Around this time last year, I was struggling.
I’d made big gains the last five years; I got my health in check, earned my GED and started college. I also came out of the closet as brain damaged; a life detail I kept pretty hush for almost a decade, at great personal cost; living as though a part of me didn’t exist. It left me feeling fractured and invisible. As a way to cope, see myself and my struggles in a new light and help others, I began blogging about disability issues.
It helped, but it wasn’t enough because these efforts left out an important detail: how my brain was damaged. No one outside my family and rehab team knew I was an electroshock recipient. Not even my best friends. I kept them in the dark out of necessity. I didn’t want to deal with the stigma, or the possibility of my experience being belittled or denied by people I care about– I had gotten enough of that devastating gas-lighting from my doctors.
Keeping a part of one’s self under lock and key is problematic because humans have an intrinsic need to have their experiences mirrored by others. We need those “I get that,” and “me too,” moments from others. If we don’t, we can wind up feeling lost and unable to understand ourselves.
My family was supportive, but not having iatrogenic induced brain damage and trauma, they were limited in their ability to relate to me. Where could I possibly find people who’ve been through anything remotely close to what I’d been through with drugs and shock? My peers were all healthy, had never had so much as a tonsillectomy, and the heaviest prescriptions they’d ever had were antibiotics.
With no one who truly understand my experience, the truth about what happened to me and the industry responsible started clawing at me from the inside, desperate to get out. After over a decade, it became more and more frantic as time rolled on.
Last year, I’d had enough; it was time to let the truth out.
Every couple of months I review my goals, make new ones and figure out how to make them happen. Last winter I realized college wasn’t a viable means to achieve my goals of understanding the brain and finding ways to rehabilitate it, I had to revise. I found an education alternative. I ditched my current career plan and started looking for one that would actually fit my unique circumstances.
I also resolved to reach out to other survivors and start blogging about shock, my experiences and provide resources that might save people from making the same mistakes I did. If they had already been shocked, give them a road-map for how to get out of post shock confusion, work through the process of piecing together what happened to them and figure out what they need to do next.
I found a few shock support groups run by genuinely caring survivors. Through these groups I’ve met many other inspiring members and dedicated allies like Lauren Tenney and was introduced to even more amazing people once I got my blog up and running.
For 15 years, I’ve suffered, alone in my electroshock experience. Meeting you all has changed my life for the better. You gave me the “me too,” I’ve so desperately needed all these years. I no longer feel like and invisible, fractured person.
I’m so grateful to all of you for managing your groups, hosting hangouts, advocating for, providing a platform and sharing your stories with me.
I kept silent for so many years out of fear and shame.
I will never shut up about what happened to me and countless others at the hands of psychiatry.
I want you to know I’m committed to spreading the truth about electroshock, providing resources for survivors and also a platform where they can be heard. However, I hope to go beyond this.
My ultimate goal is to find ways for survivors to impact electroshock policy and bring public awareness to the plight of survivors.
I hope to see the day where I never have to hear another person say how their life has been destroyed, how their precious memories have been erased, their careers obliterated or how no one believes them when they say they are damaged and how no one will help them rebuild their lives.
No one should ever have to struggle with shock damage alone.
I hope you will join me and other amazing survivors.
One group that helped me so much recently closed, so two other members and I have started a new to continue to provide this invaluable support and connection for dealing with electroshock aftermath.
Our group is called Survivors of shock “therapy,” (SOS”t”) and can be found at survivorsofshock.org
Survivors, you can find our closed support group here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/225267064475442/
Are you a friend, relative or ally of a survivor or just interested in factual information, experiences and outcomes of electroshock? click here for our public Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/SOStwebsite/?ref=hl