“From the first time I had ECT, my anxiety and depression seemed to melt away.” Cheyenne resident, March 2014

Last year a psychiatrist from Cheyenne Regional’s Behavioral Health program recommended that a Cheyenne resident undergo electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) to treat the person’s depression and anxiety. ECT is offered to people with specific diagnoses, which can include severe depression and anxiety.

The patient (who asked to remain anonymous but agreed to be called Jane) had tried various antidepressant and anti-anxiety medications over a period of about 14 years. She said the antidepressants made her even more anxious. And while one antianxiety medication did seem to help, “I was needing more and more of it” to get relief, she said.

Even then, Jane was not happy with the direction her life had taken. “I would watch TV or stay in bed all day because I was so anxious and depressed,” she said.

Last May, after her first ECT treatment, Jane said she felt “immediate relief” from her symptoms. “It was remarkable. I was elated and so was my family.”

Jane has had a series of ECT treatments over the past few months. She says that after many years of suffering, she is “back to her normal self.” Part of that normalcy includes being able to take care of her home and interact with her family.

“I absolutely recommend this to someone who has been struggling with depression and anxiety,” she said. “It truly works.”

Jane also wants to reassure those who may be concerned about the “image” of ECT. “It was a very pleasant experience for me,” she said.

During ECT, the patient is placed under general anesthesia, is given muscle relaxants and oxygen and then receives a brief electrical stimulation through the scalp. Most of the time is spent preparing the patient for treatment and then in recovery.

“You’re in and out in about two to three hours, and you don’t feel a thing,” Jane said.

Jane added that she wanted to share her story so that people are not afraid to try ECT if it’s recommended by a physician. “I hope by telling my story, I can help others who may be feeling the way I did.”