The Possibility of Electro Shock Therapy at Riverview

Somewhere in the past, maybe an Aunt once told me that my Mother had undergone Electro Shock Therapy while at Riverview Hospital. This was (and still is) such a repulsive thought to me, that I still want to deny the possibility.

The idea that my own Mother would have been strapped down and submitted to electrical shocks to her head - her brain - is so hard to consider! But it is possible. I do believe that they did that sort of thing at Riverview, even during the 1980s when my mother was admitted. It's possible.

My father, sister and I all noticed how Mum's behaviour slowly changed over the years, how she became more distant, quieter and less talkative. We noticed how she constantly twitched and rocked in her seat.

I guess we accepted the possibility that the medication she was always on was responsibly, or that perhaps the long-term confinement and lack of stimulation, the lack of a real life, had contributed to her general emotional and physical decline.

But the idea that she would be physically restrained and electrically shocked was too aggressive and intrusive a possibility. I don't know if it's just a rumour, or the result of fear and misinformation. I cannot imagine how such a treatment would come to be prescribed to her.

There's very little I know about my Mother's life at Riverview, really. It's hard to imagine, and sometimes I wonder if I try to avoid thinking about it...

Related links:

130 Forced Electro-Shock Treatments - Rally at Riverview Hospital