please don't read on.

The information supplied is from my personal experience and should not replace professional medical advice.
Part 4 of my series on depression & suicide. 
Please find Part 1 , Part 2 & Part 3 via these links.
It's been a while since I talked about my mental health.  I struggle to construct a sentence let alone a whole blog post.  I blame a combination of brain fog caused by depression and ECT, but more on that later.

2013 saw me in a different hospital for the better part of 3 months again.  I couldn't sleep, if I did I had the most appalling suicide dreams.  I was a mess of anxiety and panic attacks.  Not a good time for me.

I saw a new Doctor, who had some fairly different attitudes to treatment.  He enrolled me in an intensive CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) course, changed ALL my medication and introduced ECT (Electroconvulsive Therapy) to my regime.  He was not a big believer in Psychologists.

Electroconvulsive treatment (ECT) is a medical procedure that is used to treat a range of mental illnesses, such as severe depression, catatonia and some forms of mania and schizophrenia. The treatment induces controlled seizures in the person by placing small electrodes at specific locations on the head. Read more here

I was initially terrified at the prospect of undergoing ECT, it is never discussed or portrayed in a positive manner and I really knew nothing about the procedure.  My previous Doctor had suggested that it might be a good idea but let me talk him out of it quite easily.

In reality, ECT is the same as any other procedure.  Depending on the hospital, you go into the "day surgery" area, change into your sexy hospital gown (or stay in your own clothes, again, depends on the hospital) then wait.  I have found that there isn't much of a wait as they churn through the patients very quickly, it only takes about 10 minutes each.  They you move through to the procedure room and get on the bed.  The anaesthetist puts in the line, they put the oxygen mask on and it's bye bye time.  You wake up in recovery. Done.

I found that I had a sore jaw the first time I had ECT, but after that no pain, not even a headache.  I have had some memory problems since my treatment.  There are entire weeks that are wiped from my memory and to this day I can't recall TV shows that I've watched.

2014 saw me suffering from depression again so it was back into hospital for a slight medication change and some more ECT, this time it was only for a week.

Since that, I've managed to stay out of hospital for over 12 months, just.  Medication increases and the addition of a Psychologist to my team have helped.  I also sleep, thanks to my medication.

I'm not depressed, I'm not manic, I'm somewhere in between.  The huge amounts of mood stabilisers, anti-psychotics and anti-depressants leave me feeling flat and foggy.  I find it hard to concentrate enough to read or write, engage in craft or other activities.  My Psychiatrist wants me to blog every day, and whilst I'm doing my best it's just not that easy!

If you are suffering a mental illness or considering suicide,
please talk to someone, see your GP,
 call Lifeline on 13 11 44 or go to your local hospital emergency department.

If you are in physical danger please call 000 (Australia only).


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