Thursday, July 27, 2017


A Smile

I've been almost avoiding this, but I think it is important to address, if for nothing but my own peace of mind. I would rank Linkin Park among my top 5 bands. Not number one, but as far as time goes, I have probably listened to their albums more than any other group of artists. 

I spent late, late nights listening to their freshman album when I was right out out high school and early in college. Their messages were often dark and realistic to my mind. They still are. Understanding that other people struggle enough to pen those lyrics touched me. 

Their sophomore album did nothing but increase my love for the group.

Look at Chester and his smile. I have seen so many photos of him smiling and knee deep in adoring fans. No one leaves this for fun. No one leaves their family behind without struggling with the demon of depression. And let's be downright selfish and realize that most people aren't going to leave their riches and stardom behind, unless the weight of their mind pushes them to the end. 

Ignorance is the Only Word

Everyone is welcome to his or her opinion. And, yes, suicide seems like (and in many ways is) a selfish option, but someone condemning another on actions that they cannot understand is IGNORANT. 

In 2014 I tried to kill myself. I would likely have succeeded if I had not been found. I have a wife and three kids. I didn't want to do that to them. As I fell unconscious, I was weeping. The weight of my mind left no room for anything but pain. I didn't want to impart that pain on others, but I couldn't do it anymore. 

You don't know what is going through someone else's mind. I truly believed, and still do, that if I crossed the divide to the afterlife and ended up in anything but hell, then there was no sense to anything. I deserved hell for my acts, but my mind was too much to bear. The thought of eternal pain and damnation seemed less tortuous than my circumstances.

Who Brings the End

Don't bring the judgement. Bring the love. People need it. The human race used to be much more active. Our days used to be occupied just trying to survive. Early death was common. Today we live long in offices and working jobs that butt-up against millions of years of evolution. Diseases that weren't common have become moreso, including mental illness. Unfortunately our society is quicker to condemn than help. 

Listening to Linkin Park now makes me cry. Over time some feelings will fade, but the feeling of truthful pain will not. No one knows what was going through Chester's mind in the end, but I can tell you that it wasn't a belief that his actions would help the world. Suicide is an act of desperation of a sick mind, not a weak one. Chester Bennington will be remembered for so many things and that is good. I will now remember him as a model for the world that depression and demons are real. The world needs to know that depression can bear down on anyone. It is real and treatable, but cannot always be vanquished. 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

ECT Treatment #5 & #6

Treatment #5 was less than exciting, so I never devoted a post to it, but #6 was definitely different.

I have also decided to re-brand my future videos as "My 2nd ECT Experience," because, well, it is my 2nd time on the horse and not all of this is new to me.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Perception Speaks Louder Than Truth


I stole this title from a professor of mine. She was alluding, specifically, to politics and public policy, but it really does ring true with those suffering from mental illness. There are things that I think about myself that I know are not true, and yet they steal my attention and occupy my thoughts. What I believe, and more importantly feel, often wins the day. This is one of the reasons that, despite my physical interventions of medications and ECT, I still go to therapy. Sometimes I fall back on poor thoughts and emotions that have become habit from my disease. 

For example, I struggle with suicidal thoughts. I have for years. They can become pervasive and overbearing, with little way to escape them. And I truly believe that sometimes when I just get stressed or feel trapped I go to what is familiar... suicidal ideations. So I really have to learn to differentiate, which I am getting better at (at times). To the fake kind I have to throw a bucket of water on it and tell it that it isn't real, it is just familiarity that is driving me to this despicable place.

For the truly unwelcome thoughts, I have to draw on my safety resources and "ride the wave," as it were, until the thoughts pass. That can be hard, because it can range from hours to days or more. And often the true troubles will intertwine with the false thoughts of familiarity.

Precept of the Mind

Laws. Laws of the mind is what I need. But it is difficult. The wayward mind doesn't always land on logic and reason. If that were the case, then we could all just think our way out of mental illness. It's learning and making the habit to reach out for the resources needed for help, when the struggles and crisis arrive.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

ECT Treatment #4

I should really rename my videos to "My 2nd ECT Experience", because this round of treatments really has been different than that barrage I experienced the first time I went through ECT. I am currently doing well and really hope that the improvement stays and continues to grow.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Some Sort of Test

Is there anybody out there?

I am unsure if this will work, but for those that read my blog to any degree, can you please leave a comment to this post and maybe a little information about yourself. No remarks are actually posted without my approval, and if you make a comment that you would rather not have posted, just write something to that effect. I don't care about identifiable details (name, location, etc). I am more merely interested in whether my traffic analytics are truthful or not.

Who is out there? Why are you interested in this blog? This emotive experience is a 50/50 goal for me. Half of it is the mere, cathartic experience of putting my feelings "to paper", as it were. The other half hopes that there are others out there that I can connect with and find a mutual relation and benefit. I don't wish to feed off of anyone. I wish for symbiosis.

I don't have a ton of hits, but they amount to a couple hundred a month, with my analytics saying that nearly 50% of hits are returning users. I just wonder if the same web bots and spiders are crawling my page and giving me a false sense that anyone reads this.

Part of this is insecurity and loneliness. I have indeed made a couple of friends through this process, and I am happy with that, but more connections help the lonely.

More applicable references to this wonderfully symbolic masterpiece.

Keep It Together

I am more than mere depression.

Sometimes I feel that all I am is a walking mental illness, and that it consumes me to the point that it is all I am. But I do have a life. (I know, I can hardly believe it too.) I have a wife and kids, I am deeply involved in my education, and I aspire to be even more involved in life. But it also scares me. It scares me deep down inside.

Summer school is wrapping up, but the fall semester looms on the horizon. I still have several ECT treatments to experience, and family obligations to deal with. All of that being said, I am working on getting a position in a cancer research lab on campus. The requirements for getting a position there are not simple, not simple at all. And they require a certain level of dedication. I believe that I have what it takes to become part of their team, but I am scared that my disease will come out and ruin everything. 

That which shouldn't define me, still scares the shit out of me.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

To Disable or Not To Disable

A Struggle

I suffer from mental illness. There is not question about that. But to what degree does it affect me? The university allows students with mental illness to apply for disability status. This can lead to certain academic aids. At this point, I barely know what that even means, or how it would help me at all. But I am considering applying for it, just in case it becomes more relevant down the road. I nearly compiled all the necessary paperwork, which includes 3 years of psychiatric history and professional diagnostic statements from my psychiatrists.

Initially, my main interest in applying was my concern over memory loss and how that might affect me, academically. The clinical psychiatrist that works at the university said that their overarching concern is actually my mental illness and documenting that, rather than its treatment or side effects.

I am still on the fence about it. I in no way want to feel that I am trying to milk the system or "pretend" to be disabled, when there are others that require the services much more than myself. 

I would be lying to myself if I didn't say I was somewhat apprehensive of taking on the title of "disabled" as well. This is just a mental hurdle I am working on.

Any chimes from the peanut gallery will be more than welcome.

Peace, Love, and Agony

Begin Again

I met with my new psychiatrist today, since I parted ways with my previous doctor over differing opinions on ECT. We spent a long while talking about my entire psych history, from when it first manifested as a teenager and all the ups and downs through the years. I'm never afraid of having a new doctor look at me with a fresh perspective. I am 34 and wouldn't say that I am doing incredibly well. She seemed to agree. 

I am currently on 5 different psych medications. That's a lot. Her general opinion was, "if you came in on 5 meds and were doing great, then we wouldn't make any changes, but you aren't." Very true. BUT, like any doctor worth their salt, she made it clear that we will not be making major changes quickly. Change too many things at once and you just don't know what worked and what went wrong. But we would most definitely know what landed me in the psych hospital again.

New Territory

She suggested something that I have never done before, a battery of psychological tests to see exactly where I land on the spectrum of various disorders. This actually seems like something that everyone suffering from long-term mental illness should go through. Perhaps that could shed some light on why some of my medications work, while others don't, and point us in a certain direction. One thing that puzzles me, and has several of my doctors, is that I respond well to bipolar medications, but I am plainly NOT bipolar. I did have in my blog description at one point (and I am sure there are still servers out there with this on it) that I was diagnosed with bipolar depression. That was one doctor, and over time it has seemed to be more of a misdiagnosis than anything, and was born mostly from my reaction to bipolar medications. There are times I wish to god I could have a freaking manic episode and enjoy the hell out of life for a while. I know that is over-romanticizing it, but still. 

Even though my diagnosis is major depression (with joyful accompanying suicidal ideations), I am not actually on an antidepressant. (Cue the Twilight Zone music.) My condition has generally responded well to mood stabilizers and anti-psychotics. But perhaps some good testing could point us in a 'ah-ha' direction. I have, in years past, responded well to a couple different antidepressants, just not right now. 

The Semi-Status Quo

I am going to stick with the ECT... if the f*cking insurance company will get on the ball and approve more than 3 treatments. I know that has worked for me in the past, side effects or no. This new doctor is approving of me pursuing ECT and she has even performed it in the past. So, all-in-all, I am pleased with today's appointment. 

Of course, getting into a doctor that accepts my stupid insurance, for the psychiatric testing is a whole 'nother matter. The next available appointment was 6 months out, with the hope that someone will cancel before that... in a time slot that I could actually make. Ha! Once school starts, that will be damn near impossible.

Or Not

Strangley, in the last two weeks since ECT treatment has begun, I have started displaying more classic symptoms of depression. I am eating more, finding it difficult to maintain hygiene, and really wish I could just sleep 24 hours a day. It sucks. My theory is that the disturbance in my neural pathways and chemistry by the ECT, is causing a shift that my brain is trying its best to react to. That's just a layman's guess. I imagine that it means I need to have more treatments, in closer succession, to speed up this process, so that my brain can settle down before school starts. Ain't no benefit in wanting to sleep all the time when I have to kick ass as a student.

Keep On Keepin' On

It really does help having a family. At times they feel like a thorn in my side, but a good thorn. If it weren't for this burning desire to not look like a failure in their eyes and to actually be what bit of a role model I can be, then I would likely spiral into a pit with no escape.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

ECT Treatment #3

I covered my thoughts in my last post, but here is my vlog entry.

Indeterminate Destination

Waiting for Something

Now is the annoying part. The ECT has begun, and is 'making waves' in my brain, for lack of a better term. Neural pathways are being disrupted, chemistry is changing, and neurogenesis is hopefully ramping up. Everything has a drawback or downside. ECT is not all roses. It is causing its own type of havoc in the brain, with the hope that the disturbance will spur new growth and positive change. But while I am waiting for that to start happening, I have to deal with the side effects.

GOAL: ECT Benefits > ECT Side Effects

I will be the first to say that I can be biased when picking out what I think my side effects are and how strong they are. The last time I underwent ECT I had major memory issues, ranging from biographical, general knowledge, geographic, and spacial relationships. Much of that has resolved itself over time. There are, however, things that are permanently gone from my memory. Also, I feel that I have a more difficult time making new memories. This is where the paranoia comes in. Do I truly have this difficulty or am I 'psyching myself out'? Who knows.

I already can feel some of the side effects. When I reach out mentally to grab a word, sometimes I am coming back blank. Then I have to sit and try to force myself to think my way through to the word. I am somewhat surprised this has come up after only 3 treatments. I did deal with this before, but I really cannot tell you how many treatments I had before this problem popped up.

Can I change, or does my physiology make that determination?

Can the treatments 'fix' me or do I need to work on myself in therapy?
Probably Both.

I will go out on a limb and say that I am fairly certain that most people who struggling with mental illness wish they could push a button and be free. I wish I could. But it just isn't a reality. Even if the ECT makes great strides against my disease, I still have to work on myself in therapy. Everyone does to an extent, but let's not focus on that. Whether purposefully or not, I have picked up bad habits from my disease. I wish I could ECT, medicate, or just plain sleep my way to freedom, but the truth is that I have to combat these bad actions with willpower (and some help).

I have started a search for a new therapist, someone to help me in my battle and to kick my ass when I don't do my part or try to be a victim. I am truly saddened that my current therapist will be moving this summer. It can be incredibly difficult to find a therapist that works well with my personality and that I feel comfortable with. We worked well together and she wasn't afraid to call me out on my bs, and she always knew where we should be headed. Damn it upsets me.

More of the Same

I hate waiting. That is part of the victim taking over in my mind. It isn't always easy to jump up and be proactive. Not easy at all.