While avoiding as much contact with the world as reasonably possible as a husband, father and self-employed writer provided some sanctuary, I remained assailed by accumulating effects, both psychic and physical.
The unwelcomed journey back to the land of the damned wasn’t apparent at first.
Having escaped the world of the damned and back on a clumsy, but effective seizure prophylactic, I waited until my brain healed from the neurosurgeon’s saw and scalpels. Once the swelling receded and the scaring was set, I was given an EEG that, if clear, would let me say goodbye to phenytoin, be drug-free once again. As I had been for seventeen years before the rude growth under my temporal lobe slapped the epileptic label back on me.
In the neurologist’s office, electrodes were pasted to my scalp. Continue reading “Better Living Through Chemistry: Notes from Chemically Induced Depression Part 5 of 6 (A Fall leading to a Second Face of Depression: Vimpat™.)”
Only recently has the concept of decision fatigue as a form of mental exhaustion become a subject of psychological study— decision fatigue acknowledges that
- decisions take mental energy
- that any given person has only a certain amount of mental energy
- that each decision a person makes uses some of this limited resource, and
- once this resource is exhausted, decision making turns to avoidance—
choosing the least effortful action in every case regardless of possible outcomes.
A recent study (2011) looked at boards granting parole in Israel.
This pervasive, grinding ennui exhausted me.
It also challenged most of what I thought I knew about clinical depression, which I had studied while getting an undergraduate Psychology degree. I’d read about the exhaustion, the feelings of pointlessness, but had always conflated that with what I had personally experienced as feeling down, blue, bummed, hurt, let down, disappointed, fearful—yet my current state bore no semblance to any emotion I’d faced. To any emotion whatsoever.
Rather as I moved limply through the hours of my waking day, I felt nothing at all. As if emotion had been severed from me—all desire, all displeasure, and every shade of feeling in between. Continue reading “Better Living Through Chemistry: Notes from Chemically Induced Depression Part 3 of 6 (Having to Think Slowly)”
So, life hands my new wife and me a choice between three options, each involving some chance of me dying sooner rather than later and in some more or less gruesome way:
- either develop ever worsening double vision and stroking out in the next decade;
- or give myself brain cancer to get rid of a benign tumor;
- or have someone cut a 6 square inch flap of my skull out with a small saw, poke his fingers and sharp metal instruments between my cerebrum and cerebellum, cut out 2 cm diameter chunk of flesh out, and hope that doesn’t turn my new wife into the star of a Lifetime channel movie—woman finally meets the man she wants to marry, marries, gives birth to their son, and then finds herself a single mother and widow, all within two years.
The odds on that last one were stacked heavily in our favor with 98% chance I’d avoid becoming a sad movie cliché.
Owing to an odd confluence of events and circumstances, I recently spent roughly 4 days with chemically induced depression. Continue reading “Better Living Through Chemistry: Notes from Chemically Induced Depression Part 1 of 4 (1978 vs. 2005)”