ECT Destroys Lives

When it comes to ECT, the only stories that matter to mainstream media are the “it saved my life!” ones. Those who have claim injury and/or abuse are ignored, discredited and disregarded in any ECT discussion.

“your imagining things, you are mentally ill, after all”

“your a rare case and don’t represent the majority”

“if doctors forced you to have it, you probably needed it”

This blind invalidation needs to stop.

It’s time these accounts are treated as valid.

It’s time people keep asking questions–even when someone throws down a Suzie Success Story.

All personal accounts matter- not just “happy” ones.

Asking honest questions must be allowed and encouraged.

What do doctors really know or not know about ECT?

Why do some people feel helped?

What research has been done and by whom? Is there a conflict of interest? How are these studies conducted? How do doctors define depression and improvement?

Why is only one state keeping track of ECT induced deaths? Shouldn’t all doctors want complete and accurate risk data so their patients can make a truly informed choice?

Why aren’t patients given full informed consent?

Why don’t doctors take patients who claim injury, seriously?

Why don’t they offer before and after testing?

Why haven’t shock machines been tested by the FDA, after the decades ECT has been used? Or when the FDA was recommended to do so in 2011?

If the animal studies conducted in the 50’s and 60’s were so inadequate, why were they never repeated?

Why does some in medical practice who speaks critically of ECT get black-balled?

What role has the media played in promoting ECT? Have they shown journalistic integrity in the process?

How legitimate are the diagnosis labels used to justify ECT?

Why is honest ECT questioning always shut down?

Why does my story count for so little, when it would surely be treated as credible and praised if it were positive?

I could go on and on.

People don’t ask these questions when the discussion is dominated by Suzie Success Stories. Who wants to be the a*&hole that questions a “treatment” that “saved someones life?”

Questions like these are often viewed as offensive.

But why? Shouldn’t we want to know the answers for ALL patients?

Shouldn’t the Suzie’s out there want to know the truth too? That maybe there’s more to their depression and it’s treatment than they were originally told? Maybe, like me, their “treatment resistant depression” is actually treatable?

References

(2007). Retrieved from http://www.breggin.com/ECT/2007Neurop…

Retrieved March 12, 2016, from http://www.ectresources.org/ECTscienc…

Retrieved March 12, 2016, from http://www.ectresources.org/ECTscience/Hartelius_1952___Animals___Brain_damage__Definitive_.pdf

Andre, L. (1991, September). Electroshock as head injury. Retrieved February 14, 2016, from http://www.ect.org/effects/headinjury…

Andre, L. (2009). Doctors of deception: What they don’t want you to know about shock treatment. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.

Breggin, P. R. (2015, April 8). Simple Truth 10: Electroshock is Brain Trauma [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QOtac…

Committee for the Truth is Psychiatry. (n.d.). Electroconvulsive Therapy Causes Permanent Amnesia And Cognitive Deficits, Prominent Researcher Admits « ect.org. Retrieved March 12, 2016, from http://www.ect.org/?p=699

Frank, L. R. (2006). http://psychiatrized.org/LeonardRoyFr…. Retrieved January 5, 2016, from http://www.endofshock.com/102C_ECT.PDF

Friedberg, J. (1976). Shock treatment is not good for your brain. San Francisco: Glide Publications.

Further increase in the use of ECT without consent in England | ECT statistics. (2016, January 30). Retrieved March 12, 2016, from https://ectstatistics.wordpress.com/2…

Hickey, P. (2006, November 21). http://www.madinamerica.com/2013/11/e…. Retrieved January 5, 2016, from http://www.madinamerica.com/2013/11/e…

Read, J. (2016, February 19). The Curious Case of over 50 Consecutive ECTs in Melbourne – Mad In America. Retrieved March 12, 2016, from http://www.madinamerica.com/2016/02/t…

Ross, C. (2006). http://www.ectresources.org/ECTscienc…. Retrieved from http://www.ectresources.org/ECTscienc…

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I Almost Forgot to Pay for Stuff. Awesome.

 

The other day I almost forgot to pay for my groceries. I was in the self-checkout line, had just bagged my chicken and juice and put the bags in my cart.

I somehow spaced the whole PAY FOR YOUR GOODS bit and started to leave the store.

I stopped about 6 feet from the checkout to call my dad– see if he was done with his shopping, and noticed the cashier and a shopper at my checkout station giving me a funny look.

Crap.

When I realized my error I hurried back, made some half-assed excuse to the bewildered teen manning the self checkouts about having a day,hastily paid for my groceries and left.

This was humiliating. It would have been beyond embarrassing if I hadn’t stopped to make a phone call and just strolled out of the store with unpaid for goods; A confrontation with a store security–possibly the police and some seriously awkward q&a would have been a likely result.

“If you weren’t shoplifting, why’d you try and leave without paying?”

“Huh? Uhhhh…I have brain damage- there was too much going on around me and I thought I paid.”

“You sound fine to me. Do you have documentation of this damage?”

Even after I paid, I had no recollection of swiping my card through the reader, and kept asking myself, “did I pay this time? Or did I only imagine I did?” The only way I knew for sure was by checking my receipt.

This isn’t the first time shock induced brain damage has caused a major slip-up. Not too long ago I forgot to take back my debit card from a 5 Guys cashier after paying for my burger.

Another time, I forgot the $20 cash back I requested along with another purchase and started to leave.

Then there’s the countless times I’ve forgotten to take my groceries right after paying from them. That happens a lot.

My dismal mental math abilities don’t help; I could easily be short changed in any transaction because all of my brain power is finding the correct cash/change combo in a timely manner.

The rest is used remembering to return any change to their respective compartments in my wallet and returning my wallet to my purse while pretending l know what’s going on around me, and talking slowly enough so I don’t weird the cashier out by my preferred method: say everything super fast before you forget what you are talking about.

All the above make me an easy target of any integrity deficiency person; they could easily have taken advantage of my mental lapses and pocketed my debit card, cash or purchases.

This mental dysfunction goes beyond me fudging financial transactions.
There was that time I cut off part of my thumbnail while chopping onions. Not the clipable crescent nail tip–the part that’s fused to my thumb–all because it’s impossible for me to focus continuously-even for the short time it takes to dice the small piece of produce.

Or the time I left the stove on. Or the oven.

Or the time I doubled back six or seven times to ensure I locked my sister’s apartment door before walking to the store, because I couldn’t form a memory of doing it. I finally started taking pictures of the locked door in case I had any doubts after leaving the apartment.

Or this summer, after an art festival, I tried crossing the street in open downtown Salt Lake City traffic. Only able to focus on one cue, in this case it was when the hoards of people stopped walking towards us from the opposite direction. I couldn’t take in the reason the change- people stopped because the lights changed and the idling cars resumed driving.

In my mind I was all “Ok! The people are finally out of the way- time to cross!” Luckily my sister grabbed me before my second step.

Oh, there was that time during finals when my brain was so fried I had to let my dad take over after I ran a stop sign on the drive home from school.
Then there was the time I walked away from someone who was talking to me. No warning. No “could you excuse me?” I just walked away mid conversation. I’m not sure why. Omg-embarrassing.

Last month I was given de-worming medicine for my foster kitten with two simple instructions the bottle:

shake well

repeat dose once after two weeks

Easy, right?

Yeah, I screwed both steps up; I failed to shake the medicine which could lead to an overdose, and thanks to having no sense of time and confusion over a calendar alert, I gave him his second dose the following week.

My sister who knows a bit about cat drugs said it should be fine, but I was still so upset I could have done something that could have hurt my sweet little foster kitten and so embarassed that I couldn’t follow such basic instructions, I waited till his booster shot appointment three weeks later to tell a fellow volunteer my error and ask if I should dose him again. It wasn’t a big deal; the volunteer wasn’t angry, but experience has taught me I can only make mistakes like these so many times before people stop trusting me and/or start treating you like an idiot. Little I say or do after that point will change a person’s perception of me.

I get freaked anytime crap like this happens. You know that feeling you get when you misjudge a stair step and fall 5 inches? Like that.
I almost:

  • Shoplifted
  • Lost my money
  • Maimed myself
  • Burned the house down
  • Got run over
  • Caused a car wreck
  • Ruined any chance of friending that person
  • Overdosed and injured a creature I’m supposed to care for and protect

I also feel deeply embarrassed and ashamed.

All the above are no-brainers, so failure to do them correctly usually invites incredulous, angry, eye-rolling “omg wtf! What’s wrong with you that you can’t remember this simple thing or do it right?! Why would you do something so stupid?! Are you trying to get yourself killed?!” from people.

Being smart  and “sounding” normal only intensifies these responses.

“Clearly, you should know better” 

I don’t get why you can’t just bla bla bla” 

On top of embarrassment and humiliation, I also feel scared I’m losing my friggin mind. There was a time I remembered paying, locking doors, turning off the friggin stove after I’m done cooking, taking in all of my surroundings — not just one aspect of the world around me at a time, not needing to rush convos because I’d remember what so and so said along with my reply or the simple internal sense of how many weeks have passed.

These electroshock damage induced lapses and absent-mindedness bouts leave me in a near constant state of panicked high alert to avoid the above consequences and social ostracism.

This damage I’m told so often by doctors I can’t possibly have because

“shock doesn’t do that.” 
And because I “sound fine.”

I wish the doctors were right–that running an electric current through one’s brain was completely safe and any side effects are mild and temporary.

And I wish I was as intact as I seem.

What happened to me was anything but mild or temporary and my six month recovery time frame is long since passed.


It’s now been 4,293 days since my last shock treatment, and my brain is still a scrambled, dysfunctional mess.

If you’re considering electroshock, also consider that you could wind up like me; a permanently disabled 30 year old with dementia.

Your doctors won’t warn you this can happen–mine sure as hell didn’t, so I will.

Below are some honest, personal and scientifically valid assessments of of electroshock you won’t get from your doctor.
Read up like your life depends on it–it does.

Breggin shock info pamphlet 

Electroshock as a head injury 

Shock quotationary and other articles by shock survivor Leonard Roy Frank 

Paralegal speaks out 

Electroshock induced emotional trauma  

Inadequacy was of shock damage assessment methods

Doctors of Deception

As for me, the last few days have sucked royally.

If anyone needs me, I’ll be under a pile of kittens watching Netflix. Do not disturb.

References

Andre, L. (1991, September). Electroshock as head injury. Retrieved December 8, 2015, from http://www.ect.org/effects/headinjury.html

Andre, L. (2009). Doctors of deception: What they don’t want you to know about shock treatment. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.

Breggin, P. R.Retrieved December 8, 2015, from http://www.ectresources.org/Shock_treatment_brochure_June_8.pdf

Flaws in Assessing Post-shock Damage, Solutions and the Importance of Informed Consent | aftershock. (n.d.). Retrieved December 8, 2015, from https://aftershocklifeafterect.wordpress.com/2015/06/17/flaws-in-assessing-post-shock-damage-solutions-and-the-importance-of-informed-consent/

From The Files of Leonard Roy F. (n.d.). Retrieved December 8, 2015, from http://psychiatrized.org/LeonardRoyFrank/FromTheFilesOfLeonardRoyFrank.htm

Ignored Products of Electroshock: Painful Emotions and Trauma | aftershock. (n.d.). Retrieved December 8, 2015, from https://aftershocklifeafterect.wordpress.com/2015/07/18/painful-emotions-following-electroshock/

 (n.d.). A Paralegal Employed by Firm Representing ECT Survivor Speaks Out Against Shock | aftershock. Retrieved December 8, 2015, from https://aftershocklifeafterect.wordpress.com/2015/05/14/a-parelagal-employed-by-firm-representing-ect-survivor-speaks-out-against-the-procedure/

Shock Damage Denial and Other Indignities


I recently had a check up with my neurologist. Working with him has been hard. He’s smart and friendly enough. The problem? He doesn’t believe me. He believes the standard line that shock damage is temporary. That my current cognitive struggles, pre-frontal cortical dementia, aren’t caused by the 42 electroconvulsive treatments I received, but my pre-existing learning disabilities and my “depression.”

I struggled with this disbelief– not just with him but with almost everyone. Getting anyone, friends, teachers, other doctors I have to work with, to 1.) believe that I have brain damage-you would not believe the resistance I get when I try– and for those I’ve disclosed to, 2.) electroshock is the cause. This leads to invalidation from people I interact with, people I care about, and also denial of services that might help me. It leads many to see me as a one or more of the following: delusional crazy person. A lazy unmotivated slacker. An antisocial freak. A self absorbed drama queen who thinks her problems that don’t sound much different from what everyone else on the planet deals with from time to time, are some how more special.

I was upset  and frustrated when his thoughts about my situation and beliefs about what electroshock does and doesn’t do, became clear. As I mentioned earlier, any declaration of my reality, I have “brain damage,” or “shock damaged my brain,” is met with fierce denial and resistance from just about everyone, save a few trusted allies.

In spite of experiencing this disbelief over and over, knowing what kind of lies doctors a fed about shock and the odds of anyone believing me, deep down I still long to be heard and believed–to hear someone say “I know what’s wrong and I know how to help you.”

It was hard but I got to a place of accepting the situation for what it was, that I’m not going to hear anything like that from him, or any other physician. I struggled and switched into the mindset that I can figure out this situation with or without him believing me. That depending on others just upsets me and listening to them could hold me back from finding answers.

However I often lose my grip and vacillate between accepting denial is common and focusing on finding solutions independently to desperately wanting the validation from him and others.

This appointment was no exception. Nothing different or surprising. But several days after certain aspects of it are still niggling at me.

The topic of my school withdrawal came up because earlier that month, I asked him to write me a letter that would give me medical leave from college.

Early that semester I had a painful tooth extraction. The lengthy recovery put me behind in my school work. On top of that, six members of my extended family and two friends passed away in a time span of 5 months.

I was also super burned out from previous the semester and had resolved to leave college after the fall, but with the deaths and the amount of missed work I had to make up, my brain was fried–I couldn’t even hold ideas in my head long enough to write them down–I needed out of college early.

Because of my colorful mental history chock full of labels, he always gravitates towards the topic of depression. Not depression based in reality, mind you, but in the fantasy model of the DSM. The magical kind of depression not caused by internal or external circumstances, physical health, or environmental factors, but of a mythical biological condition some are predisposed to and can supposedly cause mental impairments.

And so my neurologist poked and prodded me with questions that would reveal whether or not I had become “depressed” during my ordeals with school and lost loved ones that may subsequently have interfered with my cognitive abilities, because ECT can’t be a factor. My statements, that in spite of such a horrific semester, I’m not depressed. That, actually, I’m doing pretty damn good considering my severe burn out, a crap ton of people I cared about dying in close proximity and my daily coping with dementia age 31.

I go gym several times a week, am taking online courses and volunteering for a local organization. I’m also planning my search for part time work as soon as I recuperate. Meanwhile, I’m looking into career options that are feasible with my disability. I also keep in touch with my friends and family. I’ve had a rough ride this last semester but I’m optimistic things will get better.

Tell me, are these the actions or attitudes of a clinically depressed individual?

But my neurologist’s understanding of mental health exists in the realm of the DSM. He also has files and assessments from previous doctors, But because I have a colorful mental health history, and the multiple choice test I took as part of my neuro-testing. It indicated I was “depressed,” but its validity deserves doubt because its an arbitrary assessment that disregards life context of  and  bs-ed it by randomly answering the questions.

Because he sees me through the lens of the DSM and other information painting me as mentally ill, what I say can’t be trusted, so he turns and asks my father to confirm what I say (post shock I process information too slowly to process effectively during my appointments. Because of this, my needs rarely get addressed. Also, because of my brain damage, I communicate atypically. These two things leads to doctors who can’t bear to to spend more than 5 minutes per client, start acting like impatient assholes, so I bring my dad along to help make sure everything I need to say gets said and considered. Doctors also tend to be better behaved with another man in the room.

This double check with another source regarding my emotional state reiterates that he believes I can’t be trusted to know my own mind.
My words are meaningless. That annoyingly hopeful part of me still desperately wishes they meant something–to him and every other person I have to deal with.