I am Pissed Off that I Missed Out on my Youth

Questions from the panel chair for “JJ,” after he gave his testimony:

Don Weitz, panel chair: This was in Hamilton I believe, where you said…

JJ: The Ontario Hospital in Hamilton, yes.

DW: Did any doctor bother to explain to you any of the major effects or what to expect and do you remember giving any kind of consent?

JJ: They told me I was a certifiable patient, that I was not informed. I had no right in the situation at all. They could do what they wished to me.

DW: Excuse me did you just say they told you that you had no rights?

JJ: No because I was certifiable. I was not in a mental state to make the decision on my own. So they would be making the decisions for me. Did you think that I wanted to be wired to the bed? I don’t think so.

DW: Did they also…just to follow up the question. Did any doctor including the ones who prescribed shock, give you an alternative or mention any possible alternative to shock?

JJ: Well I said that I was lithium. I was on Haldol. I was on Stelazine at the time. But when it was brought to my attention that they were going to buzz me or to give me shock treatment no nothing was mentioned. There was no alternative but to have this treatment. That I was an involuntary patient. But I was able to fight back for awhile.

DW: Could you give me about the year that it was or the years?

JJ: Yes I can give you the definite years. It was between 1972 and 1977.

DW: OK thank you. Any other questions?

Cathy Crowe, panelist: You probably heard other people describe the problems they had with concentration and different ongoing effects. Would you maybe describe any that you felt?

JJ: After the ECT I became very inward, antisocial kind of person. I guess that if society allowed somebody to tie a wire voltage to your head and fry your brain you might become antisocial too. Right? I became very antisocial. I became psychotic which was definitely not the type of guy of was. I’m a happy go lucky guy. I’ve been that way for the last twenty five years. I attend the Club (inaudible). I volunteer my [time] there. I am a personal support worker certified through Niagara College in Welland. I am out to help anybody and everybody but at that time it really affected me. There’s a few times in my life that I have, like the lady just mentioned, that she has spans of memory loss. I have them. I lost the feeling of accomplishment through my youth. Obviously if you are in a hospital with older gentlemen anywhere from thirty to fifty years old and you are only sixteen years old and they treating you like you are the pet on the unit, that’s not healthy for you. So I have a lot of …I don’t know how to say it. I am pissed off in a way that I missed out on my youth or my young adulthood. But I gained it all back. I got it all back now. (inaudible) it’s hard that I lost it at the time when I lost it. But the only thing ECT did for me was to delay my life. Once I got back on track I can go full force now. That’s all I can say.

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