I was reticent when it came to getting ready for my last ECT treatment. To begin with, I was already living North Carolina and I was going to have to go back to Sacramento, CA to have the treatment performed. In addition, it had been four months since my last treatment and I was feeling pretty good. Part of me was feeling that the treatment was unnecessary. Furthermore, the doctor and staff had changed facilities since my previous treatment and I was nervous about how well they had worked out any glitches and issues that invariably go along with such a change.
The thing that bothered me the most was that after this treatment, I was going have to be responsible for myself. For the previous two years, I was under the care of a psychiatrist who performed ECT, first in San Diego and then in Sacramento. In both cases I received treatments on an outpatient basis. Throughout that period, if I had a hiccup in my mood, I could have an ECT treatment, that day, which would bring me back to “level”. That happened twice when I was California, once in San Diego and once in Sacramento. In September of 2012, my parents and I flew to Sacramento where I had my last ECT treatment.
Now I’m in North Carolina, and while I have a Psychiatrist that performs ECT, local regulations require that ECT be performed on an in-patient basis. So, I don’t necessarily have that quick ECT parachute that I did in California. That’s not to say that I was more reckless when I was living in California, I just didn’t face the immediate possibility of having to be admitted to a mental health facility. I don’t have the cushion of an “easy” ECT treatment as a backup.
These days, I have to be more vigilant in monitoring my moods. If I find any issues, I can immediately get in touch with my psychiatrist who will fit me in. We can decide what actions to take. Medication change is the one that we both prefer. ECT is not off the table but it is a choice we would both prefer to avoid.
I do need to say here that no matter how much I am opposed to ECT and hospitalization I am confident in my self and my psychiatrist that we will make the right decision as to what action to take. If it should come to a situation where I am not competent to make a decision I trust that my parents would do whatever is in my best interest.
Let’s just hope it never has to come to that.