Monday, May 10, 2010

The Shock Treatment Gulf

So why have I been obsessing on my days in the army of late? OK, so there've been a few external triggers like the 25th Anniversary of the End Conscription Campaign, and the re-surfacing of the monster military psychiatrist - Dr Aubrey Levin. But there's another greater reason at play: I'm trying to bridge the gulf that shock treatment severed upon my life.

The 6 sessions of ECT that I was given in my second year of army duty cut my life in half. There was everything before that date, and everything after that date, kind of like a B.C. and A.D. Perhaps I captured it best in some words from a poem I wrote several months later:

They put a shock to my head
And left part of me dead
I want that part back most
But its like chasing a ghost

Yes, there was a part of me that I lost forever. And that's why I'm digging around in my army memories. Because the BPG that was serving in Angola, was the BPG 4 months prior to the Big Gulf. And that is the real bridge that I need to rebuild. Some kind of reconnect between BPG before Shock treatment and BPG after shock treatment.

As an aside, this is the same reason, I am convinced, that I restarted smoking weed 6 months ago. In the few years prior to the Big Gulf, I was a heavy dope smoker. Weed kind of defined my life at that point. After the Big Gulf I steered well clear of weed for over a decade - the psychiatrists (military and otherwise) having gone to great lengths to convince me that my whole psychosis was THC induced.

Now when I get stoned, I definitely connect with the pre-Gulf days. There is a positivity there, an excitement, a belief in possibilities and perhaps most - an abundance of energy that was never tarnished by the ECT. Yes, I suppose you could also call it kind of mid-life crisis, but I would argue that if there was any crisis it was back then in Shock Treatment day, and that this reminiscing is actually just therapy. Or Bridge Building.


  1. WillBeFine11 May, 2010

    25 years is a long time in anyone's life.

    Seek the past that haunts you.
    Ghosts may come and taunt you.
    The past may be dead and gone.
    Dig it up at your peril.
    BPG your life now is not sterile.

  2. Interesting- I had ECT but I didn't feel it destroyed anything other my memory (which was enough) it did send me rapid cycling which tho supposedly harder to treat, I find preferable to extended periods of time sunk into depression

  3. Raine!! So good to hear from an old friend. I hope you are well.

    I think part of my problem was I was only 19 at the time. And I hate to think what voltage they did me at - the psychiatrist in charge has been accused of gross humans right violations during his command of the SA military psychiatric department.

    Prior to the shock treatment I was pumped with way, way too many meds too. I often think they used us to run experiments on.

  4. Anonymous16 May, 2010

    I was horrified to read about the psych who administered your treatment. What a vile soul. I send you my love and best wishes.


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