A Statement by Paula

Let me begin by stating this statement would not even be possible without ECT. I also dedicate this personal testimony to: my cousin, who read in Boston Magazine the names of the top psychiatrists in Boston, and who gave the name to my advocate and sister; mys sister, who was determined that I would get well and called the psychiatrist to get me the best treatment at McLean Hospital; my dedicated son; and, of course, my amazing husband whose love and steadfast support without which this would never be possible….Last but not least, I want to thank my ECT doctor who concurs with me that my success with ECT treatment has made me a poster child (an old one, I might add) for ECT. My doctor also gave me the opportunity to meet with Kitty Dukakis and tell my story along with my husband. I am forever grateful and humbled by this opportunity to share how ECT gave me light and life!

Now a glimpse of me before I plummeted into a deep, debilitating depression as a result of a sudden loss of job just after recuperating from a hysterectomy and a prolapse two surgery. I was energetic, loved life, had zest and zeal for all things, and was a mother, grandmother, lover, daughter, sister, cousin, friend, blessed by God, knitter, gardener, cook, singer in a praise band, ballet dancer, teacher, administrative assistant. I was a busy, healthy, happy 56 year old until things fell apart.

As I plummeted into a non-functioning state, I would pace the floor and wring my hands. I could not process things properly and could not think clearly. I could not decide what clothes to put on, could not get out of bed, could not eat (indeed, I lost 20 pounds), and I could not carry on a conversation. I had no zest or zeal for life or anything that I once enjoyed. I was not able to take care of my 13 year old dog who has been my constant companion through life’s ups and down. I felt desperate for help as I felt there was something wrong with my brain.

I pleaded with a nurse practitioner for help. I told my counselor that there was something very wrong as I did not feel likek myself and I couldn’t fix it. They just kept telling me to have patience as I was severely depressed. They kept prescribing more medication and I was progressively getting worse and I could not help myself.

I was in a very dark place with seemingly no relief or improvement in sight. My care givers never mentioned ECT as an option.

I had to be hospitalized due to paranoia and severe depression. In the hospital, I was immediately taken off of medication that I was taking when admitted as the doctors determined it was not helping me. My sister and son were told of the option of ECT for me since the medication was not working. They were told that there was an 80% chance that I would get my life back. They decided the odds were worth the risk.  I am FOREVER grateful as ECT SAVED MY LIFE, GAVE ME BACK MY LIFE. I would not hesitate to urge anyone to give ECT a chance--it saved my life and it can save yours!

Again, I am forever grateful to my cousin, sister, son, husband, ECT doctor and the kind hearts at McLean’s ECT Clinic, and last but not least Kitty Dukakis for allowing me to share my story and be alongside her as we wholeheartedly support ECT. We will forevermore be steadfast advocates. I am living proof that ECT provides the light in the darkness!
Play Frank Maroney's song, "A Light in the Darkness."