To play this short film please click here or on the image above.

This film is based on a person that I never knew, as our time-spans did not overlap. I have read ‘The Bell Jar’ by Sylvia Plath and quite a lot of Ted Hughes work.

Like Sylvia Plath I have experience of ECT (in my case as a result of withdrawal from paroxetine). As a trainee doctor I have also administered ECT.

The account that Sylvia Plath gives of ECT in ‘The Bell Jar’ is that of it administered without anaesthetic and without muscle relaxant. This is no longer the basis of any ECT treatment. It is important to make this absolutely clear.

I received ECT as a direct consequence of withdrawing from paroxetine (Seroxat). I was initially prescribed this medication for social anxiety disorder. In my case, ECT was unhelpful in relieving my iatrogenic suffering, and ultimately I had to return to Seroxat, a medication that I despise.

My experience of ECT is hard to describe. Even today, any description that I might offer, would find no subjective room on a scale such as Montgomery-Asperg.

I recall being pushed along corridors to ECT. I do not recall much of the 6 months after.

Please understand:

My experience of ECT is just that. It is mine alone. My experience in no way devalues anybody else's experiences of ECT.

Music credit: BBC proms – Grieg piano conserto – Buniatishvil – 17 August 2018

A poem by Peter:

Chipped Tooth

4 Replies to “Sylvia”

  1. Thank you so much for continuing to share your experiences with psychiatric treatment. It is really important that we are all able to do this freely, whoever we are. I am sorry that seroxat has had such an adverse effect on your health and your experience of ECT was very negative. It was the one treatment I refused to consider because I was afraid of the consequences. I saw the effect on others, particularly the memory loss.

    1. If only everyone had a choice and a right to refuse treatment, or a single right that wasn’t violated by the mental health act..

    1. ECT destroyed my life. 30 years of memories gone and 27 IQ points.
      I am not sure why this brutal and lunatic assault is considered “treatment”.
      I was in a stated of desperate agitation from effexor withdrawal that was not understood.
      How many candidates for/victims of ECT are in the same state- desperate, willing to try anything, even ECT, which always causes brain dmg. You are lucky u had minimal shock, low dose right unilateral I assume- with only 6 months memory loss.

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