Jabari Bird of the Boston Celtics arrested for DV

Apparently he is being “evaluated” at this time. Will they check for head injury? Typically, it’s the football players that are subject to head trauma, but any athlete should be screened for this automatically.

Add to that list children, roofers and others who work high-risk occupations, anyone who has recently had a car accident, anyone who has been in the penal system, mental institution, or hospital due to high risk of unreported injury, elders at risk for falling, and anyone who was subject to child abuse or domestic violence, even if it was in the past. Examiners should remember that many abuse victims have been threatened and told not to squeal.

Now I didn’t say domestic violence is okay, did I? If anyone thinks I said that, please read what I wrote again.

Anyone who is exhibiting unusual, concerning, or out-of-character behavior should be screened for head injury. Asking, “Did you bump your head recently?” is no excuse for not checking, especially if the person is showing the classic signs of head trauma. Head trauma sometimes causes memory lapse. Not only that, but while under the duress of a psych exam a person may feel uncomfortable sharing certain details of their past.

One type of TBI often overlooked is electroshock, also called ECT. Many people show marked personality changes in addition to cognitive difficulties after electroshock. Also we might see apathy, depression, and suicidality. The number of people who complete suicide after electroshock is poorly documented because facilities do not disclose that a person had ECT. Institutions claim HIPAA prevents them from disclosing this information. Of course this policy is not protecting the victim or their family, but protecting the offending institution.

ECT victims generally do not realize that electroshock always damages the brain, often rather seriously. A victim of something called “treatment” rarely realizes that something sanctioned by doctors and medical institutions could possibly do harm. This means that any question, “Have you had a bump on the head recently?” used as screening for TBI will not get a YES answer. In fact, many ECT victims do not acknowledge the ECT during examination or in therapy sessions. This may be due to memory lapse, shame, or emotional trauma over the procedure.

Some people who have electroshock eventually make a partial or almost full recovery. Recovery can be very slow and usually takes years. I personally made an almost full recovery, but from speaking to other shock survivors I am realizing that the media has distorted the effectiveness and safety of this procedure. When you see a shining star interviewed on television or in magazines who claims the procedure doesn’t damage the brain, please do not assume this story is a typical one. If you read between the lines, you might learn of damages. For instance, a victim of ECT may state, “My life is wonderful now, but of course I have some memory gaps.” How can this not be brain damage?

As for myself, I have a few memory gaps left but not a lot. Mostly I forgot some of the late 1980s and early 1990s.  My recovery took a very long time. As of now, I am  unsure if ECT damaged my musical ability. I am very afraid to find out. I am so afraid of being devastated over it that I avoid doing music altogether.

Feedback and comments welcome!