Consider the Barrier Stigma Plays in Your Ability to Take Care of Yourself

Esther... The Girl Who Became Queen DVD Cover

I am just going to come right out and say it.  I have been trying to be clever, a Queen Esther toward her King and Hamon, on behalf of the people she loved.  (Yes.  I am Queen Esther in this story.  You can play her in another one.  Maybe tomorrow.)  I have been talking about treatment options for brain health and it is just not going where I was trying to take us – ECT.

ECT, my friends.  Electroconvulsive Therapy.  Many people see this as an extreme option for the dire, filtered out treatment failures.  That is an ugly description but I believe pretty close to what we have culturally got.  Many of you have told us how you escaped receiving electrically induced convulsions.  You hid from the boogie man and lived to tell us.  (There are chemically induced convulsions but we have more control of the convulsions through electricity, so that is the standard of care.)  Others have testified that it destroyed them with a catalog of specific and nonspecific complaints.

Interestingly we have not heard from you who have received ECT.

Come out, come out wherever you are.

Stigma perhaps hides you, and we can understand why.  Stigma toward ECT is like stigma toward anything – pretty off topic and hurtful.  Although it is improved by education and empathy, it is not fun challenging it “alone.”

Tonight I am not going to talk about the pros and cons of ECT, but to say that you are not alone.  You who are in treatment or have been in treatment or are considering ECT – would you tell us what you know, personal or impersonal?  There are many of us who would benefit from your education and empathy.

(What would that do to stigma?  What would that do for us?)

It would be wonderful to hear questions any of you have, as well, and anything related to ECT that you would like to share.  Please tell us your story.

Self-Care Tip – Consider the barrier stigma plays in your willingness to receive treatment and to connect with others.

8 thoughts on “Consider the Barrier Stigma Plays in Your Ability to Take Care of Yourself

  1. okay Doc you have opened a can of worms here. first of all i figured from all the blogs that you were going down the road of ECT. my mother had them back in the 70’s and i was too young to remember what she was like, docile perhaps afterward. bless her heart she was having a bad time of it. still does to this day, and she isn’t in my life and i feel pretty sad about that. because if she had cancer we would be by her side supportive and loving, and yet her mental illness is so profound we need to completely remove ourselves. so much abuse and damage done to us as children and throughout our lives and it was done in the name of mental illness. its very sad actually.

    “Consider the barrier stigma plays in your willingness to receive treatment and to connect with others.”


    I have allowed my EGO (see it gets capital letters!) to get in the way of receiving all the loving support i could ask for to help me heal my body.

    i am a fitness instructor and why couldn’t i heal or help myself EGO. what’s wrong with me. NOTHING, except i am injured and needed to ask for help from the right people. i just didn’t know who. those i did ask ignored me and said deal with it. well i can barely walk here i can’t ignore it. it was hard to ask for help and be vulnerable (read Ego) to the possibility of being ignored, shunned, disbelieved. especially by a medical professional who i had known for over 25 years.

    somewhere i have learned along the way that i should know all be all, fix all, be all capable. and when i couldn’t well that was my fault. but hey i was a kid and what do kids know? i am still viewing my world through my kid colored glasses and my superego is stuck in there somewhere too. more stigma.

    a fitness inst. should be able to take care of her body. (you’d be surprised by how many instructors are injured and don’t always, tell or “deal with it”).

    thank you for your timely message. i know my reply isn’t about the extremes to mental health, but actually it is. because much of my physical pain, is related to my mental pain and emotional pain. as i become willing to live in my pain (stigma, pain is bad don’t go there) well actually pain is okay, because pain is within me and i am bigger than that pain (been reading some good books!) and when i embrace the pain it dissolves. but who knew, because as a society we stigmatize pain as something bad. look at all the ads on tv for pain management, depression (not dissing the medication, i’m just saying)

    i have spent 20 years doing so, and i am alive and well and on the road to allowing my body to heal. i know first hand what mental illness looks like, i grew up with it, i have had some serious situations of my own throughout my life (which i embraced help!)

    for me, turn it all around and have a darn good look at it. mentally, physically and spiritually. it all goes together.

    for those who are in the grips of their own health challenges what ever they may be i wish you much love today.


    • a can of worms is an awesome thing when fishing (cheesy grin).
      i luv celebrating w u your life’s work, your candid descriptors and warm in your generous blessings to me and all of us through your stories. keep talking friend.

  2. Guilty. I allow others to get into my head in regards to treatment. Terrified that someone will find out that I need help, I’ve suffered in silence for many, many, many years. I’ve opened up to a couple of people recently, but I’m still VERY guarded with who I let into my secret world.

    I’ve heard about ECT, read blogs of people who have had ECT treatments and it sounds scary. Having said that though, I’d be open to it should that be decided as my best course of action.

    • thank u so much for speaking up. u say u r the silent type but here u r – a voice speaking out when many r not. what a person of courage. i celebrate these recent connections u’ve gained that u describe. keep talking.

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