Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) - Anxiety and Depre...

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Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)

Caseopia
Caseopia

Hello. I'm new here and I'm scared to write a new post but I need to reach out. I saw an older forum on ECT and memory loss however there were no replies so I was hoping to start a new forum to see if anyone experienced the same or heard of this situation because I feel so alone. I had ECT about 5 years and the memory loss and current memory problems I've had since are terrifying and have affected every aspect of life: employment, self esteem, etc. It had wiped out about 5 years prior memories and also affects my short term memory. I am not able to work as I cannot remember the training and how to perform my job. I cannot remember prior conversations with other people. I forget appointments and important daily tasks that seem like would be common sense things. I do have some devices to assist with my daily tasks such as a smart pen, echo dot, automatic stove shut off device (as I forget I'm cooking sometimes) and a digital medicine box that sets alarms. They help to a certain point but my memory problems are so frustrating and at times embarrassing. I find myself putting myself down calling myself stupid because I'm also not as "smart" as I used to be. I feel like I'm a different person who lived a life with no recollection. I've taken amazing trips to places that I don't even remember going to. I don't recall ever getting engaged tho I know I was. Its frightening. I do number puzzles and memory games to work my brain. Does anyone have any other suggestions? I told my psychiatrist at the time what was going on and he said that can't happen from ECT. But he is wrong (he is no longer my doctor). I've talked to other doctors since and nurses and they have heard this type of situation. Just not to this severity. This is affecting my life severely which is why I wanted to reach out. I'm lost. Thank You for your time.

31 Replies
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HiddenThis reply has been deleted
Caseopia
Caseopia
in reply to Hidden

Thank you so much. I would love to have someone to chat with. I don’t have many people to talk to.

My mother had ECT way back in thge 70's and she did have memory loss - temporarily. I don't know how much the ECT process has changed over the years. Traumatic childhood events can cause memory loss as well. The memory loss I have is that I can't identify with myself or events of my childhood. I'm 64 now and have learned to exist outside of these issues. I rely on people to tell me about myself and events. It works pretty well. I play memory games as well. It seems to help "working memory" - that is being able to succeed at completing every tasks and processes. Good karma my friend!

Caseopia
Caseopia
in reply to NWGal

Thank you for you response. I appreciate it.

Hi, I had ect several years ago and feel similar. I often think that I am not as smart as I used to be due to poor memory. My issues are short term memory and small chunks of long term memory. Supposedly, my husband and I went to see Prince in concert. I only know this because he told me about it. Who forgets something like that, lol?! But you are right, it effects every part of your life and can actually make anxiety and depression worse. Ect did work for me, in that it curtailed my plans for suicide and I havent had those thoughts since then. I would not recommend ect for anyone unless they are in the lowest of lows, seriously thinking of suicide or harming someone else. Your memory issues do sound extremely severe. I would consider seeing a neurologist, just to make sure there is not something else going on. Just a thought.

Thank you. I took trips for example to Hawaii and only know because of pictures. So I understand. Thank you for your reply. I feel not so alone now.

I do not know of the treatment you underwent but I had repressed 50 yrs of memories due to childhood abuse. I healed from anorexia of 40 yrs recently and remember all my past only staring 3 yrs ago been in treatment for Anorexia 7 yrs on Jan of 2020 so how can I help

Caseopia
Caseopia
in reply to 56artist_

I’m glad to hear you’re healed of anorexia. I used to make myself purge and still have thoughts of wanting to do it again. I remember my childhood and young adult life. I’m 40. What I don’t remember is all the 5-7 years prior to treatment I had in my 30s and now my current memory is affected. I do know my anxiety makes my memory worse but the ECT is the main thing that messed up my memory. I can accept losing the memories. That is ok. It’s my current situation that is hard. I can’t even hold a job because of my memory and anxiety.

Caseopia
Caseopia
in reply to Caseopia

There is a forum on here from someone who experienced similar but it’s a few months ago. And there was no response.

56artist_
56artist_
in reply to Caseopia

Thanks for reply so sorry of your current situation I had never known about this treatment until now wow so tell me if you don't mind why you decided to do this treatment to help PTSD or what I'm dumb when it comes to this sort of therapy you went through

Caseopia
Caseopia
in reply to 56artist_

It was to help ptsd and severe depression. They put you slightly under anesthesia and induce a seizure by zapping you’re brain. People I’ve met said it helped but not with everyone. I didn’t find any benefit in doing so. But everyone is different.

Caseopia
Caseopia
in reply to Caseopia

My doctor in the psychiatric hospital convinced me to do it.

56artist_
56artist_
in reply to Caseopia

R u on disability so young 40 my daughter 36 a lot of life ahead this is sad

Caseopia
Caseopia
in reply to 56artist_

I filed and got denied but have my hearing in November. I have a lot of issues beyond what you’ve read but I’ve survived this far. It’s just really hard. Thank you for chatting.

opinkie33
opinkie33
in reply to Caseopia

I am on 100% disability.

In 2005 I had 12 session of ECT as an outpatient. I don't remember much about that summer, but my long-term memory is intact. However, I no longer have the total recall I used to have. I can't remember books I've read. I forget things more easily.

I second the suggestion that you see a neurologist. Your memory loss sounds extreme. I wish you well.

Caseopia
Caseopia
in reply to silver_kd

Thank you

Just wanted to say you’re brave and I’m sorry. I have ptsd & I don’t remember a few months of my life. It’s really messes me up & when I’m stressed too long I forget things in the day. Try not to stress about it. It’s possible things will come back the more you relax. I’ve had that experience. Try to feel safe and routines.

56artist_
56artist_
in reply to guitara69

I repressed childhood for 50 yrs plus only 3 yrs ago I recalled it all anorexia those 40 yrs destroyed all me recovered recently the treatment I received 7 yrs in Jan 2020 healed my mind process release each painful memory as they come therapy taught me it works for me not easy but I am learning to do it well to live and survive

Caseopia
Caseopia
in reply to 56artist_

I wish you well on your journey.

So sorry to hear what you are going through with memory loss and PTSD. I have read that sometimes ECT is the only thing that works for some people with severe depression.

It does sound very severe memory loss but getting over your depression if you have must be a huge positive.

Poor ST memory now must be very hard to deal with and possibly has more impact on day to day life that loosing parts of your past.

Is there are therapy or memory excercise which could help your ST memory?

Very best wishes

Kim

Caseopia
Caseopia
in reply to Kkimm

I’m ok with losing my past memories. It’s the ST memory issues that cause struggles with my day to day living. I’m trying to find some excercises as to what I can do to help my ST. Thank you for your response.

The same happened to me. I have short term memory loss, amnesia and loss of memory. It has affeIcted all aspects of my life. I am a Family Nurse Practitioner. I am no longer able to work as an FNP due to the trauma to my brain from the ECT. I regret getting it done. I was in the military when I had it done. I have no memory of being in the hospital and of consenting to the procedure. Since the procedure, I am isolated, I have loss all my social skills, I have no filter, I blurt out inappropriate thoughts sometimes. It is difficult to follow a conversation without the residual effects of the ECT taking over so sometimes I just don't talk because I am afraid I am going to say something inappropriate. I feel invisible. I will never be able to work as an FNP again. All those years of college and graduate school is wasted. I can never be in an intimate relationship because of my big mouth. I would not recommend this procedure to anyone.

Caseopia
Caseopia
in reply to opinkie33

You’re the best lay person I found so far that is going through the same from ECT and I’m so sorry to hear. No one believes it affected my brain so bad. And I filed for disability and the judge doesn’t even believe me. I was just telling my friend I want to go to Vermont to see it and he told me I’ve been there. I isolate also. It’s ruined me (ECT). Did you have tests done to confirm the memory/brain damage? I don’t have insurance to see a neurologist but the day I have it I have to go. I was told I had to call my employer after I was done with treatments to find out my work hours, coworkers names, etc. I didn’t even know where I worked. Now I can’t work. I don’t know what to do.

opinkie33
opinkie33
in reply to Caseopia

Yes I did. I saw a neuropsychiatris for testing. The testing took 5 hours. The doctor and my medical doctor, my therapist, and my psychiatrics wrote letters to the disability board that I am unemployable due to my memory loss, and amnesia.

Caseopia
Caseopia
in reply to opinkie33

I meant you’re the only person I’ve met so far. Not best. Typo.

Hidden
Hidden

I am not being disrespectful of your post, but honestly I wish I could forget lots of my past. It would be a blessing.

Caseopia
Caseopia
in reply to Hidden

I do understand that. I wish I could forget my childhood but I lost a lot of good memories as an adult and now have a learning disability. I didn’t take your post as disrespectful. I understand.

4 years ago I received over 50 treatments of ECT for severe depression. I have large sections of past memories I can't recall and piece together a lot of the time I spent with my children thru stories told to me by others. I am able to work but I have to focus really hard and write myself notes to remember things that are outside of daily repeated tasks. It is incredibly frustrating!! But here's the bright side. I came out of a deep depression that had keep me in bed for days at a time and no sense of joy. In fact I had already attempted suicide during that period and medication and counseling did nothing. I do grieve over the memories I have lost but I try to focus on the moment I'm in now as much as I can. I write myself notes throughout the day to remember things and try to follow repeatable patterns as much as I can in my daily tasks and at work. I set timers on my phone and use it to keep track of anything I have to do with my calendar app. I take pictures all the time of things because I have found that looking at these pictures can spark my memory of things I have done recently (trips to amusement parks, movie ticket stubs, even going out to dinner). The memory loss sucks but I try to stay in the moment I am in and record as much as I can thru notes and pictures so I can remember it later. I also know that without the help of ECT I would be dead right now. I hope some of my suggestions help.

Thank you. I do a lot of the same. I take many pictures because the memory will fade. I use many gadgets for reminders which help. It is frustrating but there is hope. I wish you the best and thank you.

I had 2 ECT treatments just over a year ago and it with the exception of my Dad dying of cancer at the age of 48 when I was one week away from my 21st b-day was the worst experience of my life! I wouldn’t recommend anyone to start with ECT. It should be the absolute last option and I believe it’s more successful for people who are catatonic or completely immobile b/c of severe depression or schizophrenia... Scientists still don’t know and can’t explain why or how it works but TMS is a vastly superior and modern technology to treat people with major depressive disorder, PTSD and even bipolar now... I have a TBI and anyone with a TBI should never ever get ECT!!! It took months for me to recover from ECT just to enjoy a massage again.and reconnect my memory and positive feelings... There are far too many treatments for Major Depression today and more are coming. John Hopkins and other top hospitals and universities have shown very promising results of MDMA, Magic mushrooms and LSD to help with not only mental illness but addiction.

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