Ect Successful But At A PriceI was at the lowest point of my severe depression. I could barely respond verbally I was so depressed. I told my doctor I was desperate and that the meds weren't working. We agreed to try ECT.
The closest hospital that did ECT was three hours away. I drove up there and was admited for about a week. During that time I had three courses of ECT. It really wasn't very stressful (at least at first). I improved dramatically after about the third treatment. My depression was almost completely gone. I checked out of the hospital and went home. I continued to drive to the hospital for out-patient ECT, multiple times a week. I drove and my wife drove me back home after the treatments. The waiting room was the worst. I usually had to wait between 1-3 hours. You tend to get anxious waiting. Sometimes before the treatment, I'd be so anxious they'd have to give me something to calm my nerves. That was silly since you don't feel anything at all but your mind plays tricks on you and makes it worse than it actually is.
I had a total of 12 treatments when I decided I was tired of driving three hours. My doctor wanted me to have 18 but I quit early. The positive effects lasted for about 6 months then slowly wore off. I was still much better off than I was. I was able to function again at work and it's only three years later that I'm strongly considering another course of treatment. I think had I been on a good series of meds, the positive effects would have lasted much longer.
The only downside was the memory loss. My memory during the entire time I was doing ECT is very poor and has large gaps that are permanently gone. I can't remember going to certain parties, meeting certain people, seeing movies, reading books, etc... I'm not aware of the memory loss until someone brings up something they expect I should remember. The memories are just absolutely gone never to return. I forgot how to do a few things at my IT job but I quickly relearned them.
My coworkers never knew what I was being treated for. I'm not about to tell them except my closest friends. I just tell them I have some memory problems and they take that at face value.
I'd do it again and probably will. I responded very well to the treatments. The price is the memory loss. But I'll take memory loss anyday over just sitting in a rocking chair unable to respond to my wife and son. I still have memory problems today but I blame the depression and not the ECT. I know some would claim that ECT has damaged my brain and reduced my ability to remember things and perhaps even lowered my IQ. Perhaps. But the more likely explanation is the depression which causes those things.
If you're severely depressed and not responding to meds, don't continue to suffer. Give ECT a try. Not everybody responds to it but those that do are usually very pleased with the results. It can literally give you your life back. It certainly did for me.