“How Am I?”

The question of “how am I doing” is a more complex one than it really has any right to be. I’ve recently been going through a new course of depressive treatment. It’s comprehensive enough that it affects the ins and outs of my everyday life. While I only experience shock therapy part of the time, and for very brief periods, the toll that shock treatment takes on me is all-encompassing. I can’t drive because I lose my way, and it’s not worth risking getting lost even just going to the grocery store because I can’t remember the way.

I’ve also been misplacing household objects more frequently than not. Looking for an outfit turns into a twenty minute adventure when I can’t remember where any of my clothes live. I had such a carefully constructed organizational system for my clothes, and now my hangers and boxes of clothes just look like a giant mess that follows no rhyme or reason.

My sleep schedule also seems to have taken on a life of its own. When I go into the clinic to receive my shock treatment, I have to succumb to full-body anesthetic for five to ten minutes at a time. It’s just long enough to throw me out of sorts when I wake up. I have no sense, upon opening my eyes after each procedure, of how long I was unconscious on the surgery bed. Although I know it was no more than ten minutes, if even, it still feels like an hour, and I have no way to judge how long I was out and how much time is left in the day. My natural sleep rhythms don’t know how to adjust to the unknown quantity of time I spent anesthetized.

Now Ambien isn’t working anymore at bedtime. I’m on the maximum dose, and I feel nothing. I slept all through this afternoon, and now I feel I’ve caught up on sleep. I don’t need any more. My body is trying to convince me that it should be awake. As I write this, it’s a quarter after 3 AM, and I’m not the slightest bit tired.

So, to summarize: I can’t sleep at night, but I’m in a much better mood than I have been for the past several years. And that’s a very good thing, because the trade off is that I can’t remember shit. I’m hoping the immediate memories will come back, and the good mood will stay. That’s kind of the whole point of electroconvulsive therapy.

Keep checking back every so often for updates on my adventures with electroconvulsive therapy. If you think it might be an option for you, I plan to post an article soon that delves into the pros and cons of pursuing this particular kind of treatment.

Until then, best of luck.


2 thoughts on ““How Am I?”

  1. It’s fascinating how differently each person responds. I have a very strong reaction to anasthesia and have no memories of coming to at the clinic. We would come home and my husband would put me to bed. He would wake me to have dinner. I was still able to go to bed and sleep through the night. I couldn’t walk my dog because I wouldn’t be able to get back home and that was a huge routine in my life. My treatment went on for well over a year, so 2016 is almost completely lost to me. I can remember some of my visits for treatments. Things said to me by both doctors. I can remember some nurses and interactions with them. I was extremely fortunate that my husband’s company allowed him to work from home most of that time to babysit me.


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