Painless treatment a lifesaver
Kerry Fussell. Picture: Sharon Smith/The West Australian

Although some regard electroconvulsive therapy as barbaric shock treatment, Kerry Fussell said it saved her life and was as if someone "finally turned on the light".

The 56-year-old former senior nurse said though she does not have children, if she had a teenager with severe depression who needed the treatment, she would not think twice about giving her consent. She said ECT was straightforward and painless, and a far cry from the distressing scenes in the film One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

Diagnosed with depression and later bipolar disorder, Ms Fussell said she tried many regimes of medication between 2008 and 2010, but none seemed to work.

"When people see ECT being given, their reaction is often along the lines of 'Is that it?' because the actual seizure is very small and over in no time," Ms Fussell said.

"I had no real qualms because I had seen it given to patients when I was a nurse," she said. "When I had the first few treatments I didn't feel any different, but then it was like a light had been switched on."

If you or someone you know is thinking of suicide phone Lifeline on 13 11 14

The West Australian

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