Depression

I Wish ECT Was More Accessible

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I’m not doing well.  I’m extremely slowed down and just moving around my apartment is hard.  Leaving home is just not happening.

I know that ECT (electroconvulsive therapy) would be helpful based on past experience.

But.

One of the options is to get it as an inpatient.  And as far as I’m concerned, that’s really not an option at all.  I’ve had very negative experiences in hospital, plus my nursing license would get taken away because of it.  Plus I’d have to figure out care for my guinea pigs.

The other option that’s not an option is outpatient ECT.  Because of the anaesthetic they require you to have a babysitter essentially to pick you up from treatment and remain with you for the rest of the day.  There is no one in my life who could possibly do that.

So instead, I will have to wait for my regular maintenance treatment (i.e. meds) to catch up with the toll that recent stressors have taken.  It will probably be at least a month before I am even remotely functional again.

For all its bad reputation, ECT has an important role to play, and it works so much faster than most treatments.  When an effective treatment is made inaccessible by various issues with the system, that’s a problem.

I just wish ECT was more accessible and none of this had to be my problem.

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87 thoughts on “I Wish ECT Was More Accessible”

      1. I’m really sorry to hear you’re going through this, ECT should put open more options out there for people who are not so suited. Is there no one at all who would put themselves up potentially as your carer for the day? If you need to talk to somebody, my email is always open for people

          1. Gosh if there was any way I could get down to you I would, everyone needs someone to help them sometimes you know? They should be able to find someone for you in honesty, so thats ridiculous. I really hope everything gets better for you my dear x

    1. I’m sorry you are going thru that. I know the feeling very well. I’m curious why you say your RN license would get taken away? Can they legally do that, mine didn’t get taken away, when I was hospitalized. Has ECT worked for you in the past? It did not help me at all. I did it outpatient, a friend brought me, but just dropped me back at home, she didn’t stay with me. I won’t go to the hospital, because it is useless. I see my therapist 3x a week, and when I get hit with an episode, I am useless, and miserable. I have MDD and BPD.. right now my meds seem to be doing ok, except my mood stabilizer makes me too tired. The only one left that I haven’t tried is Rexulti, which has a side effect of weight gain (already went thru that with seroquel), and I can’t afford it. I’m on disability right now, and my license expired. I have to take an RN refresher course, but am having a hard time finding somewhere to do my clinical hours. Right now I feel well enough, I know I could work again, but I do worry about my next episode, because I don’t know if I could push thru it to go to work. Anyway, good luck to you, hope you can figure out the ECT. I would check into your license, your mental health is none of their business, and as long as you can still effectively do your job, they can’t hold that over you, or any illness for that matter.

      1. Unfortuantely in the province where I live the Health Professions Act requires that any time a health professional is hospitalized for psychiatric reasons the hospital must report it to the person’s regulatory college and it must be treated as a complaint about the person’s fitness to practice. It’s really archaic, but it’s stigma enshrined in law. It’s not the biggest motivating factor against a hospital stay, but it’s something I’d rather not deal with.

  1. That is rough, what a reality check! I wish you all the courage to go through this, to have the patience to see it through and I wish the meds do what they can. I hope your doctor will do what he/she can to help you. Much love! <3

  2. Depression is a bitch. I’m sorry you’re currently in the grips. I totally get the “not leaving the house” thing. I’m sorry ECT doesn’t work out at this time. I’ve never done it myself – thought about it but it scares me a bit. I hope you get a break today from the dark.

  3. Sorry to hear you’re struggling Ashley – ECT can be so effective it is a shame there are barriers to having it especially when so well informed as you are. Take care of yourself – sending love and hugs 💞💞

  4. I wish it was more accessible as well, particularly for people in your position. The only people I know who have had ECT were inpatient when they had it done. I wish I could “fix” all of us who struggle in this way with a flick of my wand, alas, I’ve been waving it around furiously for years and it doesn’t seem to work. I’m sorry you feel so rotten. 😔

    ECT was the first treatment offered to me two years ago because my body was a mess and it was one of few (two?) drug-free options. I knew nothing about it and immediately said “no way!” because I only knew about it through popular culture. I did some more research on it in Spring of this past year and the improvement and even remission rates blow antidepressants out of the water. It’s definitely something I’ll consider if things get as bad for me as they were recently.

  5. I’m sad to hear that you’re struggling so much😞 I really really hope that something can be worked out that you can receive the treatment that you need. Is there anyone who could take time off work to stay with you? Also why would you lose your nurses license because you received inpatient care?

    1. Theres’s stupid health professions legislation that requires anything health professional hospitalized for psych reasons to be reported to their regulatory college and have their license taken away (at least temporarily). Stigma in action!

  6. I’m sorry you are experiencing this. As you know I can certainly relate. Take care of yourself as best you can. ❤🙏💗

    1. The Health Professions Act in my province requires that any time time a health professional is admitted to hospital for psych reason, the hospital must report it to the person’s regulatory college and it must be treated as a complaint about the person’s fitness to practice. Then the college will give the non-choice of giving your license up or having it taken away until you’ve jumped through all their hoops. It’s absurdly regressive, and I’ve tried to make an issue of it through a few different organizations but no one seems motivated to pursue it.

  7. Sorry to hear you’re having a hard time. Are you sure you don’t have anyone you could ask? Sometimes when we’re not thinking clearly, we forgot some of the people who are truly there in times of need, or even push people away (this is from my own experience). I hate being on meds as well. It’s a slow process. Sending you all the healing vibes.

      1. I’m sorry to hear that. After I pushed away a good friend, I reached out to her after two years and told her everything. We re-connected and have become more like family. I wonder if perhaps you might be able to re-connect with anyone?

  8. I’m sorry that you’re suffering (and unable to get the treatment that could help you the most!!) – sending lots of support your way. I hope that the medication catches up soon <3

  9. I’m so sorry you are feeling so unwell. I agree that ECT can be a good solution, at times. I’ve only had one series in my life, but I would not rule it out again, if it came to that. I am convinced that my past series of ECT was responsible for a “reboot” of sorts, when medication changes seemed to fail or cause more harm than good.

    It is terribly a shame that you getting needed help might jeopardize your job. That seems like clear stigma, to me. It’s no surprise that that does exist even within the medical health community.

    I totally understand the issue relating to outpatient ECT. My very first treatment was outpatient. The rest inpatient. My husband took me that first time. There was no one else that could, and my husband couldn’t exactly take oodles of vacation for such a task. My dad lived only 35 minutes away, but he was not an option. He wouldn’t even visit me once during the many days of each of my past 10 hospitalizations.

  10. I understand this issue. I don’t know how it is in Canada but some hospitals may provide a shuttle service, at least I know they do in some hospitals in the US. I hope you find a solution so you can feel better soon.

  11. I hope things start to look up for you. Have you looked into TMS? I’ve not tried it personally but my psychiatrist does it and claims to have good results for medication resistant depression. It’s costly (at least here in the US) but it’s outpatient.

    1. It’s something I’ve considered in the past but decided the potential benefit didn’t outweigh the cost or the pain in the ass to be in a research study. Right now the main issue is significant psychomotor retardation, and from what I’ve read TMS isn’t all that effective for that particular symptom.

  12. Oh no!! I wish you could get the help you need! Any chance of crossing the border into America? I bet if you came south for the treatment, it wouldn’t affect your Canadian nursing license, ’cause they wouldn’t even know about it. Could you travel a bit for that?

  13. A Holistic Approach to Treating Depression
    By Ellen Greenlaw
    I read this article on the holistic approach to handling depression medication, change of diet, and exercise. I wish you the best in your recovery and keep writing.

  14. Hello! You clearly know what you need at this time. Happy to help if it’s practical to do so – I’ll see if I find your email address somewhere. Thinking of you; you are not alone in spirit and also not in the real world xx

  15. You’re so brave to have tried ECT, I tried it once but was too afraid to keep going with it. I’m so sorry it’s not an option for you, psych hospitals can be a nightmare.

  16. ECT has been brought up in my psychotherapy sessions but I’m not sold on it yet. I’ve heard from people whom it helped for a little while but then “wore off”. Plus I imagine it hurts. Lol

  17. Sorry you are not good right now.

    I was watching a series called: “homeland” on netflix recently and in it she had bipolar and within the series they show her going to ECT and how quick the results are.

    I thought it was interesting anyway.

    I wish I could take care of your Guinea pigs for you or help stay with you as I would if I was closer.

    Sending you love and hugs ❤

  18. I don’t think your license should get taken away for needing professional help. Even mental health nurses have mental health issues they need help with. I can understand not having someone to help you when you need it. I live 45 minutes from my family. They wouldn’t help me when my car was in the shop for a few days because of the distance. They were always willing to help when I lived with them though.

  19. This subject is definitely something i know about. I live in canada but I don’t think the rules are much different. I have had the ECT treatments done as a inpatient. I wasn’t impressed with the in-patient found it very controlling and limiting. Now my husband plays uber and takes me back anf forth every 6 weeks for treatment. My treatment is what keeps me moving forward.

  20. what a horrible situation to be in. Can they really take your license of you for seeking medical help? Is that not discrimination? wow. Is there any community mental health support organisations in your area? Or mental health group or advocates who might be able to offer to have someone be your support person. My heart aches for you, You are such a amazing woman.

    1. Thank you so much. ❤️ Yes, that is discrimination, but it’s discrimination enshrined in law, so there’s not much that can be done about it. I’ll be ok; it’ll just be slower without ECT.

  21. I’m so sorry, Ashley. They really don’t make things any easier for people who are already struggling. It’s fucking infuriating. I wish there were something I could do. If I lived anywhere near you I’d take you there and play the role of babysitter. Please know we all love you, we’re rooting for you. Hand in there. Sending oodles of love & hugs your way, as ineffective as that may be for you right now  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
    Caz xxxxxxx

  22. Oh, Ashley… If I lived closer, you know I would be your babysitter in a heartbeat and/or take care of your fur babies.
    I’m so sorry you’re going through all of this alone.
    I don’t see how they can take your nursing license away if you are seeking treatment in order to help yourself. That really is just so damn cruel for them to do.

    1. Thanks ❤️
      The license would be taken away because there’s a provincial law that dictates that’s what has to happen. It’s a very archaic piece of legislation.

  23. I’ve asked for ECT but everyone looks at me in horror and says I’ll lose all the good parts of me. But on my worst days.. I lose all the best parts of me. I’d give anything to just have one night without a nightmare or one day without a flashback xx