Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a procedure, done under general anesthesia, in which electric currents are passed through the brain, to trigger a seizure in the hope and belief that it will cause changes in brain chemistry that will reverse symptoms of certain psychiatric diagnoses including depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and even autism.

ECT is promoted daily by psychiatrists, celebrities and the media as being a safe, effective and underutilized medical treatment. It is being recommended for all ages from 2-year-old toddlers to seniors in their late 90s. The actual way in which ECT works is unknown.

Some recipients of ECT will regret their decision for the rest of their lives. Some were forced to submit. Here are their stories – stories which must be told, stories doctors won't want you to see, and stories doctors themselves may prefer not to see. Some names are withheld by request.

This site is UNDER CONSTRUCTION. It will include a HELP SECTION for your brain and your soul. It will be updated as stories arrive.


By continuing to explore this website you indicate you have read the DISCLAIMER at the bottom of this page and agree to all statements included.


  1. I am Iatrogenic Insanity. I am Amnesia
  2. Claire was 3 days old when I was shocked
  3. I am truth. I lost 27 IQ points and 15-20 years of memory. I almost lost my life.
  4. I took my own life
  5. I lost 50 IQ points. I had to relearn how to tie my shoelaces
  6. I was 17 when ECT burned my soul forever
  7. I asked for ECT. Now I have asked for euthanasia
  8. 66 shocks. Brain lesions and devastating memory loss
  9. Life after ECT
  10. It haunts me every day
  11. Another fine mess
  12. I did not agree to permanent disability
  13. Died. Heart attack
  14. PhD Math student couldn’t add single-digit numbers
  15. Lies and Cover-up
  16. 46 years of living with the after-effects of ECT (England)
  17. The terror of ECT is stored in my body's memory (Australia)
  18. Like an alien dropped to earth (USA)
  19. When I said “NO” four strong guys dragged me to the ECT room (Sweden)

1. I am Iatrogenic Insanity. I am Amnesia.

I was not depressed. I had cold-turkeyed from a benzodiazepine taken at a time of great stress. No one recognized the withdrawal syndrome. A psychiatrist diagnosed my shakiness and insomnia as agitated depression. Within a few months he prescribed at least 20 of the more than 30 different pharmaceuticals I was given. He allowed for no wash-outs. My agitation increased and his psychiatric labels increased. No one recognized akathisia. I was given sleeping pills three times a day and once at night to control my non-stop movements and vocalizations.

I was told I had dementia and psychotic depression. I was hospitalized for 10 weeks and forced to have 25 rounds of bilateral ECT. All of the drugging and ECT took place during 8 months in 2003/4. ECT turned me into a shaking zombie. I was told I would require drugs for the rest of my life and weekly maintenance ECT for the rest of my life. I could not allow my brain to be further destroyed. I tapered off all drugs. It was hell. I didn't go back for ECT. I was threatened that I would deteriorate.

The results of ECT: 25 years of my life are totally missing. Gone. Blank. I can't make new memories. I have cognitive deficits. My legs tremor and my heart rate is erratic. My ECT-induced parkinsonism is gone – even my face used to quiver. Vision in my right eye became clouded after an ECT session and remains clouded. My broken teeth and dental restorations are still being repaired – my husband used to wipe blood from the corners of my mouth after ECT 'treatments'. I still can't breathe properly and I can't run. I had frequent spontaneous seizures for years. I once had a fine mind, a photographic memory and I multi-tasked with ease. Now I have a wall covered with stick-it note reminders. Every day is an ordeal. If I met any of my doctors on the street I would not recognize them. They stole my memory.


2. Claire was 3 days old when I was shocked.

I had an extreme adverse reaction to the nitrous oxide administered during my daughter's birth. I was considered psychotic and taken to a psychiatric hospital where I was given drugs and electroshock. I was seen as a mental case. However, years later, I had the same reaction when I was given gas during a tooth extraction. I was on psychiatric drugs for 20 years and received 16 shocks. My 'mental illness' was created by the experts. I followed their advice to the letter, and took my prescribed “medication” every day. If I didn't, I was told I would have to spend a lot of time in hospital away from my family. I had no choice.

ECT erased my memory. I don't remember Claire’s birth. I was hospitalized for weeks and chemically lobotomized. I wasn't aware of what was going on with me at all. I don't even remember having ECT. My husband and I adopted Sheena our second daughter.

I decided to become drug-free when I realized my drug cocktail was toxic to my system. Coincidentally and conveniently, my psychiatrist died at the same time. When I became drug-free, my spirit came back. I have been away from psychiatry for many years. My husband and I have written a book 'Soul Survivor' and I am on the board of MindFreedom Ireland and MindFreedom International.

3. I am Truth. I lost 27 IQ points and 15-20 years of memory. I almost lost my life.

I was a happy, healthy 54- year-old woman who had raised three gorgeous children and spent 31 years teaching senior English and math. I was bubbly, outgoing, multi-tasking, and loved life. Unfortunately I went through a divorce. I developed insomnia and lost weight. My doctor prescribed Effexor and left me on it for 12 years. If I missed a dose I had brain zaps and started to cry. I did not realize these were withdrawal effects and thought I needed the drug.

Once, when i missed two Effexor doses I felt fear, dread, weirdness, and head pressure. Reinstating Effexor did not help. In a panic, I saw a psychiatrist who prescribed Lorazepam, Zopiclone, Mirtazapine, and Seroquel. I deteriorated rapidly and was then given Valproic acid, Lithium, Cipralex, Klonopin, and Lamictal. I became more agitated – it was akathisia which I did not then know about. When I told my doctor how much pain and pressure there was in my head, I was labeled with agitated depression, treatment resistant depression, and bipolar disorder. I was given 28 rTMS which caused more agitation and panic.

My doctor misrepresented ECT. I had 21 of them, 10 in 4 weeks; then 11, 7 months later. The doctor was angry I was not “responding”. I kept going with ECT. 14 of the 21 were bilaterals. I ended up losing 15-20 years of memories, 27 IQ points, and the ability to think, recall or make and keep new memories. It destroyed my personality, made me apathetic, and suicidal.

I have since attempted to take my life 3 times. I was on life support last summer. I have been traumatized beyond comprehension. I feel ECT is evil, an assault and a human rights violation and that it must be banned. Truth.

4. I took my own life

(Edited from a one-week email exchange) I am shaking in fear and terror. I am absolutely crushed. I was just subjected to 11 rounds of ECT in three weeks. I'm a young mom with postpartum mood disorder. My memory and cognitive function are destroyed. I have a 1.5-year-old. I was hospitalized a second time after trying to get off of medication. The doctor said I was catatonic, but I'm pretty sure I wasn't, and recommended ECT. They were very convincing and I just wanted to get released to outpatient to be with my daughter and my family encouraged me so I consented. I feel violated like this was the wrong decision and I wasn't given adequate information for consent.

My doctor abandoned me when I confronted him and my family does not understand that psych meds can cause the symptoms. They keep saying it's me not accepting my mental illness. My family has no compassion for me. My husband is abusive and has threatened to divorce me and take our daughter. My mom has blocked my phone calls. They think I need to get back on meds and continue shock therapy. Did your loved ones ever get you hospitalized when you felt you did not need it? Did they encourage ECT to you? I can't forgive them. I couldn't sleep last night. I just look at my daughter and cry. I'm trapped in a nightmare. I would rather die.

I cannot remember lyrics to songs, cannot remember chronological order of events, cannot remember conversations I've had recently, cannot recognize names or faces of people I've just met or seen, don't recognize some houses on my street, don't remember what I had for breakfast lunch and dinner, don't remember past weekdays, can't do math in my head, don't remember names of people in old TV shows I used to watch. I'm sure there is more I'm so afraid and overwhelmed every day I discover something new is missing.

I had neuropsych testing today and the results confirmed memory and cognitive impairment: brain damage. I am sorry to beg like this I just need to talk with someone who has been through this and understands, so alone. I was trying to start a medical malpractice case involving ECT and what my father believes was drug-induced catatonia.

Thank you everyone who has reached out to me this past week. I am sorry we are all here under these circumstances but I am truly grateful that i'm getting to know you all and learn your stories and hear your hard earned insight. You are the strongest, bravest group of people I've met. Much love to you all.

5. I lost 50 IQ points. I had to relearn how to tie my shoelaces.

I was a high school honor student who lost all memories of childhood and high school after I was given 30 rounds of ECT in 2009/10 when I was 21. I didn't even know how to tie my own shoelaces. ECT left me with a heart arrhythmia and severe headaches which lasted a year-and-a-half. Neurological testing showed that I lost 50 IQ points.

I was 14 when I was put on an antidepressant because of a difficult family situation but the antidepressant made me feel worse. As more meds were added, my symptoms got even worse, and eventually I was on a cocktail of 6 different psychiatric drugs – Depakote, Lithium, Trazodone, Klonopin, Hydroxyzine (vistaril) and one more. I was then considered treatment resistant and in need of electroshock. I still have nightmares about ECT.

6. I was 17 when ECT burned my life forever

I was only 17 years old in 2001 when ECT destroyed my life. Five sessions of ECT were enough to mess up my memory. At least 2 years of memories were completely or partially erased and never came back.

That was not the only side effect of ECT as I also became emotionally blunt forever, incapable of experiencing pleasure in the same way I could before. The simple things in life such as watching a sunset or sunrise, having a milkshake with a loved one, listening to a great song I liked... and many more things... I never could experience such things again. It’s like ECT burned my soul forever.

It was so devastating that I could not go to college and was never able to graduate from a professional career due to difficulties with concentration and memory. Today I have a job but I am often “discriminated” against and not paid enough because I’m not a “professional” and I don’t have a degree. Of course, it also ruined my social relations and I never trusted my family again. I was never mentally ill to begin with, but since my mom and I didn’t get along she thought I needed therapy and ended up asking my uncle (her brother) to take me to a psychiatric clinic. Two days after I was hospitalized I was given ECT. I was not sick in any way, I was a healthy person with a whole future ahead of me. I have been told by another psychiatrist that ECT is used as a last resort so why was I given ECT so quickly? I felt it was an opportunity for the doctor to make money. at the expense of my sanity. I live in Colombia, South America and am setting up a facebook group for people like me who are suffering from the effects of ECT.

7. I asked for ECT. I have now asked for euthanasia

Story to come

8. 66 shocks left me with brain lesions and devastating memory loss

I had more than 66 ECT procedures. My memory problems are devastating. My experience with psychiatry began after I had a violent reaction to an SSRI drug. Instead of removing the problematic drug, the doctor started me on a psychiatric drug cocktail. He added more drugs to deal with the adverse effects of the first cocktail. I then came under the care of a psychiatrist who was researching the effect of multiple ECT sessions within a short period of time. Some days I would have 2 or 3 back-to-back procedures.

I was later treated by a psychiatrist who over prescribed benzodiazepines. (I eventually settled a psychiatric medical malpractice suit.) I was so impaired that my moods were all over the place and ECT was continued. I was often coerced into consenting.

I was a trained classical pianist and lost all my ability to play or memorize music. I lost memories of the birth and the lives of my two children. I lost memories of my college education. I lost my skills as a level one trauma nurse. I can not hold onto new memory. I have brain lesions bilaterally on my frontal and temporal lobes with atrophy. That is my story – like so many others.

if you were harmed by ECT please see My youtube videos are at

9. AFTERSHOCK: Life after ECT

Six months after ECT all my memories and cognitive abilities returned just like my psychiatrist said. I have a wonderful career that I excel at and can support myself with. I have tons of meaningful relationships. Best of all, my depression is cured – I'm happy and vivacious. Shock saved my life!

JUST KIDDING! Nine years later at age 31 I have dementia and ZERO working memory. This makes a career or a full-time education impossible. I depend on SSDI (Social Service Disability Insurance) and still live with my parents. I've become estranged from numerous friends and family members. Making and maintaining relationships is now insanely difficult. Not long after treatment, my depression returned. My doctors denied my brain damage and subsequent cognitive rehab I desperately needed. This left me believing for years that suicide was my only option. Shock destroyed my life.

Here's my youtube video: ECT destroys lives Here's my blog:

10. It haunts me every day

I was an unhappy child. My mother abandoned us leaving my father to raise me and my brother. My parents divorced when I was 5 or 6. Forty five years ago this was uncommon. I spent most of my teenage years in a children's treatment facility. I was 17 when I was raped by a psychologist intern. My depression got only worse.

I was 21 when my 3-month-old son died. All I wanted to do was to hide in corners and cry hysterically. Doctors tried a few medications and then, when they decided I had grieved enough, ECT. My therapist said I was too hard a case and dropped me. How could I possibly get well after being abused by the whole mental health system? I lived in and out of hospitals until I was 35 years old. I developed many health problems, some caused by ECT – ADD, pseudotumor cerebri, nerve disorders, lost teeth, memory problems. I haven't seen a mental health professional in 15 years, I'm terrified of all of them .

ECT has destroyed my life! My thoughts, my ability to work, my relationships, my decisions making, my concentration, and, most of all my memory. This happened to me many years ago and yet it haunts me every day.

11. Another fine mess

In writing my massive memoir I had the mistaken belief that a large portion of my activist work in the 80s had been successful in protecting those who emotionally stumble from the torturous application of electroshock. Certainly ECT shuts them up (which is the point). Psychiatry knows it is merely a temporary fix, but the brain damage is lifelong.

A couple of years ago I met up (after thirty absent years) with anti-psychiatry activists Don Weitz and Bonnie Burstow. They were delighted to see me, pleased I am again taking up the pen to point out that ECT activities are expanding, and I am once again in a threatened target group –grandmothers.

My first shock experience was as a new mother with postpartum depression, a featured grouping in the 60s. No drugs or therapy were tried first: straight to the shock machine. It did not help that my mother-in-law was a registered nurse with the ear of her work-mate psychiatrist.

I thought I was protected when I showed up outside the Shock Room to meet with the chief shock doc of the entire area (Lindsay, Bobcaygeon, Peterborough); so I boldly went through all the intake manipulations of memory tests and drug change trials, answering NO to every argument that what my anger needed was their “gentle” solution.

So I re-wrote AFTERSHOCK and launched it in 2016 with advice from the survivors still in this never-ending battle for health freedom. It’s filled with workable compassionate exercises to help balance your mental health.

AFTERSHOCK is available as an e-book at

12. I did not consent to permanent disability

I am 28. One week post-ECT, I was unable to speak or comprehend language. I was in a constant state of delirium, staring blankly into space, and screaming to communicate. It took me more than four weeks post-ECT to be able to form sentences. Most of my sense of taste is gone. 99% of my autobiographical memory is gone. I am aggressive, disinhibited, have uncontrollable laughter/crying, and other symptoms that suggest moderate traumatic brain injury.

I wish my family had taken me to the ER earlier. Last week, two months after ECT, a neurologist ordered an EEG and CT to rule out stroke, aneurysm, and other ominous suspects.

I'm sharing my soul-crushing experience in the hope that it can keep even one other person on the planet from going through this. Then, maybe, there is some freakish silver lining.

Professionals cannot conceive of an anomalous outcome to a so-called safe procedure.

13. Died. Heart attack

She was already an angel in life. She was the kindest and most loving person I have ever known. She heard voices. Her neck, arms and legs were a mass of scars from cutting. She was overweight. A psychiatric facility had been the revolving door in her life since her early teens. I held her in my arms several times watching blood seep through bandages or, once, looking at fresh stitches across her neck.

One day at lunch, I suggested she stop eating bread so she could 'lose some weight and feel more comfortable'. I didn't discuss the role of gluten and fungal toxins in grains in brain health.

She lost 100 lbs in 7 months, she could exercise, she got a job and a boyfriend. The voices diminished and she could ignore those that remained. She didn't cut herself and had no hospitalizations for a year. She was happy. The invitation to her 31st birthday read: "join me in celebrating a new beginning, a new chapter in my journey to recovery". THEN a psychiatrist commended her on her mental and physical well-being – and told her there were not enough grains in her diet. I almost cried. She ate bread again. One month later she was back to hearing voices, back to cutting, and back to the psychiatric facility. She regained all the weight. She was given ECT – lots of it – she lost her memory and then her life. Her heart quit.

She needed to stay away from grains – all grains. She needed help with the trauma of childhood sexual abuse. She didn't get help. And that just about sums up the ignorance of conventional psychiatry.

14. PhD Math student couldn’t add single-digit numbers

I am a scholarship PhD candidate in Engineering. I have a Master's degree in Computational Science. I was considered a child math prodigy. and had an ability to 'see' answers to questions. I could discretize a differential equation just by looking at the equation. I could even solve equations in my sleep. In some physics problems I could see/visualize how the system worked.

At the end of my first year as a PhD candidate, I had a serious depressive episode which forced me to take a leave of absence. My psychiatrist convinced me that in addition to antidepressants I should also have ECT. After 6 sessions of bilateral ECT I was still severely depressed but now also had memory loss, cognitive impairment, severe anxiety, insomnia and loss of balance. I couldn't even do math – it was wiped from my brain. My psychiatrist told me it was temporary and I would recover in a month. Months later nothing had improved. For a while I had difficulty adding 2 one-digit numbers.

I am suffering more than I did before ECT. My diagnoses and my meds have been changed several times. I carry a government-issued card which indicates I am disabled. I worked through MENSA arithmetic books for children as I prepared myself for my return to university.

15. Lies and Cover-up

I was a talented and accomplished music student attending the prestigious Bennington College in Vermont. I excelled academically in every class I took. Fellow students respected my opinion and often approached me with academic or musical questions. I had performed at Avery Fischer Hall in New York and I also had an original composition of mine played by a local orchestra in Vermont.

I entered the mental system at 23 voluntarily, only asking for help for an eating disorder. I regret this decision to this day.

My concerns were dismissed. Those treating me lacked insight into my condition. My eating disorder was never validated. I was even told I was faking it. Worse, they claimed I had a bad mother!

I was treated for depression, schizophrenia, bipolar, and schizo-affective. They prescribed drug cocktails that ultimately caused permanent organ damage, and didn't help my eating disorder.

Fifteen years passed. I was still in the mental system. I was given shock At McLean Hospital in 1995, and then, more, including bilateral, in 1996. They continued with maintenance, wondering why I “wasn't responding.” I wasn't “responding” because they weren't treating nor acknowledging my primary complaint, my eating disorder. The shocks caused confusion, which was mistaken for depression. Many of the ECT “treatments” were administered when I was dangerously underweight at 80 pounds and no way was anesthesia even medically safe.

The shock was halted later in 1996. I estimate I had 30 shocks that year. Months later I was still quite incapacitated. I got lost on formerly familiar streets and even forgot how to dress and use a toothbrush.

I continued to challenge my doctors: “What is wrong with my brain?” Both my boyfriend and my parents blamed the shock, but I so stubbornly believed that doctors “do no harm” that I failed to admit the truth, believing the shock-induced incapacity was some terrible “illness.” In December 1996, a medical student whom I knew sat down with me. Step by step he gently coerced me into believing I had always been cognitively disabled and dependent. He told me even the best treatments hadn't cured me. I felt strangely relieved and off the hook because I didn't even have to try anymore. I believed I'd never get better.

I still didn't know that the profound change in me had happened as a result of the shock. The doctors attributed my confusion to an “underlying condition,” severe Borderline. It was insulting and like a death sentence. The BPD treatment didn't solve ECT brain damage nor address my eating disorder; in fact, it encouraged me to act BPD! The cover-up of harm did more long-lasting damage than the shock. I recovered from shock on my 40th birthday, about a year-and-a-half after they had stopped it. The demeaning BPD diagnosis was removed, but it had left me with damage I am still dealing with, even though 20 years have passed.

I left psychiatry behind in 2014. I do not see any mental health providers and am starting a new career. I am happy. However, I am left with a family split that happened due to the BPD lie. My sisters-in-law stopped speaking to me and my brothers raised their kids as if I, their aunt by blood, didn't exist. I spent all birthdays and holidays alone after the death of my boyfriend. While I am working hard to improve family relations, I know now, approaching my 60th birthday, I really have a long way to go.

NOTE: My Bachelors and Masters degrees were accomplished while I was still a patient, but I had to do college "against medical advice." Actually, the doctors claimed I wasn't capable and they demanded that I quit, even though I was clearly a stellar student. blogger for 18 years Antipsych radio News about the radio show and what's up next

I also contribute to Mad in America

16. 46 years of living with the after-effects of ECT

I was brought up in a family affected by sexual abuse and was only 12 years old when I saw my first psychiatrist.

In 1971, at age 23, I was grieving and exhausted from running a summer play scheme. I was sectioned, diagnosed with catatonic depression, and filled up to the eyeballs with drugs. When I didn’t ‘get better’ quickly enough I was given ECT. I don’t know how many shocks because when I started to make noises about suing, my medical records were ‘lost’.

Soon after ECT, someone whom I didn’t recognize visited me in hospital. I learned that we’d shared a communal flat, eating drinking, talking almost every day of the previous year. When I was sent back to my family home, I discovered my current address book, and frantically phoned some strange names in it, hoping their voices would bring back glimmers of recognition.

I couldn’t remember all of the alphabet, nor my times table. For weeks I didn’t know the first names of my parents, nor my three siblings. I moved to a town where almost no-one knew me. I still have cold sweats in large groups when I might be called upon to introduce people I’d known for years, but can’t remember their names.

For 46 years I’ve lived a moment to moment existence, coping every day with an emotional yo-yo. For a long time my sleep was rare – like those twitching frog’s legs, I suffer from muscular spasms that jerk me awake when I lie down and try to relax.

I still have an irrational fear of doctors and hospitals, as many ECT survivors do, which has affected my physical health.

I’m told ECT is given to cure suicidal tendencies. Before ECT I was never suicidal Three years after ECT I almost took my own life with countless crushed up pills. My wrists still bear scars. For years, I didn’t own a TV, it affected me too much. I go to the cinema about once a year – Schindler’s List left me shattered for about a month, and Jurassic Park gave me nightmares and daymares for weeks, as if ECT had punched a hole in my aura, destroyed protection from outside influences.

But there can be life after ECT, moments of joy as well as sorrow. I’ve re-learnt much of the knowledge I lost, and gain self-respect from successes however small almost every day.

My stories and articles and my ECT fact sheet are published in my book “Mental Survival

Oliver Swingler. England. Written 28th October 2000 – edited January 2018

17. The terror of receiving ECT is stored in my body's memory

I am 26 years old. I sought mental health help when I was 18. I had ECT when I was 18/19 and am now on a disability pension. Since I came off psychotropic drugs (which was torture) my experience of post-ECT brain damage is very clear.

I feel trapped inside a brain and body that aren’t functioning correctly. I experience emotional numbness, symptoms of PTSD, a decrease in divergent, creative thinking; extreme negativity, and difficulty finding words. I take longer to do simple tasks. Blankness. Loss of self. Confusion and fear. I have the terror of receiving ECT stored in my body’s memory.

I want people to know that ECT is a serious form of abuse to the mind, body and soul of a person. The therapy is torture and brain injury. You cannot consent to this. Possible memory loss was all that I was informed of. I was not suicidal before ECT.

I wish neurologists, brain injury experts and PTSD experts would step in. The distress of being severely harmed and trying to survive, stops people from speaking out. People commit suicide because no one believes them. They do not receive brain injury support. The betrayal is insidious. Some people are so much worse off than I am. This kills me knowing how much I struggle internally. Many things I cannot express. This is a human rights issue that is being ignored. People are overwhelmed, afraid and most are choosing to suffer in silence.

I am working with an alternative body based healer who is helping me gain more self and feeling, sensation and calm, while respecting my own neurological restrictions.

Jess B, Australia

18. Like an alien dropped to earth. 'It's not supposed to be this way’

I have been diagnosed with Major Depression for nearly 40 years and have been successfully treated with antidepressant medication. I don't have an issue with that because the meds made me feel normal.

I was very high functioning. I worked in the mental health and addictions fields and earned a Master's degree in Counseling Psychology along with certification as an alcoholism and drug abuse counselor. After more than 20 years I changed careers to become a teacher. I got a Master's degree in special education and after teaching for a few years decided I really liked teaching kids to read. I earned an Ed.S. which is a doctoral level degree in Reading Education. I had a 4.0 GPA in each of my graduate school programs. Things were going well.

In January 2017 I started getting cortisone shots in my shoulder. By March I was planning my suicide. I would later find out that a side effect of cortisone can be severe depression with suicidal ideation.

Despite many trials of different medication my depression worsened. My psychiatrist kept talking to me about ECT but I was reluctant because I didn't want to lose my memory. He assured me that any memory loss would be for the time when I was getting ECT and if it was more than that, the memory would return.

I was miserable and searched online for the best way to kill myself. I didn't want to die but I didn't want to live feeling the way I did. My primary care physician urged me to follow the psychiatrist's recommendations. All of my doctors knew I was getting the cortisone shots but never told me it could be a cause of my sudden medication resistant depression and suicidality. I checked myself into a psychiatric hospital at the beginning of September 2017. My last cortisone shot had been at the end of August.

I had nine shock treatments. When I got out of the hospital I felt like an alien who had been dropped to earth. I had a birthday in October, shortly after I was discharged. I knew it was my birthday but didn't know how old I was. I didn't recognize my neighbors. I knew I was a teacher but I didn't remember what grade I taught, what school I worked at, any of my students or fellow teachers. It was all a blank. I had to re-learn how to operate my car and how to get around town. I had been studying to take a state test to get a Reading Specialist endorsement added to my teaching license but memory about that subject was wiped out as well. All my psychiatrist had to say was, "It's not supposed to be this way." I found out it is exactly this way for a great many people.

I am telling my story because I don't believe that people are fully informed of all of the side effects of ECT. Because psychiatrists are trained that ECT is an appropriate solution to severe medication resistant depression it is too easily used. I should have been offered the option of hospitalization until the cortisone left my system.

I didn't realize that not only has my brain been damaged as evidenced by my retrograde and anterograde amnesia but I also now run a very high risk for developing cataracts, trouble seeing, eye movement disorders, hearing loss, tinnitus, balance abnormalities along with cardiac problems.

Susan S. Chicago, USA

19. When I said “NO” four strong guys dragged me to the ECT room

I turned to psychiatry when I became depressed after a series of traumas. Two doctors decided there and then that I was in such bad shape that I should not be allowed to return home. They put me in an asylum (psychiatric care). I was there for five months. I got a lot of psych meds. What I didn't get was what I wanted and needed – someone to talk to, someone to listen to me, and someone to support me. After a few weeks I felt much worse.

The doctors wanted me to have ECT. I really really didn't want ECT. I said 'NO!' I was scared to death. Four strong guys dragged me down the hall to the ECT room and held me down until I was asleep.

That was in 2011. They gave me 16 shocks. I still don't remember several years of my life. I don't even remember my years at university. I have problems learning things and problems remembering things.

I used to get lost every day. I had to call my husband every day, crying because I couldn't find my way to day care to get my son. It's about hundred meters from my home. I cried because I didn't remember the day care nor the people who worked there.

I didn't remember how to cook. How do you cook potatoes? How do you cook rice. And what is sugar and what is salt? How and when do you use it? How do you use a computer? How do you buy a bus ticket? How do you pay your bills? etc, etc.

I forgot my own language (Swedish), I forgot English. I didn't recognize people. I didn't remember that people had died and that I had been at their funerals. I didn't remember that one of my friends had cancer.

I had to relearn EVERYTHING. I was still depressed and by now I was suicidal.

In 2013 I was again put in the asylum and ECT was again forced. My husband fought to make them quit and after six sessions they did quit. And again, I had to relearn everything.

Today I still have problems remembering things. Many years are still totally blank. My son's first years are also gone.

I still have problems recognizing people. I'm not the same person I was before ECT. I don't recognize myself. My husband doesn't recognize me. My friends don't recognize me.

All I ever wanted was someone to talk to, someone to listen to what I've been through. Instead doctors destroyed my brain with ECT. It's a big sorrow.

Ulrika F. Sweden


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