This page is a place for ECT survivors to share their experiences so the world can see the truth about this ‘procedure’ that is so carefully left out of brochures, medical textbooks, and the mainstream media.
This includes stories collected from books, the internet, and stories exclusively shared with me for this website.
It’s time we are heard.
ECT Survivor Project
I had 17 ECT’s forced in January-February of 1998. It was nearly 20
I never could understand how I could love my daughter again. She is really messed up bad.
My journey started in 1989 but I am tired of writing on it. Suffering could have been prevented. I was not a depressed woman, not ever.
It was because I didn’t marry one man in 1989 that led up to my shocks by 1998.
Can anyone give me clues as to how to maintain relationships anymore?
I read what a Jane wrote – the only word that comes close is hell.
Judy had unnecessary forced ECT in 1998. She spent the last 20 years unable to emotionally connect with others–her own daughter suffering greatly as a result. This is a reminder that there is never just one casualty of ECT; family and friends pay an equally heavy price.
Many ECT survivors report a feeling emotionally numb and disconnected, myself included. Some answers to this may come from understanding the systems involved in love and connection (hint: it’s not just your heart). There is evidence that ECT is an electric lobotomy, disconnecting the frontal lobes from the rest of the brain and doing god knows what else to this intricate system we call the brain.
Along with emotional disconnect, Judy continues to struggle with cognitive problems, decades after ECT.
Stories like Melanie’s aren’t they exception– they are the rule. People are being told ECT is harmless and serious side effects are rare. Some patients are even told ECT can improve memory! As if being disabled by ECT isn’t bad enough, when patients seek help putting their lives back together, doctors almost always DENY anything …
Oliver Swingler generously shared his powerful shock story with with me many months back. You can find that here here. This is another piece of his work relating to his experience with electroshock. ELECTRO-CONVULSIVE THERAPY Elephants don’t arrange to have memories wiped out Larks don’t sing tunes that awaken chronic doubt Electric eels don’t give …
…Soon after ECT I realised I could [not] remember all of the alphabet, nor my times table although I’d As in maths GCE O and A level, and I often stayed at home, irrationally fearing I’d be asked to recite them – for weeks I didn’t know first names of my parents, older siblings…
Many people argue that stories like Riikka’s must have happened in the dark ages of psychiatry because electroshock isn’t like that anymore! Patients and their families are adequately informed of the risks. They aren’t bamboozled, coerced, or threatened into “treatment.” Electroconvulsive “Therapy,” (ECT) or as some psychiatrists are now calling it “brain stimulation,” is safe, effective and doesn’t cause any damage.
Riikka’s story, my story, and the 100+ stories of survivors in our ECT support group says otherwise.
People are lied to about the risks of death and brain damage. People are still coerced, and bullied into treatment. When survivors try to get help for brain damage, we are gas lit–told nothing is wrong, or if something is wrong, its not from the shock, but our “mental illness.”
It’s time electroshock is recognized for what it truly is; a crime against humanity.