The Irish Times
December 7, 2009
MARY MADDOCK (62) doesn’t remember anything about the first time she received electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). Memory loss was the biggest side-effect of the treatment. In fact, she says, she has lost entire chunks of her life.
“It completely wiped everything out,” she says. “I spent eight weeks in the psychiatric hospital and most of it is gone. I don’t remember where I ate or slept or who came to see me.”
Mary had given birth to her daughter Claire two weeks earlier. Doctors believed she was suffering from a form of post-natal depression, but she had no history of psychiatric problems or depression.
She remembers more about the second time she underwent ECT, in the late 1980s. “I remember the cylinders for the electric shock; I remember them taking your pillow, so they had better access to your head, taking the anaesthetic and counting backwards until you were knocked out.
“It was a very scary thing to be part of, not knowing what was happening and then waking up with the most awful pain in your head like you wouldn’t believe. And not remembering things which had happened recently. It was like a big chunk of your life being taken away.
“This is why I can’t even remember holding Claire in my arms for the first time. It breaks my heart.”
Read entire article: http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2009/1207/1224260241533.html