On the Sea of Memory

On the Sea of Memory: A Journey from Forgetting to Remembering

a book by Jonathan Cott

Cott describes what it was like to re-invent himself after 36 ECT (Electroconvulsive Therapy) sessions created a fifteen year gap in his memory. “At the end of the 1990s, the esteemed writer Jonathan Cott lost fifteen years of his life. After receiving repeated rounds of electroshock treatments to combat his severe clinical depression, Cott couldn’t remember anything he had experienced between 1985 and 2000. Not a shred remained of his intimate relationships, his travels, his writings, his joys and sorrows.”

Mr. Cott was interviewed by Steve Paulson on Public Radio International’s To The Best Of Our Knowledge (12/21/12). He said, “…basically, I don’t remember anything for 15 years from about 1985 to about 2000. And when I got out of the hospital I was still depressed. … I would never have signed a consent form to have ECT knowing what I know now.”

When a string broke during one of Itzhak Perlman’s performances, he continued to play on the remaining strings, and said, “…make new music with what you have, then with what you have left.”

Jonathan Cott continued to play his life with the memory he had left, going around to everyone in his address book and asking them to tell him who they were and how they knew him — little by little reconstructing his own memories from the memories of others.

One shouldn’t have to cope through this kind of trauma; life is tough enough without psychiatry destroying a person’s memory with ECT. Perhaps you know someone who has been harmed by psychiatric abuse; have them contact CCHR at www.CCHR.org/abuse.

Find out more about the harm that ECT does by clicking here, then write your state representative and senator and tell them to stop funding ECT, which is a big money-maker in the psychiatric mental health industry. Let us know who you contacted and what they said.

When we talk with people about ECT, many have the mistaken impression that this barbaric procedure is no longer used, when in fact it is still being heavily promoted and used by the psychiatric industry. The last time we checked, Medicare was paying for roughly 153,000 ECT shocks per year; over 6,000 of these in Missouri. Washington University in St. Louis is a leader in promoting and delivering ECT, and the WU psychiatrists say that if ECT didn’t fix your depression, you just didn’t get enough of it.

The second quarter 2010 newsletter of the Missouri Psychiatric Association (edited at Washington University) promoted ECT for pregnant women, and lamented the fact that in Missouri a cumbersome court order is required to shock someone under court protection for dementia, saying, “We believe that psychiatrists who administer ECT should be able to do so without legal and/or legislative barriers.” We say that these barriers are not strong enough; what say you?

Write your state legislators to abolish the practice of Electro-Convulsive Therapy. This barbaric pseudo-medical treatment is responsible for thousands of Missouri citizens being on the roles of Medicare and Medicaid. ECT causes permanent brain damage and the victims rely on Medicaid to survive.

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