I am sitting at my computer wearing a beautiful blue silk blouse. It's lovely, really. I found it in my closet this morning when I opened the door so I imagine I bought it and put it there but I'll be damned if I can remember anything associated with this. My six-year-old went off to school today without her coat because I put it in the washing machine last night and forgot to put it in the dryer in time for her to wear it today. Also, I got up at 5:45 a.m. today feeling like I wanted to puke. I assumed I had some kind of stomach bug until my husband said, "Did you remember to take your pills?"--and I realized that I had forgotten that, too.
This is life post-ECT. The literature says "some memory problems" may "be associated" with undergoing ECT, and I'm sure these things vary from one person to the next, but around here the "few memory problems" are creating a kind of daily suspense I haven't known since high school. Back then, the biggest questions had to do with whether my hair was going to frizz or whether the guy I had a crush on would sit next to me at lunch--things, in short, I could mentally steel myself for a bad outcome on. There's no way to prepare for this kind of suspense: you can't steel yourself for the consequences of some action you have completely forgotten taking. When the boxes start showing up at the front door I may find out that I went on a catalogue shopping spree, too.
The ECT doc says (according to my husband; I don't remember this conversation) that the main problem he sees with people who decide to try ECT is that they stop too soon. If this is a sample of what you can expect, I can understand why. I do not like this constant state of bewilderment, temporary though it is supposed to be; more to the point, if I still worked for the Washington Post, my career simply could not afford it. And yet, despite all, I'm not sorry I tried it. It's a measure of the psychic pain induced by depression that a person would even consider attaching electrodes to his head and inducing a seizure. I do feel better. I have more energy; I enjoy my kids more; I'm back to my exercise program, which I had lost energy for; I get up in the morning with a sense of purpose.
I am grateful for the surcease. It means a lot.
Would I do it again? My most fervent hope is that this is a question I will never have to answer.