Lighting The Spark (ECT Day 1)


It wasn’t nearly as harrowing as I expected.

They had me fill out some forms (“I agree that if my cerebellum sizzles like a frying egg, I absolve the cook from all responsibility…”). They encouraged me to empty my bladder, and recommended I put on a Depends diaper because sometimes people wet themselves when they’re on the muscle relaxants. I opted for no diaper. I’d expected to have to don a gown, but they let me keep my clothes on. Continue reading


Stalwart coffee drinker

Okay, I survived the ECT evaluation.

The people were nice, and the info I received gave me some peace of mind regarding the odds of my brain being permanently fucked up. The damage tends to be short term memory loss, and it usually goes away within a few weeks of treatment. There is always a danger that you’ll be one of the unlucky, but that’s life, and my life in its current state isn’t something to hold onto.

I need to make a change, and none of the other methods seem to work. ECT has the highest success rate of any treatment for depression, somewhere around 90% if I recall my initial reading. Antidepressants have less than 50%.

At my best, I’m very capable. I do things well. I tend to the details (I vacuum, when I vacuum, under the furnishings and in the corners, not just in the middle of things), and I do things right (like my writing, which I pride myself on making as close to copy-editor proof as possible). I’m outgoing and genial and people like me. I’m playful and goofy. And I am one damn fine dancer.

Unfortunately, my depression robs me of all that. Continue reading

Sophisticated Beehavior

Interesting article at Scientific American about the nature of consciousness, using bees as an example:

Although these experiments do not tell us that bees are conscious, they caution us that we have no principled reason at this point to reject this assertion. Bees are highly adaptive and sophisticated creatures with a bit fewer than one million neurons, which are interconnected in ways that are beyond our current understanding, jammed into less than one cubic millimeter of brain tissue. The neural density in the bee’s brain is about 10 times higher than that in a mammalian ce­rebral cortex, which most of us take to be the pinnacle of evolu­tion on this planet. In humans, widespread loss of cerebral cortex, as in the vegetative patient Terri Schiavo, leads to an irreversible loss of con­scious­ness. That is not to say that a cerebral cortex is necessary for consciousness in creatures with a different evolutionary heritage.

Very interesting stuff.