Over the years, as an on again/off again participant in the X community, I’ve read some highly inspirational diaries from individuals who deal with the difficult, often terrifying, challenges of living with mental, emotional, or affective disorders 9including (but not limited to – diagnoses of Major Depression, BiPolor Depression, Brain Trauma, PTSD, OCD, Schizophrenia)and/or other situations which though perhaps not diagnosed impact their ability to engage in on ongoing manner with society, to build community. Many of us linger here, posting comments, still tormented by the stigma of not being ‘up to snuff’ and extremely reluctant to shed the stigma associated with these conditions and jump wholeheartedly into the fray.
Maybe it’s time for that to change.
A diary last night Waking up Brain Damagedwas one of the most inspiring and intimate experiences I’ve had here at Kos. Towards the end of our discussion, we floated the idea of introducing a weekly diary for Kossacks, who like us, are very much in need of an ongoing virtual community, a space for shared experience, encouragement, research findings. A place for empowerment.
I’ve written before here about my experiences with MDD (Major Depressive Disorder) in a recent journal “Obama and My Shrink“. I’ve also posted comments before about the difficulties I have finding employment, though not enumerating how much an impact my ‘disabilty’ has on my ability to self-motivate, to maintain a consistent frame of mind and body to keep me active in the world.
I was humbled last night by the diary I read. By the challenges, the bravery, and the struggles many of us live with under the radar.
For the past 16 years, since my own psychotic breakdown, I (being a jouralist by trade and a vociferous researcher by nature) have studied and investigated new findings in the field of ‘mental illness”, ideas which pretty much fall through the cracks in the current pharma-subsidized mental health system. Since losing my health insuracne about a year ago, I have run up over $12,000 in credit card debt, all directly due to health issues compounded by my current jobless state. The option, therefore, to participate in these new methods (fMRI scans, studies on mirror neural networks, the studies which reveal successful regeneratin of damaged parts of the brain and the actual repurposing of the brain to take on functions of damaged regions, the option of Cranial Magnetic Sensorig, hell, even the new and expanded CNS electro-shock therapy … well, assuredly right now they just aren’t in the cards for me, nor for the greater number of us.
Last August, I went through an absolutely devastating experience of Effexor Withdrawal, when Wyeth replaced their free samples and replaced them with their new drug Pristiq. Wyeth is shortly losing its patent on Effexor XR and had assured those they distribute free samples to (Doctors offices throughout the country who routinely distribute these to patients like me who could no longer afford the $150 – $225 cost associated with one day dossage .. depending on how low I could go in dosage without losing sanity)that the transition would be smooth sailing.
Being on Pristiq for four days was akin to going through Effexor Withdrawal, one of the most disabling and terrifing experiences once could experience (brain shivers, sweats, dizziness, digestive disturbances, anxiety, sleeplessness, feeling like you are losing your mind, etc.)
Rather than dwell in this reality, I began pulling my research together and created the blog Brainzaps
I currently have two individuals who also contribute and we write about and research everything: from how lamictyl can cause you to lose your hair and what to do about it, that yes, lithium can cause you to shuffle, and definitely You are not alone in experiences electrical shocks when you start or stop taking Effexor.
Perhaps one of the most thrilling research I have done so far is on the role of meditation and yoga on assisting with not only affective disorders but with neurogenesis in the adult brain. Here’s a link to a story about identifying the protein missing in many adult brains which leads to a decrease in plasticity.
Another mind-blowing item involves the zero point field, written about by Lynn Taggert. I a review of her book, the writers suggest:
McTaggart, an investigative journalist (What Doctors Don’t Tell You), describes scientific discoveries that she believes point to a unifying concept of the universe, one that reconciles mind with matter, classic Newtonian science with quantum physics and, most importantly, science with religion. At issue is the zero point field, the so-called “dead space” of microscopic vibrations in outer space as well as within and between physical objects on earth. These fields, McTaggart asserts, are a “cobweb of energy exchange” that link everything in the universe; they control everything from cellular communication to the workings of the mind, and they could be harnessed for unlimited propulsion fuel, levitation, ESP, spiritual healing and more.