Some of you know, and maybe even experienced, the earthquake that hit southern Illinois yesterday morning. According to our news reports, some people felt it as close as Des Moines, which is only about 40 miles from us. Although I can't say we felt it, my husband and daughter-in-law both woke up unexpectedly at that same time yesterday morning, so it is possible they felt something, For my family, the real shaking began a few hours later.

I told you about the troubles my daughter was having in a post a couple of weeks ago. She put in her time in the hospital and was doing better and even got released sooner than she originally expected. Home, she appeared to be doing okay to the point where they even let her husband go back to work this past week. She was home alone and was trusted to be home alone. Before you start worrying, she is still alive and didn't try to harm herself. She was having a pretty good week until near the end of the week when the weather got really crappy again. Wind, rain, more rain, more wind, cold… I swear, it is enough to make a person who isn't having difficulties depressed! On Wednesday we had a long, good talk and I thought she wasn't doing too badly. Then on Thursday evening she told me it had been a rough day, but she didn't know if it was the depression, the weather, or if she was just coming down with something. She was scheduled to see her doctor yesterday, Friday, so would talk to him then.

I got a phone call from her yesterday around noon. Her husband was taking her home to pack her bag… she was being re-admitted to the hospital. This time she was crying not out of frustration because she had tried to end it all but because she was upset and scared. She is going to have electroshock therapy.

They are taking her off all her medication. Monday she will start a series of nine to twelve treatments, three times a week. At this point they are thinking they'll keep her in the hospital for all of next week and she may be released the following Wednesday, depending on how things go… then have the remaining treatments on an outpatient basis. At first thought the vivid scene from "One Flew Over The Coocoo's Nest" with Jack Nicholson comes to mind. The barbaric scene has tormented many a person with mental illness and the fact remains, in earlier years this was a very barbaric procedure and was not done in a humane way. Times have changed. They now have learned the procedure does have a place in modern medicine and that it can be done with anesthesia and muscle relaxers and the discomfort can be minimalized.

Still. That helpless feeling is back in full force. This is a path I've not walked before. i can't give my daughter the benefit of my experience. I can't tell her that I've done this and it will be okay. I was trying to explain this to my husband on the phone yesterday as I told him the situation. He quietly said, "Now you have to be like the rest of us. This is how it was when we watched you going through it." I guess if that is meant to be a life lesson God wanted me to learn then He can stop smacking me upside the head. I get it.

I haven't been good about getting around to everyone's blog. I know there are a lot of things going on out there in your world. When I've gotten around even a little I've seen things happening with you, your loved ones, your friends, your family. As much as distance of time and space seperates us all, we still have a bond… I feel it. Do you? Although I may not have been there lately, I still care. I still want to have hope and belief that you are all doing well and that the things that are troubling in your life are being resolved, healed, mended, better. I want good things to come.

Over the next couple of weeks, if you could, just give a little good thought my daughters' way, okay? I'd surely appreciate it. The doctor says this treatment could be life-changing. There is a 90% chance she could come out the other side and not have to suffer from depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. There is a great chance that instead of being on large doses of five or six medications, she may be on one or two… and at a tenth of the dosage. There is a side effect of memory loss and that has her terrified. She's afraid she'll lose "herself", forget "who she is". Again, I can only look to the research and the doctor and listen when they say she will probably lose the next two weeks of her memory. She will 'fill in' with previous memories of another day spent at the hospital, as that is what the mind does. Still, she will at the core be herself and will be cognitive and be able to make decisions and know who she is in the moment. I can't think this will be a fun time or stress free. However, I weigh the memory loss with the potential loss of depression, anxiety and suicide and I've got to think this is a good thing. At least, that's the light at the end of the tunnel I am personally holding onto.

I love my kids. I love my daughter. I wish I was the one carrying this burden, so she wouldn't have to. I want it to be all right. I need it to be all right. I'm just going to go with, "It will be all right" for now. Still? The ground can stop shaking any time.

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Middle-aged. Anti-social. Mom. Grandma. Town-raised farmer's wife. Iowan. Want more? Come read the blogs.

17 thoughts on “Shaken”

  1. I have a lot of experience witnessing ECT (most people call it “electro-convulsive therapy” now.

    I didn’t read the other post, but if she hasn’t been on all the medications, I am surprised that they are doing ECT. Medicine-resistant people like myself are good candidates for it, but it is rare unless all medications have been tried.

    Don’t worry about ECT. Here’s what happens:

    First, they sedate her.

    Second, they will induce a seizure with a small amount of electricity to the brain. It does not hurt. Let me repeat; it does not hurt.
    The longer she seizes, the better. With each seizure, the serotonin, norepineprhine and dopamine are triggered and increase in the brain. This is goodness, because that’s what’s missing in the brain due to synapse issues.

    Third: Do NOT be alarmed as to how she is for three to six hours after ECT. She will have short-term memory loss, she will look totally out of it, and you will worry. She may walk into walls. Know that this is temporary (three to six hours) and she will be fine after that.

    Typically, they do it three times a week for anywhere between three and ten weeks. It depends on how medication-resistant she is, and how she does along the way.

    It’s a very effective procedure for unipolar (depressed) and bipolar individuals (like me).

    One other option is to remember that finding the right “cocktail” of medications for unipolars and bipolars is really difficult. Everyone reacts differently to medications. Many times, it takes more than one to be effective.

    If the doctors think this is the right way to go, then okay. It’s just that I am surprised at it since it doesn’t seem like she has been on all of the potential cocktails of medications, since ECT is a last resort.

    Email me if you have any other questions. Remember that I tell people I am a walking encyclopedia of mental health information. I have seen it all, including MPD, which is really fascinating.

    I am here for you. Again, let me repeat; please do not be alarmed at how she is three to six hours after the procedure. It IS temporary. Tell everyone involved, because no matter what they tell you, until you experience it, you just won’t know what I am talking about.

    She’ll be fine, as long as she is getting help from the best facility that you have in your area.

  2. Don’t for a moment worry about the rest of us. You focus on family — they are what matter. She is getting the help she needs. 🙂 Hang in there.

  3. Thank you to The Absurdist for sharing the clear & concise explanations about the procedures & what can be expected! 🙂

    All of you will be in my prayers….
    -release and healing for A
    -hope for those watching, waiting, and praying
    -wisdom for the doctors, nurses & techs
    -the peace & grace that comes through the knowledge of Christ for all of you
    -release for you from any guilt that you have or carry about this
    -more encouragement, love and prayers from friends, family & strangers that you can begin to believe for

    May be the Peace & Love of Christ surround you.

    Love, Susan

  4. Aw Sue, I’m so sorry your family is going through this. Mostly, for your daughter who is lost inside herself. I hope she can find her way to feeling better, more centered, more alive.

    I would think it is doubly hard to watch a) your own daughter and b) someone you love go through similar depression as you once experienced. I will think good thoughts for her and for you.


  5. Wow, I didn’t realize they still did electro-shock. I really hope this works for your daughter. I can’t imagine what it’s like to be in her position but she will be in my thoughts.

  6. Oh, I’m so sorry you are going through this. As a mom, you want to do everything to protect your children. I have no experience with the ECT, and will pray that all goes well. Sending you many, many hugs!

  7. there is nothing that can make a mother feel more helpless when there is something going on with their child.

    know that i’m thinking positive thoughts for you, your daughter, and your family.


  8. Nothing is harder for a parent than having a suffering child. You want SOOO bad to be able to do something for them. The best thing you can do is just be there for themm, because that is all you can realistically do. Been through similar things when R was being a druggo. Hang in there, there are lots of us out here sending love and prayers.

  9. Wow. What a shock to read this. I am sending all the good thoughts I can find to both your daughter and yourself. Keep us updated on how she is doing.

  10. Praying for you all. Praying for the very best outcome.

    Anyone who is a parent knows how very hard this is for you – watching your daughter suffer and seeing that the treatment is nearly as frightening as the disease itself. *sigh*

    Many {{{HUGS}}} for you. Think positive thoughts – this WILL be good, this WILL help, she WILL be better. Never underestimate the power of positive thinking.

  11. Oh Sue, I’m so sorry to hear that you and your family are going through this. I’m sure it’s frustrating to not be able to just reach right and “fix” it for her. My thoughts and prayers will be with you and I hope that she’s able to get through this and find the help that she’s looking for.

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