Electroshock Therapy

Just to type those two words, “Electroshock Therapy” makes my heart beat faster and causes my anxiety to rise. To remember that my mother had electroshock therapy in the 50s and 60s both satisfies me and frightens me.

If you have found your way to my blog on my mother’s schizophrenia, please do not be alarmed. Electroshock therapy is not always a bad thing. It’s administered very differently than it was during my mother’s lifetime.

There is much talk about how bad the mental hospitals were in the 50s an 60s. Equally horrifying to some is the idea of electroshock therapy. I can only tell you as an eyewitness to my mother’s condition, she came out of the hospital a more sane person than when she went in. She was not a zombie. We could actually talk to each other after her treatment. I did not see the mummified person that is depicted in the movies.

Thorazine is another word that might scare people. I can only, once again, tell you from my eye witness account of my mother’s emotional state when she was off the thorazine, things were not pretty, which is putting it mildly. Most of us who were around my mother could tell when she was off her medication. The paranoia haunted her. The cries in the night, the “dialogue” with people through the printed word of the newspaper were horrid. Horrid.

Imagine your worst frightful memory and multiply it by 10,000.

When you see the deranged man in the street that is alone and cold, remember that his brain may be experiencing delusions, hallucinations and paranoia. Simply put, we give people a coat, which is admirable, but what they REALLY need is their medication. Society presumes to know what they need when they are not even aware of their illness. We try to tell them about religion, which is not a bad thing, but what they often need is a warm bed and family who is estranged from them because they will not accept treatment. Texas is toward the bottom of all the states in our country in how it treats the mentally ill. Jails and prisons are becoming the new asylum.

The link below gives the data.


https://www.treatmentadvocacycenter.org/browse-by-state/texas

Anosognosia

Long before I knew that anosognosia was a word, I knew it existed. Even after multiple hospital stays and numerous attempted suicides, delusions, hallucinations, and paranoia, my mother NEVER admitted she had any mental health condition. Finally, there is a word for it, “Anosognosia”. Frankly, I have trouble pronouncing the word, but it’s good to know it exists. Imagine how hard it is to get help for a loved one when you call to make an appointment at your local MHMR and hear the words, “They must call.” WHAT?!!

How and why would my mentally ill mother make a phone call for something she never acknowledged?! You think it might be difficult to get people help?!!

2 thoughts on “Electroshock Therapy”

  1. This is stirring up memories. I believe I’ve mentioned that I had an aunt with schizophrenia. We lived a couple of miles from her (she was my Mom’s older sister). Aunt lived alone with my Mom looking in on her as she could. I got to see a lot of her, although for a time I was too young to understand her bizarre behavior. As an older teen, I found papers detailing her diagnosis. I also discovered my aunt had undergone electroshock therapy (this would have been the late 50’s/early 60’s) and the period right after that it seems to coincide with a couple of years during which my aunt used to take me out on Saturdays, just the two of us. We had some wonderful times. Medication, I can’t speak to. But by the time I was a teen she was, hate to use this expression, totally off the rails. And you lived with this all the time.

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    1. I think there are more people out there with similar experiences, but they don’t want to discuss it. I refuse to live with the shame any longer. Thank you so much for reading and responding.

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