For almost two decades I was a victim of what I now am aware was psychiatric torture. I believe because I am a woman, it was easier to become a psychiatric victim and to be denied my right to be human. I got my first bolt of electricity just three days after childbirth on the thirtieth of January 1976. I continued to be electrocuted for the month of February until the middle of March, twelve more times while simultaneously being drugged into oblivion.
The electrocution I received then without informed consent was what is now described as 'modified ECT.’ I was transformed from a twenty-eight-year-old, happy, optimistic, musical woman to a person who could not think or feel. My capacity to be myself was severely diminished. Electroshock damaged my brain and made it very difficult to be a first-time mother to my newborn daughter. I do not remember holding her in my arms for the first time. We were separated until June. My heart was broken. When we were finally united, the system had succeeded in returning me to my family full of fear, and suffering from the adverse effects of the psychotropic drugs I had been prescribed.
I received more sessions of electroshock in 1983 and eventually I was labeled a ‘manic depressive,’ which now, unfortunately, has become a more acceptable label to many by renaming it ‘Bipolar.’ It has also made it easier to label young children.
Electroshock is a major part of the toolkit of psychiatry, which is diagnosing human behaviour as a ‘mental illness.’ Psychiatry is a fraudulent belief system. It masquerades as a medical science while it has very little scientific evidence. It calls electroshock a ‘treatment’ while it has no idea how it works, yet all doctors know that electroshock produces a grand mal seizure, which definitely causes brain damage. If a seizure did not cause brain damage, why do general doctors regard it as an emergency when a person has a spontaneous seizure?
Today, electroshock is on the increase worldwide and many more women receive it than men, though statistics suggest that more men than women take their own lives. One of the reasons for giving electroshock is supposed to be to prevent suicide! Psychiatrists are very powerful people and are backed up by powerful companies, companies who conduct false trials in order to convince the public that black is white! Psychiatrists are trying to indoctrinate the public into believing that somehow the electroshock today is different from the electroshock I received in 1976 and 1983, but it is not! Then, I was not conscious when I received it; it was under anesthetic, as it is today, so it was not and is not visible to others when one has an epileptic fit. So in fact this kind of electroshock can cause more brain damage because under sedation, more voltage is needed to cause a fit, which is the desired effect of electroshock in the first place.
C.S. Lewis said;
"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."
Psychiatry’s pursuit of power over human beings has caused untold suffering and the destruction of lives in the name of ‘treatment.’ It inflicts electroshock on innocent victims, often elderly women, and it is vitally important that people speak out and take action to stop this barbaric practice. In addition to Asylum, two other organisations – MindFreedom International and CAPA (Coalition Against Psychiatric Assault) – were an inspiration to me. The former organised a successful campaign to highlight the forced treatment of Ray Stanford and Elizabeth Ellis and is currently running a campaign of Actions to Stop Electroshock Human Rights Violations. MindFreedom urges us to contact the World Health Organisation, which says it has a new ‘toolkit’ on human rights and mental health. WHO officially opposes all involuntary electroshock so you can ask what it is doing to make that a reality.
You can use WHO’s web form to comment here: bit.ly/who-web-form, or you can send a postcard or letter here: WHO; Avenue Appia 20; 1211 Geneva 27; Switzerland.
Following their Toronto Conference in May 2010, CAPA issued the following declaration:
“1. WHEREAS research has established to a level of statistical significance that electroshock causes brain damage by causing seizure and through the electrical current, and indeed, that it does so in all its forms whether it be unilateral or bilateral, traditional pulse width or ultra brief pulse, whether it be called classical electroshock or new modified electroshock;
4. WHEREAS electroshock frequently causes permanent impairment and loss in creativity;
5. WHEREAS research establishes conclusively that electroshock is no more effective than placebo in alleviating depression or preventing suicide—the one effect which it is said to effectively address—and placebo causes none of the problems listed above;
6. WHEREAS despite decades of government committing themselves to informed consent, informed consent to electroshock remains a fiction;
7. WHEREAS electroshock disproportionately targets and discriminates against women, mothers diagnosed with “postpartum depression”, and elderly people;
8. WHEREAS many people experience electroshock as a serious violation of human rights, specifically as an assault on people's dignity and as cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment;
We the scholars, psychiatric survivors, students, and activists attending the PsychOut Conference, an international academic conference being held at University of Toronto, May 7 and 8, 2010, some of whom have personally experienced electroshock and have been damaged by it, take the following position:
Electroshock is not a treatment which should in any way receive state financing or support
We see governments as ethically obliged to stop funding electroshock
We support provincial and state legislation everywhere whose purpose is to remove public funding for electroshock
I was privileged to be present at the Toronto CAPA PsychOut Conference in 2010 to deliver a workshop with shock recipient Linda Andre, who had just published her excellent book, ‘Doctors of Deception,’ at the time. Being inspired by her work and that of Don Weitz and David Oaks and many others has motivated us in MindFreedom Ireland to hold what would be Ireland’s first public anti-shock protest in Cork in May 2007, an event which was reported in the national press. We have subsequently staged a further four protests. The late Dr. Michael Corry was a staunch ally in the campaign, which also included participation in national TV and radio programmes. Writing in 2008, Dr. Corry described the use of electroshock as “archaic, irrational and barbaric. It is a Holocaust of the brain, a brutal Final Solution.” In the most recent TV programme in May 2012, MindFreedom Ireland activist Colette ni Dhuinneacha debated head to head with a representative of the Irish College of Psychiatry and was more than able to refute the pro-shock arguments that were presented.
MindFreedom Ireland was also part of the Delete Article 59b Campaign to outlaw forced electroshock, which was organised by Dr. Corry, Dr. Pat Bracken and the late John McCarthy, and which succeeded in having a private members bill to that effect being introduced in the Senate, the upper house of the Irish parliament. While the imminent revision of the 2001 Mental Health Act proposes to eliminate the word ‘unwilling,’ regrettably it will still contain the word ‘unable,’ which I believe will in effect make no difference; nevertheless, our campaign will continue. Thanks to the internet – YouTube, Facebook, etc. – we have the advantage of a powerful tool to help us in our struggle. Our Facebook campaign to ‘Stop the Forceful Use of ‘Therapy’ passed the 10.000 mark in September. The internet can also facilitate the mutual exchange of ideas, information and support and empower us to combine to ultimately achieve a world in which my two granddaughters can live free from an outdated and barbaric practice.
Mary Maddock ( published in the MadinAmerica Blog in 2014)
A public protest against the controversial psychiatric practice of electroshock will take place in Cork on Saturday, May 7th.
It is being organised by MindFreedom Ireland, a Cork based psychiatric survivor group which campaigns against human rights abuse and forced ‘treatments’.
During electroshock, an electric current is passed through the brain inducing a grand mal seizure. It is an extremely controversial procedure with proponents claiming it as an essential last resort treatment. Critics say it causes trauma, brain damage and enduring memory loss, is outdated and dehumanising and call for its total abolition.
The most recent figures from The Mental Health Commission show a national increase in the use of electroshock with a 70% increase in the number of programmes administered without consent.
A recent amendment to the Mental health Act 2001 removed the word ‘unwilling’ but in leaving the word ‘unable’ effectively left the power to forcefully administer it still in the hands of two psychiatrists.
This will be the 8th protest organised by MindFreedom Ireland and takes place between 2pm and 4pm outside Bishop Lucey Park on Grand Parade. Testimonies on how it affected them will be given by survivors of electroshock.
People die because of electroshock! Elderly women receive it most of all globally!
Profit before people!
"My grandmother died after receiving ECT, which was given her simply because she was grieving over husband's death. I've spoken to many hundreds of survivors of electroshock who say it's torture, not "safe and effective" treatment. FDA is not putting consumers before the financial interests of the ECT device manufacturers and American Psychiatric Association. And "treatment resistant" blames the "patient," not the treatment that has failed them."Jan Eastgate
Recently, it has been revealed that the use of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), seclusion and physical restraint in the treatment of psychiatric patients have all increased for the first time in years, according to the Mental Health Commission.
ECT is a treatment formally known as electroshock therapy which involves the administration of small currents to the brain in order to relieve symptoms of psychiatric illness.
There was a 70% rise in the number of ECT programmes given to patients who were either unwilling to receive it or unable to consent.
Mary Maddock underwent ECT. She spoke to Newstalk Lunchtime about her treatment. She couldn't remember the first time but she did receive 13 series of it.
She said: "It's often used as a threat to people, even if they don't receive it.
"When you receive electroshock, as I call it, it's in order to have a seizure, the brain to have a seizure. People know that seizures are not good to have. We know that people forget so many things if they have seizures."
Presenter Jonathan Healy asked does the procedure hurt. Mary responded: "You don't feel it but you feel the affects afterwards. Afterwards, you can't remember a long time preceding that time.
"When I was in the hospital the second time, the so-called hospital I call it, I couldn't remember all the people that came in to see me or anything like that.
"To go back to life after having received this kind of, I don't call it treatment, having received that, to exist afterwards is very, very hard. It's hard to have a job, to provide for yourself."
She went on to detail that the treatment was forced upon her: "It was forced upon me, because it wasn't with informed consent. (correction editor)
"The first time I received electroshock was three days after giving birth. Before that, I had just had a baby and because the doctors misunderstood me at the time of birth, they thought I needed to go to a psychiatric hospital."
She went on to detail her treatment in detail and the impact this had on her afterwards.
"My thoughts began to race, I wasn't able to sort of be the person I was, even at that time," she stated.
"Giving me all this drug treatment that was very bad for me and was changing my personality, I was misunderstood in the hospital as needing to go to a psychiatric hospital in the first place."
She went on to tell Jonathan: "It set you off to a very bad start and this was my early married life. I was a music teacher as well and I had learned a lot of music and was able to memorise it well because I had done a lot of practising.
"A lot of that was just wiped out. How could I have been the music teacher I could have been?"
She stated that the treatment hasn't changed since the 1970s.
"My reaction is outrage and it's outrage that it's more woman than men. It's 2:1 women get it and are forced to have it and this is not just in Ireland. This is an international trend and the international trend is now that we know that electroshock goes on in the hospitals, people didn't even know that and they still don't know it.