Podcast Archives - Page 2 of 5 - Unhinged

Unhinged Episode #031: Peer Through The Darkness

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Unhinged Episode #031: Peer Through The Darkness

The importance of a solid support network is typically underrated, but is tantamount to the well-being of someone with depression, anxiety, or any other mental health issue. Family and friends that see through the stigma and understand that it’s a disease can be a very important pillar in the support system of sufferers.

Perhaps just as important is peer support. Real peer support comes from someone who has fought their own demons and understands the anguish on an intimate level. They are trained in how to talk to and comfort sufferers, and can relate to them on a more personal level. There’s an instant level of trust with someone who has been there before, and that can open up the conversation and act as therapy.

NOTE: We had some technical/network issues with Skype during the show, so the sound quality is not as good as usual. We apologize for that and did our best to clean up the audio during editing.

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Unhinged Episode #030: Autism Spectrum Disorder with Matt Moloney

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Unhinged Episode #030: Autism Spectrum Disorder with Matt Moloney

In today’s episode, we welcome special guest Matt Moloney, an old co-worker and friend of Doug’s from years past. Matt talks to us about Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Asperger’s Syndrome. Matt’s son Nathan was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, and what Matt has learned is that raising a child who is socially challenged has made him a better person. He is an advocate for awareness and pushes for the acceptance of these children into “normal” society rather than being marginalized by a system that doesn’t understand them.

We also learn that people who fall within the autism spectrum do not consider themselves broken in any way. A term now being used is “neurodiverse”, which means that they simply lie on a part of humanity’s full spectrum where they are as not as well-equipped to handle social or emotional interactions. The majority of the world’s people would be classified as “neurotypical” by contrast. Just as one person may not have an affinity for, say, drawing, a neurodiverse person may not be good in social situations, but they usually do show very high intelligence and may hyperfocus on one or two talents and excel at them.

It’s a topic we have not yet covered, and we thank Matt for joining us to explain what it’s all about. Very interesting and eye-opening!

NOTE: We had some technical/network issues with Skype during the show, so the sound quality is not as good as usual. We apologize for that and did our best to clean up the audio during editing.

Matt and his son Nathan

Matt and his son Nathan

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Unhinged Episode #029: Still Fighting

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Unhinged Episode #029: Still Fighting

We welcome Doug back in this episode, but he’s still fighting through severe depression and anxiety. Apparently, this time, he actually felt the trigger of his downturn. It occurred after a comment from someone he looks up to totally took the wind out of his sails. With Doug’s delicate amygdala, any negative external stimuli can trigger a downward spiral, and that’s exactly what happened.

Seeking help, he managed to get a quick appointment to have his DBS adjusted. The intensity of the current setting was turned up a notch, and now it’s a waiting game. Unfortunately, relief could take days, months, or even years. Of course, we’re hoping for days, since his last DBS adjustment seemed to work fairly quickly.

He’s still hoping to become a peer support counselor, but he will have to slow things down a bit to avoid any possible negative triggers. In the meantime, he keeps fighting, but will take on fewer challenges at once… it’s all about baby steps.

Show resources:
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Unhinged Episode #028: Eyes are Green

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Unhinged Episode #028: Eyes are Green

If you listened to our last show, you know Doug has been feeling much better since the DBS adjustment was made maybe 1 month and a half ago or so. He was feeling confident and was looking forward to starting down the path of becoming a peer support counselor as well as working on more music and getting out more.

Unfortunately, it looks like those plans might be on hold for now since Doug has again been struck down by this relentless disease. All this happened very quickly, literally from one day to the next. It’s unclear if the DBS has stopped working or if he’s having another long bout of anxiety that is causing him to shut down and close himself off from any contact.

I have not heard from Doug since a text he sent me on Friday, October 7th, saying that he’s “in f*cking hell” right now. This episode is just me explaining all I know so far, so it’s a short one. I close the show with a short excerpt of a song I am writing about Doug’s battle. Hopefully he’ll be back next week feeling stronger and giving us more insights into what he’s going through.

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Unhinged Episode #027: Electric Avenue

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Unhinged Episode #027: Electric Avenue

In this episode, we catch up with Doug’s progress with his DBS. Still going strong, even after a stressful few days. The neurological corrections (based on MEG brain imaging) are still in place and seem to still be working their magic a full month after altering the DBS settings.

Deep Brain Stimulation has already helped patients with Parkinson’s disease as well as dystonia. We play a couple of excerpts from Dr. Andres Lozano’s TED talk where he shows in real time how switching the DBS on totally stops a Parkinson’s patient from shaking, and essentially cures a child from severe dystonia. Tapping into the brain and sending an electric charge into very specific regions can kickstart malfunctioning neurons and bring hope to those who suffer from all sorts of mental illnesses.

Show resources:

DBS helps a Parkinson’s patient


DBS helps a patient with dystonia
 
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Unhinged Episode #026: Baby Steps

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Unhinged Episode #026: Baby Steps

Though Doug’s mood continues to improve from the new DBS setting, the end of the month financial struggle rears its ugly head again. In desperation, he started a crowdfunding campaign, only to suspend it early since we both felt uncomfortable with a plea for money with nothing in return.

From this, we decided to add a donate button on our website as a means to help keep the podcast going. Every month, when Doug’s disability money runs out and he goes days without food, his mood is understandably low, which makes recording the podcast a much lower priority than finding his next meal. So if you’re a listener and want to make sure we can continue doing the podcast, please donate however much you feel comfortable donating. No one with a mental illness should have to worry about basic sustenance.

On the betterment front, Doug is considering doing peer support for others who struggle with mental illness. Having been through it himself, he can provide a unique perspective that can help others going through similar issues.

Lastly, we discuss how real progress is made one step at a time. Looking forward too far makes tasks seem insurmountable, but focusing only on the small steps currently in front of you produces more wins and will lead to accomplishing what seemed impossible.

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Unhinged Episode #025: Carpe Diem

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Unhinged Episode #025: Carpe Diem

In this episode we continue discussing Doug’s progress and how the MEG brain imaging has helped dial in his current DBS settings, which seem to be holding so far. Doug goes into a bit of detail about the differences between the types of brain imaging currently available and their specific uses.

We also talk about Dr. Harry Frederick Harlow’s emotional experiments with rhesus monkeys, the ethical concerns surrounding his methods, and what we learned from his results. Also, we bring up Robin Williams again and discuss a few more details about his mental illness, and the similarities to Doug’s intractable depression.

Lastly, we talk about how we need to seize the day and appreciate everything we have right now and not stress out about what we cannot control. As Doug is improving, he is seeing the world through new eyes, hungry for everything positive the world has to offer.

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Unhinged Episode #024: Happy Days

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Unhinged Episode #024: Happy Days

Doug’s new setting on his DBS seems to still be working its miracles. Since the MEG scan pointed to three settings that showed promising neural activity, Doug has been on the first setting, and so far so good! No more shooting blind… with brain imaging, we now have a more reliable method of determining effective treatment.

We’re cautiously optimistic about this, and really hope it lasts into full remission, unlike the roller coaster setting he had previously. The best part of it all is that he now not only has hope, but is looking forward to a more “normal” future.

Show resources:

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Unhinged Episode #023: Helplessly Hoping

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Unhinged Episode #023: Helplessly Hoping

We’re back! In this episode, Doug talks about the results of his MEG scan and how he’s feeling after weeks of unbearable anxiety. His scans show that there are three DBS settings that were showing activity, so at least now, when adjusting the DBS, it can be done with some intelligence behind it rather than trial and error guessing. This new setting holds some promise, and we’re hoping it sticks.

We also talk a bit about the pros and cons of socialized medicine, and how quality healthcare should be available for all, not just those who can afford it. Doug’s life was saved by Canadian healthcare, but at the same time, there are struggles when it comes to long waits for appointments, and finding doctors who will treat patients as humans and not lab rats.

Lastly, we mention that Doug and I are collaborating on some music that we plan to release in the future as an album available for purchase from our website. We provide a small taste of something we’re working on (hint: see the title of this episode).

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Unhinged Episode #022: Trepidations

by Ed 0 Comments
Unhinged Episode #022: Trepidations

Doug is back! But only briefly to explain what he’s been going through and what it means for the future of our podcast. Don’t worry, we will continue in one form or another, but we must now consider Doug’s mental health and whether talking so personally about his daily struggles is a potential trigger or source for stress and anxiety. It’ll take us a couple of weeks to figure out, but we definitely want to continue the show. We may just not be able to be as rigid with our release dates, and the show format may change. We just don’t know the details yet.

Thank you to our listeners for sticking around and for all the well-wishes!

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