Well, it has been a long couple of weeks.
I am happy to report that I am back at work during the day and feeling really good. I feel more than slightly odd though. I don’t really know how to describe it but I just feel differently about myself than I did before I had the ECT treatment.
Well here is the whole story, at least all that I can remember:
I attempted suicide, made an appointment with my psychiatrist, he wanted me to go do ECT through a colleague of his. I made an appointment with him a couple days later and he wanted me to do ECT but said I needed to go inpatient for a week before he would do the ECT. I went inpatient at Royal Oak Beaumont.
A couple things about the facility there: it was really nice and clean and I enjoyed my time there. Almost everyone had been to other hospitals and preferred Beaumont (same is true in my experience). There were a lot of people there with a lot of different ailments. A good number of the people there were there for eating disorders and it was difficult for me to be around that. I have practically no experience with that world and there it was right in front of me and I felt terrible for these girls.
Two other people I was there with were getting ECT with me, including my roommate.
I entered the hospital on Tuesday and my first treatment was on Friday morning and I was discharged on Saturday afternoon. I had to go back through outpatient surgery for the next week for the rest of my treatments. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
I already posted in this space that the treatments worked really well on me. As soon as I woke up on Friday I felt a million times better, like a shroud had been lifted from my head. Each time that I woke up I felt great, if not a little woozy with a headache, but the depression was gone.
That is why they decided to cut down my treatment from 10 installments to just 4. I guess ECT is not something normally done with bipolar people and they didn’t want me to get stuck in a manic mood and be uncontrolled for who knows how long. I agree with their decision. But I am just looking at how do I not go back anytime soon. I feel like I probably will get this treatment again in my future, but I want it to be my distant future, not like, September.
The first two times I woke up from treatment I was really sore. I bit my tongue really hard, had a massive headache, and my calves and shoulders felt like I had gone through a crazy workout. I found out that they didn’t give me enough muscle relaxer and I convulsed all over the table. They never got it right, they increased the drugs they used on me every time I had treatment and my final treatment I got more than double the doses of my first treatment. That is how far off they were on the first go around. The attending doctor asked me before my final treatment if my body is resistant to going under and things of that nature and I told him I had no idea, this was the first time I was ever put under.
Thankfully I didn’t wake up in the middle of the procedure and remember it going on, I’m sure that would be really painful. But I guess I learned something else about myself. It makes sense. The reason I had to get the ECT was because drugs aren’t very effective in my body. I believe my sister is resistant to drugs as well. I guess it is part of our biology.
So I had my last treatment on Friday the 1st. I met with my psychiatrist on Tuesday, and I went back to work on Wednesday.
Once I got to work I realized how much stuff I had forgotten. It took me forever to log into any of my stuff, I don’t remember writing out most of the quotes and jobs that were happening just before I left. Hell, I had to have my wife show me where I keep my dress shoes in our house because I completely blanked on it.
I had to figure out my schedules and routines all over again. I had to plan out what time to leave the house and think about when to eat lunch and how things line up throughout my day. I forgot all of that stuff.
Now for all the good news: I feel great. I have a lot of energy. I have been sleeping excellently. I’m back on some of my meds but not all, and what I am on I am on less of it. I don’t just feel like I’m not depressed right now, I feel like a different person. The results are really staggering to me. I haven’t had a suicidal thought in almost two weeks, which might not seem like a long time but when you hardly go two hours between thoughts two weeks seems like forever.
How long will this last you might be wondering? I have no idea. I heard a lot of numbers from 12 months to 5 years to less than 8 months. I wish I had some better idea but I really don’t. I might be doing maintenance ECT where I would go for one treatment a month forever. I wouldn’t be opposed to that but it is a lot of time off of work. I am hoping that drug therapy can keep me where I need to be and I will be just fine without ever doing ECT again.
Overall, I am glad with my entire experience over the last few weeks but more than anything I am glad to be back into the swing of things. I’m excited to getting back to updating this website regularly again, excited to get back to podcasting again, excited to be working again, excited for summer again.