Odds are, reader, you’ve never had ECT, short for electroconvulsive treatment and colloquially known as shock treatment. If that’s so, you may believe it’s a form of torture only a step up from lobotomy and maybe a few steps up from the electric chair.

For me, having had a series of treatments, it isn’t quite that simple. First of all, for the sake of credibility, my credentials: I’m an upstanding member of my community, married, a teacher and a published author. There were a few years earlier in my life-odyssey, though, during a drawn-out adjustment to adulthood that lasted way into my thirties, when I kept losing the trail. I’d find it for a while and be very tuned in, creative, productive—then it would disappear again, and I’d be off the map, you might say. Getting to know a psychiatric ward, or several of them, is an occupational hazard that comes with being off the map. There simply are no other kinds of refuge in our society for people in certain kinds of distress.

These places aren’t so bad, actually, unless they insist on pumping you full of drugs. And back in the early ‘80s, the period I’m talking about, if you or your parents had “a policy,” you could check in to your friendly nearby psych ward for a couple of weeks almost free of charge.

Read the rest of this story in Max Reif’s book, Toward an Interior Sun: Awakening by a Master, and the Difficult Journey Toward Discipleship»


image: moonlightbulb (Creative Commons BY / Cropped from original)