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ujerryskid
New Member


Date Joined Dec 2005
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 12/12/2005 3:14 PM (GMT -7)   
I hope someone can offer some advice. I have no idea what to do. My mother has been diagnosed bi-polar for some time now. All my life, she has been on different pills for this, or needed surgery for that. My father told me at one point that she was also a hypocondriact. There were some very destructive "manic phases" that I remember well, but right now, things are worse than ever. My mother sleeps 18 hours out of the day. She has completely lost her will to live. She is usually really into the Christmas spirit, but this year has done nothing so far to prepare for the holidays. I do not know what to do for her. I live a couple of hours away. I try to call every day, only to reach my step-dad with yet another grim report. I have suggested that she come stay with me. I have tried to get her to do the things she used to enjoy. However, it seems like the longer she doesn't do anything, the harder it is for her to get out of bed. She has gone to the psychiatric unit twice this year to try to get her medication straight, but nothing has helped. One doctor had suggested "shock therapy" at one point, but I haven't heard very good things about it. I really feel like my mother is going to die soon if we don't get some help, and I just don't know what to do. ~Christina

Ellie 1
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 1291
   Posted 12/12/2005 4:03 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Christina, Welcome to healingwell
IMO Your mother is extremely depressed and needs immediate help. Have they considered another inpatient stay to regulate meds and perhaps get her back on track? Is she on anti-depressants? If so, is she actually taking her meds? They can't work if she's not taking them.
Is your stepfather concerned about her turn for the worse or just expecting her to get over it on her own? That is often the case if a family member doesn't understand.
Hang in there hon, its good she has you on her side. Try to get her back to the dr. She needs help
You and your family will be in my prayers
Ellie

ujerryskid
New Member


Date Joined Dec 2005
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 12/12/2005 8:15 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Ellie, thanx. Yes, she is on medication, and she does take it. I have thought about her going back for inpatient, but they just don't help very much at the hospital here. They send her home in a week, and it never seems to do any good. My stepdad has issues, he divorced her at one point because in one of her manic phases, she spent his entire life savings. He still feels obligated to take care of her, just not allow her access to his finances. Right now, he seems supportive, but he wants to "fix" it like I do, and she keeps telling us that she doesn't know what is wrong or how we can make it better. Do you know anything about shock therapy? I just feel that this has gone one for so long and nothing ever works. I know that my mom has a tremendous amount of guilt about things she has done, and I know they were because of her illness, and I have told her that I forgive her, but she has expressed to me in the past that she cannot forgive herself. Would shock therapy help her to forget those things?

Ellie 1
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 1291
   Posted 12/12/2005 10:08 PM (GMT -7)   
Sorry I can't help you with that. I know absolutely nothing about shock therapy. It sounds drastic and frightening but then all I've ever heard about it are some overdramatized images on television which I'm sure aren't anywhere near accurate. Have you found any info on the net? I'm going to check it out in a little while as well.
Your mothers regret is almost classic. We have almost all done things we can't even bear to think about in the midst of a manic episode. Be it extravagant spending, or wild sexual exploits etc. it seems to be one of the symptoms of mania. Not being able to predict the consequences of our actions. Only to look back in a more stable moment terribly ashamed.
Perhaps your mom could post here as well. She is certainly welcome and it may make her feel better to know she's not alone in any of this. She sure isn't the first to do something wild and out of character.
Take care
Ellie

clic
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 114
   Posted 12/13/2005 10:18 AM (GMT -7)   

Dear Christina,

I am a fourth year BA nursing student who has seen the benefits of ECT (shock therapy) first hand. I worked on a psychiatric unit and personally had 2 patients that had ECT done during my stay there.  One specifically was treatment resistant, so ECT was a viable option. It is the last resort, but can be very effective. They are put out for a brief period in a surgical suite, and 2 "knobs" (they look like the knobs they use for ultrasound) are placed around the temples or in close vicinity. The "current" is not like you see in the movies-everyone is different but generally you may see some twitching of the toes or limbs, and it is very quick. The patient  is sent to recovery. They generally suffer short term memory loss, and this can be frightening at first, but memory does return. Some also find they expereince headaches. Treatment generally occurs more frequently to begin with, and then only maintenance therapy. An hour after ECT, I saw patients who could barely walk and function (due to depression) come alive, interact with others, it was truly amazing. Now I am by no means a professional just because I saw 2 cases and read up on it, I only wanted to let you know that it is not barbaric and that for some, it is a last option that really does work...good luck Christina,  I wish you and your family all the best.

Shannon


Jakki
New Member


Date Joined Dec 2005
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 12/14/2005 9:51 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Christina,

I was diagnosed with severe depression, anxiety and bipolar "tendencies" about 10 years ago. At that time I was not responding to any meds and I decided that I wanted to have ECT. I made my decision based on a book that I read that was written by a woman who had had great success with ECT. I know now that I didn't do enough research at the time to make an informed decision - but I was desperate and I thought that I had no other options. In May of 1996 I consulted a doctor about the whole process. It was just as described by Shannon. I too was told that I may have short term memory loss that wouldn't last. The doctor described a typical example as: "You may not be able to remember what you had for breakfast that morning." I decided to proceed and I had several regular treatments over the next seven or eight weeks. I did not respond to the treatments right away, and the doctor eventually stopped because he felt that continuing would not benefit me. Over the next two months I did eventually start to feel somewhat better, but I did not feel that the ECT did wonders for my depression.

Unfortunately, I experienced memory loss that was MUCH more significant than the doctor had described. I "lost" about 3 or 4 years of my memory (the years immediately preceding the ECT treatments) and it did not come back. A few of the things I have no memory of from that time period are:

1. all the people I had met for the first time during that time period
2. all the vacations I went on
3. all the movies I saw and all the books I read
4. a close friend's wedding - I had performed vocal solos at the church during the ceremony
5. another friend had been very pregnant with twins right before I had the ECT, and 6 months later I saw her with the babies and I asked her who she was babysitting for, I had no recollection of her pregnancy

It was embarrassing and frightening. I felt like I was going crazy. It's been 9 1/2 years and it still is quite blurry. My husband, family and friends have filled me in on so many things, and I have seen photos of the vacations and major social events, so I have pieced together most of it. But I still occasionally come across things from that time that I had totally forgotten.

Anyway, I just wanted to tell you that I know ECT has helped so many people with mental illness, but I think it is very important to investigate ALL the options before taking such extreme measures. Today there are so many medications available that were not in existence 10, 20, 30 and 40 years ago. I finally looked outside my local area for a psychiatrist with a more dynamic philosophy. You may want to look for a doctor who specializes in psychopharmacology. Good luck to you and your mother.

Jakki

ujerryskid
New Member


Date Joined Dec 2005
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 12/15/2005 8:14 AM (GMT -7)   
Thank you very much for sharing your experience with me. I am currently trying to investigate the ECT, and it's nice to get the veiw point of someone who has been there. I had a friend who had been through it, and it was quite scary. So, of course when they first mentioned it, I was totally against it. I am going to see if I can find out more.
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