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?!!

“The Soul Began to March”

The quote above ignited me years ago to begin my writing journey. I do not remember where it came from. If you know, please tell me, so that I can give the author acknowledgement.

Author, Unknown

Today, I’m writing about the data and MY soul.

Maybe stories are just data with a soul.

Brene Brown

Today, I’m giving you the data, which is not that interesting to everyone. I’m also giving you a part of my soul, my story. I hope you read it.

“In 2016, nearly 400,00 inmates in US jails and prisons were estimated to have a mental health condition. Of those inmates, an estimated 90,000 were defendants who had been arrested and jailed but had not come to trial because they were too disordered to understand the charges on which they were detained.” – Treatment Advocacy Center

Here is the cold, hard truth. If my father and my mother’s family did not watch over my middle class, white mother, she would have been one of those statistics. “It’s the family’s responsibility,” you might judge, then say aloud.

Picture this, you have a son who begins to exhibit odd behavior. In fact, the behavior is so odd, that you realize you need to get help for him. You take him to the nearby hospital and try to explain the bizarre symptoms – the delusions, the paranoia about the FBI and the CIA, both of which have absolutely nothing to do with him, his family or his friends. He begins to self-harm or lash out physically to your spouse or another child. The hospital tells you they can do nothing without your 20 something son’s consent and even then, they are powerless to help him.

Thus begins your nightmare. The data and your son, your soul have met. What will you do? He’s harming others. He’s obsessed with the government whom he believes is controlling his thoughts. Your spouse threatens to leave if the behavior does not stop.

This scenario is repeated over and over again. Pete Earley, a former journalist with the Washington Post, has written a book that involves his son who has bipolar.

Not all of us are well known journalist. Thank God Pete Earley is.

If you don’t have time to read a book, please listen to D. J. Jaffe in the youtube video above.

There is a problem. It needs to be fixed somehow and some way. First, we have to acknowledge the problem.

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