Share this post:
This week we discuss Doug’s recent one-word Facebook post, “Goodbye”, and how that cry for help showed him just how much support he really has. The struggle for mental health is best fought with loved ones who can support the sufferer when they need it most. A single word to show that no one is alone in this struggle can save a life. Thank you to our listeners and our friends on Facebook for all the love, encouragement, and concern. It means everything.
Some outside factors came together all at once to form a nearly perfect storm of bad news that helped spiral Doug down the staircase to severe depression. Starting at 3 minutes and 24 seconds into the show, Doug gives some details about how close he really came to ending it all.
WARNING: Possible Trigger Alert! If anyone listening is particularly sensitive right now, please know that this discussion might contain possible triggers, so please be cautious and either save this episode for another time, or skip the section between 3:24 to about 7:30.
The good news is that Doug is currently feeling much better, partially due to the outpouring of support, which included the donation of a used acoustic guitar. This will help bring music back into his life, which is some of the best therapy a suffering musician can get.
This week we take a break from the heavy and serious topics and just have a lighthearted conversation. We recorded this podcast while connected to each other through video conferencing, so to us it felt more like we were both in one room just chatting. I think this made this show feel more conversational. Maybe in the future we’ll be able to record our videos as well and have a visual version of the show 🙂
We do discuss Doug’s DBS check up and how he’s feeling generally. He’s been up and down currently, so it’s been a bit of a rollercoaster for him. He was up during this show. We continue discussing the possibility of Doug doing voice acting work just to try to make ends meet. He has recorded his first sample for a demo reel we’re putting together, and we play it on the show. It’s a start!Share this post:
After nearly 5 months, Unhinged is back! We took an extended hiatus due to various reasons, the most important being Doug’s terrible relapse. Over these past few months, Doug has been suffering greatly, but now there seems to be a spark of relief as his DBS starts working again. This all started after his surgery to replace the batteries in his DBS unit, which is apparently very sensitive. The surgery requires the device to be switched off, and when it came back on, it was no longer working the same way it was before. It took several months and lots of trial and error to get it to come back to life, but now there seems to be some hope.
During this time, Ed has also had a major life change by moving from California, where he’s been for the last 21 years, to Colorado, where a new adventure begins. The contrast between his positive life change and Doug’s hellish suffering is stark, but the friendship remains strong.
In this episode, we discuss all these changes and how Doug is coping now. It’s our “welcome back” show, so we’re still ironing out some technical issues, but we’re glad to be back!Share this post:
Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is currently the most powerful known treatment for major depression. The technique itself was developed at the Toronto Western Hospital nearly 10 years ago. It was based on research findings by neurologist Dr. Helen Mayberg, working with a multi-disciplinary team that included world-renowned neurosurgeon Dr. Andres Lozano, our own Clinic’s Co-Director, Dr. Peter Giacobbe, as well as UHN’s Psychiatrist-in-Chief, Dr. Sidney Kennedy. Because DBS can often achieve remission where all other measures fail, the tecnhique is now being used to treat severe depression in advanced medical centres across Canada and around the world.
With DBS, a neurosurgeon implants a pair of electrodes into a small brain structure that is overactive in depression, called Area 25, or the subgenual cingulate. The electrodes stimulate at a high frequency that effectively jams the signals passing through the neural connections in the region. Once the electrodes are activated, many patients experience a rapid and dramatic improvement in symptoms — even patients who have not responded to any other treatment, including ECT. However, DBS remains an experimental technique, available only to small numbers of patients, in medical centres with expert teams of neurosurgeons. It also requires the electrodes to be permanently implanted in the brain and connected to a battery implanted under the collarbone — quite an invasive procedure compared to other treatments for depression. For these reasons, DBS is usually reserved for cases where all other options have failed.Share this post:
Hello, Unhinged listeners. I know it’s been awhile since we’ve communicated, and even longer since we’ve put out a show. Lots of things have been keeping us from being able to get back into the swing of things.
First and foremost, Doug is still suffering from severe depression and anxiety ever since his DBS battery started dying and needed to be changed. Unfortunately, even after the battery was replaced, his remission has not kicked back in. His doctors are experimenting with different settings and intensities to see if it starts working again. In the meantime, I can only offer words of hope and encouragement to Doug as he struggles to regain a sense of normalcy.
Secondly, all this has been happening during my move out of the San Francisco Bay Area. After 21 years of living in California’s Silicon Valley, my wife and I have decided to move to Loveland, Colorado. Though I still love everything that Silicon Valley stands for, and have many friends there, we felt that it was the right time to leave. The Bay Area has been getting steadily more congested as more people move there, and continues to get more expensive. The time was right to sell our house and move somewhere that has more seasons, less traffic, and is more affordable. It also happens to be much closer to my employer in Golden, Colorado, which is another positive.
The move is complete but we’re still living out of boxes. I’m also waiting for a new desk to be delivered so I can set up my recording studio in preparation for our next show.
Thank you all for being so patient with us as Doug recovers and we get things back in order. We will be back as soon as we can. It’s just taking us a bit longer than expected. Thanks for understanding!
-EdShare this post:
Hey there, Unhinged listeners and followers. I know it’s been a while since we’ve put out a show. We went on hiatus at the end of March when Doug’s DBS battery needed replacing. His mood dropped as the battery was dying, and unfortunately, it has not yet returned to comfortable levels after the surgery. Doug is still struggling for relief, and recently had the intensity of his DBS increased slightly in hopes of helping it kick in again.
We’re still waiting for his mood to increase. I have high hopes that it will improve in the coming weeks. Until then, we won’t be recording any shows to give Doug time to relax and heal. Any words of encouragement and hope are very much appreciated.
Share this post:
Today I’ll be meeting with Dr. Peter Giacobbe, of the Neuroscience clinic at Toronto Western Hospital, for my post-surgery check-in and possible adjustments to the neuromodulator.
I’m hoping with everything I’ve got that the DBS, with the current settings, will resume working as it had done for over 3 months prior to the battery running low. It was by far the best quality remission (out of 3 total) that I’ve had to date.
#Hope is what I’m riding on…
“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” ~Martin Luther King, Jr
UPDATE: After Doug’s DBS battery-replacement surgery on March 27th, he started feeling better almost immediately. However, as we all know how unpredictable the brain can be, his mood has dropped significantly since then. We’ve seen this before, and as disheartening as it is right now, I truly believe it will turn around again and we can continue with his remission and recovery.
Thank you all for your continued support!
Hi Unhinged listeners! Just letting you know that Doug goes into surgery this morning to change his DBS neurostimulator battery. The unfortunate timing of his current battery losing its juice has definitely derailed his mood. We’re hoping that once it gets replaced, the DBS can do its thing and Doug can get back on track with his remission and his life!
The podcast is still on hiatus until things settle down after the surgery. For now, let’s all send Doug best wishes for a quick recovery! Maybe even post a joke to get things started on a positive note 🙂
Thank your all for understanding. We hope to be back soon!