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warmsunhelps
Casual Contributor

ECT

Hello, 

I am supporting my magnificent daughter, who has experienced depression and anxiety for many years.  She has been receiving therapy and prescribed medications for about 4 years, diagnosed EDO, complex PTSD and BPD, ups and downs are cyclic and difficult to manage on meds.  

She lives interstate and her being hospitalised right now while COVID travel restricitions are in place, makes it feel very far away. And its so hard to find objective information about ECT which is the current treatment she is undergoing.

Currently almost halfway into 12 sessions, she is finding the memory loss and out of body - ness distressing.  It seems counter intuitive to undergo treatment that is producing more cortisol through distress and discomfort to have a therapeutic effect. It is difficult to get helpful advice from pdoc or staff.  Her recall is so inhibited she doesn't feel confident about making a decision to proceed or pause treatment.

Can anyone who has received or supported through this treatment please offer their experience of how long the ST memory loss generally lasted? And was treatment ultimately beneficial.  Also was it RS unilateral or Rapid Pulse administered? Obviously everyone has different circumstances but it would be great to hear some insight into this. 

 

Thanks so much for the forums.  It's been very helpful to feel I can reach out.

 

 

5 REPLIES 5
Darcy
Senior Contributor

Re: ECT

My  husband (Mr Darcy) had two lots of ECT @warmsunhelps . I did not notice memory loss the first time which I gather may have been unilateral but cannot say for certain and it seemed to help however it was a difficult and confusing time for me.  He relapsed 6 months later (many reasons but no suitable med found at the time) and the second time the dose was ramped up (due to an attempt) and he had bilateral ECT.  This  resulted in marked memory loss that he has not recovered. (It was reduced back to unilateral after I raised concerns over memory loss)

He has random memories only from a 5 year period tapering to random losses from perhaps up to 8 or 9 years. It did however lift him from a major depressive state, at the time I became better informed and was able to give pdocs details of behaviours that I did not know were symptoms and his diagnosis changed along with his medications and thankfully he had been in remission for 4 1/2 years with no suicidal thoughts or psychosis since. 

 

It is a matter of weighing up benefit vs risk. At the time Mr D's condition was close to being terminal so it was life saving. 

 

The RANZCP have information about ECT here .

Re: ECT

Thanks for replying @Darcy 

 

It is so helpful to hear of others' experiences and I'm glad to hear Mr Darcy is feeling well.  I can relate to your feeling confused and perplexed during his first treatment.  I freaked out when I started researching ECT, trying to find factual info beyond advertising material and pdocs admit they do not yet understand how it works to help. It took me a few days to sort my feelings out so that I could support her decision to undertake the most agressive of the two forms. She is not coping with the immediate side effects of ML and will talk to pdoc about changing to unilat.  

 

The most helpful thing for me to understand from these forums, is that objective and observant communication between carers, patients and care team as allies is beneficial for recovery and maintaining wellness. 

My daughter and I are very close, there are times when she honors me with trust to hold a safe space for her to talk openly and understand what life is like for her, however the MI kicks quite hard to keep distance between us and we have periods when she will cut me out of communication because I've overstepped the line being too direct or honest. It's a delicate dance. I'm sure every carer can relate to this.  I feel the MI amplifies the dysfunction in our family and social networks. I want to protect her from stigma, or from being defined by a MI and want to preserve an open trusting relationship and respect her right to privacy.  She is very very prickly with my input and reflection of her described experiences at times and I have for the most part stayed out of her pdoc communications, treatment plans, effects of meds, relapse etc because she hasn't been receptive to my offers to be available for this.  I'm lost as to how I can better support her recovery without having the ability to reflect the insight of what happens outside the pdoc room.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Darcy
Senior Contributor

Re: ECT

@warmsunhelps 

The dynamics between parent and adult children is quite different to that of a partner although with  a lot of conditions (not only mental health ones) by  allowing someone close to be involved in our care helps not only with accountability but is shown to lead to better outcomes.

 

As young adults, removing the apron strings is important to them and can be tricky for parents as they feel helpless as the kidadults find their own way and hopefully take responsibility for their own care.

 

I will tag you in a discussion thread where others are caring for their adult children might be able to share the strategies that have helped them. 

Re: ECT

Hello @Darcy I just wanted to share that my daughter is in remission and doing well. While I share gratitude and joy, she has put in a great deal of hard work on so many levels, and continues seeking and maintaining ways of caring for her health.

I wanted to thank you for the conversation last year.  I haven't been on the forums for a while. I hope you are doing alright.

Darcy
Senior Contributor

Re: ECT

Wonderful news that your daughter is in remission @warmsunhelps.  

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