Hey Gang o' Pals...first off, the soundtrack for this post is "Baby Blue" by Badfinger. This was the song that played in the last episode of Breaking Bad as Walter White dies in the Nazi's Speed Lab after he has taken every one else out and Jesse has escaped. This post is dedicated to my friend Keith who loved that show. We would always compare notes post episode. He missed the last half season of so because he could no longer take the day to day struggle of of keeping his head up any more so he hung himself. It was difficult to watch the rest of that final season and after every episode I wrote a little note to Keith to let him know how the season was winding down. This is an insanely fucked up thing to say but I was mainly angry at Keith not because he killed himself but because I knew that I was gonna have to wait a long time before I got to do myself in, cuz the impact on our group of friends and family would just be too much. I love you Keith, Luna and I think about you a lot and we really miss you, take care. We know you found Moby to hang out with....(there is supposed to be a picture of Keith and Moby here but this laptop which has actually given me many years of pretty decent usage is now attempting to commit electronic hari kari, it's all good, I need to write more about Uncle Keith more anyway at a later date)
This post is gonna be the last god damn piece I write about my experience with Electro Convulsive Therapy (ECT). Originally it was gonna be a free form tirade about my negative experiences and the side effects that I am still trying to recover from (some that are never going away) 3 weeks out from the last electrically induced seizure. Instead, I'm just gonna let you know what happened. This is strictly my opinion and what I know from personal experience and my own research. I'm not gonna back this up with a bunch of links and posts from psychiatrists arguing the merits. It just is what it fucking is.
Statistically, 85-90% of people who Ride the ECT Lightning show improvement and the abatement of depression symptoms and characteristics. I am one of the 10-15%. Bottom line, it did not work. I am still depressed and have free floating suicidal ideation running rampant through my brain. I got shocked three times a week for about two and a half months or so, evidently got turned into a mumbling goofball for that time period and completely eradicated some older memories from before the sessions started and did not allow memories to form (for the most part, I have some tiny pieces from that time that have no connection to anything) during the months of March through May. I went to movies, got tattoos, had dinner at my favorite restaurants with great friends and do not remember any of it. I had phone conversations, email exchanges, texts back and forth, Facebook posts and messages that I have no recollection of. I went to group and individual therapy, AA meetings, friend's country property and as far as my brain is concerned, none of it fucking happened. I know that people took me to and fro from my treatments but I don't really know who or when they did it. Luckily, I was taking a shitload of notes as I tend to do so I have been able to backtrack and figure out what the fuck was going on. I owe my life to my friends and family but I can't remember what they did for me or when. My folks brought my sister who I have not seen in forever down to visit me, we went out to eat and well, you get the idea. My biggest heartbreak over this period goes to the fact that my daughter Cydney brought her boyfriend down from Dallas to meet me and I DON'T FUCKING REMEMBER IT. IT'S LIKE IT NEVER HAPPENED, at least on my end.
It's taking some time for me to realize and be comfortable with the fact that it all happened and that I actually behaved in a kind and friendly manner. I am still figuring out through texts, etc...who helped me so I can properly thank them but I am pretty sure I won't get to everyone...there really are just too many....it's a good problem to have when you have a cabal of friends who watch over you and keep you safe when your brain is not firing on all cylinders.
My first fairly cognitive memories post ECT start on May 23 at the Hole In The Wall. Jeff Smith of the Hickoids/Gay Sportscasters/Saustex Records fame had set up a fundraiser for longtime Austin malcontent/ferociously good guitar player Davy Jones who is dieing of cancer.
I got to talk to a lot of people I have not seen in a long time and I got to feel like I was doing something productive for a change. I drank a shit load of Topo Chico and herded band cats around. Actually, all the folks in the bands were complete badasses and no one (that I can remember, so who fucking knows)needed to be reminded of why they were there. I was sort of back amongst the living.
So, since that time, I have been coming out of the haze and I recently went back to talk to the Chief Electrician at Shoal Creek, Dr. Garcia (who also is a big Clash fan, so I already trusted him to a certain extent before we even started this electro disco shock dance) to discuss how the ECT experiment was over. He agreed with me that it did not work and that the main side effects (the memory issues)were too much for me and were making things worse.
So now we are back to medication discussions as the the modern stuff I am on is not really working either. That discussion is for another blog in the future. My battery on the laptop that is going to be thrown in front of a Capitol Metro Bus in the near future won't charge anymore, so I gotta hurry the fuck up and finish this. Its probably a good thing actually, cuz it means I am not gonna meander on forever griping about my brain.
So, lets wind this fucker up....Here are 2 questions that pop up:
1-Am I upset that I tried it (ECT)?- For the most part, no. How in the fuck are you supposed to figure out if something works if you don't try it? I mean, I would never know that I love sushi till I put thta first piece of dead fish in my mouth.
2-Would I recommend it to anyone else?- I would recommend that you have a serious discussion about the possibilities with your docs, do some more research on your own, consult with family and friends and make the best decision you can. I mean it worked for Princess Leia and a lot of other folks so it cant be all bad.
This is one of those experiences that falls under "better to regret something you have done than something you havn't"
Onward through the fog folks. I am committed to keep fighting this plague of locusts that seem to be following me around....more soon...love y'all...jason