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Author Topic: What exactly is "Severe manic depression?"  (Read 110569 times)
Poonhead
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« Reply #15 on: April 10, 2006, 06:27:28 PM »

Wow will, that was a remarkable and candid account of your situtuation.  I had no idea.
But I guess we all have a lot more in common that just a few tapes and cds.

(I hope this doesn't post twice. I got a couple errors.)
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« Reply #16 on: April 10, 2006, 07:43:24 PM »

I like these stories.  You are lucky to hang out with the guy.

Yeah, it really gives me some insight into what he's like.. I'd love to get that sort of chance to be with him.
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« Reply #17 on: April 10, 2006, 08:33:16 PM »

Hi, again -

Sorry - I see that I really didn't address your questions - actually, thinking back...I must have tried to side-step them...but, answering them would be right, so -

You asked:
"I may be really naive on this matter, but what if someone diagnosed as “Severely Manic Depressive” were to cut out the sugar and processed foods (junk food, sodas, sweets) stop smoking 3 packs a day (another drug, to be sure) loose some weight, get out for 1/2 hour brisk walks a couple times a week and seek out others who have been through similar health problems for emotional support- Would all these liver and kidney and libido killing drugs still be necessary? Would mental health improve proportionally along with physical well being? Would this person feel “better?” Would they live longer?"

Knowing Dan, I know that all of this applies to him -
I also know that his family has tried to control him, and is sometimes successful...but, he is VERY 'willful' ...

When I recently visited, I made dinner on two nights for him and his folks, and I eat VERY healthily. BUT the one night I had to boil the potatoes and broccoli mix I made to the point where he could simple swallow without chewing because he hates to wear his false teeth! (AND, I had to 'convince him' at the dinner table to eat those few veggies)...So, obviously, he never ate the raw veggie salads, that the rest of us ate and which were full of great nutrients...He did enjoy the shrimp and rice dish (a risotto), and some gourmet (bunless) burgers (which I made with lean meat), and also mixed strawberries/pineapple salad I made, (with sugar free chocolate syrup topping).

His dad usually cooks, and he makes the usual fare - Dan goes over to eat at his folks house each evening. Dan said he had had chili the night before I arrived, so that's kinda healthy...but, Dan's father is now 85 and is looking after his wife, who needs constant attention when she is not asleep....so it is not possible for him to completely control Dan's diet.

When Dan goes out, he orders whatever he wants... I always 'made' him use Sweet & Lo(w?) for his second iced tea...but, he always made sure he got the leaded version to start with!

What I came to learn about Dan:

Dan REALLY 'needs' a full-time assistant - someone to cook for him and help to keep him away from too many 'slushies' and cokes...and chocolate bars...these are his favorite endulgences.. This is one reason why I keep hoping that the movie/art sales will help him financially...I keep hoping that perhaps his family could afford to hire someone to 'live in' with him? But, THAT would not be cheap, to get the right person!

He had diet Dr. Pepper in the frig, so the family is trying.
Yet, I know that his Type II Diabetes is such now that he needs injectable insulin every morning - his father wakes him at 7:30 every morning to do this.

Unfortunately, I believe that the cigarettes are never going away...he truly depends on them, psychologically...he doesn't really inhale much...I saw it, and he even told me he smokes them like cigars.

About taking a walk each day - I encouraged him to get out and walk - he lives on a lovely rural road...but, he's really not the type to want to do that, alone or with a friend...He'd rather walk to the car to go comic book shopping, or to go to buy a DVD, or to go to Sonic for a slushie ...I think, honestly, the only way Dan is ever going to do some regular exercise is if he meets someone to marry and she 'makes him' do some with her wink Or, if he gets a full-time assistant that he enjoys enough to do that kind of stuff with.

About whether or not he, or anyone like him, would be able to go off meds entirely...not possible,  due to his brain chemistry being off - but, the injectible insulin could go IF his diet was controllable, and IF he exercised/lost weight...

But, Dan is not likely to lose weight - he eats quickly, so 'waiting the 20 mins' for his brain to signal his stomach that he is satiated probably won't ever happen Sad

About our thoughts and their efffects on our bodies...sure, we can and do influence our health, but not enough to wipe away the effects of 'true' diseases...Dan's severe manic depression is with him for life...no matter how heathily he lives.

IF he could receive an optimum diet, and get regular exercise, some meds could be reduced or eliminated, but not all.
And, yes...he would live longer, in all probability.

I often think about him and wish that he will meet someone to look after him full-time... my husband met me when he was 58...and he certainly has 'cleaned up his act' in order to keep me...

Anyway...

A TRUE happy ending for Dan would be if he met someone to marry, and live 'happily ever after with' -

If that time ever comes for him, I will believe he is blessed beyond message.




To add to Gina's post.

NO the cigs are not going anywhere! He smokes almost non-stop but like she said he does not inhale always. In one of his moments of "daydreaming" I watched him with the cigarette about a half inch from his lips kinda puffing but drawing in no smoke he has said when it comes to cigs he is like a kid and has to have one.
Me being a smoker of 20 years was smoked out by Daniel. When we left the first thing a smoker does is grab a smoke when they drive. I dont think me and the wife smoked the whole way home. He also has a bad habit of barely snuffing them out and I always remind him...."Be sure to put all your smokes out"
When I have eaten with Daniel I was very suprised at how little he ate but he did drink alot. He ate a few small portions and went back and got a few smaller ones and that was it. Yes he does eat unusually fast and with great concentration.

As far as home care. Yeah he will need that in a serious way. I have a feeling it is going to have to be someone Daniel likes and can relate to. Someone who Daniel respects....I dont think a nurse Ratchett or a nice nurse male or female will work. Although I have not spent a ton of time with him I have the feeling that he would get irratated (sp) or pissed off if it was a doctor patient thing.
Although I have never had a cross word with Dan I dont believe he suffers fools lightly and if pissed off could probably kick some ass! Some stranger saying here take your meds and it not being in a personal friendly way would not work. It will be the biggest task yet and the caregiver has to be monitered themselves to see if they are being honest and not jacking any of Daniels property.

His Soda intake....ummm well a BIG GULP is a sissy drink as far as Dan goes. That cat can consume some soda! I am the same way with soda. So I cant really comment. I drink way to much.

Yes a true happy ending would be for Daniel to find that little geeky wallflower girl that every school had have her be the the same age as Dan and love soda,comics,dollar stores, music,toys, and can appreciate ''all five of my fans"

He may not get the girl but it will have a good ending! The story of Daniel Johnston is to unbelieveably weird, happy,sad, full of love and triumph for it not to!
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« Reply #18 on: April 10, 2006, 08:36:30 PM »

I like these stories.  You are lucky to hang out with the guy.

Yeah, it really gives me some insight into what he's like.. I'd love to get that sort of chance to be with him.

Yes I am blessed but I think the only reason our friendship worked out is because we are both weirdos in our own way!
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« Reply #19 on: April 16, 2006, 08:33:25 AM »

One of my friends has something very similar.  She goes from extremes of feeling extremely empty to strange hyperactivity and her weight yo-yos quite a bit.  During last Summer she used to talk about brains in the walls and how I needed to be careful of them.  Another time, she skipped a few doses of lithium and was found at 8am dancing around town with feathers in her hair, berating passers by for not smiling.  It's a strange thing.
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« Reply #20 on: April 17, 2006, 08:20:29 PM »

I have a few thoughts to add here:  (modified...just because I wanted to make it clear that I know the Johnstons have Dan's future in mind at all times...).

First - it is terrific to see an open discussion of bi-polar illness and depression, in general -

Second - a bit more abut Dan -
He doesn't eat a lot, but he doesn't eat a little either...but, yes, Wicked is correct in saying the sodas are behind much of Dan's excess weight...he guzzles...REALLY guzzles them. It was hard to make him stop at one...he would say, "I'm  buying them for my mom and dad...," then I had to keep him to that...

After the first day of his seeing that I made sure they went to his mom and dad, he started insisting that he needed one coke...so, that's all I allowed him to buy...the rest had to be diet. And, at restaurants, it was one iced tea with real sugar, and the next with Sweet and Low...my rule, which he followed nicely...I think he could tell that I genuinely care for him!

So, sugar is the thing he craves...not burgers...altho he likes burgers smiley

I told him that the sugar will put him back in the hospital before cigarettes...in hopes that he'd be happy to be allowed to smoke...in fact, I was surprised (and relieved) to see that he is allowed to...he needs something 'like that.'

About putting out cigs - he was using the plastic hard case for a cassette tape as an ash tray in his music/art room (I'm sure I caught this before his family went in there and saw it!) - so, that day,  I bought him a  'new' old 70's style ash tray at one of the antique stores we hit when searching for furniture and comic books...and I made him promise me to never use plastic for an ash tray again smiley

I spent 3 days with Dan when I visited - I'd get there by noon each day, and leave around 10 each night...we had a great time...I missed him terribly when I got home...told him so when we next spoke over the phone...at which point he asked if I was still married wink He definitely gets points for persistence...and, it was nice to know he likes me, because I like him too! His basic self (outside of the sometimes negatively-tainted manic thoughts) is so kind and concerned...really...it's hard to describe it... basically, he's truly a great person who has, in the end, dealt so well with the reality of his illness (not that I needed to explain that here...).

Well...I hope every day that Dan finds someone to look after him, to make things easier on his family...whether it be a wife ...who finds him....or just a great care-giver, if the Johnstons ever need to hire someone...and, hopefully, in that case, that person would be someone who loves his music and art, or at least likes it.

Wicked is absolutely right that he would need someone he can trust 100%...someone he loves, and feels loved by...

He definitely has that now with his dad (and with his siblings), but his dad is also taking care of his mom...who is not always lucid (from dementia), has Parkinson's, is legally blind, and needs assistance walking (and someone to keep her from trying to walk on her own without her walker!)...

I feel for Dan's family...I hope they have a good plan for him for the future. I imagine that they do...and, this, of course, is not something anyone can help them plan for...they know who in their family is capable of doing what (emotionally aand physically), and if they will ever need outside help, eventually...

This has been the way it is in my family...we all pitch in, but we now also get help from the county in which my older sis lives.

Well...I guess I really just wanted to say...

If I lived in Waller, and they were looking for someone to be Dan's companion, I'd take the job in a NY minute!...'cause I like Dan and his family so much.

In any case, I hope Dan is making decent money now to help to cover his future expenses.






« Last Edit: April 18, 2006, 03:26:15 PM by gina164 » Logged

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« Reply #21 on: April 18, 2006, 07:53:45 PM »

"It was hard to MAKE him stop at one..."
"...then I had to KEEP him to that..."
"I MADE sure they went to his mom and dad."
"...that's all I ALLOWED him to buy."
"...my RULE, which he followed nicely."
"...and I MADE him promise me to never use plastic for an    ash tray again."

Geez Gina!!!

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« Reply #22 on: April 19, 2006, 11:29:10 AM »

ha ha, Henry...

Actually, his folks would love to hear that!
They asked me to make sure he ate properly...

That's why, when I cooked two dinners for the four of us, they were  composed of extremely healthy fare (altho I eat that way daily, anyway).

And, I suppose the fact that I have two younger bros about Dan's age, and a severely manic depressive sis, who also needs monitoring, makes me a natural in the care-giving to Dan department.

Even if it includes having had to make up a rule...

Besides, he loved it! Made him feel as if he 'got away with' the one coke per day. I am 100% certain that if I had ''allowed in my presence," right off the bat, "one coke per day," he would have told me he 'needed two'...

One day, I imagine, you will meet Dan again (outside of a brief fan meeting, I hope)...and, if you are lucky enough to have the time to spend a number of days with him, and to be 'responsible for his welfare during the time you are with him,' you'll know what I am talking about...

wink


Hey...there's good news from my biology...those hormones are kicking in  and I am feeling SO much better...I am now MUCH less likely to report not liking someone wink Yippee for meds!
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« Reply #23 on: April 20, 2006, 09:29:49 AM »


I believe the drug industry is way too powerful in this country. Fort Knox is no longer filled with gold. It’s filled with pharmaceuticals. I may be really naive on this matter, but what if someone diagnosed as “Severely Manic Depressive” were to cut out the sugar and processed foods (junk food, sodas, sweets) stop smoking 3 packs a day (another drug, to be sure) loose some weight, get out for 1/2 hour brisk walks a couple times a week and seek out others who have been through similar health problems for emotional support- Would all these liver and kidney and libido killing drugs still be necessary? Would mental health improve proportionally along with physical well being? Would this person feel “better?” Would they live longer?

Let me give you the "polar" opposite view to your hypothesis. Roky Erickson's mom Evelyn is the uber-hippie, and she declared 20 years ago that Rok would live free of "evil" pharmas. As a result, Roky spent a couple of decades with 5 TVs blaring at once to keep the demons from screaming as loud. He was arrested for federal mail tampering because he got where he couldn't understand the concept of private mailboxes, and he did not TOUCH a guitar unless forced to do so. I can't say he led a healthy lifestyle - his teeth all rotted out, too - but I can't imagine how someone in that state can be expected to "work out' and "feel the burn"!

Eventually (as I understood it at the time - I've still not seen Roky's bio-flick to verify) some friends finally got together and began SNEAKING medicine to him and eventually wrested control away from mama. At last year's Austin City Limits fest, Roky performed a real set for the first time since the mid-80s, and he continues to perform. Thank God!

  - notdan
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« Reply #24 on: April 20, 2006, 04:35:54 PM »

I've seen similiar results for some, and some terrible consequences for some. I guess it's all in the brain chemistry.

For some REALLY interesting info on a totally different disorder, (O.C.D.), check out the extras on "The Aviator."

Yikes!
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« Reply #25 on: January 03, 2007, 11:03:48 AM »

I'm a new member (and a new fan), so I'm coming to this conversation WAY late, but there's some things I need to share.

I myself am bipolar and have had several incidents in the past that nearly f*cked up my life for good. When I was 17 (almost 12 years ago) I had a breakdown and was nearly committed and managed to con my way out of it.  (How, I don't know, because I have almost NO memory of the time period from about March of that year until maybe winter of the following year. I only know what went down because I kept a daily journal). This was triggered by both a highly personal fact I realized about myself, coupled with finding my girlfriend at the time (who was 18) fooling around with a 10 or 11 year old girl. Not fun. I became suicidal, and everyone in my family thought I was on drugs. Sad to say I was not...I was just crazy. I don't know what changed, though. I just woke up one morning feeling better. Just woke up and was like "Okay, enough of this".  grin It was like nothing from the previous year and a half ever happened. I ended up asking out this girl I knew in school, someone who I had a crush on ever since we were kids (talking about 8 or 9 here). Never thought she'd say yes, as she was one of the "in" crowd and I...wasn't. She said yes, and here we are 10 years later going on our 6th year of marriage. I started writing music in my head during that time period that I wasn't doing so well. One of the few things I remember is that I heard music in my head the same way I'd imagine some people here voices. I'd hear the music constantly...made it hard to sleep  grin That stopped when I got better. Anyway, after Dana & I got together, I found out that she was into music the way I was (well, except for the constant hearing of it). She bought this product for her Playstation where you can create music on it (has a piano layout, and you can make notes on it, then make your own drumbeat behind it), and I started messing around with that, When a sequel was released for the Playstation 2, I got that as a wedding present from my dad. One day, one of our friends came over and started messing with it. I helped him, and next thing you know my wife joined in. So, we decided that the three of us should start making cassettes of our music. Keep that in mind for later. So anyway, I was doing good until the next year. I started feeling down again, but this time for no real reason. I lost all confidence in myself, which ended up costing me my job, which made things worse. I ended up to the point where I stayed in bed for several months, only getting up to eat, bathe, use the restroom, and go downstairs to work on music. I started smoking weed too. I noticed though that when I would, I would improve. Of course, I started relying on that to make me feel better. Finally, I decided to try to get help. I got put on Lexapro, which after about 2 weeks I started feeling better...but then I couldn't write music! Worse yet, I suddenly lost the ability to sleep normally. I started only getting about 2-3 hours of sleep (I'd wake up and couldn't go back to sleep). I tried taking medication for that and ended up in the hospital with a severe kidney infection. Found out that my liver was also damaged because of the drinking my mom did when she was pregnant with me. I'd be okay, but I was told to limit my sodium, and no alcohol at all. Then, a few months later, my father died. I was put back on Lexapro. I started getting tremors for some reason, and I quit the meds. They disappeared. I was put on something else (I cannot remember what it's called, but it started with a B) that apparently turned me into an emotionless zombie. Still couldn't sleep. So I did something drastic. I started smoking weed again, but only enough to allow me to fall asleep. Not everyday either. For the past 3 1/2 years, I've been doing a lot better. There have been bad things happening in that time (we had one miscarriage and one stillbirth) but I have not ever gotten as bad as I was before. I've been able to function normally, I have a great job, my wife's pregnant again (and have a very good doctor), and the music...well, we've recorded about 400 songs in these past 5 years (about 150 or so are on the website) been getting good reviews, and are finally about to make an actual cd.
In the meantime I've been making tapes for people, one of whom asked if I ever heard of Daniel Johnston. I hadn't, and she recommended me seeing the DVD. A month later, here I am.
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« Reply #26 on: January 03, 2007, 11:50:30 AM »

Wow, another powerful story.  Thank you for sharing it.
I'm checking out your tunes right now.
All the best in the new year.
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« Reply #27 on: January 03, 2007, 12:00:22 PM »

Cool! Thanks!

They're all home recorded...hooked up my PS2 to my stereo and recorded. I'd like one day to be able to re-record these with real instruments. I was thinking about sending Daniel a cassette (the irony!), but I don't think that it'd be his kind of music. Still might do it, though.

I had no idea that Mrs. Johnston was in  bad way. That made me sad.

Wish Dan could quit smoking. I know its hard,though. Friday it'll be 2 weeks since I quit smoking cigs.

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Might I also add your username made me  grin
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« Reply #28 on: January 03, 2007, 05:30:12 PM »

Hi Billy smiley

I've been 'in the background' on here for quite a while now - after having had a thread that wasn't well thought out by me pullled by a moderator, and my then reacting (for the 3rd or 4th time by then) by quitting the forum...but this past year has been one of tremendous personal growth for me (in which I have learned to respond and not react, and keep healthy personal boundaries - Yippee! MUCH nicer), and so when I read your post today, I decided to post again - to join in on the thanks for your having shared your life's story and to send a smile your way! smiley

...and to add, "Best wishes for a great new year!," to all forum members.
 Gina

PS - send Dan a tape - he'd love it! - but, you might want to also send a self-addressed stamped envelope if you hope for a reply - even then, don't count on it - he's easily distracted, but he's always appreciative of others' positive caring actions.

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« Reply #29 on: January 03, 2007, 05:54:58 PM »

Thanks for the response, Gina! I know this was an older post, and I really don't like bumping old posts,but this thread moved me. I wish I'd be around here earlier...some of those old threads were quite something! Not going there about that "Ray Perkins" guy, though.  Like Bugs Bunny always said "What a maroon!"  grin

I'm kinda nervous about sending Dan a tape...my music's kinda like my baby, you know? I labored over it, brought it into this world, that kind of thing. I guess that's why I've been hesitant to begin selling it, even though I keep getting good reviews. I'm afraid it's too out there. Meh...I should just do it.

I loved that early footage of Dan in the DVD. Man...I wish I could've heard those early tapes. All I've heard is just things I've downloaded. I ordered"Welcome to my World" from Amazon, but they've ****ed up my order, and I can't cancel it until it actually arrives.   rolleyes I should've just bought it from here. Well, I learned my lesson.

Here's another head trip for me. Here's this guy who I've become a fan of over the past month or so. The guy's a genius, inspired many of the other artists who've inspired me...and the guy lives just about an hour and a half from me!Hell, I was in Dick's area of the woods this past Friday working at a customer's house (I work for AT&T)  grin Just unreal. Usually, when you think of your musical heroes, you think of them living in LA, or somewhere like that. Unless you actually  LIVE in LA, then you'd expect them to live on Mars.  grin
 Heh...maybe I really *should* start doing something with the music.

BTW...let me clarify something...

Quote
I have a great job, my wife's pregnant again (and have a very good doctor)
Was referring to my wife'sdoctor, not mine! I have no doctor! Nah, Dana's seeing a specialist for high-risk pregnancies since we've had two losses.I have faith that things will turn out well this time...
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