My Journey Through ECT- Final Treatments-End Thoughts

Ghost Ship

Ghost Ship

I feel that this photo is appropriate for this blog entry because of its name; “Ghost Ship”.

I have been on a journey without knowing what the result would be, much like being on a Ghost Ship sailing in the open ocean, not knowing if I have full control over the direction I sail.  It’s more of a “point myself in the general direction and set sail hoping the best” kind of thing.

Well, I have gone through the “Acute” phase of treatment.  Now I have 3 ramp-down treatments left, as well as, any treatments deemed necessary for maintenance.  The maintenance treatments are not a given, they may or may not be administered in the future.  It is yet to be seen if I will go that route or not.  The last few treatments have been bi-temporal.  That means that the electrodes are being placed at the temples on each side of the head.  This is the strongest, most effective, and most likely to have side-effects or all the forms of ECT.  While I can’t tell you if it has worked better or has caused more memory loss than I otherwise would have incurred, I can tell you that it has given me a much much larger headache.  Not like a pain in my butt kind of thing, but an actual headache.  I’ve had to start to take pain killers in anticipation of them.

So how do I feel?  That’s the million-dollar question, right?  The answer is that I feel……eh, pretty good.  I was told from the beginning not to expect to feel like a different person and be consumed with a positive energy that just couldn’t be contained.  My guess is, if that were the probable result, people that didn’t even need ECT would undergo treatment.  After all, those results sound more like the result of some illicit drug, rather than a medical procedure designed to improve the quality of one’s life.

Before I explore the end result of the treatments that I’ve endured, I want to talk about another subject quickly; The Losing of One’s Independence.  Since I have started ECT, the rule from the docs has been, “No Driving”.  That means that I won’t have driven myself anywhere for better than 2 months.  In the beginning, I felt that was a reasonable price to pay to feel better, and be able to participate fully in society.  While that is still the case, it’s definitely a much closer call that it was before.  To be blunt, not being able to drive yourself around sucks!

It’s more than just the inconvenience of not being able to “go when you need to”.  There is a psychological aspect to it that I didn’t anticipate.  Losing your independence forces you to recategorized yourself as less of a member-in-good-standing of society than you were before.  Just imagine how you would feel if you had to rely on your spouse to go……..anywhere.  Karen has been wonderful through this whole thing, so she alleviated any pressures there the best she could.  BUT! (and yes, it’s a BIG BUT) What happens when she is at work, or god forbid, she wants to do something on her own personal time.  I have had to rely on a few friends as well.  I won’t name them in case they don’t want their names out in the public blogosphere, but getting to my exercise regimen and home from treatment and just out of the house for a bite to eat without Karen wouldn’t have been possible without them.  So here’s the official Thanks to all those that made all that possible. (To go on top of the Thanks that I have given in person)  Quickly back to my point.  You feel like less of a person if you can’t get yourself around; if you have to ask for help to go anywhere past a few blocks; if the heat or rain determines how far you can depend upon yourself to get somewhere.  I have to continually tell myself that it does not reflect negatively on me for that, nor does it mean that I could do anything more to thank those that have so selflessly helped me get around.

So what do I do with my new found freedoms?  And yes, I look at it as newly found freedoms.  Those around me noticed before I did that I smiled more and took things in stride easier than I did before.  I have to trust their judgement, and go about my business as if it also what I believe to be true.  Here is a short list of a few things that are going on in my life that I am doing with my newly acquired coping skills;

1. Continue to exercise in order to keep my physical being on par with my mental being efforts.  I’ve been invited to try a new exercise routine that I’m pretty excited about trying.  Not to replace my hot-yoga of course, just in addition to.  (And if you haven’t tried it, hot-yoga is awesome, and…..VERY HOT, but such a great stress reliever and good workout.)

2. Get in tune with what my opportunities are in the job market.  If there ever was a time to start down a new path by starting at the beginning, now is it.  I’ve recently taught myself to build websites, do basic coding, increased my knowledge of Photoshop and Premiere Pro, and of course the skills that I already had in my arsenal like Operations, HR, and general Life Experience. Surely I can do something with all that, no?

3. Photography- I have signed up for a portfolio review from Atlanta Celebrates Photography in October.  So at least 5 gallery owners or curators from around the country will see my portfolio, and tell me face to face where my work lacks, and what it would take to be shown in one of their facilities.  (Talk about scary as hell!!!)  Now is also the time to do just about any kind of work in photography just to get the experience.  If that means doing Headshots, corporate events, or collaboration with the creative community at-large, it is whatever it is.  I may have fallen in love with Landscape Fine Art Photography, but those of you that have seen what I can do with lighting know that I can compete with just about any fashion or editorial photographer, and post processing is a definite strength of mine.  I actually like to play with lighting and try to create a dramatic look that’s wholly unexpected.  Whomever wants to play around with me doing that, just get in touch and let’s make something.  I’m down for whatever you have in mind. :0)

Sarah MurphyOk, let’s wrap up.  Soon, I will have my total independence back.  I will be ready for anything.  More precisely, I will be itching to do just about anything.  It doesn’t matter if I have experienced it before or not.  A good example of that is when I shot for body-painter extraordinaire Rosemary Kimble.  She is incredibly talented and painted the always beautiful and professional model Sarah Murphy.  My lighting skills weren’t on test that day because it was a black-light session, but all the post processing and Photoshop work was me, and I am damn proud of that.  It was a lot of fun to shoot that day.  It was the first time I had done anything like that, but I couldn’t of asked for a better result. That makes me think that there are a million things in photography still undiscovered for me.  I’m open to anyone’s ideas of doing anything.



8 thoughts on “My Journey Through ECT- Final Treatments-End Thoughts

  1. James

    I have been small part of this journey closer to the end and have seen a lot of positive progress and I think this blog is a wonderful testament to you and I know it has to be helping others as well s yourself as you articulate your feelings, fears and hope for the future.

    1. admin Post author

      Thanks James! You have been a part big part of helping and it is much appreciated! Need more good eggs like you out there. I hope this will help someone else get help sooner than they would have otherwise.

  2. Jane

    Wonderful and insightful blog entry. Thank you for continuing to share you journey with us. I cannot wait to hear what path you choose to take on your next path in this journey! Sounds like you are surrounded by a lot of wonderful people – which means you must be pretty wonderful yourself!

  3. Paula

    Keep up the good work! Remain focused on the good things in life, like you are, and you will continue to help yourself. Anyone can send themselves down a bad path if they focus too much on the negatives.

    The good thing about your “dependence” on others is that it is short-lived. Think about those people with permanent disabilities who ALWAYS have to depend on someone to do anything. My friend’s mother-in-law cannot go to the bathroom and wipe her own @ss. I’m not joking! And that is not a temporary situation!!!! Now THAT sucks!

    It is wonderful that you have such a good group of friends that they are able and willing to help you. It does show what a wonderful person you are that they want to help you!

    And I said this before, and I will say it again, the fact that you are thinking about going out there, showing your photography to total strangers in the Fall, is a bold step, even if nothing comes of it. The fact that you are brave enough to make this leap is a lot more than many people, who might not suffer from depression, would do. I don’t care what comes of it, I will never stop reminding you how brave you are for doing this!!!

    You are a good person and good people deserve peace and happiness! Whether or not the ECT works, it is not a waste of time. You are being proactive and that is never a bad thing!

    Wow, too lengthy a response, but what can I say, I am not a woman of few words! Just continue to feel well and know that we love you!

    1. admin Post author

      Thanks Paula,
      Thank God I’m not that dependent on others! Great point. It could always be worse. Thanks for the reminder! And thanks for the support! 🙂

  4. Ashley Jennings

    Great to hear you are improving. Also, that you so clearly indentify what you are working towards in your career. You are incredidly talented. Doing what you love is a great feeling. Hang in there.

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