DBS Archives - Page 2 of 4 - Unhinged

Unhinged Episode #035: Tabula Rasa

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Unhinged Episode #035: Tabula Rasa

In the first Unhinged episode of 2017, we discuss an interesting phenomenon called the Mandela Effect. Think your memory is accurate? Think again. The Mandela Effect is when large groups of people all share the same false memory, typically a memory that can be easily confused or distorted by similar or related memories. In psychology, this is called confabulation. They explain this concept in detail in the 80’s film Shazaam, where Sinbad plays a genie. Remember that movie?

Since it’s a new year, we all tend to make our yearly New Year’s Resolutions. Are these resolutions destined to fail? It depends on how you think of them. We talk about setting life goals and how the new year is a great blank slate, or “tabula rasa”, to begin a conscious change in behavior that can help one achieve his goals.

Finally, we get into Doug’s current and very positive mental state. His DBS continues to work its magic, coupled with weekly social interactions as a peer support worker at the Mood Disorders Association of Ontario. Not only is he getting out and interacting with people, but he’s actually helping other sufferers. His 47 years of life experience living with this disease has essentially created an expert in peer support. Go Doug!

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Unhinged Episode #033: Don’t be SAD

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Unhinged Episode #033: Don’t be SAD

After a three-week hiatus, we’re back just in time for the holiday season! These past three weeks have been very dark for Doug, but he’s finally emerging from the shadows. With another tweak to his DBS settings, he has seen a shift from severe to moderate, which is definitely the direction he needs to go.

We start this episode with an update on his mood, and also talking about the successful GoFundMe campaign I started for Doug that raised nearly $2,500 (THANK YOU!). The good news continues with Doug’s acceptance into the peer support program for the Mood Disorder Association of Ontario.

Next, we discuss Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which is also known as winter depression, winter blues, or seasonal depression. As the holiday season arrives, SAD cases rise due to being exposed to less sunlight as the mornings start later and evening begins earlier during the winter season. And finally, we talk about some of the treatments available for SAD sufferers.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): Symptoms, Causes & Treatment Procedures

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): Symptoms, Causes & Treatment Procedures

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 #021: Fear

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Unhinged Episode #021: Fear

Last episode, we discussed how Doug was unable to join us due to his off-the-charts anxiety. This past week, his anxiety has continued like a roller coaster. Unfortunately, his disease is again keeping him from participating. We chatted a few days ago and he told me that the past week has felt more like years. Having been in what’s essentially a weeks long panic attack, he said he’s starting to wonder if anxiety is more than just a side effect of the DBS. What if it’s more of a base aspect of his personality, or at the very least a co-symptom of his mental illness? Is the anxiety caused by the depression, or is the depression caused by the anxiety?

This is just a quick update episode, so it’s very short. We’re hoping to do a full, proper show next week if Doug’s disease allows it. Thank you for understanding.

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