Born in 1942 into a Jewish family in Brooklyn, the teenage Lou Reed was subjected to electroconvulsive therapy to “cure” his homosexuality. He worked as a house songwriter for Pickwick Records before finding cult fame with art-rock band The Velvet Underground. Post-VU, he released a succession of acclaimed albums, most significantly 1972’s ‘Transformer’, whose themes of drug use and cross-dressing chimed with the mood of the glam-rock movement spearheaded by his friend David Bowie.
Since recent I am participating in the update of the guidelines for ECT in The Netherlands. That gave me the privilige to meet patients treated or being treated with ECT, mostly continuation ECT. In a meeting with them a couple of weeks ago they made remarks about the treatment and how the new guideline could improve ECT. Their experience, critique will be used for the new guidelines. Discussing ECT with these hands on experienced patients was a pleasure and very informative.
A week after that I had a meeting with (ex)patients of Mental Health Care and their significant others. Some of them had experience with ECT in the past. Comparable to Lou Reed some of them had been treated in the sixties with ECT for comparable absurd indications. We had a very lively and instructive discussion about ECT in the past and how ECT is used nowadays. To me these meetings are of immense importance, it changes your perspective on what your doing and how your doing it.
This post was inspired by an article on The Independent on Sunday about Lou Reed, Royal Albert Hall, London Beck, Guildhall, Southampton
He reviews a recent performance by Lou Reed of one of his best albums: Berlin.