SIR: I read the letter regarding Electro Convulsive Therapy (ECT) by Emma Miller (Chronicle, June 18) and although Ms Miller is entitled to her comments I would like to offer an alternative view from own experience of severe depression and ECT. To say that readers may be 'shocked' is neither helpful nor accurate. Severe depression can be as debilitating and life changing as a physical illness with the added pain of stigma. There is no one treatment but various interventions, often in combination, may be offered including medication, psychological therapy, complementary therapies and support from family and healthcare professionals in hospital and community settings. A course of ECT may also be considered as a helpful adjunct to the above.

I have found ECT to be one of the most successful treatments, indeed life saving. I accept that I will never be cured but can be helped to manage my illness. That ECT can affect short term memory is true but for me this is far outweighed by the benefit I derive. Neither is ECT a distressing experience as a short anaesthetic is given.

Sadly I have experienced episodes of despair and hopelessness. Even the good things in my life are lost and there seems no point in living. Ending my life seems rational. I have welcomed a course of ECT as I know from past experience this treatment will alleviate these terrible and frightening feelings and enable me to realise that there is hope.

Sheila Cook,

Hyde Close,