Hospitalization: One Week

A week ago today I went for my early morning ketamine treatment at the hospital and never left. The plan was set in motion last Wednesday. I needed to be hospitalized and I needed to be safe. I was not thrilled with the idea but was the one who made the call to push things forward.

I met with the doctor who always follows me when I am inpatient and we came to an agreement: I would have 3 ECT treatments before beginning my new medication which I could not begin until today. I had the ECT treatments which brought back a level of anxiety in me I would not wish on anyone. They seemed to help my mood though so I am holding on to that positive. The first ECT was difficult though as ketamine was used as the actual anesthetic which I had never had before. I had difficulty walking after the treatment and even required 2 counselors to help me in the bathroom which was one of the most humiliating moments of my life. I was shaky all day but was told that they would go back to using the anesthetic they used in the past for future treatments.

I went to groups, talked with other patients, counselors and doctors and took care of myself. It was a difficult 7 days. I was away from my daughter, whose only understanding of me being away was that I went somewhere to get new medicine for my depression. I missed her more and more as each day went by. My husband visited as did my parents.

Evenings were the most difficult for me. I felt desperately alone and ached to hold my daughter. I worried about the burden I had become to those I love. I perseverated about these things over and over again.

I knew I needed to be in the hospital and did not waste time going over that. I needed to be in a safe place with little responsibility.

I am home now and very happy to be here. I feel exhausted and a bit overwhelmed. I still need to take things slowly and moment by moment. No extra pressure needed here!

I began my new medication this morning which comes in patch form (MAOI). I pray for positive results. I only agreed to a few ECT treatments to lift me up enough out of my misery in order to hold me until this new medication kicks in. I am terrified of doing more because of my memory issues and because of the great anxiety that is conjured up prior to each treatment. Again, I am focusing on moments at a time right now while I transition back to home life.

I will say it again: depression is a mean and horrible illness and I will continue to fight it with everything I have. I am lucky to have my treatment team in place and my family and friends are right by my side. It will take me some time to thoroughly process the past 7 days and I know I need to give myself that time and opportunity. Honestly, it’s a lot. A lot transpired during the past 7 days and while some was inspiring, some was downright terrifying and brought me to a place of pure despair and loneliness.

If you see me, if you want to contact me, just be positive and be supportive. I honestly cannot handle anything more or less right now. Just be real.


Consultation Results

I’m not writing this for advice as this is my decision (and my family’s)…what I do want is to keep everything real. I have been writing about my struggles with depression for several months now and even though this is intense stuff, it is reality…my reality. I have been real in my writing and updating and I don’t want that to change just because things are more acute.

Yesterday was incredibly difficult. I first saw my psychiatrist for a double session and then went right to meet the psychopharmacologist. I was emotionally spent and nervous, but I went. The doctor was very nice and I felt comfortable. He definitely knew what he was talking about and formulated various possibilities after hearing my history and my current state. These are the options:

Most Aggressive: ECT (that’s right, shock therapy). Once you get the “Snake Pit” image out of your head, it is very helpful for people where medications are not. It is also not barbaric as it once was (or what you see on TV/movies) and you are under anesthesia for the treatment.
More Aggressive: MAOI medication. It is helpful but I would need to go off all of my current meds and be off of them for 2 weeks. There is also a special diet I would need to follow if I take these meds.
More Aggressive: TMS (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation) This is relatively new and is very different than ECT. There is no anesthesia, you are awake for the 40 minute treatment, it is not harmful and studies show it is very helpful in people who have not had luck with medications. There is no memory loss as there could be with ECT and no anesthesia to deal with.
Conservative: Another class of medication.

Where I stand (along with my husband and my psychiatrist): stop one medication that is not working and then try the “Conservative” medication and at the same time look into TMS. I am at bottom right now and I feel like we need to do something aggressive. I simply cannot continue to live my life like this. It’s not fair to my family and it’s not fair to me. The biggest worry will be insurance coverage for the TMS. Mine is not listed as one that accepts it as a treatment for major depression. I will do my due diligence though to find out. Where is the mental health parity? This just adds another level of stress and if I had diabetes, there would be no problem with treatment coverage.
Depression sucks.