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onesadgirl

When ECT doesn't work

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I did a round of ECT in December (I think it was 7 sessions, but my memory for December is a little fuzzy from the ECT).  Afterwards I was the least depressed I've been in years.  I was down right normal, happy, hopeful, the whole deal.  Everyone could tell, people made comments about how much better I looked, etc.  And then two weeks later I relapsed into incredibly deep, suicidal depression. 

 

Before ECT in my depressed despair I was already telling myself how hopeless it all was-- I've been on basically every medication out there and more cocktails than I can count with nearly no success, I try in therapy but I've never found it particularly helpful despite numerous therapists and therapy styles.  But now, I mean seriously, not even ECT is going to fix it.  I'm still fighting with my insurance company about paying for the ECT (even though it was supposedly pre approved) so I could potentially get stuck with a $25,000 bill. I took every minute of my leave from work to do the treatment.  For what, two happy weeks?  It's so depressing I can't stand it. I know depression can make me believe that things are hopeless, but this doesn't feel like a depression talking thing.  Really, if meds, therapy, and ECT can't treat your depression, there realistically aren't really options left.  Even my psychiatrist seems to have pretty much given up.  The last time I saw him I told him I basically ready to kill myself and he was like, well, I'll see you next month.  Helpful. 

 

I feel like there is nothing left to try and no reason to live.  I can't just keep going like this.

 

 

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I had an unfortunate experience with ECT and had to stop it. I will never be doing it again. But I am on a new combination of meds (like you, I feel I have tried everything) and I feel considerably better. At least better enough to be making some small yet significant changes in my life and having therapy actually help (which, as you probably know, is often impossible when completely depressed.) I am on a new cocktail, so some of the meds are new and some not. My guess is that although you may have tried every med you haven't tried every combination of meds. That gives me hope for you, and for myself. It's not an ideal situation by any means, but have you tried tricyclics or MAOIs? I am currently on a tricyclic with a relatively new SSRI and it is keeping me somewhat even-keeled. That's enough for me to try alternatives like acupuncture, as well as looking into group therapy, Chinese herbs and social activities. Keep searching for the right combo.

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I have maintenance ECT.  I did lose memory at first when they did several close togeather to get me stable, but I no longer lose memory.  I get one every 4 weeks.  Before I started the ECT I was depressed or in a mixed episode for about 5 years.  ECT really saved my life.  But even if you don't decide to do more ECT, I think malachite had a good thought.  There is still lots of combinations of meds to try.  I hope you find something that works for you.

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Thanks all for the suggestions, I did read them, I was just too depressed to respond. 

 

Thankfully, my insurance company decided to stop being ridiculous (they fought me and the doctor for over a month for paying for the first round of ECT- after the fact- saying I wasn't sick enough), so I've started up weekly maintenance treatment and I think that's helping a little.  I don't want to be tied to that weekly forever, but hopefully it can be reduced down the line. 

 

And Malachite- I'm so glad someone else gets how nearly impossible talk therapy is when you're super depressed.  My non MI friends don't get that.  Nice to know I'm not the only one. 

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Hey onesadgirl. I'm glad its helping a bit. I hope it helps more as you continue. I'm glad your insurance company stopped being dicks. It will most likely be reduced soon.

Best wishes and take gentle care of yourself through this time.

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My post on the unilateral and bilateral ECT thread touched on this a little.  I had 28 ECT treatments.  I had a period of a few weeks at the begin of the series I felt awesome.  Unfortunately I don't remember any of it and only heard about it second hand.

 

When I finished and still felt awful, I was devastated.  The hospital suggested I do a whole other series in a few months.  My pdoc said to hold off because sometimes your brain can be more responsive to meds for up to a year after ECT.  It took nearly a year, but I revisited some of my old meds, tried a few new ones, and managed to cobble together a cocktail that has given me some relief.  I am not cured, but a lot better.

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On February 16, 2014 at 2:43 PM, malachite said:

I had an unfortunate experience with ECT and had to stop it. I will never be doing it again. But I am on a new combination of meds (like you, I feel I have tried everything) and I feel considerably better. At least better enough to be making some small yet significant changes in my life and having therapy actually help (which, as you probably know, is often impossible when completely depressed.) I am on a new cocktail, so some of the meds are new and some not. My guess is that although you may have tried every med you haven't tried every combination of meds. That gives me hope for you, and for myself. It's not an ideal situation by any means, but have you tried tricyclics or MAOIs? I am currently on a tricyclic with a relatively new SSRI and it is keeping me somewhat even-keeled. That's enough for me to try alternatives like acupuncture, as well as looking into group therapy, Chinese herbs and social activities. Keep searching for the right combo.

If you haven't tried MAOIs it may be time. I'm alive today because of it.  The list of foods you give up is nothing to me compared to the level of improvement. 

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I know this is an old thread but I'll post this anyway.

My 23 y/o daughter has depression, along with her borderline personality disorder and some anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder mixed in.  In her teens she had terrible anxiety, which caused her to miss a lot of school and eventually drop out and get her GED.  Now the anxiety isn't her main problem.  The depression is.

She's had several therapists over the years, several psychiatrists. She's tried several medications with various side-effects and others with no good results. She's had in-patient hospitalizations and out-patient partial hospitalizations because of her suicidal thoughts and attempts.  She says there's no future for her and feels hopeless.  She doesn't think anything can help.

Her last psychiatrist basically dropped her and said she should do Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), which she did for a couple months with no change.

She got a new psychiatrist who said she should try ECT, so she's been doing that for the last month.  That seems to have made her depression worse.  She never felt better and it affected her memory.

They want her to continue the ECT once every other week and sent her to their in-patient hospital to see if they'd take her in and start DBT therapy.  However that hospital rejected her and said she needed to do out-patient partial hospitalization and utilize a regular DBT therapist.

Now she's still very depressed and started with a new DBT therapist.  Not sure if she'll have to change psychiatrist or not though.  And I'm not sure if she should continue with the ECT anymore.

There's no change in medication.  She is hesitant to try Ketamine because she's worried about any potential addiction issues.

She feels like she's tried everything and nobody has an answer, which makes her even more depressed.

My money is almost gone.  I've paid the $8,000 maximum for my insurance for the last several years.  She has bills that I'm paying because she has trouble working during the treatments. She was rejected for Disability because she had worked a little in the last year.  I don't even think it would be helpful for her to not work.  She needs to do something and not think about negative things all day.  I'm about ready to give up too because I just don't know what more can be done and nobody else seems to know either.  I help her when she's at her darkest moments but it's very draining and never seems to end. Very hopeless, helpless, depressing....

 

 

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