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It’s been an extremely tough couple of weeks. We didn’t end up doing a show last week, partially due to scheduling conflicts, but also because Doug has fallen into a very deep depression and has yet to climb out of it. His mood has gotten progressively worse, to the point where he is now teetering on the edge of hopelessness.
This episode is a phone conversation we had after two weeks of very little communication. It is Doug explaining how he is feeling and how hard it is for him to stay in the game and fight. Doing the podcast has been therapeutic in many ways, but it also adds a level of stress in Doug’s life, and when he’s in such a down mood, any little stressor in unhealthy for him. On that note, we decided to take a short/temporary break from the podcast until Doug feels a bit better. We’ll try to keep posting relevant stories on our site or on Facebook, but more importantly, Doug needs this time to regroup and heal.
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.Share this post:
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.
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.
DBS helps a Parkinson’s patient
DBS helps a patient with dystonia
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.Share this post:
If you’ve been following the podcast, you’ll know that Doug has been on a roller coaster ride with his treatment resistant depression, being in remission for quite a while, then falling back down, then coming back out of it again. In our last episode, he was on an upswing, having just come out of a deep downward spiral that lasted 3 weeks. So things were looking good again. Unfortunately, that brief glimpse of normalcy has not lasted, and he is again suffering.
He was hoping to be better enough to do the show today, but his anxiety right now is through the roof. So instead of trying to do the show by myself today, I think I’ll play some highlights from our past 19 episodes.
There’s also a surprise song I recorded at the end of this episode. It’s a song that Doug taught me on guitar several years ago. I’m dedicating it to him in hopes of another remission, and one that lasts.
-EdShare this post:
Since the 4th of July, Doug’s mood has been steadily dropping, effectively ending his two-month remission from his treatment-resistant depression. On July 16th, he called me in a very low state to warn me that I should be prepared for the worst.
This episode is a recording of that phone call… totally raw, emotional, and unscripted. He was unaware that I was recording our conversation until I revealed that to him at the end of the call.
We then agreed that it would make a powerful episode to show just how this disease can bring someone to the brink of desperation.
We apologize for the length of this episode, but we felt we had to show the distorted thinking and circular discussions of someone in this state. We also apologize that the audio quality is not quite up to our standards, but since this was impromptu, Doug was not on his podcast mic at the time.Share this post:
NOTE: This podcast was recorded on July 10th and talks about Doug beginning to relapse right after recording our previous episode about his remission. After this episode, Doug has unfortunately continued this downward trend, and on next week’s show, you will hear an emotionally raw phone call between Doug and Ed. Stay tuned.
In this episode, we discuss the unfortunate beginnings of a relapse after two-and-a-half months of remission. For no apparent reason, Doug’s mood has suddenly dropped and he is struggling to make sense of it all, especially in light of the news that he was born with a genetic abnormality in his brain.
We also talk about some advancements with ketamine and its dissociative effects.Share this post:
In this episode, we welcome special guest Jamie Rickel, Doug’s older brother and de-facto family liaison. Jamie has come to understand Doug’s plight and that his disease is not something he can control.
The discussion gives us a look at Doug’s early childhood from Jamie’s point of view. Jamie also talks about when he noticed Doug having mental health issues, his drug use, the family intervention, and how their parents handled everything.
Join us in this emotional episode as we discover more about their family dynamic.Share this post: