Sunday, 4 December 2011

Nothing is radical enough for depression. Save me DBS!

My personal experience with medication is an annoying one: any effect it has is generally either so minimal that it is almost impossible to contrast my previous experience with my current one, or it has the effect of robbing me of anything I previously had. Take creativity and drive, for example. I don't have those anymore. I can't even sit down and write a simple story, like say about aliens, for example. In conversation my one winning trait used to be my ability to make jokes. All my improvisational ability is  now gone to the wind. The only effect my antipsychotic/mood stabiliser seems to have had is that of stealing my personality, and my ability to feel pleasure beyond a tiny tingle in the back of my mind. Yeah sure, if I weren't on it I might go around thinking the walls were talking to me. Who cares? They never said anything bad anyway - it was just comforting. But to be honest, that's fine with me. I don't mind being a boring person, or a useless person, so long as I have the ability to feel good in myself. Which I don't, and never have had. When I took the antipsychotics effectively what happened was that I actually CREATED new problems that my fun old psychotic breaks helped me deal with naturally, such as a crippling anxiety, and a painful, stabbing kind of depression. The anxiety is more or less gone now thanks to ANOTHER pill - an anxiolytic - but as far as depression goes, THE ONE THING I ACTUALLY WANTED TREATED IN THE FIRST PLACE, nothing has any effect at all. Sertraline and Venlafaxine have basically only served to make me, not less in pain, but more alert, and thus, even more aware of how utterly horrible life is. That's the thing - it is very, very easy to treat things that are wholly atypical - such as psychosis and anxiety, because people rarely get those things anyway. But the thing is, depression being a natural part of everyone's life - a natural reaction to low social status seen in other apes, cannot be easily treated because, I wager, it is not something that should be evolutionarily easy to fool. That is to say, there is a point in being depressed - chimpanzees don't challenge their low social status, stay out of the way of the alphas and don't cause trouble, so they might, just might get the chance to breed. So if they say, ate bananas, and these bananas were natural antidepressants, they might be fooled into becoming cockier, and might challenge the powers that be, and ultimately die from fighting, being physically weaker. So therefore, bananas and other easily attainable substances are not potent antidepressants. And probably the same is true for any other chemical substances. It is harder to fix a problem that is not actually a problem in the first place - human brains THINK it's a problem, but evolution does not give a crap about suffering, as has been shown everywhere since millions of years ago. So as I was saying, it's not likely that you can fix depression easily, unlike anxiety or psychosis, simply because it's a natural thing. And that's why I think my low response to even the most potent of antidepressants (the most potent of the most potent of antidepressants - SNRIs, venlafaxine) is simply because pissing about with chemicals isn't going to fix something that doesn't want to be fixed. So my choices basically are: have more people like me (EXTREMELY UNLIKELY), or hit that been-there-so-long-as-I-could-think depression with something akin to a nuke - use ECT.

Yeah yeah, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. I've seen that film. I want it. Branding, flagellation and burning are all forms of torture and yet that doesn't put certain sadomasochists off. And searching the internet, well for about a couple of seconds, I can find no real evidence that it was used in that way. In any case, regardless of how it WAS used, it makes no difference to the fact that it seems, to me, like the only thing that could actually work. My affect is so unbelievably blunt that almost nothing can give me pleasure. I am almost anhedonic every single day, and the only thing that takes my mind of it is the standard pain and boredom and anger I feel. And with no actual readily available suicide methods, I'm thinking the only way forward is to do something to really screw with my brain. And ECT, to me, sounds a little like shocking a heart with a defibrillator - like, uh, smashing the television set so it starts working again.

But sadly, our Lord who art in Connections, the internet, tells me that ECT, compared to placebo-ECT, doesn't actually do much. So as far as I'm concerned, I'm going to have to just wait for Deep Brain Stimulation to become available. If for example, they start testing it where I live, you can bet your ass off that I'm going to be one of the first ones on it. But I'm wondering really whether my desires are rational or not. Do I really feel that the only thing effective is another approach? Pretty much. But is something more radical the answer? It FEELS that way, but it isn't necessarily true. I could piss about, again, with diet and nootropics and the like, but to be honest the only thing I think that will actually, completely work is a partial brain transplant. Most people wouldn't understand why exactly I would want such a thing - they say, if your brain isn't normal, how can you know it isn't normal!! (i.e. wankers trying to be philosophical). I know my brain isn't normal from years of watching other people, and from empathy. Let me tell you: I can model other people's brains and they do not work like mine. I am not autistic, I am not sociopathic, but I am in some other way non-neurotypical, and it has made my life one damn thing after another. Unless something radically changes my brain, instead of, as I've said, messing around with chemicals and such, I don't think I'm going to ever feel anything like what anyone else has ever felt.

The main problem I think is with me attempting to smash and crunch my brain into a workable state is simply that I can't do it without going off the medication I'm already on (because they interact with other drugs, and hence force me into an emergency room), and this would entail notifying or fooling my parents. Which won't work. So as it stands I am utterly trapped. Whoopee!

No interesting features, news or reviews today, sorry. Just the ramblings of a sleep-loving, hopelessly ego-lacking robot waiting for death.


  1. I feel your pain, estnihil. Have been borderline anhedonic for about nine months on and off now. Not due to intrinsic chemical fluctuations, I think, more as a rational response to an insane and largely horrible world. I'm starting to believe that to feel joy for any length of time, you'd have to be deluded and/or insane.

  2. Have you tried exercise? I heard getting the endorphin rush from that often helps.

  3. I definitely understand what you mean Karl. The only times I've really felt any kind of pleasure in my life have been when I've been in a state of mind untrue to actual reality. It is an exercise in futility to both accept reality for what it is and to be happy at the same time due to the empathy of human beings for one another - though I have a feeling that even psychopaths clued in on the truth would find the world more like a trap than the infinite vista of possibilities it is often advertised as.
    Anonymous, I exercise quite vigourously a couple of days a week. It does absolutely nothing except make me light-headed, and hopefully protect me from diabetes (yeah, antipsychotics can do that) and more suffering. I think my mood stabiliser has essentially made me endorphin-tolerant - because before I went on it, I clearly did feel a rush when I exercised. Thanks for the suggestion, anyway.

  4. As a sidenote, do you know what I find exercise almost invariably DOES temporarily abate? Nasal congestion. So if you ever have a problem with that, you know what to do.

    Back on topic:

    "To shake people up, to wake them from their sleep, while knowing you are committing a crime and that it would be a thousand times better to leave them alone, since when they wake, too, you have nothing to offer them"-Emil Cioran