My Journey Through ECT- Treatment 11

Path to RighteousnessIt’s been a while since I posted anything about my treatments so I thought I would check in with everyone.

I have gone through 11 treatments, and it has come to a crux, or a split in the road that decisions have to be made. Given the nature of ECT and having to be put under anesthesia, there are a limited number of times that it is healthy to go through it; I’m at the end of this period.

Now for the decisions that need to be made.  I could stop altogether if I don’t think they are helping, or I could come up with a “taper-down” schedule that would allow the last bit of help to be stuck in and still keep a sensible outlook on how long to let the treatments last.  I guess the main decision point is to ask myself if I’m getting a benefit. Dr Hermida (my supervising psychiatrist) asked me and I told her that I didn’t think I was getting the results that I thought I would.  I felt like I should be “exuberant” about life and chomping at the bit to explore my photography and how to further it more of a career.

So after backing myself into a corner of a black and white view of success or failure, my wife and some close friends let me know that they see things happening that I apparently don’t see.  Of course it is crazy (excuse the unintentional pun) to think that I’m not fully aware of my condition and well-being.  🙂  So, I’m trying to take a step back and reevaluate my situation and try to really see where it is that I stand.

Given the fact that I am writing this blog-post says that I am not at least somewhat compelled to communicate with the outside world.  That’s a good sign I suppose.  I have recently signed up for a trip to eastern Tennessee this October to take advantage of the fall foliage.  Those of you that saw last year’s results should  be intrigued.  Last year turned out great if I say so myself!!  You can see those photos at LeeVannPhotography.com.  Feel free to comment or give feedback on any go the photos.  I always love discussing them and how people perceive them.  I also signed up for an event coming to Atlanta this fall sponsored by Atlanta Celebrates Photography (ACP).  I’m looking forward to and am a little scared about the portfolio review.  People that can really help my career will see my work.  What if they say it’s just ok, or even not that great?  I have to keep in mind that even if they do say that, I know how it makes me feel, and that counts for most of what I should be concerned with.

So I suppose my doubts about the effectiveness of the treatments are self-answering.  My depression causes me to feel in a rut and unmotivated, as well as sad.  Given the stuff I plan to participate in this fall, I would say that it has helped the rut for sure.  My wife says she can see a difference in my happiness.   I’m naturally very self-judgmental, so it’s easy for me to let myself feel like it’s not helping my sadness at all.  Luckily my wife is nearby to remind me that she sees me from a better angle (outside myself), and almost as frequently as I see myself, and she can see improvements in my mood.  She says I smile more than I did.  I’m glad that it is her that gets to see that improvement in me especially.  I’m lucky enough to have snared her in my trap, so she deserves to see as much positive as possible.  When you are lucky enough to trade up as far as I did with a spouse, it makes me feel good when I can show her that she made the right decision now and then.

So let’s sum it up!  After 11 treatments, there definitely is a difference.  I have a better overall outlook and have the capacity to push my career forward.  So, I will speaking with Dr Hermida about tapering down treatment and see if I can extend this improvement as long as possible.  I am also taking a much larger interest in portraiture.  I have always had a knack for them (in my own opinion).  When I started The Faces of Depression, I did some pretty damn good portrait work.  Go check it out yourself!  I tend to lean toward more of a dramatically lit scene with portraits.  I’m also looking forward to exploring various looks.  Everything from natural looks, to professionally made-up and hair-dressed, to off the wall scenes, even maybe some artistic nudes or just implied.  As a side note, I did some pretty good self-taught work in video.  Feel free to check out what some of my experts say about various aspects of depression and some of the treatments.

I look forward to hearing from some of you.  I am open to anything you want to discuss.  A lot of people try to hide their depression, but I am just not that type of person.  I would come off very disingenuous if I tried to hide it.  I always do my best when I just expose myself, and hope that I have chosen the right people to be in my life that will be understanding and supportive.  So, CHEERS to all of you as well!!

16 thoughts on “My Journey Through ECT- Treatment 11

  1. Carrie

    love seeing this post and hearing some hopefulness come through in your writing. Thank you for continuing to share your journey!

  2. Jane

    So glad that you decided to write another blog post! Your writing is very moving and you are reaching out to so many people. Please continue to share your journey and gift with all of us.

    1. admin Post author

      Thanks Jane! You’re too kind. But I will try to keep sharing my thoughts and experiences. At least as long as I can keep it interesting 😉

  3. Dino

    Hi Lee!
    It’s good to hear from you and read about your journey.
    Sharing your experiences and thoughts thru your art and words is powerful. You are transforming the perceptions of depression by your incredible courage – Thank you Lee
    Dino

    1. admin Post author

      Thanks Dino. Hopefully I can make this part of The Faces of Depression and get that up and going more publicly as well.

  4. Paula

    It is so wonderful to hear your positive outlook with so many good things to look forward to in the fall! Of course it is understandable that you would worry about what will happen in your portfolio review, but the fact that you are putting yourself out there for review is so amazing! Some people, who don’t suffer from depression, would just not sign up for fear of rejection. This is not just a journey through ECT but a lifelong journey of overcoming your depression. I hope that you can always find one positive thing every day to appreciate about yourself and others around you! And know that even though you might not think you are special sometimes that there are people around you who know you are!!!! Love to you and sending positive vibes!!!!!

  5. Suzanne

    Wonderful post as always! It sounds like you’re doing great – we don’t often see the changes in ourselves because I think we tend to hope to wake up one day and be ‘cured’. You have a wonderful support system and I wish you both continuing improvement and good health.

    1. admin Post author

      Thanks Suzanne. You’re probably right. High expectations will prob leave me with mediocre results. I’ll try to stay in perspective.

  6. James

    I have known many people who are depressed but in most cases I did not know it for years. In your case you are very open and above board about it and you are sharing via your blog with many people. I think based on your wonderful attitude that you must be responding to your treatments very well. I see that your wife notices the changes and she is the closest to you. but I am sure your friends notice as well. I also think the changes are gradual which is why you may not feel it as strongly as your wife…but the changes are there. You blog and your non-profit will help others who are depressed and some of your readers hopefully will seek the treatment you are taking because of you. I say keep up the good work and when you think you are smiling go to the mirror to see what it looks like!!!

    1. admin Post author

      Thanks James for the encouragement. It is a little like stepping out onto an invisible plank on Indiana Jones. I’m trying to walk straight! 🙂

  7. Britney

    Hi Lee. I can’t commend you enough for your openness, and your honesty about what you’ve been going through, and your ability to articulate what you’re feeling so well throughout this journey you’re on. I can relate to so many of the things you are struggling with. You are not alone. Since you say that you are open to suggestions, I have one. Six months ago, after graduating from PC, I felt drained emotionally and physically. I was unhealthy, unhappy and lacked the drive and confidence i felt I needed to boldly enter the ‘real world’ as a professional creative. A heavy heavy smoker, insomniac and red wino, I didn’t recognize myself in the mirror, but more than that I didn’t feel like myself. I had become reclusive and detached from life that was happening around me. I wanted to find something healthy to replace the unhealthy habits of my life… So, here’s what i did.

    I joined Iron Tribe Fitness (I go to Iron Tribe On Ponce). Lee, honestly, its been four months and it has changed my life. My head is clear, I’ve quit smoking completely, my energy is up – everyday activities are easier. Its the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. I know it is a very different path than the one you are currently on. But you’re looking hard for an answer, and I feel like I’d be doing you a disservice if I DIDNT tell you that I think it could be the best decision you ever make. I’m 150% sure you will not regret it 🙂 msg or email me, I can tell you more about it.

    1. admin Post author

      Thanks for the compliments Britney. I’ve watched your work grow and it’s been exciting to see. I’ve been doing BeHot Yoga beside Paris on Ponce in Urban Body Studios. Is that close to where you are involved with Tribe Fitness? I’m totally up to find out more. BeHot has given me a center I didn’t have before. Not to mention I sweat my ass off! Would be great to meet up for coffee one day and chat. About it all! I have more time available than you do, so let me know what fits into your schedule. I live close to Ansley Mall at Piedmont and Monroe.

      I’m involved in the ACP portfolio review coming up in October. I would love to get your input on what to show and what to show it on. I’ve been debating glossy vs matte and printing on gator board or matting a photo myself. Let’s meet up!!! 770-843-9593

  8. Melinda

    Thank you for being so courageous and sharing your journey with us. I just want to be that bouncy little smiley face you used to see in one of the depression commercials… Am I being unrealistic? Is it even possible if you are an adult? I tell my daughters don’t try snd grow up too fast, it’s a trap!

    1. admin Post author

      Thanks Melinda! I think it’s possible even as an adult. It’s hard to do but better not to take yourself too seriously.

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