Friday, December 31, 2010


The most sought after and needed word to many a soul is the word HOPE. As long as there is a small ember of hope left inside, we can carry on. I started this blog out of HOPE - hope for a lifting of the darkness of depression. I've tried very hard not to reveal too much since I am in a study for DBS and I don't want someone making decisions based on my experience.

I will go out on a limb though and say there is HOPE.

It's been quite a roller coaster of an experience. Very surreal at times. I've communicated with people who nearly have their lives back and people who were unaffected by the procedure. The trials continue and hopefully there will be some new papers out soon.

The next word after hope is restored is the word POSSIBILITIES. If we let our imaginations wander past hope, what are the possibilities in one's life if the depression lifts or even lessens? How quickly can a person rebuild their life after a decade of darkness? I've touched on this before when asking what rehab for decade long depression would look like. If I had a hip replaced, there is a standard set of exercises and physical rehab conditioning that takes place.

In this world of the "new frontier", there doesn't seem to be a rehab protocol. Since the data isn't in yet, what are the odds that a person gets to feeling better, starts to rebuild their life, and the depression returns? The person with the replaced hip is usually told at the onset what the history is for a person who is their age in their circumstances. So, since there is no data, one reverts to hope again but adds 'what if?' What if it works? What are the possibilities?

Depression is an octopus with many tentacles (symptomology). The mood may lift but the fatigue continue. The cognitive impairment & memory fog may lift but not the amotivation. One of the worst things about this disease is self-doubt. I don't know if self-doubt is truly a part of depression or if it is learned from the other disabling factors. But here's the deal, those wonderful dreams of possibilities get interrupted by self-doubt. Anyone recovering from this disease or about any other long-term disabling disease wants their old life back. Or at least a good portion of it. What can be recovered?

Another disappointing fact is still the stigma of the disease. Let's say a person does start feeling better and wants to work again. What do you tell your prospective new employers? "That gap in my resume is when I was depressed but now I have this gizmo in my chest that electrifies my brain and I'm doing much better"?

Possibilities. Shadowed by self-doubt. "Tis better to have loved and lost than never have loved at all"? Tis better to be feeling better and full of worry than to never have felt better....

We'll see.

Joe Pantoliano of movie fame (Sopranos, Matrix) has suffered from depression and has put together some great Public Service Announcements (PSA) as well as having started an organization to bring more education about the disease and to 'end the stigma'. Here's the link to the organization: Take a look at the PSAs. It might be a good starting point for those of us who have friends / loved ones who don't believe in mental illnesses. I'll be buying the DVD in the near future.

I genuinely 'hope' everyone has a wonderful 2011 and that it becomes the year of possibilities, not just hope.

PS - I have elected to remove certain phrases and comments from previous posts that could ID me. I hope it doesn't distract from the content. I've thought about putting the label/tags back in and turning Google's advertising on (hey I could use the money). But I also have promised my handlers that I'll be careful about what I reveal. I don't want someone agreeing to the surgery because my hope meter is a little higher. I do hope anyone whose hope meter is very low, can re-energize their hope that there are new treatments coming down the road that may help them. Anybody have any thoughts on it?


herb said...


Thanks for your recent update.

I’ve spent much of my adult life caring for my spouse while also advocating for patient education, encouraging hope and persistence and in doing so I’ve never told anyone what to do other than sharing our experiences, my research and knowledge as it relates to another therapy option.

I find your words of hope to be encouraging to others while at the same time also not telling anyone what they should or should not do; a fact which I admire in your presentations.

I also detect from your writing, if I am correct, that after these many months your mood state appears to be improving. I certainly hope so for both you and your loved ones.

From my own experiences I know that we humans are unique, dynamic and forever changing especially so with the aging process and therefore we can never be the same as we once were.

I don’t know if recapturing things for me or my spouse as they once were would have been a worthwhile and effective effort on our part. On the other hand I’ve accepted the changes and challenges these many years have wrought and simply have made my best efforts which for me I can live with.

The greatest reward for my efforts was the words expressed by my spouse, “I’m happy to be alive.”

We live our lives one day at time with the knowledge “the beast” lies dormant waiting it’s time to wreak havoc on our lives once again only the days of remission have stretched into weeks, months, years and a decade.

We no longer think of or discuss depression as we once did.

Whatever your “possibilities” I hope for you and others continued improvement as I extend my best wishes that you all can express at some point in your own lives that you’re also “happy to be alive”.


Anonymous said...

The fact that you say, "Anyone recovering from this disease," in fact, infers that you are.

Good to hear. And, good luck with your journey.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous confused the meaning of the words"imply" which means to suggest and "infer" which means to gather.

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