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Anxiety and Depression Support
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Brain Surgery Anyone?

I’m 28 w TRD and just went for a screening to see if I qualify for a clinical trial of Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS). DBS is brain surgery where they implant a device in your brain -it looks like a meat probe thermometer- and it sends small electrical impulses to your brain and alleviates depression. This is not FDA approved in the US, for depression, but they do it for people w Parkinson’s Disease.

This video is amazing if anyone feels like looking into it: ted.com/talks/andres_lozano...

Anyway, to be considered for the trial, the people said they want participants who haven’t responded to electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). I told the woman that I’ve been having ECT since 2012, w some response, but it’s been at a great cost to my QOL. My memories are trashed, my 76 year old grandfather has a better memory than me, and I can only remember things up to 2 days short term now, and word recall is difficult. Plus, it’s painful on my neck and back. I told her I’d like to be considered for DBS because I feel like I’m only doing ECT because I have no other options. I’ve been on over 40 different medications since 2010 w no success on their own, and in the meantime, my future includes a medically induced seizure at least every 3 weeks until I die. After the 4 hour screening process, this woman told me she didn’t know if “I’m depressed enough for what the doctors are looking for” and that the people they’re looking for “wouldn’t smile even if you took them to Paris.” I feel so awful that because I’m not catatonic anymore, and that I can currently struggle through daily tasks that I’m going to potentially be denied medical treatment that would potentially help me and would allow me to regain my memory. It’s not like considering brain surgery is a lighthearted situation to start.

I guess what I’m mad about is that just because there is some improvement in a patient, doesn’t mean that they’re cured and able to live a regular life. Sure I don’t cry every day anymore, but that doesn’t mean I’m any less depressed about certain things, sometimes it’s just that I feel unable to cry anymore. Does anyone get what I’m saying, or should I just stick w my therapist for help?

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I think I saw on oprah a while back they used it for Tourette’s syndrome as well. They implanted the electrodes from a pace maker into a patients brain who couldn’t even walk straight due to Tourette’s syndrome. They turned on the pace maker and he walked and functioned like a normal person. It was amazing.

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I can definitely relate to not being able to cry anymore. I’m fortunate that meds have calmed my emotions. It seems if you are resorting to something as extreme as ECT that you should be eligible for this trial.

Oh - do t dump your therapist for this or any online group.

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