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oliver: life after ECT


oliver

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After 25 years of SSRI's then SNRI's then attempted suicide then Californian rocket fuel, and finally ECT

( that worked amazingly well) I have been normal and stable for 3 months, and depression is a distant thought

that I am fast forgetting. The psychiatrist (only seen once to check if its ok to drive) says I should stay on the 

Californian rocket fuel (45mg mirtazapine + 225mg venlafaxine + 7.5mg olanzapine) for 6-12 months to make

sure I don't relapse. But the doctors at the ECT treatment hospital were very matter-of-fact, and said that if I start

to relapse I can go back for a top-up!   Quite a few people do, as I met some there while having treatment. I have

had virtually no side effects from the ECT, so is it right that I have to continue taking these drugs when I feel so great!

OR am I deluding myself, and after the Re-boot, the Californian rocket fuel is actually keeping me sane?

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to oliver: Life after ECT
  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Oliver, welcome to SA. Your history looks similar to mine, many years of drugs and ECT!   Did you get off any off the drugs and have to go back on them?   Most of us here were told we needed drugs for a chemical imbalance in the brain when we had a 'relapse' . It has now been proven that this is not true but was made up by the drug companies to sell their drugs. 

When a drug is stopped or tapered too fast it results in withdrawal which is almost always blamed on mental illness.   

How long have you been taking the CRF combo?  Did you stop it for the ECT? 

It is never wise to stop drugs without very careful tapering, even when you are feeling great, doing so will inevitably lead to withdrawal which can be even worse than the condition that led to taking them. However, it  is good to start tapering when feeling stable, it is a long process and many people want to be off quite quickly but again that leads to withdrawal and going back on so it is well worth the time and patience to take it slowly and be off them for good.  

 

  We ask all our members to put their drug and tapering history on their signature. The link will take you directly to the signature box in settings. Just fill it in and click save. We need drugs and doses, with approximate start.stop dates. For the older ones just the drugs .  We need more accurate details for the last 2 years and particularly the last year. This will help us to advise whether to start tapering now or wait a while to be sure you are properly stabilised. 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/settings/signature/   

 

Here are some topics that you will find interesting. 

Tapering California Rocket fuel

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/11689-about-going-off-mirtazapine-plus-venlafaxine-effexor-aka-california-rocket-fuel/

 

Withdrawal or relapse?

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/14870-withdrawal-or-relapse-or-something-else/

 

Chemical imbalance myth

http://survivingantidepressants.org/topic/4291-again-chemical-imbalance-is-a-myth-stop-the-lies-please/

 

 

**I am not a medical professional, if in doubt please consult a doctor with withdrawal knowledge.

 

 

Different drugs occasionally (mostly benzos) 1976 - 1981 (no problem)

1993 - 2002 in and out of hospital. every type of drug + ECT. Staring with seroxat

2002  effexor. 

Tapered  March 2012 to March 2013, ending with 5 beads.

Withdrawal April 2013 . Reinstated 5 beads reduced to 4 beads May 2013

Restarted taper  Nov 2013  

OFF EFFEXOR Feb 2015    :D 

Tapered atenolol and omeprazole Dec 2013 - May 2014

 

Tapering tramadol, Feb 2015 100mg , March 2015 50mg  

 July 2017 30mg.  May 15 2018 25mg

Taking fish oil, magnesium, B12, folic acid, bilberry eyebright for eye pressure. 

 

My story http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4199-hello-mammap-checking-in/page-33

 

Lesson learned, slow down taper at lower doses. Taper no more than 10% of CURRENT dose if possible

 

 

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  • 3 months later...

Oliver how are you doing.

I would love to hear from you.

Any thoughts about tapering.

Thought for the day: Lets stand up, and let’s speak out , together. G Olsen

We have until the 14th. Feb 2018. 

URGENT REQUEST Please consider submitting  for the petition on Prescribed Drug Dependence and Withdrawal currently awaiting its third consideration at the Scottish Parliament. You don't even have to be from Scotland. By clicking on the link below you can read some of the previous submissions but be warned many of them are quite harrowing.

http://www.parliament.scot/GettingInvolved/Petitions/PE01651   

Please tell them about your problems taking and withdrawing from antidepressants and/or benzos.

Send by email to petitions@parliament.scot and quote PE01651 in the subject heading. Keep to a maximum of 3 sides of A4 and you can't name for legal reasons any doctor you have consulted. Tell them if you wish to remain anonymous. We need the numbers to help convince the committee members we are not isolated cases. You have until mid February. Thank you

Recovering paxil addict

None of the published articles shed light on what ssri's ... actually do or what their hazards might be. Healy 2013. 

This is so true, with anything you get on these drugs, dependance, tapering, withdrawal symptoms, side effects, just silent. And if there is something mentioned then their is a serious disconnect between what is said and reality! 

  "Every time I read of a multi-person shooting, I always presume that person had just started a SSRI or had just stopped."  Dr Mosher. Me too! 

Over two decades later, the number of antidepressant prescriptions a year is slightly more than the number of people in the Western world. Most (nine out of 10) prescriptions are for patients who faced difficulties on stopping, equating to about a tenth of the population. These patients are often advised to continue treatment because their difficulties indicate they need ongoing treatment, just as a person with diabetes needs insulin. Healy 2015

I believe the ssri era will soon stand as one of the most shameful in the history of medicine. Healy 2015

Let people help people ... in a natural, kind, non-addictive (and non-big pharma) way. J Broadley 2017

 

 

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Latest update:

A few weeks after my last post (late October 2017) I started to relapse.....I think it's because I started to worry about Christmas......yes I know, but I like to be organised!  By the way, I always worry about Christmas, always have... Anyway my family cancelled ALL present giving, ALL vouchers,  ALL cash- to by what you really want...... Well they were right, it gave me breathing time and did I need it!

Anyway I made an appointment and saw the psychiatrist 2 weeks later and said that I felt that I needed a top up. Well the spaces were limited, so I ended up waiting  another 3 weeks. The last week I spent in bed....trying to stay safe (from myself).

Twice a week until Christmas gave me 9 zaps, finishing on 20th December. I was 90% normal again.

I then had 1 zap a week for 5 weeks, which brings me up to now. (100%) The hospital said that if I want, I can have a maintenance zap every 2/3/4 weeks depending how I feel, so this is the plan.

It is ironic that I went downhill so fast before Christmas, and had to wait  5 weeks to start the ECT, whereas they now have extra funding and have doubled the number of people they can see!

In the meantime my psychiatrist has been advised by the Lead  psychiatrist at the hospital that I "could" come off Mirtazapine and switch to Lithium. .....Not sure about this as it involves regular blood tests to establish the correct dose, and then maintain it. I have a meeting next week, but am not going down that path at the moment.

The CBT treatment that I was told would help has not happened because of administration stuff! Well with the NHS under-funded would I expect anything different?

I am being persuaded by my spouse to do this:  Natural Depression Treatment program by Mark Tyrrell Co-founder Uncommon Knowledge.....Basically a self help...sort your thoughts out and get rid of depression for good....or at least if it works, keep it well under control for good. I am only up to session 3 out of 17, so a way to go yet. I found it on the internet, and it takes some time and concentration, but perhaps that's what I need....a bit of self time every day....It seems like an hour a day might be needed. (that's not much really, as I could have been dead for 9 months). It sort of brings it into focus when I say that!

So, I have to get up to speed again on the best way to balance the thoughts in my brain against the chemicals, but at least I know that should I need a top-up zap, they work for me.

Just a thought:

Why does it seem so difficult for me to focus on getting myself cured of my depression without drugs, when some people on this Earth want to be trained (old word-'brainwashed') into blowing themselves up?

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Oliver thanks for taking the time to do an update .

Do you think you'd like some help with tapering at this stage.

It would be great if you were to do a drug sig. 

Sorry you are still struggling. 

Don't let any of these doctors cold turkey you off any of these drugs they will all need to be slowly tapered in order to keep a reign on withdrawal symptoms which are often mistaken by doctors as 'd-pr-ss--n'

 

Thought for the day: Lets stand up, and let’s speak out , together. G Olsen

We have until the 14th. Feb 2018. 

URGENT REQUEST Please consider submitting  for the petition on Prescribed Drug Dependence and Withdrawal currently awaiting its third consideration at the Scottish Parliament. You don't even have to be from Scotland. By clicking on the link below you can read some of the previous submissions but be warned many of them are quite harrowing.

http://www.parliament.scot/GettingInvolved/Petitions/PE01651   

Please tell them about your problems taking and withdrawing from antidepressants and/or benzos.

Send by email to petitions@parliament.scot and quote PE01651 in the subject heading. Keep to a maximum of 3 sides of A4 and you can't name for legal reasons any doctor you have consulted. Tell them if you wish to remain anonymous. We need the numbers to help convince the committee members we are not isolated cases. You have until mid February. Thank you

Recovering paxil addict

None of the published articles shed light on what ssri's ... actually do or what their hazards might be. Healy 2013. 

This is so true, with anything you get on these drugs, dependance, tapering, withdrawal symptoms, side effects, just silent. And if there is something mentioned then their is a serious disconnect between what is said and reality! 

  "Every time I read of a multi-person shooting, I always presume that person had just started a SSRI or had just stopped."  Dr Mosher. Me too! 

Over two decades later, the number of antidepressant prescriptions a year is slightly more than the number of people in the Western world. Most (nine out of 10) prescriptions are for patients who faced difficulties on stopping, equating to about a tenth of the population. These patients are often advised to continue treatment because their difficulties indicate they need ongoing treatment, just as a person with diabetes needs insulin. Healy 2015

I believe the ssri era will soon stand as one of the most shameful in the history of medicine. Healy 2015

Let people help people ... in a natural, kind, non-addictive (and non-big pharma) way. J Broadley 2017

 

 

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8 hours ago, oliver said:

Latest update:

A few weeks after my last post (late October 2017) I started to relapse.....I think it's because I started to worry about Christmas......yes I know, but I like to be organised!  By the way, I always worry about Christmas, always have... Anyway my family cancelled ALL present giving, ALL vouchers,  ALL cash- to by what you really want...... Well they were right, it gave me breathing time and did I need it!

Anyway I made an appointment and saw the psychiatrist 2 weeks later and said that I felt that I needed a top up. Well the spaces were limited, so I ended up waiting  another 3 weeks. The last week I spent in bed....trying to stay safe (from myself).

Twice a week until Christmas gave me 9 zaps, finishing on 20th December. I was 90% normal again.

I then had 1 zap a week for 5 weeks, which brings me up to now. (100%) The hospital said that if I want, I can have a maintenance zap every 2/3/4 weeks depending how I feel, so this is the plan.

It is ironic that I went downhill so fast before Christmas, and had to wait  5 weeks to start the ECT, whereas they now have extra funding and have doubled the number of people they can see!

In the meantime my psychiatrist has been advised by the Lead  psychiatrist at the hospital that I "could" come off Mirtazapine and switch to Lithium. .....Not sure about this as it involves regular blood tests to establish the correct dose, and then maintain it. I have a meeting next week, but am not going down that path at the moment.

The CBT treatment that I was told would help has not happened because of administration stuff! Well with the NHS under-funded would I expect anything different?

I am being persuaded by my spouse to do this:  Natural Depression Treatment program by Mark Tyrrell Co-founder Uncommon Knowledge.....Basically a self help...sort your thoughts out and get rid of depression for good....or at least if it works, keep it well under control for good. I am only up to session 3 out of 17, so a way to go yet. I found it on the internet, and it takes some time and concentration, but perhaps that's what I need....a bit of self time every day....It seems like an hour a day might be needed. (that's not much really, as I could have been dead for 9 months). It sort of brings it into focus when I say that!

So, I have to get up to speed again on the best way to balance the thoughts in my brain against the chemicals, but at least I know that should I need a top-up zap, they work for me.

Just a thought:

Why does it seem so difficult for me to focus on getting myself cured of my depression without drugs, when some people on this Earth want to be trained (old word-'brainwashed') into blowing themselves up?

Ect works for you? Everyone else is so negative about it. 

 

2001 Remeron , Celexa, prozac a week on lithium. 

2014 went off effexor and trazadone in 3 weeks. 

2014 zoloft (hyper reaction) put on effexor 75 mg. Was stable until 2017 

2017  Trazadone 50 mg (June) Effexor to 113 mg (2 weeks) Effexor 150 mg for a month . Took 75 mg until November. . Lithium 10 days, Lamactil 10 day  aug-nov15 ativan

October : Prozac bridge to get off 75 mg of effexor Used 10 mg of prozac. Stopped prozac 3 wk 

Dec 6, 7 Upped trazadone from 50 to 100 mg Did it for 3 days Stopped it

Dec 7 , Dec 8 Took prozac again 0.1 , 0.1, 0.6 stopped it

Dec 11 and Dec 12 upped it to 100 again

Dec 15 , 16,17 went back to 50 mg of trazadone

December 18 Began 3 beads of effexor  Dec 25 began 5 beads of effexor take 10 mg of omneprazole daily

 

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12 hours ago, oliver said:

now have extra funding and have doubled the number of people they can see!

Sounds like more and more people are being given  ECT. 

 

Thought for the day: Lets stand up, and let’s speak out , together. G Olsen

We have until the 14th. Feb 2018. 

URGENT REQUEST Please consider submitting  for the petition on Prescribed Drug Dependence and Withdrawal currently awaiting its third consideration at the Scottish Parliament. You don't even have to be from Scotland. By clicking on the link below you can read some of the previous submissions but be warned many of them are quite harrowing.

http://www.parliament.scot/GettingInvolved/Petitions/PE01651   

Please tell them about your problems taking and withdrawing from antidepressants and/or benzos.

Send by email to petitions@parliament.scot and quote PE01651 in the subject heading. Keep to a maximum of 3 sides of A4 and you can't name for legal reasons any doctor you have consulted. Tell them if you wish to remain anonymous. We need the numbers to help convince the committee members we are not isolated cases. You have until mid February. Thank you

Recovering paxil addict

None of the published articles shed light on what ssri's ... actually do or what their hazards might be. Healy 2013. 

This is so true, with anything you get on these drugs, dependance, tapering, withdrawal symptoms, side effects, just silent. And if there is something mentioned then their is a serious disconnect between what is said and reality! 

  "Every time I read of a multi-person shooting, I always presume that person had just started a SSRI or had just stopped."  Dr Mosher. Me too! 

Over two decades later, the number of antidepressant prescriptions a year is slightly more than the number of people in the Western world. Most (nine out of 10) prescriptions are for patients who faced difficulties on stopping, equating to about a tenth of the population. These patients are often advised to continue treatment because their difficulties indicate they need ongoing treatment, just as a person with diabetes needs insulin. Healy 2015

I believe the ssri era will soon stand as one of the most shameful in the history of medicine. Healy 2015

Let people help people ... in a natural, kind, non-addictive (and non-big pharma) way. J Broadley 2017

 

 

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  • 3 months later...

Latest update 30th April 2018

 

I had zaps at once a fortnight for a couple of times, then a couple at three week intervals, and now at one month. ( I feel ok and perhaps five weeks might be fine, but it seems that every alteration should be done at a very gradual pace.)

Meanwhile I did not change from Mirtazapine to Lithium as my consultant psychiatrist had suggested.

 

BUT at the meeting about a month ago with my consultant psychiatrist (that my spouse was asked not to attend)???  she said that she wanted me to increase the Venlafaxine from 225mg to  300mg for two weeks and then to increase again to 375mg for two weeks, before decreasing the Mirtazapine from 45mg to 30mg.

 

BUT the actual prescription that I got from the pharmacist after  it was written out by my doctor was 375mg Venlafaxine and 30mg Mirtazapine ( in one go). Luckily I am getting my head back together, otherwise I would be very ill indeed!

In the meantime over the past six weeks my family clubbed together and have paid for some 'CBT', as the NHS haven't been able to give me any CBT in over a year of waiting. ( I know there's no funding........) Well it turns out that the person that has done the 'CBT' on me is not specifically trained in the usual CBT, but is in fact a 'life coach'. So I don't get the "softly softly" approach that might have suited me a year ago. I get the "well life goes on... let's get back on our feet again". I find this very helpful and am actually making decisions for myself. Like NOT taking the additional Venlafaxine and taking the reduced Mirtazapine.

 

I am now in the position where in a couple of days I will have to lie to the consultant psychiatrist and tell her I am taking the dose she says (LIE) and that I feel fine (TRUE), just to keep her on my side, as I want to get my driving licence back after she (through her ignorance of the regulations) stopped me driving while on maintenance ECT.

 

As it stands at the moment, I will probably space out the ECT to five ,then six week intervals, just in case I have a relapse. (This also keeps my name on the system). I have been looking at reducing the Venlafaxine and  Mirtazapine. The articles seem very confusing as what to reduce first. I think it says reduce the Venlafaxine first, but at 10% off each month, that will take two years or more. So it's going to be a long haul if I'm not going to suffer the withdrawal effects.

 

I had never met anyone with severe mental depression until I was diagnosed with it. So the way I see it, is in the way I have seen Alcoholics stories. It will be there, waiting in the background, ready to bite your bum. So arm yourself with all the knowledge and tools you can.....and protect yourself.

 

Remember this: THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE and TRUST NO ONE.............................  "Fox Mulder.......X Files"  

Yes,  I have my sense of humour back after over 18 months.

 

Edited by ChessieCat
changed font and added spacing
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  • 5 months later...

Latest update 30th October 2018 (SEE PREVIOUS --- LIFE AFTER ECT) - mod note: topic merged with intro

 

I felt fine after going 6 weeks without an ECT zap, and had a routine meeting with the consultant psychiatrist who had a chat with the ECT treatment centre. So a couple of weeks later I had my last zap. I've taken it steady, and have had about 5 CBT chats. All is going well now that I have my driving licence back.... That was the worst thing ever.....Idiot psychiatrist, idiot DVLA....no one knowing what they were doing....and no staff. I was over 6 months without a driving licence, and for no reason but incompetency.   

 

Anyway I managed to do about 10 sessions of the Natural Depression Treatment program by Mark Tyrrell:  I felt that much better, that the other 7 sessions were not needed, but I have them all in reserve, just in case.

 

I decided to buy a 1 gram accurate electronic scale (ebay £12, and yes I know they may not be perfect , but don't forget that the tablets get mixed up in your stomach with lots of food and drink, so the dose is never that accurate. )        So I started to reduce the Venlafaxine and the mirtazapine.   I worked it out at about 1% every 3 days.....That's a very tiny amount...I used a nail file to sand off a tablet (having opened the capsule). I suppose everybody's tablets are different, but my 225mg Venlafaxine weighed 450 grams....So to make life easier I reduced the weight of the dose by 2 grams each day, and put the tablets back in the capsule, and into 1 week/ 7day pill box. AND kept a diary of the exact details and amounts, as I did not want to confuse things. I do this every week. In theory that should take 225 days.

 

The 30mg Mirtazapine tablets weighed 300 grams. This again was very convenient. So I started to file each tablet down by 1 gram each day, and put them in the pill box. In theory this should take 300 days. I know its a long time, but I've been there, and I don't want to go back. I figure that my brain needs time to slowly get its chemicals back in sink. I got about 1/3rd of the way down when I felt a bit of a wobble, so taking the advice given elsewhere on this site, I held steady at the same dose for about 2 weeks. When I felt better I continued the reduction from there. I'm just about half way down now, and feeling fine.

 

Christmas is coming up again (see previous posts)  The family have suggested the same.......no presents...vouchers...or anything. This seems a bit harsh, but if it works, its less hassle for me and of course the rest of the family who will end up suffering as well.......The compromise....We will all go out for Christmas lunch.... Yes its very expensive, but that's paid for by not having presents.

 

Of course  the Psychiatrist still thinks everything is going as she prescribed, but I can't let her know the truth....at the moment.

 

At least I feel I am back in control of ME

 

By the way, my head is clearing.....I had read other people say that,  when they come off the tablets,       and it is like a fog that is gradually lifting.

 

I hope these articles help. They have helped me understand that there are lot of people making a massive amount of money from ordinary folks who are going through a rough patch. With a bit of free advice YOU can get Yourself better.     Believe in Yourself.    and remember that you are unique and not everything works for everybody.

 

Take your time and take back control.

 

Edited by ChessieCat
added space
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  • ChessieCat changed the title to Stefan: specific withdrawals for Zoloft
  • 1 month later...

Latest Update 13th March 2019

Well I'm still here.....

The worry of Christmas and all that comes with it was alleviated. We all had a great time, with none of the worries that I had in previous years been concerned about. My psychiatrist  had booked an appointment with me in early December, to see how I was coping with the build up to Christmas, but she had to cancel it !!! and made it for January 2019. It's a good job I wasn't ill.....

At that meeting I told her how well the Christmas had been and she said that she was keeping me on the same dose (Venlafaxine 375mg and Mirtazapine 30mg.) to prevent a reoccurrence. She made another appointment for May 2019.

As I have said in previous posts: My psychiatrist (through her ignorance of the regulations) stopped me driving while on maintenance ECT. When my Driving Licence came back it was for one year only. It will be reviewed in August 2019, so the DVLA will require a letter from my psychiatrist before they will issue a new one....hopefully a full one, and not a yearly one.

Regardless of the lies I feel that I have to tell my psychiatrist to keep her on my side with regards to my driving licence, the tapering is going well.

Mirtazapine taper from 30mg

The 30mg Mirtazapine tablets weighed 300 mg, so playing it safe, I have reduced my dose by shaving 1 gram off the tablet each day. I am now on 23 mg of tablet: that's 2.3mg of Mirtazapine.......next to nothing, but I will persist too zero in just 23 days time.

Venlafaxine taper from 225mg

The 225mg Venlafaxine capsules weighed 450 mg, so again playing it safe, I have reduced my dose by shaving 2 mg off a tablet in the opened up capsule each day. I did have a wobble at about 240mg (tablet weight) and stayed on that dose for 2 weeks. but then carried on tapering down to 110 mg (tablet weight). I then re-read the tapering advice given else ware and decided to reduce by 1% of what's left each day. This started off at 2mg (tablet weight), but then starts to get a bit fiddly. i.e. at 90mg (tablet weight), it was that for 2 days as the fractions are too small to measure. Now at 50 mg  (tablet weight), it's the same for 3 days. At this rate it will be 25mg (tablet weight) in 2 months time. That's still 12.5mg of Venlafaxine though.

I will stick this out, as from what I have read, it's the small amounts that have the impact. It also gives my brain longer to recover from the damage it has suffered over 20 years of " chemical imbalance" .

Would you believe it !

The Lancet medical journal has today found proof that tapering very slowly should be encouraged by doctors.................................well you were right all the time

A Big Thank You.

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to oliver: life after ECT
  • Moderator Emeritus

That's a great update.  Really pleased that you are doing so well.  Thank you for letting us know how you are doing.

Please DO NOT TAG me - thank you

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a medical professional.  I provide information and make suggestions. 

  MISSION ACCOMPLISHED:    (6 year taper)      0mg Pristiq      on 13th November 2021

ADs since ~1992:  25+ years - 1 unknown, Prozac (muscle weakness), Zoloft; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after); Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (Serotonin Toxicity)  Tapering from Oct 2015 - 13 Nov 2021   LAST DOSE 0.0025mg

Post 0 updates start here    My tapering program     My Intro (goes to tapering graph)

 VIDEO:   Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndrome and its Management

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  • manymoretodays changed the title to oliver: life after ECT

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