Letter from D…

About me: I am a writer, artist, and teacher, although not necessarily in that order. I am a self-taught artist in the abstract expressionist style. I have degrees in Social Science, German, and Special Education. I have a 17 year old son with special needs (he lives with his mother) and have no time for head games. I was burned once on CL before but decided to post my own ad—Dum spero speri (Where there’s breath, there’s Hope). A good friend of mine from undergrad recently wrote me and said: 
What do I find attractive about you? 

1. I like your intelligence…most people are just too stupid for me to tolerate. You hold up your end of the conversation. You read interesting books! 

2. I like your twisted sense of humor. I laugh nearly every time we talk. I’m pretty bitter so it takes a special person to make me lighten up. 

3. I like your strong sense of self. You aren’t intimidated by me enough to let it interfere with our friendship. 

4. I like your honesty. You usually respond to a direct question with a direct and complete answer – even if it’s not a comfortable topic. 

5. I like your artistic outlook on life. You take painful subjects and turn them into creativity. I can’t wait to see what it looks like when you (finally) try to put some of the positive emotions on to the canvas. 

6. I like the fact that you are basically an optimist- but realistic enough to not be annoyingly cheerful. 

7. I like how you argue your point, but once you’ve said your piece you let it go – even if I don’t agree with you. 

8. I like your generosity. You’ve always shared your art, books, opinions, music, etc with me. 

9. I like the fact that you are easy to train…usually you’ll do what I tell you to do when you want to play. You take compliments and criticism well. 

10. I like your gentleness. Some people get defensive and their instincts for self-preservation in response to my acerbic words. You never confuse my mouth with my heart. 

11. I like the pretentious titles you give to your artwork. 
So, if you have read this far, thank you for your indulgence. My cats are named Nietzsche and Kafka, if that gives you any clue as to where my head is at…If you want companionship, I am there…I am coming out of a 20 year relationship—it has been almost two years since l have been close to a woman (in any sort of way). Tried Craigslist once, got burned..willing to give it another shot, however. At least we could be friends, if there is no primal connection…Let me know your thoughts. 

Honest Regards, 

Andrew

Bonecrushing electroshock treatment number sixty-seven

Bonecrushing electroshock treatment number sixty-seven

 

Yes, you read that right. That is the treatment number I am on as of Monday, 8 May. On Friday, I will receive number sixty-eight. I don’t have a problem with it and neither should you. It is necessary for my mental health treatment. Without the ECT, I am not functional. I was having a psychotic depression before I had the last round of treatments.

 

No, they do not feel good. Yes, they hurt. Yes, I get nauseous. I do not take this lightly. I have tried many things to improve my mental health, and I am not ready to take this option out of my mental health toolbox. I am an advocate of informed consent, and I am fully aware of what happens every time my brain is zapped by a large jolt of electricity. I know about pain, I know memory loss is almost inescapable. I know about nausea. But hey, fuck it, I would rather be alive. I am able to live an almost normal life because of this treatment. I can go to the grocery store and buy things. I can paint. I can do chores. I can be a full partner to my Wife and a friend to those who claim me.

 

So, no, I do not want to outlaw this medical procedure. I think it has its purpose. When I see young adults who have intellectual disabilities get this treatment before me, yes, I do pause. However, I know that it has benefit. Those parents of people with disabilities that receive the same treatment I do must feel as if they have no other choice. I know I feel like I have no other choice. I like living, I like life. I want to be able to get along without them, but when medications no longer work, gimme the electroshock. EVERY FUCKING TIME.

 

I know I was suicidal. I know I lied about it. I need ECT in order to live a somewhat productive life. Fact. If my Wife must get me committed to a mental institution in order for me to receive that treatment, so be it. It is better that I live than commit suicide. She is glad she got me help. I am still alive. I might not be, had she not gotten me help. I am lucky that my psychiatrist cares enough to perform this treatment, and has the medical training to do so.

 

It might be bone-crunching, and feel like being hit in the head with a hammer, but I am alive. I am resilient. I am a warrior. Fuck you.