Tuesday, June 11, 2013


Long time no bloggie. To sum it up in short - in the Spring I had a complete mental breakdown. Stopped going to work, caring for Benj/Max/myself, just stopped. I ended up at LDS Hospital in SLC in their psych unit and started getting my ECT treatments then. I stayed there about a week, having treatments every other day, give or take, until now. I am going out of town next week so we are skipping treatments this week, but will start up again when I get back. My work is being kind and working reasonably with me. I may or may not have a job in the end. And that is ok. Come what may. The major side-effect of these treatments is short term memory loss, which I have definitely had my share of!!! It is frustrating to not be able to drive. I'm confused most of the time. I'm kind of ditzy anyway, but this is bad.  I'm nauseated most of the time. I have lost a little bit of weight, unexpectedly, and I do see glimpses of happy shining thru, so those are really good things.

I have had a lot of people ask about me and my family - so I just wanted to give a little update - and also tell everyone THANK YOU for your love and support. The love and kindness shown to my family during this time has been incredible. I also know there have been a certain few who are not so supportive of this treatment option I chose (ECT), and that is ok too, the disease is different for everyone and so is the treatment. Just to get it out there - this is not something I just "stumbled upon" and decided to do. My psychiatrist recommended it.  I researched on my own, Benj researched, we discussed it together, then with my doctor + 2 separate doctors at the hospital, and with our psychologist, and only then, after fasting and prayer, did we decide to go ahead with it, if I was a candidate. I understand there are a lot of pros and cons associated with this, but I was standing on my last leg. I had stopped working and caring for my family. Suicide was next. I had a plan, and Max wouldn't have a mommy. I knew I needed help.

A lot of people have asked me how these ECT treatments work. The answer is - we don't fully understand. They pretty much cause your brain to have a seizure, which "re-sets" the brain synapses and chemicals over time. I'll post a video, but this is how a treatment goes: I get to the hospital in SLC at the butt-crack of dawn to check in. Fasting. Urine sample. Change into scrubs and get an IV (yes, that means I've had about 10+ IV's so far....). Roll me down to the PACU where I meet my doctor and the anesthesiologist. They put on a BP cuff on my arm and leg, then sensors on my head and chest, a mouthgard in, then the anesthesiologist knocks me out (which is fun!). As soon as I am out, I assume whatever happens in these youtube videos happens to me too, then I end up out in the room where all the other people are who are waking up from surgery. I wake up very confused/scared, and usually very nauseated. Apparently I have sleep apnea we didn't fully understand, and that complicates the treatments; they have some problems with my breathing almost every time. After I wake up I am at the hospital for another 2 hours probably before I can go home. I am not supposed to be alone during the weeks of these treatments (mostly due to so much confusion and short term memory problems, but partly due to the actual depression also.)

Side-effects: I knew there would be side effects, so I shouldn't be surprised by them. Short term-memory loss is a big one. I cannot be alone with Max, cannot work, cannot drive, can't cook, etc. There are a lot of little, silly things that I don't remember, and that often really frustrate me. I've been in a fairly good mood however, so I'd been in good joking spirits about this. Hopefully that gets better with time, after the treatments stop. It might not tho, so I need to be prepared for that. This has kind of caused a new outlook on life for me. My position at work may or may not be there when/if I am ready to come back, and it is ok. Things will work out. Money matters, jobs matter, but more than anything, Max matters. I'm no good to him if I cant be alone with him or if I've just barely living from one day to the next. I feel terrible because he has been so unsteady. Our babysitter quit in the middle of this so we moved to a new one - who we love - but change is hard for little ones (and me!). He has been kind of a little shit. I just think he needs structure and stability. Makes me sick for him. I hate to see him be naughty.  I just want him to be happy. He knows something is going on - that mommy is sick, but it is just hard for him. For all of us.

From the Mayo Clinic:
Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a procedure in which electric currents are passed through the brain, intentionally triggering a brief seizure. ECT seems to cause changes in brain chemistry that can quickly reverse symptoms of certain mental illnesses. It often works when other treatments are unsuccessful.
Much of the stigma attached to ECT is based on early treatments in which high doses of electricity were administered without anesthesia, leading to memory loss, fractured bones and other serious side effects. ECT is much safer today and is given to people while they're under general anesthesia. Although ECT still causes some side effects, it now uses electrical currents given in a controlled setting to achieve the most benefit with the fewest possible risks.
So, there you have it. I'm feeling scared, but feeling optimistic. There are so many unknowns that scare me; I just have to trust in the Lord. Things will get better. Max and Benj deserve this. I deserve this. Thanks again to all my family who have been so helpful and supportive. 
Dr. Pepper doesn't quite taste the same anymore..... not sure why. Just a little fun-fact.

Feel free to ask any questions you want - I am very open to talking about this! Facebook, on the blog, text me, whatever  :)