Shock Me

Tomorrow, I have an appointment with the storm.

I’ve written here about my longtime depression, and my attempts at dealing with it. Last year, I spent a fuckton of money I couldn’t afford trying a treatment called transcranial magnetic stimulation, with a local doctor named Brian Teliho. (You can read all about it here and here). I saw it as my last stop before taking the step of ECT, electroconvulsive therapy, the less barbaric modern version of ye olde electroshock. If the TMS didn’t work, I planned in January to sign on for ECT.

Well, the TMS was a complete waste of time and money. But come January, I went back to my regular pattern, which is, frankly, to try to do better. To try to get to the gym regularly. To try to write a bit every day. You can find my little plans and hopes in the posts I wrote here, and as always, the depression won out.

Then, I fell in love, and that did make a difference. Kate improved my life. She inspired me to write. I started to think, y’know, I sure am glad I didn’t do ECT, because all I really needed was Kate.

But the truth of the matter was that, as much as her support and presence helped, it didn’t help nearly enough. When I was with her, I functioned well enough, but most of that functioning was just hanging out with her, enjoying her and sharing things with her. When she was back home, hundreds of miles away, I tried to stay upbeat and buckle down, and I did get some writing done, but the usual fluctuations of energy and motivation were still there. Maintaining that same pace, I’d still get nowhere.

Then, of course, I lost her. I expected that to pretty much destroy me, at least for a while, but as I wrote in my last post, I recovered (mostly) from the trauma of it almost immediately. I was relieved and clear-headed and thoughtful…and I picked up the phone and called the ECT clinic.

The only thing this has to do with Kate is that I wasn’t doing it while I was with her because I was entertaining the false hope that I didn’t need it. This is what I need to do. I should have done it in January. I damn sure should have done it instead of TMS.

It’s a big step. It’s a harrowing process, it costs a lot (though not as much out of pocket as TMS, which insurance won’t cover), and there are dangers. The biggest danger is memory loss and possible losses in cognition; as a father, I’m terrified of losing memories of my son, and as a writer I’m worried I’ll lose the particular synergy between left brain and right which allows me to use language and imagery in the fanciful ways I do.

But you know what? If I can’t actually make myself write often enough to produce anything, it doesn’t matter how great that synergy is. And if I wind up losing all hope and killing myself, I lose my son altogether and worse, he loses me.

So, I have an appointment with the storm, and I’m going to ride the lightning.

Wish me luck.

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