E.C.T. : Friday Fictioneers

Screen Shot 2018-01-17 at 7.34.00 PM

photo prompt © J. Hardy Carrol

Nurses chased Carla round the room. “Take the pill Carla” one of the nurses hissed but Carla was frightened. She knew what happened. The nurse’s long arms shot out and grabbed her, pinning her so she couldn’t resist as the pill was forced to the back of her tongue and water poured down her throat. Twenty minutes later she was terrified, the beast was chasing her then she lost consciousness as her limbs began to twitch.

“I am never having that again,” Carla told the doctor a few days later. 

“No you don’t have to. We have a new electric treatment.”

Thank you to Rochelle for hosting Friday Fictioneers and J.Hardy Carrol for the use of the photograph.

The canopies on the ride reminded me of apparatus applied to the head (in movies) that alter the mind from there I was taken to this story. It was found that depression was eased by seizures and initially to induce these they used a drug called Metrazol.  The unfortunate side effect of this drug was that just before the seizure started an immense terror was felt by the patient. So much so that once experienced patients would do anything not to go through it again. Hence another way a causing seizures was sought and ECT  became the treatment of choice despite the fear that it too generated.

About Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

I began my working career as a reluctant potato peeler whilst waiting to commence my training as a student nurse. On completion I worked mainly in intensive care/coronary care; finishing my hospital career as clinical nurse educator in intensive care. A life changing period as a resort owner/manager on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu was followed by recovery time as a farmer at Bucca Wauka. Having discovered I was no farmer and vowing never again to own an animal bigger than myself I took on the Barrington General Store. Here we also ran a five star restaurant. Working the shop of a day 7am - 6pm followed by the restaurant until late was surprisingly more stressful than Tanna. On the sale we decided to retire and renovate our house with the help of a builder friend. Now believing we knew everything about building we set to constructing our own house. Just finished a coal mine decided to set up in our backyard. Definitely time to retire we moved to Queensland. I had been writing a manuscript for some time. In the desire to complete this I enrolled in a post grad certificate in creative Industries which I completed 2013. I followed this by doing a Master of Arts by research graduating in 2017. Now I live to write and write to live.
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64 Responses to E.C.T. : Friday Fictioneers

  1. Martin Cororan says:

    From one monster to another!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Varad says:

    Out of the frying pan…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Anita says:

    From terrifying pill to electrifying electric treatment…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. pennygadd51 says:

    Vividly written, Irene. “The nurse’s long arms shot out and grabbed her,” conveys such a lot about how powerless and terrified Carla felt, even before the drug took effect.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Dear Irene,

    Unique and powerful. I’ve known two people who’ve undergone ECT and what it did to them was terrible. Good story.



    Liked by 1 person

  6. granonine says:

    Terrifying in its realism. I’m thankful that ECT is rarely used these days, and is much more accurate in reaching the area of the brain that needs treatment. Still, scary stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Iain Kelly says:

    There seems little hope for Carla. Very different take on the prompt, well done.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. …like a scene from a horror movie! Nice one Irene.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. trentpmcd says:

    Well written, but… The things we do to people when we are trying to “help”. I think we are getting better at treatment. At least I hope we are.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. James says:

    It’s a terrifying thing to be at the mercy of nurses and doctors sometimes.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. That was so powerful and so well done. And thanks for the explanation… I was wondering how the fairground photo had prompted it.

    Susan A Eames at
    Travel, Fiction and Photos

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Sandra says:

    I like where the prompt took you. It’s lovely to see a tangential interpretation. Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. calmkate says:

    a few shocks might help but ongoing kills the memory and so much more .. sadly it’s used too often – very well written!


  14. I feel the things we have done to treat mental sickness is like torture… I had never heard about that pill, and just imagine that ECT is better is chilling…


  15. Medicine has taken a long time to come up with cures that are anything near effective, especially when it comes to mental health issues.


  16. Dale says:

    What an original… and horrible (not the writing, the “treatment”) take on the prompt, Irene!


  17. Rebel Guy says:

    I find this quite shocking. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  18. My God, that was such a powerful story. And what a unique lateral take!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Moon says:

    A unique take on the prompt and wonderfully written. I feel sad for the patients who have to undergo it.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Did Metrozol also kill off portions of the brain?


  21. In your hands, this story is very well written. Psychosis and mental instability have not been well understood. Controlling behavior was the goal for so many decades and people suffered endlessly and needlessly. Being sent to a sanitarium was being drive to a pit of abuse. I think understanding the way the brain works is in its infancy. As a nurse, Irene, you must cringe at the barbaric ways mentally ill people used to be treated. Even now with some progress, a long way still to go.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You’re right Sharon. People didn’t understand it and therefore it created an aura of distrust and ignorant reactions (as do any situations that aren’t understood by the masses). I do think in the early days it was barbarism at its worst but now and often a way of getting rid of people that were a pest. I always think of Van Gough who showed us that torment through the paintings he did at the sanitarium he was in. These days I think doctors and nurses are trying their hardest to be humane and do the right thing by the patients but as you say our understanding of the brain is in its infancy.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Dan Bohn says:

    I love compassionate nurses. I’m sure they were not chasing her for amusement. Carla got a bum deal.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. tedstrutz says:

    I liked seeing where this prompt took you.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Anna Rymer says:

    Harrowing – and a really interesting take on the photo. Well told too!

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Doesn’t sound like a good solution. Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. subroto says:

    Terrifying story because there is such a strong element of truth in it.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. First I must thank you for pointing out the link on my blog that didn’t work – I’ve fixed it now, so you can find my book on Amazon 🙂 Your story made me really uncomfortable, it’s so true to life.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. My Mom used to go to a psychiatric hospital a lot when I was a very young child.
    Paranoid schitzophrenia she told me once. I suppose I could say more about her
    but this is about your story.
    I think these were experimental treatments. Sadly, meds haven’t been improved either. Two out of three of my daughters have bi-polar. I wonder about this being passed on. Quite a controversially hidden subject you were able to write from this photo. BRAVO …!!!
    Isadora 😎

    Liked by 1 person

    • That must have been a difficult childhood Isadora and I feel for your children with bi-polar. It is a difficult condition to live with but I believe they have made great advances with drug treatment. The most inspirational speaker I have ever listened to suffered bipolar and she told us of how when she felt well she stopped taking medication and of the manic phase followed by depression. She is now a upper level manager and goes on speaking tours to raise awareness of the condition. I’m sorry if my story caused you distress but mental illness is something that we tend to avoid and unfortunately this prompt triggered it for me.
      Cheers Irene ❤️


  29. You took the prompt to a whole different level! Nicely done. As Isadora said, “BRAVO!”

    Liked by 1 person

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