If damages around electroshock/ECT are so bad, why are more victims not speaking out?
Despite the stigma of having a mental health diagnosis, there are many reasons for this. While I cannot speak for all my peers, I have had enough conversations to speak for quite a few.
All have traumatic brain injuries to one degree or another which involves apathy, and neuro/cognitive damages. And in many instances there is a failure to even recognize damages secondary to the TBI outcome of anosognisia.
They have received little recognition and validation from providers, family and friends (who have been told their symptoms are psychiatric in nature). They have been actually blamed to a degree in outcomes “of not trying hard enough.” They come from a stigmatized background of psychiatric labeling, and are up against the societal structure of the most powerful. They have been gas lighted and minimized by those that should care the most. When they ask for help it is often not provided. Many simply give up. Suicide is not uncommon.
With post electrical injury there are outcomes of anxiety, depression, and PTSD. It is difficult to risk speaking out. This greatly frustrates many because they so want to tell their truth and have it heard.
They are in jobs or in school, and their public revelations may make them fearful to come forward as this could impact their standings or how people may view them. Some may feel it is okay to have a mental health diagnosis. But many may not want it known that “it got bad enough to require ECT.”
People have said they are so isolated in these outcomes that they cannot even share with family and friends the true devastation this has created. Often, family members encouraged ECT after speaking with the treating providers. The victim may not want them to feel guilt for damages done, so they stay quiet. These are the concerns of many of my peers, their hearts!
Many come from trauma backgrounds where there was repeated gas lighting and minimizing of their distress. It may just seem safer to not address and risk hostile responses on social media.
Many are still in relationship with providers that either performed the procedure or recommended the procedure. This is a double bind for the patient to know that this trusted provider was fully aware of the damages anticipated and did nothing to protect and warn. This greatly impacts their ability to trust anyone moving forward. Some of these providers are prescribing addictive drugs that another provider may not fill. Victims will not risk exposing them for this reason.
Many cannot come to terms, and do not even want to acknowledge to themselves, what has happened. It is just easier to not address. They give up hope.
If you have had ECT and can find it in yourself to comment or speak out when you see posts about electroshock it would help so much. Make use of your suffering and give it purpose in speaking out. In these times of biological psychiatry, you may find your family members and friends are at risk unless you speak out.
Your physician inflicted or recommended a procedure with known harmful outcomes. He or she took it upon themselves to use a device and perform a procedure that has had no FDA testing for safety or effectiveness. They did not bother to even let you know the device and procedure were classified as experimental.
They, in negligence of their lack of duty to warn, protect, and not cause harm, have impacted the rest of your life in outcomes you struggle with daily. Do not keep their secrets. You have a great deal to share to protect others. Please speak out. Lawyers can fight for justice for ECT victims. Legislators can act to protect others from becoming future victims. But, unless you speak out, how will they know? How can they act?