relapse Archives - Unhinged

Unhinged -Show’s Future TBD

by Ed 0 Comments
Unhinged -Show’s Future TBD

Hello Unhinged listeners,

You may have noticed that we have not done a show in a little while. There are multiple reasons for this, some of which are serious enough to bring into question whether we will continue producing episodes regularly.

First, real life gets in the way sometimes and makes it tough to schedule recording and editing time. For example, I was out all last week traveling to the east coast to visit family. There have also been a couple of work events the past few weeks that kept me from being able to even meet with Doug, let alone produce a show.

More importantly, however, is the fact that Doug’s mood has been a bit unpredictable lately. He may be up and feeling great for several days, but then suddenly wake up in low state that takes days to recover from. His doctor tweaked the DBS settings recently, but that is not an exact science and can take months to fully kick in.

During the few up times we’ve had in the past couple of months, we decided to focus on doing something fun and low pressure together, so we recorded some music. We talked about getting a show done during these up times, but felt his mood was still delicate enough that the process of producing the show was just too much pressure. Remember, when we do a show, Doug is usually talking about himself and reliving all the negativity he has been going through. This can be a trigger that could set him back, so that’s why we did a little music therapy instead.

We know that there are listeners who have been helped by our show, and we would love to be able to keep serving the mental health community and being advocates for the removal of the stigma surrounding mental illness. But right now Doug needs to think about his own well-being. It pains us to leave our listeners hanging, but we know that when the stars all align properly again, we can continue our mission in some way.

In the meantime, we will try to continue posting interesting finds about depression, mental illness, and the brain. We might put together a show at some point, but not until we know it won’t adversely affect Doug’s recovery.

Of all the people in the world, we know that our listeners will understand where we’re coming from. We’re still in the fight… it’s just become a little more personal recently.

Thank you for understanding.

-Ed

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Unhinged Episode #058: Chillax

by Ed 1 Comment
Unhinged Episode #058: Chillax

Doug’s personal life has been challenging lately, and this has, in part, been a cause for a mood drop in the last few days. Our plan for this show was to start by playing some music, maybe work on a new intro, and record the show. Instead, Doug told me to just start recording as soon as we got online because he wanted to explain his current mood and some of the triggers behind it.

Being a person with a mental illness is a challenge on any normal day, but when some serious real life issues arise, it can be downright devastating. A close family member of Doug’s is critically ill, and this news has affected him greatly. On top of that, future plans for Doug’s career as a certified peer support counselor are now a bit foggy.

The good news is that during our conversation, it was obvious to me that he was much farther from the ledge than he has been with other recent mood drops. He was not being a complete defeatist, and he was clearly outlining what he knows he should do and not do to get better. In other words, he’s come a long way to being able to manage these drops more successfully. Talking about it with his support system also helps, so he will be reaching out to his siblings.

The bottom line is that he now knows to deal with each issue one at a time, move on to the next, and just chillax.

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Unhinged Addendum to #053: Meeting Your Monster

by Ed 1 Comment
Unhinged Addendum to #053: Meeting Your Monster

Our last episode, Episode #53: Hey Brother, was a powerful one for Doug. His mood was pretty low when we started recording, but by the end of the show, his mood had improved greatly, especially after a conversation he had with his sister Laurie. After hearing that episode back, he got to hear what he sounds like when his mood is very low, and meeting his monster directly led to a breakthrough.

In this addendum to that episode, we wanted to end the year with a positive note about what we have learned about psychology, neurology, and how each plays a part in your mental well-being. Everything Doug said in episode #53 was coming from a place of cognitive distortion. This is the monster that blocks out the reasoning parts of the brain and is a relentless beast of negativity.

Confronting that monster from a different, more positive perspective made Doug realize how closed-minded and stubborn that beast can be. Seeing how his mood improved so quickly after social interactions also brings to light how looking outside of yourself in trying times can help bring back positivity and hope.

This is a short 20 minute discussion that tries to make sense of all this, and, more importantly, gives us much renewed hope for a more positive and happy 2018!

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Unhinged Episode #053: Hey Brother

by Ed 2 Comments
Unhinged Episode #053: Hey Brother

We’re back for our final show of 2017 (we’ll be back in January). This episode is a little bit different since the bulk of it is an actual recording of our typical pre-show planning discussion. Doug had mentioned in the past that we should probably start recording these talks, and this week that’s just what I did. Since that conversation got pretty personal and fairly deep, we decided to just play it as the main topic of this week’s show.

What follows below is a timeline of how the episode is structured. We start with a song clip and a discussion of the past two weeks. The full pre-show discussion starts nearly 19 minutes in.

0:00 – 00:57
Clip of original song “Hey Brother”

00:58 – 01:20
Unhinged Intro

01:21 – 18:55
We explain a bit about why we were absent for the last two weeks. Doug talks a bit about his struggles this holiday season so far, and we briefly chat about traumatic brain injuries in sports and the death of a UFC fighter.

18:56 – 01:07:02
Recording of pre-show discussion. This is the meat of this episode where Doug and I talk freely, usually to prepare the show for the day, but this time we discussed Doug’s slight downturn in mood in the last two weeks. He starts the conversation in a pretty low state, upset about his lot in life and feeling insecure about his future. We go back and forth for a while on feelings, distortion, and socialization. The conversation gets interrupted by a call from Doug’s sister. We ended our pre-show discussion after Doug talked to Laurie, and at that point recorded the opening to the this show.

01:07:03 – 01:08:25
I explain how Doug’s mood had shifted noticeably after our discussion and his interaction with his sister. The social interaction had improved his general state greatly. This is good data.

The next day (Monday), Doug and I talked again and his turnaround was even more pronounced. He even admitted how he felt better after hearing his sister’s voice the day before.

UPDATE:
We just posted an addendum to this episode! Check it out!

Holiday Gifts

 

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Unhinged Episode #052: Undun

by Ed 2 Comments
Unhinged Episode #052: Undun

We start this episode with some interesting documentary suggestions and more discussions about curcumin, the wonder supplement. But more importantly, we welcome another special guest this week. In Episode #37, we talked to Doug’s nephew Mitchell Drew. This week we welcome Mitchell’s mother, and Doug’s sister, Laurie Drew.

Listeners will know that Doug has recently started the healing process with his family. Laurie is a big part of that and she explains how it all went down. An open line of communication is the key to a healthy and loving family relationship, and now that the line has been opened, the healing can begin.

Laurie also gives us good insight into how Doug and his siblings grew up and how each dealt with their own challenges. We also discuss how this disease can take a toll on friends and family, especially back when much less was known about mental illness. Now it’s about awareness and education. The more people know about it, the better equipped they become to interact with sufferers in non-damaging ways.

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Unhinged Episode #047: Steppin’ Into The Twilight Zone

by Ed 2 Comments
Unhinged Episode #047: Steppin’ Into The Twilight Zone

It was a long day of recording when we did this episode. But the reason is because we were having too much fun putting together a little song clip for the show’s intro. What song? Hint: see the title of this episode 🙂 After 8 hours of fooling around on guitar and trying to make remote music recording work (latency is not your friend), we finally got to talking.

The good news is that spirits are still high and Doug is still on the positive side of things. Of course, he is still concerned about relapsing, and treads lightly to try to avoid known triggers. The even better news is that the healing process between Doug and his family has started! He had two very good talks with his brother and sister, and the newly opened lines of communication promise to be the bridge that reunites them fully. Hooray for family!

We also discuss the importance of refocusing one’s energies into the right channels. By changing negative patterns into actions that advance the good in one’s life, normalcy can slowly creep its way back. It takes work and is not easy, but it is a powerful tool in the arsenal of anyone with a mental illness.

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Unhinged Episode #044: Precious Moments of Levity

by Ed 2 Comments
Unhinged Episode #044: Precious Moments of Levity

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!

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Unhinged Episode #043: Take a Minute

by Ed 2 Comments
Unhinged Episode #043: Take a Minute

This episode was recorded on September 10th, 2017, also known as the 15th Annual World Suicide Prevention Day. This year’s theme is “Take a minute, change a life.” We discuss what this means and just how being there to listen to someone who is crying for help can quite literally save their life.

Doug also discusses how his use of Adderall, and how the use of most mood drugs, can cause the body to deplete itself of key nutrients. Supplements such as CoQ10, magnesium, and some fatty acids like Omega-3’s, can greatly benefit anyone who is on mood stabilizers. Unfortunately, these tend to be a bit expensive, and becomes difficult for anyone who’s on disability to afford.

Speaking of income, to help Doug’s financial situation, we have started to work on building a voice acting portfolio for Doug to start helping himself. I have always believed in Doug’s talent, not only musically, but in his unique voice characterizations. He can do accents, read narrations, and has great comedic timing. His only problem is that his brain makes it very difficult for him to put together a cohesive plan to get things done. His lack of confidence in making decisions holds him back. After discussing it with him, we plan to work together to tackle this project in baby steps that I help define. One step at a time, we will get there, and he will succeed!

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Unhinged Episode #042: Welcome Back

by Ed 2 Comments
Unhinged Episode #042: Welcome Back

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!

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Where We Are Right Now…

by Ed 2 Comments

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!

-Ed

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