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...
130 Forced Electro-Shock Treatments - Rally at Riverview Hospital