At 8:15am I had my 32nd ECT treatment (I miscounted before). I now do the treatments every 4 weeks; they’re maintenance treatments. They’re done under general anesthesia; the treatments only take a couple of minutes. I usually leave the hospital within 90 minutes of getting there. Normally, I get home and go to sleep for a little while. When I first started the treatments, I could go back to sleep for a couple of hours, but the amount of time I’m able to rest afterwards has been decreasing with every treatment. Today, I got home from my treatment and was unable to go back to sleep at all for the first time.
I’m not a fan of the recovery and after effects. My jaw hurts so bad that it hurts to chew anything and my entire body is muscle sore. It feels as if I just ran a marathon, or two days after a massive workout, when you have to brace yourself for every movement you make. My memory gets even worse than normal after the treatments; the memory issues last longer than the physical ones. The memory issues make me feel like an idiot. I’m constantly asking questions, and I usually ask the same questions over and over again.
I’ve been doing these treatments for so long now, I wonder if I will ever be able to stop them. My psychiatrist wants me to be stable for 6 months before stopping, and I just don’t see that happening. I could just tell him I want to try stopping the treatments, but then what happens if I end up in a huge depressive or manic episode? Then I would have to go back to doing the treatments 3 times a week. I don’t want to do that, and I’m not sure if my body can even handle that. I wonder what the long-term effects are of ECT; maybe that’s something I should look into.