Let this post be a placeholder. I’m nearly finished my final exams at the end of the first semester of my Practical Nursing program at Saskatchewan Polytechnic. In the next few weeks I’ll resume my mental health blogging.
Many, many changes have occurred since I was discharged in 2014. I have a new last name, a wonderful partner B, and we have a wonderful 11-week-old son, J. More on them to come.
Back to studying. NURS 175 Health Assessment and Praxis final tomorrow.
It’s Good Friday, April 18th, 2014. I needed a location less cluttered than Facebook to stash all my psych ward musings, so I started a legit WordPress blog. It’s not much, but here it is. The next post here will be my first Facebook post after I was admitted on Monday April 7th. I’m just copy-and-pasting right now, but I’ll try to spruce this up later.
New posts are coming soon. Jae, Inturrupted is back!
It’s just past six thirty in the morning. My view through the Reflection Room’s windows is of a dark (quiet?) river and Downtown. There are a few of us outpatient ECT folks kicking around this vicinity, all depressed but friendly. Not bad company.
My mood is alright this morning. Three days ago, I was battling yet another agonizing bout of crippling depression. Why it comes and goes like that is absolutely beyond me. I honestly worry that I might do something stupid while I’m in one of those hell holes. I think the key is to stay out of them. I don’t know how to do that.
I’m in the ECT Suite now, lucky #2. There are only four of us getting jolted today. Hopefully this will get me out sooner. It almost certainly won’t.
I’m no longer nervous before the treatments. I had a few jitters late night, but I think that was anxiety over the prospect of being really thirsty, which I am. I started on a new antidepressant a few weeks ago. Side effects include thirst and dry mucous membraines. I now live in fear of being thirsty but without anything to drink.
I’m going to try to relax for a bit before the treatment. I’ll try to write a proper post before the end of the week.
I checked in at RUH Admitting at 0605, then walked the labyrinthine but familiar route to the Dube Centre. The pictures on the walls have changed. The trees outside look different. This is definitely not my home. I’m not a patient, but neither am I a visitor. Hopefully I can float out of here in a few hours just as effortlessly as I floated in.
I’ve stepped briefly into the Reflection Room. It is just as it was in the spring, but the foliage outside has exploded, obstructing the view of Downtown.
This place feels overwhelmingly sad. Not like a funeral home, but more like a mental hospital…
It’s time to go down.
I could really use some Ativan right now…
It’s 0641, and I’m sitting in the waiting room outside the ECT suite.
I’m in bed two. This means I’ll get to listen to one patient get ECT’d before me. This fact is comforting.
The bed is a standard surgical bed. On the wall above my head is the Oxygen and suction rig. To my left is the big vitals monitor. Hanging a metre above my waist is a lone bag of saline.
It’s time to begin. Wish me luck.
It’s just past 0100 on the morning of 3 September. I’m sitting in my car in the well-lit and rainy parking lot of the Credit Union. It’s deserted and quiet here. I knew I wouldn’t sleep, so going for a drive seemed like a good idea.
My sister is picking me up at 0600 to take me to the Dube Centre for my first of seven scheduled ECT treatments. I’m understandably nervous, but not terribly worried. I know the risks, and am desperate for the benefits.
Michelle and I just bought our first house. It’s a joyous time, to be sure, but a low-grade depression (in spite of all my meds) has been making it very difficult to get appropriately excited, which is a bummer in itself. It’s not that I’m always sad; I’m just rarely happy. Once in awhile I’ll find myself listening to some good music, or cuddling Michelle, and I’ll feel happy, but only occasionally.
It is my hope that this treatment will be all it takes to get me through this house business (possession date is 11 Sep) and into October. By that point, the seasonal depression will have arrived, and I’ll do the next ECT.
I am not feeling sorry for myself. Shit happens. Mental illness happens.
I’ll try to do my usual blog from the ECT suite before they take away my phone.
I had a meeting with Dr. Marcoux yesterday. After a lengthy but pleasant discussion, I was issued a script for Ativan 1mg SL. It was also decided that I would start maintanance ECT at one month intervals for one year. The first treatment will be scheduled for the end of the month.
Things have been alright since I was discharged. I was well-received by my co-workers and friends. I proposed to Michelle, and she said yes. Despite these victories, I continue to be dogged by anxiety and depression. Hopefully the ECT will be effective.
I’ll try to blog again as the ECT draws nearer.
I completed my twelfth and final ECT treatment yesterday morning. The headache following eclipsed the headache that followed my first treatment .
In celebration of the end of ECT, here is a little bit of AMA that came in last week:
Q: Have you noticed any negative effects on your wit, creativity, intellect and/or imagination?
A: Quite simply, no, not at all. I’d be hard-pressed to recite a poem immediately after a treatment, but by late afternoon, my brain is all systems normal. I continued to paint and write throughout the course of treatment. I’m sitting on my couch right now, only half-sober, having had a treatment less than eighteen hours ago, and I’m writing a blog post, email, and song simultaniously. So, has the ECT blunted my creativity? No, it was the medications that were doing that. ECT has freed my mind and let my creativity pour out. I think I’m generally pretty funny, and the ECT has certainly not made me any less funny.
Let me be clear: ECT has almost certainly saved my life, with the only negative effects being a decent amount of physical pain, and some passing forgetfulness. I highly recommend it.
All for now,
It’s been eight days since I was discharged. I’m doing fairly well. I’ve been having some trouble with anxiety, but it’s been mostly manageable.
I continue to receive ECT treatments. I had two of them as an outpatient last week. Number eleven is scheduled for Monday, and number twelve (the final one) goes down Wednesday morning.
I don’t know where the hell I am, but I do have the presence of mind to take a post-ECT selfie.
I return to work half-time on the 10th. I am worried about how I’ll be received by my co-workers. I’m sure the reception will be positive, but I don’t particularly care to be fussed over.
On the topic of fuss, I continue to be recognized when I’m out-and-about. It’s a rather bizarre feeling to have strangers approach me and use my first name. I can never tell if I’m supposed to know the person addressing me, and I’m afraid of being embarrassed due to my inability to recognize people who should be familiar to me.
My memory had survived the first ten ECT treatments mostly intact, although I’m definitely having problems remembering the names of people I’ve just met. I also find it difficult to remember how to drive to familiar locations. I haven’t found myself totally lost yet, but nearly so. If you have interactions with me in the near future, please excuse me if I forget your name, or details of our conversations.
That’s about all I have for now. Thanks again to everyone who’s supported my recovery. Special thanks to psychiatrists Drs. Marcoux and Wanson for their expertise.
I’m sitting in line at Mr. Lube, waiting for my spring oil change. It’s 28 degrees, and my window is open. Glorious. My right foot aches a bit from the IV this morning.
All the veins in my hands and arms had long since worn out, so my foot was it. It was no more painful than a needle in the hand. I noticed that it took longer for the medications to reach my brain compared to an arm IV.
The treatment went well, and I was rewarded with a strong black coffee as soon as I regained consciousness.
I was, at long last, discharged shortly after noon today. I said goodby to good friends–nurses and patients. I was sent out with a six-item prescription, and a lab requisition for some Lithium levels. Michelle picked me up, and off I went to the freedom of the rest of my life.
Six weeks ago, I was scared, anxious, and severely depressed. I’m now upbeat and confident. A combination of doctors, drugs, and electroconvulsive therapy have saved my life.
This will not be my last blog post. You, faithful readers, have assured me of that. Over the past six weeks, you’ve shared secrets and stories, and your support and encouragement have brought me great comfort. I am indebted to you all. Thank you.
I will blog again on Monday. Until then, take care of yourselves and each other. Please keep talking about crazy. Let’s finally end the stigma.
With very best wishes,