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Title: What exactly is "Severe manic depression?"
Post by: gina164 on April 01, 2006, 12:10:31 PM
Few people here know that I hold a Master of Science Degree in Psychology, although most everyone knows that I also have a family member who suffers from "severe manic depression."

After reading some of the movie reviews, especially some of which say that Dan suffers mainly from Schizoprenia, I wanted to copy and paste some info about "severe manic depression," in case any fans need/want to know more about the illness. Severe manic depression includes delusions and sometimes hallucnations.

You have read about some of Dan's past delusions...my sis had some, too, along the way, when off meds. Once she thought she was Jesus...another time we ate lunch in a restaurant in Santa Monica, CA and she seemed quite 'normal,' but later told me she had been thinking at the time that we were two famous actresses...anyway, I and my family are intimately aware of what it means to have a close relative with severe manic depression. For the fans who are not aware of what this illness means, here is some info:
-------------------------------------------------------

What is manic depression?
An insight into manic depression...
By Robert Kokoska, 2/21/2006     


Also called bipolar mood disorder, manic depression is a very serious disease of brain associated with extreme shifts in moods, body functioning and behavior. Just a few years back, manic depression was glorified as a trait so common with many well known artists, composers and brilliant writers; but in reality, thousands of lives have been lost or their career ruined due to this strange disease. An extreme case of manic depression has even lead to many people committing suicide. This debilitating disease affects almost 3 million Americans and 1.5 millions Europeans, and both men and women are equally troubled by this disease.

Manic depression usually starts occurring during early teenage or even during childhood; the symptoms are manifested by irregular cycles or episodes of maniac tendencies, depression and mood swing, often disrupting normal daily life. Three different types of episodes are associated with manic depression and each one of them is quite different from the other. Episodes of depression signify a persistent sad or withdrawn mood, while an episode of mania may show frequent or abnormal mood swings from one extreme to another. However, a mixed or combined state that consists of both mania and depression is probably the most difficult stage to manage and treat.

Signs and symptoms which occur during an episode of mania are:

1. Enhanced energy, high state of excitability and increased activity.
2. Feelings of euphoria, greatness and generally excited mood.
3. Gets irritable even at the smallest of incidences.
4. Lightening speed talk, thoughts and changing ideas.
5. Lack of concentration accompanied by less sleep.
6. Feelings of grandeur and false belief in their own capacity.
7. Lack of a good judgment.
8. Unusual behavior that is easily recognizable.
9. Easily provoked, excessive intrusion in other’s affairs, state of aggression and angry.
10. Provocative, intrusive, or aggressive behavior.

Signs and symptoms which occur during an episode of depression are:

1. Frequent sad, melancholic or empty mood.
2. Feelings of dejection, guilt, or helplessness.
3. Progressive loss of interest in day to day activities.
4. Depleted energy levels and feeling of tiredness.
5. Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decision.
6. Suicidal talk and tendencies.

During early part of the illness these episodes are usually separated by a period of no symptoms and the patient usually feels very good and behaves normal. However, when five or more episodes of illness occur within a year, rapid manic depression sets in and becomes too frequent, leading to extreme consequences. This is also sometimes called a state of rapid recycling, when the degeneration of body and mind sets in at a rapid rate.

A chronic and severe manic depression may lead the patient to a stage of psychosis, when typical symptoms like hallucinations and delusions occur, and such a stage is probably an offshoot of highly dangerous, Schizophrenia. Many people with manic depression will get immense help from a sustained level of treatment and good results are usually achieved by stabilizing their mood swings and other associated symptoms. Highly improvised drugs and medicines like Lithium, atypical antipsychotic medications and high-potency benzodiazepine medications are usually prescribed to patients, depending on the history and intensity of the symptoms. Apart from drugs and medicines, patients are also recommended session of psychotherapy and behavioral therapy.



Title: Re: What exactly is "Severe manic depression?"
Post by: Henry Long on April 01, 2006, 06:45:30 PM
Gina-

A welcomed explanation. So many terms get tossed around, it's sometimes difficult to know what, exactly, one means. Mental illness, to be sure, but to what degree?

I was once in a relationship with someone who's brother was diagnosed as Daniel is. He and I hung out, made poetry and music together, and had great discussions. We were friends. I was told later he was "Manic Depressive." Up til then, I had no idea. Then, one night following a poetry reading where he accompanied me on guitar, I caught a glimpse. He began to talk VERY intensely about U-2 and Nirvana, that they were speaking directly to him through their songs, that "The End" was coming and only he and a few bands were gonna be saved...he wasn't kidding around.

He was eventually institutionalized for a number of months (for pulling a kitchen knife on some cops and claiming he was Jesus) and put on so many drugs he slept for 16-18 hours a day and gained 60 pounds. Heartbreaking. He never played the guitar again, as far as I know.

What gives me pause about all this is the drugs. It seems we are a society and an age so willing to be "on" something, so quick to pop a pill to get immediate relief, that mistakes are inevitable. Not long after my friend was put away, I went to see a "professional" myself. (I was feeling depressed, having alot of racing thoughts, insomnia, trouble focusing, etc.) Went to a therapist for awhile, then got put on drugs. Zoloft, Lithium (1500mg a day!), and Blood Pressure pills, among others. The result was NO painting or writing got done, very little excitement about life, and forget about sex. It made me even more depressed, but I seemed to be okay with it. Nice therapy. In fact, it was the relationship (the guy's sister) and my unhappiness in it (she was very contolling) that I was letting mess me up (ah...the wisdom of hindsight). I took these drugs for less than 10 months. That was 9 years ago. Since that time, I quit drinking, quit eating crap, lost 40 pounds and got off all forms of drugs, (other than vitamin C and such). Oh, and I also began to love myself, forgive others who had wronged me, and spent 2 years NOT in a relationship of any kind working on my ****.
 
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. Believe me. I was mis-diagnosed 9 years ago, quickly put on drugs that made me numb, and never once made the connection between diet and mental health. At 43, I am healthier and more productive and more “stable” than ever before, and have actually reversed or eliminated such conditions as hypertension, I.B.S. and re-occurring migrane headaches. Its been years since I've been to a doctor other than a yearly check up. Everything that was once dangerously "up" is now "down" or "normal." (And was was once unfortunately "down" is now quite happily "up.") I guess my point is, well, drugs are bad, m’kay? Whether scored from the skinny guy over on 4th street, or pushed through fat Doctors and hugely profitable Astra Zeneca. I know many are “helped” by this insanely lucrative industry, but many are also totally ****ed up because of it.

My friend I mentioned earlier had lived on cheeseburgers and cokes. Smoked constantly. Had opressive controlling ambitious parents he lived with and sisters who had reached  high levels of their respective ambitious professional careers, while he had odd jobs for a few weeks at a time at best, and usually ended up just not going. His number one complaint to me, (prior to being told he was Manic Depressive") was that he felt like crap most of the time.

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?

Seeing as you hold a "Master of Science Degree in Psychology," and have a sister who suffers from mental illness, I’d really be interested in your personal take on this.


Title: Re: What exactly is "Severe manic depression?"
Post by: gina164 on April 01, 2006, 07:22:32 PM
Hi, Henry :-)

Thanks for all of the sharing, and for your question about my take on some of this stuff -

First, I want to touch on some stuff about manic depression and genetics:

Unfortunately, it runs in families - 

When I took psychopathology in grad school, I learned that "identical twin studies" - studies done on adopted out people - reveal about a 70% concordance rate. That is to say that, if one identical twin 'has it in the clinically observable sense,' the other will, too. Paternal twins come in at around 15% or so, and siblings at 2%, whereas the general population has a rate of about 1% afflicted, same as schizophrenia.

So...environment (including food and drugs) DOES account for part of the 'variance' - if it did not, there would be a 100% concordance rate in adopted out identical twins.

In my own family, the gene(S?) my sis got came from my dad's side...my father's twin sister is also manic depressive, although she never became an alcoholic, nor did she 'do cocaine' like my older sis (who was a professional dancer and traveled around the world dancing before her first break with reality)...So, my aunt's illness has not been as devastating (perhaps because of the differences in environmeental influences?) but even she has also had numerous hospitalizations and delusions (especiallly post partum).

Still - your question is excellent....

What would have happened if my sis and Dan had been in a highly controlled environment  all along and had never been allowed any crap food or drugs? Well...that will never be known...because we cannot impose this on others...

PLUS, most manic depressives WILL 'use' food and drugs/alcohol as a way 'to self-medicate' before and after diagnosis...

But, I do agree with you that for 'the average person,' one who IS stable enough to be able to choose to eat healthily, not do drugs, eat healthy and exercise regularly, along with keeping a level wake time each day, getting lots of social support, etc ...goes a LONG way to avoiding 'the not wanted downs'...and the 'not wanted ups' ....

One of the reviews of TDADJ that I just read was interesting - the movie left the guy pissed about what God does to some geniuses...
guess he was referring to the genetic aspects of the illness.

Anyway - VERY glad that you found 'yourself' again, without the need for meds! Some of them are wonderful, and help  many people lead better lives...other meds are scary...and, yes, perhaps too quickly prescribed.



Title: Re: What exactly is "Severe manic depression?"
Post by: Henry Long on April 01, 2006, 08:44:48 PM
Thanks for taking the time to respond. I guess I'm less curious about what "could have" been, had there been, as you put it, a "controlled environment," and what can be done, as of now, to create a higher quality of life or, at least,  to not add more destruction and atrophy to already existing health problems. In my (limited) experience, our bodies are completely entwined with our environment and our empathies, our families and our daily lives. I think alot of people make themselves quite ill BELIEVING they are ill. Just as many make themselves well believing they, in fact, are.

Having personally gone through the Martyrdom machine (and come out the other end only to unplug the damned contraption) I am under the impression that at least for some of us, we are our own worse enemies.

Thanks again Gina for the information.



Title: Re: What exactly is "Severe manic depression?"
Post by: gina164 on April 02, 2006, 12:07:56 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 ;-) 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 :(

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.




Title: Re: What exactly is "Severe manic depression?"
Post by: Poonhead on April 02, 2006, 03:57:15 PM
That is very interesting.  I also didn't know anything about the false teeth.


Title: Re: What exactly is "Severe manic depression?"
Post by: gina164 on April 02, 2006, 06:26:51 PM
That is very interesting.  I also didn't know anything about the false teeth.

Yes...I hestiated sharing all of that, especially the false teeth part - his Dad explained to me that Dan hasn't had the patience to get used to them.

It's why you rarely see him smile broadly in current pics - he rarely 'wears them' -

He talks and sings fine without them though.


Title: Re: What exactly is "Severe manic depression?"
Post by: ondafritz on April 02, 2006, 07:02:23 PM
Oh my... I'll have to talk with him about that!
How's he gonna get a girlfriend without teeth?
He left West Virginia long ago.


Title: Re: What exactly is "Severe manic depression?"
Post by: Henry Long on April 03, 2006, 06:19:22 AM
Ha!


Title: Re: What exactly is "Severe manic depression?"
Post by: gina164 on April 03, 2006, 10:12:57 AM
Oh my... I'll have to talk with him about that!
How's he gonna get a girlfriend without teeth?
He left West Virginia long ago.

Hey, Fritzie!
I guess now I need to call him and fess up to blabbing that he has false teeth?!

OK,OK...so, your reply is funny...

But, a guy that can kiss with or without teeth...not necessarily a bad thing...


Title: Re: What exactly is "Severe manic depression?"
Post by: birds_cant_smile on April 05, 2006, 09:21:25 AM
i'd marry dan.


Title: Re: What exactly is "Severe manic depression?"
Post by: gina164 on April 05, 2006, 10:27:45 AM
 :-)


Title: Re: What exactly is "Severe manic depression?"
Post by: wickedwill on April 09, 2006, 08:49:23 AM
Yeah you seem to forget he has no teeth. I took him to the Dollar Store once and while he bought all this stuff,action figures,figurines,seeds,dogbones,etc. All I could find that I needed was that orange cream licorice. Well I forgot about the diabetes and if you ever hung around Daniel its easy to forget it. You dont think someone who guzzles Cokes that way he does as being diabetic.

SOOOOOOOO I just handed him a piece of licorice. Then I was "Oh no....um...uh can you have sweets Dan"
"Sure" and he shoved the whole piece in his mouth and just chewed and chewed and chewed...or gummed. He gave that piece of candy hell.
I noticed when we got back to his studio he spit it in the garbage.

But yeah it dont affect his speech or anything!

If you look on the Danny and the Nightmares cd "The end is near" you can see he has his teeth jutting out.

He can eat chinese food without teeth fine also!


Title: Re: What exactly is "Severe manic depression?"
Post by: Poonhead on April 10, 2006, 12:43:22 AM
I like these stories.  You are lucky to hang out with the guy.


Title: Re: What exactly is "Severe manic depression?"
Post by: wickedwill on April 10, 2006, 11:41:08 AM
What is depression?
Well I may be opening myself up here more then I should. I have talked to Henry Long about it so he has a little insight.
I suffer from severe depression with bouts of Paranoia. I take up two 6 pills a day for it. When I am having a good day its great, when I am having a bad day it is absolutely terrible. It started when I was about 15 and manifested itself in me until I snapped at the age of 21. Everything in my life fell apart.....I made wrong decisions. I was put in a institution whose only goal was to suck my insurance dry. They gave me so many of the wrong meds I did not even recognize my mother when she came to see me. It was not one of those hi-tech loony bins but the two big black guys at the door made sure nobody left.
After being in there 2 weeks I was told I could not leave even though I had willingly went in with the coaxing of my mom.
Well one day I guess the two black guys were busy and a nurse opened the front door and I just out of instinct pushed her out of the way and ran as fast as my bare feet would take me......I ran across the freeway in shorts and a Black Flag t shirt and called a friend to come get me. I realized that place cared only about one thing and that was my money. If I did not particpate in group efforts they didnt give a **** or even make me try. When we got out to exercise/swim I could not even go out because all the meds would make my eyes so sensitive to the sun I could not even open them! Its a good thing I broke free as the sun was setting because I would have ran straight into the freeway blind and prolly got creamed!
Granted my depression is nowhere as severe as Daniels and for the last five years I have had a really good grasp on it.......its still there and I still have my moments. Sometimes getting out of bed is a chore all within itself....sometimes the tears flow without reason.
Depression to the one who suffers it is a freaking nightmare,its like a never ending rollercoaster whose fun has wore off on the first three trips around the tracks. You want off but you cant get off. It took me a long time to come to terms with the fact I will have to take meds just to maintain my sanity but I have to. I have a family to support,I have kids who look up to me to be there. I realize these meds have saved me to a degree........yeah there is a chance when I am 41 like Daniel I will look 61....but I will still be here with those who need and love me.
I feel a kinship with Daniel because I know a tad bit of what he goes through to a degree and through his music I have learned that "there is a heaven and a star for you (me)"
I have the utmost respect for Dick,Bill,Mabel, because alot of folks would just wash thier hands of a sick loved one who does not do what he is supposed to do...its frustrating and can make one angry and feel helpless....but they have stuck by our hero........thats love of the deepest kind.
What Daniel has done with his life considering how bad his depression is is amazing! He is one of a kind. Like I said its tough even on a mild scale on the scale in which Daniel deals with it and all he has achieved in his life is a miracle. I guess I will have a better grasp on my situation when I am able or want to go outside and mingle with folks....I try but I sometimes just cant and give up and go home. I am almost hermit like thats where I been told the paranoia comes in......who knows?!?!
Depression sucks!
Dan Rules!


Title: Re: What exactly is "Severe manic depression?"
Post by: Poonhead 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.)


Title: Re: What exactly is "Severe manic depression?"
Post by: Marquis of Sadness 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.


Title: Re: What exactly is "Severe manic depression?"
Post by: wickedwill 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 ;-) 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 :(

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!


Title: Re: What exactly is "Severe manic depression?"
Post by: wickedwill 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!


Title: Re: What exactly is "Severe manic depression?"
Post by: moog 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.


Title: Re: What exactly is "Severe manic depression?"
Post by: gina164 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 :-)

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 :-)

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 ;-) 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.








Title: Re: What exactly is "Severe manic depression?"
Post by: Henry Long 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!!!

 :-o


Title: Re: What exactly is "Severe manic depression?"
Post by: gina164 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...

;-)


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 ;-) Yippee for meds!


Title: Re: What exactly is "Severe manic depression?"
Post by: notdaniel 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


Title: Re: What exactly is "Severe manic depression?"
Post by: Henry Long 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!


Title: Re: What exactly is "Severe manic depression?"
Post by: Billy Castillo 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".  :-D 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  :-D 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.


Title: Re: What exactly is "Severe manic depression?"
Post by: Poonhead 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.


Title: Re: What exactly is "Severe manic depression?"
Post by: Billy Castillo 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.

edit

Might I also add your username made me  :-D


Title: Re: What exactly is "Severe manic depression?"
Post by: gina164 on January 03, 2007, 05:30:12 PM
Hi Billy :-)

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! :-)

...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.



Title: Re: What exactly is "Severe manic depression?"
Post by: Billy Castillo 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!"  :-D

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.   :roll: 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)  :-D 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.  :-D
 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...


Title: Re: What exactly is "Severe manic depression?"
Post by: gina164 on January 04, 2007, 12:27:44 PM
Billy,

I enjoyed reading your comments. Yes, the forum was 'interesting' in an 'odd way,' when there were more peeps here in contact with Dan, but now it is becoming more of a true fan-forum...a place for those who really just want to share about their love of his music/lyrics and artwork :-) Actually, Dan is the guy you hear in the lyrics and see in the art - that's why I love his stuff - pure honesty - so, you don't really need to meet him in person to know him.

Well...
I am very glad to know that your wife and you have a good baby doc!
Sending my best to you both, and the wee little one on the way,

Gina


Title: Re: What exactly is "Severe manic depression?"
Post by: Billy Castillo on January 04, 2007, 12:48:52 PM
Well thanks! Made me sad that the stuff Jeff was selling is pulled, as I would've loved to get the baby t-shirt. Looked cute!

Another thing...that Sound Exchange that is now a Baja Fresh? My wife used to go there all the time the summer she went to UT. While watching the dvd, she about spit out her drink.."Hey..I've been IN there!" Another thing... her pet name for me is "Froggy"..and has a tattoo on her right shoulder of a frog( so I'll be with her always)...and she always used to talk about that frog mural!  Now we know where it originated. Too funny.

Some of the stuff on IMdB really has p*ssed me off...I post there as "fear2stop" and there are a few threads of me going off on people dissing Daniel. Some people can be really cruel.


Title: Re: What exactly is "Severe manic depression?"
Post by: gina164 on January 04, 2007, 05:05:49 PM
VERY interesting about the frog of innocence having woven his way into your lives!  :-)

Oh - IMdB - yes, some people seem to lurk on the net just to be cruel - gotta wonder what their diagnosis is - probably narcissistic personality disorder...

Anyway - just keep on letting YOUR voice be heard! It takes a village to raise a child, and it takes all good people to keep the arseholes at bay...

Gina


Title: Re: What exactly is "Severe manic depression?"
Post by: Billy Castillo on January 04, 2007, 05:49:12 PM
Quote
Oh - IMdB - yes, some people seem to lurk on the net just to be cruel - gotta wonder what their diagnosis is - probably narcissistic personality disorder...

I call it cancer of the soul myself. 


Title: Re: What exactly is "Severe manic depression?"
Post by: headyrock on January 11, 2007, 11:58:20 AM
It's interesting to see other people's takes on bipolar. I just recently saw 'the devil and daniel johnston' and it really put things into perspective for me. I was diagnosed manic depressive last march after taking off to boston and new york to spread a message of peace, unity and understanding, across the country and hopefully spark a revolution. I had delusions that the characters on tv were referring to me in everything that they said and that everyone thought I was gay. Eventually the thought occured that I was a messenger from god and must spread peace love and understanding. When I was out there I maxed out two credit cards spending money on trains, planes, busses and cab fare. Eventually, I came home hungry and tired from not having slept in 9 days and my parents put me into a mental hospital for two weeks. At first I started taking a new medication called Abilify that made me so antsy I couldn't sit still for even a minute. After that I tried a variety of different madications which made me a complete zombie and made me gain about 50 or so pounds. Today, I'm on Risperdal, which aside from inhibiting any inspiration to be creative as well as causing my sex drive to come to a complete halt makes me feel at least a little normal. I'm working on a book about my experience and although it's hard to remember a lot of what happened, it's coming along. It's a fiction based on my life about a kid who convinces people that he's the second coming of jesus and proceeds to change the world. Thank you all for your interesting insight into manic depression. I'm still coming to terms with it myself. Long live DJ 


Title: Re: What exactly is "Severe manic depression?"
Post by: Billy Castillo on January 11, 2007, 12:09:05 PM

Damn...after reading this, and with my own experience...I wish there was a better "fix" than these anti-depressants. It seems to me that the cure is as bad as the fix.
Quote
which aside from inhibiting any inspiration to be creative as well as causing my sex drive to come to a complete halt makes me feel at least a little normal.
Really?! So it *wasn't* just me then. I thought there was something wrong with me...

About the money spending...I notice with myself I have a hard time resisting making impulse purchases. Actually, "TD&DJ" was an impulse buy...and definitely one of my better ones!


Title: Re: What exactly is "Severe manic depression?"
Post by: Lee34 on March 02, 2008, 10:18:10 PM
yeah I am jumping in on this post waaaaay late.

But oh well.

I am struggling through the mental healthcare system. I have competing labels. One camp of docs say depression, another camp says bipolar.

Everyone around me tells me I have a fad diagnosis, and I will make myself sick if I think I am sick.

My family has been ridiculously abusive towards me when I first had problems with self harming. I am not making this up. I am a real person, and I lived through this.

You didn't have problems in our family or you were beat. Of course that makes you more nuts when you already self harming and feeling like  you need a mental ward. Yet I lived through it.

I went into a depressed psychosis at age 22. Of course my family denies that it happened. I was 'depressed' but the doctors wanted to believe I had a bipolar 2, with a mixed episode. I was delusional. Thought I was psychic with special powers, and very ****ed up.

Then when I went out of the hospital my friends dumped my meds. I did not go back into psychosis (I guess I had a long enough treatment with a typical anti-psychotic, and normalcy, of some nature was restored). but they dumped my meds and told me I am not sick.

Then I was relatively normal for 7 years until I started self harming again, with some really depressing suicidal thoughts. And went into an agitated rage, suddenly quit my job, whilst spending ****load of money.

Then I struggled.

I am still struggling. My diagnosis went back to depression. One doc swore that there was no episode of bipolar. then I had a ridiculously bad time with anti-depressants.

Then my dx went back to bipolar, with a slice of ADHD now.

My friends tell me I'll go crazy if I go back to my doc. But I am already kinda crazy without them.

I had a grandmother who thought the IRA was after her and were speaking to her through the toaster. My family- mom and brother- just by witnessing how nuts and violent they can be, says something too.

I have a hard time trusting psychiatrists because on one end people say it will make me sick. Then my parents deny anything is wrong. Then on top of it doctors can be stupid.

So it makes it hard for me to trust, and take a pill.

Because my history is so complex and made incredibly difficult by bad parents, bad doctors, and uneducated friends- I'm amazed I've even lived this long.

Seriously.

The sad thing now is bipolar and ADHd are trendy diagnosis, and people are getting screwed who really have the disorder.


Title: Re: What exactly is "Severe manic depression?"
Post by: OhJoy on March 03, 2008, 09:34:13 AM
Get yourself a psychologist or a psychiatrist there's much more to it than taking a drug.
They could work with you in the diagnosis, and through a treatment program.

Your friends mean well  :| but you need to trust a professional.

Goodluck, I wish you well.


Title: Re: What exactly is "Severe manic depression?"
Post by: billybob on March 03, 2008, 10:50:57 AM
     Gina--your approach is exactly what daniel needs, i think.  he needs a full-time live-in cook and caretaker, and for that matter i'm afraid his parents are reaching the same state for themselves.  i feel like Bill is overwhelmed by his responsibilitiesof taking care of Mabel and Daniel.  the diet and exercise thing would help Daniel SO much, even if he still had to take some dosage of medicine.  it's sad to see him so sedentary, we used to walk all over Austin back in the '80s.  of course neither one of us had a car, but Daniel was very active and thought nothing about walking a couple miles or more every day.  of course, he was already self-medicating back then.  he would order iced tea at the burger place where i worked, because i stopped giving him soda, but then he would add sugar right past the saturation point, when it stopped dissolving.  at least he has been convinced to switch to fake sugar in his tea now, and diet mountain dew, which he consumes almost as voraciously as cigarettes.  and yes, he is extremely wilful, and i don't know what kind of caretaker he would need who could actually convince Daniel to change some of his bad habits.  it's all his Dad can do just to make sure Daniel takes his medicine every day.
     another habit of Daniel's that really scares me, and i observed this on Christmas Eve while we were watching a couple of '40s Frankenstein movies, is dozing off with a lit cigarette in his hand.  he was at least sitting in a fake-leather chair, but i was on the couch.  i woke him up and told him that if he kept doing that he was going to burn his house down, and that that's exactly how wife's grandmother died.
     i don't want to sound like i'm gossiping, but i can tell that the people on this site love and  really care about Daniel.  i don't know what the solution to this is, or even if there is one, but i really want him to stick around for a long time.  i've seen him at his highest, his lowest, and pretty much everywhere in between, and i'd say that mentally and emotionally he's in a good state right now, for this century at least.  but he is completely and utterly neglecting himself physically and it really makes me sad.  he halfway joked about getting an exercise bike the last time i was there.  i think he's reluctant to walk around because he was menaced by some local dogs once.  or maybe he's just lazy and using that as an excuse?  (and he likes it that way?)
     anyway, thanks for listening to me vent.  this has been on my mind for many years, and i think when his sister brings him up to Austin to see our version of Speeding Motorcycle, i will try to talk to her about it.  at least Daniel is now generating some real income, and the inevitable day is approaching where Bill will not be able to care for him.  i hope they have a good plan in place.
                                               cheers, bill


Title: Re: What exactly is "Severe manic depression?"
Post by: Rob Wheeler on March 03, 2008, 11:40:13 AM
Lee, I'm sorry to hear you are having a really tough time. It can be really rubbish when you re suffering from something that is making you miserable. I think if you spend some time will the right doctor (and it may take you a little while to find that right doctor) you have a very good chance to work your way through your problems. I can totally understand your stance on the medical profession and the pharmaceutical industry. i for one have argued for a very long time that most depression "medication" was pointless and did more harm than good.

However, if you are have  history of becoming delusional it seems indisputable that you need some one to one attention from someone who can figure out why your brain is triggering that sort of behavior and miscomprehension. I always question doctors that say "ahhh, this chemical in your brain is not functioning correctly" because the chemicals in your brain are to a great extent a reaction to the world around you. If you have been very unhappy with the world around you, and it seems you have, then maybe this contributes to your state of mind and the chemicals in it.

I really fee la lot of mental illness starts at school. If you are a good performer at school, it seems like you are forever guilt bound into a life of hard work and high performance even otherwise you are somehow letting yourself and everybody else down. I think a lot of people get depressed because they have a nagging feeling that they should be doing something, or just enjoying life more. I hear a lot about "deferred rewards" and really that should be more like "deferred life", and it never works because if you put yourself into a miserable situation for any amount of time, it will make you miserable and it will have a lasting impact.

That's my higgeldy piggeldy opinion anyway.


Title: Re: What exactly is "Severe manic depression?"
Post by: Lee34 on March 03, 2008, 04:42:41 PM
Get yourself a psychologist or a psychiatrist there's much more to it than taking a drug.
They could work with you in the diagnosis, and through a treatment program.

Your friends mean well  :| but you need to trust a professional.

Goodluck, I wish you well.

I know my friends mean well, it's just to illustrate what a mess a diagnosis can be, and how confusing this is to me because who do you trust if no one seems right?

I have a psychiatrist that currently says I have ADHD and Bipolar2. I kind of think it's bull****. She just came out with diagnosing me when I hadn't even seen her in 3 months. The diagnosis was just a slap in the face. There was just no diagnostic rhyme or reason for her to land at that decision. She brought another doctor in the room and told them my diagnosis, not me.

She then began pushing me to take an anti-psychotic for anxiety (Risperidone- PRN) even though I said I wouldn't take it, and lithium and buspar- even though she said my bipolar condition was in remission- without medication.

She then kept trying to push for a regiment of mood stabilizers- and to try the drugs for at least 3 months, then keep going if one didn't work. She started me on topamax which didn't work within the first month. She had only given me a social phobia diagnosis but pushed all kinds of meds.

She seemed to give the bipolar diagnosis based on a somewhat positive reaction to topamax (though it is used for a few things, PTSD, migraines, but has negative trial results as a mood stabilizer for bipolar).

Then again I think she gave me the diagnosis based on me telling a doctor she gave me a mood stabilizer with a social phobia diagnosis only, and it almost seems she reverted back to my old diagnosis to cover her ass.

Seriously. My gut just feels something is wrong here.

So yep, off to another doctor I go.

On another note I've been lurking this site a little after seeing the movie "The Devil and Daniel Johnston." I'm just fascinated by the man. I'm not a huge fan of his music, but his life is fascinating. Alot of it almost doesn't seem real.

Rob Wheeler,

Thanks. Too many doctors jump to the chemical explanation for everything and it's lazy. Bipolar is a serious condition and I think it's being mis-used to describe anyone with mood swings. To me it's a disorder that could result in things like "community treatment orders" or being sectioned against your will. It's good if the person has the disease but terrible if the person isn't bipolar and is just getting treatment that doesn't quite fix any issues.






Title: Re: What exactly is "Severe manic depression?"
Post by: Rob Wheeler on March 03, 2008, 05:31:16 PM
The situation is so strange with doctors in the US. I remember a few years ago I noticed that the infamous Dr Landy, the man who "treated" Brian Wilson for many years and was eventually struck off from working in California and forcibly prevented from contacting him  by legal means, had quite legally set up practice in Hawaii. I don't know how you are supposed to have confidence in any of your practitioners if they could have potentially been struck off by every other state.

Having said that, find a doctor that seems receptive, tell them you situation, tell them what you want and after a little time you should come to a better arrangement.

Take it easy!


Title: Re: What exactly is "Severe manic depression?"
Post by: gina164 on March 16, 2008, 08:37:20 PM

Hey, fellow forum members -

...was away for a few weeks, and so just caught up with this revived thread -


Bill - thanks for sharing about the same concerns for Dan, long-term...

---------------------------------------------------

Lee - hang in there... keep reading, both scientific info (to keep up with new meds/diagnoses/treatments),

and keep doing personal growth stuff...
-------------------------------------------------------

My 3 favorite personal growth books, of all-time, are (and, I've read most of 'em):

"How To Be An Adult,'
 AND "How To Be An Adult In Relationships," both by David Richo,

plus

"A New Earth," by Eckhart Tolle"

...all available in paperback, via amazon or libraries, via inter-library loan, if need be
...and all worth their weight in plutonium ;0
--------------------------------------

Best wishes,
Gina


Title: Re: What exactly is "Severe manic depression?"
Post by: Lee34 on April 11, 2008, 06:42:23 AM
Thanks Gina,

talked to the doctor again about the complexity of my diagnosis. She thought bipolar but never saw it in me, after four months in her practice, so she changed her mind, and is treating me as a depressed person. Getting new treatment, and not going so much the medication route.

Initially we had thought about trying different mood stabilizers but I decided experimenting with what works might make me more screwed up.

I am getting cognitive behavioral therapy instead.


Title: Re: What exactly is "Severe manic depression?"
Post by: madnell on April 11, 2008, 06:58:10 AM
i often wonder how things might be different for dan
today had his therapy taken a more holistic route..
and i wonder if and how he could now be moved to
proceed in a.. more healthful.. direction.  god love him.


Title: Re: What exactly is "Severe manic depression?"
Post by: gina164 on April 11, 2008, 06:13:29 PM
Lee,

Good to hear that your doc has gotten to see you over time, to be able to  narrow down your diagnosis -

CBT - cognitive behavioral therapy is a great tool, for anyone - as we ALL fall victim to irrational thinking, which then produces some difficult 'emotional fall-out.'

I do hope you are doing the homework ;) Thanks for sharing!

**********************************

Madnell -

Yes...it would be great if Dan could be made to live a more healthful lifestyle...he surely could benefit from a loss of weight... hard to see him carrying a jumbo-sized spare tire...

GOD LOVE HIM, FOR SURE ~
 


Title: Re: What exactly is "Severe manic depression?"
Post by: Psychotic State on May 17, 2008, 11:35:10 AM
I'm wondering if Dan is indeed a "Bipolar 1" or more like a schizoaffective- bipolar type. I work psych as an RN in a state hospital here and the whole diagnoses thing with patients is really debatable. People come in, there is a serious issue, but they're either admitted with their old diagnoses from past admissions or something is thrown on them just to get them admitted and SSI payment to start for their inpatient costs. It seems like Mr. Johnston is stable but he still closesly clings (???) to his Devil beliefs or possible delusions... as if he's not fully recovered in that area. I imagine he'd probably be on a mood stabilizer (Lithium, depakote, Lamictal) & also a atypical antipsychotic (Zyprexa, Geodon, Risperdal) to keep delusional thinking at a minimum. The movie makes it really apparant in his early years that he was/is a "textbook bipolar 1", but the later delusions and their predominance in his life & thoughts make you wonder. Generally someone who is bipolar (or manic-depressive) type 1 is pretty symptom free while in remission. That is you wouldn't think twice of them as mentally ill unless they went manic or depressive. Unfortunately, too, mental illness is SOOOOO complicated & compounded by drug abuse that even more symptoms occur and make rediagnoses warranted... or it really masks the original diagnoses completely because of delusions that occur post severe drug abuse.

Anyways. I wish him the best. Not just as a psych professional... but also as a person living with bipolarism.


Title: Re: What exactly is "Severe manic depression?"
Post by: Stress Records on May 17, 2008, 12:07:39 PM
It seems like Mr. Johnston is stable but he still closesly clings (???) to his Devil beliefs or possible delusions... as if he's not fully recovered in that area.

I was just curious to know what gives you that impression?  I haven't heard him speak of the devil or any other delusions in well over 10 years.


Title: Re: What exactly is "Severe manic depression?"
Post by: Psychotic State on May 17, 2008, 12:35:29 PM
I was just curious to know what gives you that impression?  I haven't heard him speak of the devil or any other delusions in well over 10 years.
Well not knowing him (which I'm sad to say :-( ) the movie sort of projects that imagery... that and I don't know how old some of the drawings shown in the actual film are. Delusions happen with bipolarism (I know) but usually I see schizoaffective-bipolar type clients that need a constant anti-psychotic (along with the mood stabilizers/antidepressant/mild benzo cocktail) used to prevent delusions/hallucinations from reoccuring. Whether it's a newer neuroleptic in the form of a pill or a longer acting deconate shot.

Glad to hear it's been so long since he's even mentioned it!


Title: Re: What exactly is "Severe manic depression?"
Post by: gina164 on May 19, 2008, 10:20:21 AM
 I have a few thoughts to share...about labels, and also delusions/paranoia...

Dan could very well officially have multiple diagnoses...it is not uncommon...labels are just that...and the DSM (disanostical and statistical manual) has been revised and revised and revised...some labels being dropped...one I believe should not have been - sadistic personality disorder, nothing to do with Dan - a past employer fit that checklist perfectly...now, I guess she gets to just be 'an asshole?' ...

Severe manic depression, type II, of course, carried with it delusions.
I first met Dan in early Aug of '05, when he was delusional, and he did mention Hitler as a great guy...saying killing so many Jews in such a short time as mhad to have made him great.

...this of course, I took as mania, and also unfortunately the 'over-programming' of Christianity in him, that he still fights to this day...


I also wondered if he was testing me, in a weird way...like, if I agreed, he'd know he couldn't realy trust me...oddly, I only 'think' this now, looking back...

because, I replied by saying that Hitler was a pathetic person, and spoke about how Hitler hated himself, and so had to find others to hate...and Dan 'understood,' and did not persist AT all, and from then on actually seemed to beigin his pursuit of me ;)

...my take, if it were true paranoia, he'd have persisted...

the next time we met and spent 3 days together (me in a nearby hotel, as I had married by then), he was stabilized, and 'his normal self'...although he was not happy that I had married in the meantime ;), and wished my hubby dead...but that was a very bad joke, on his part...not anything bad...this is, btw, why, I do not visit him anymore...he also couldn't really enjoy phone calls anymore, after that visit...he kinda 'fell for me,'...which I imagine he would for any decent woman who shows him caring and true friendship.

Anyway, during the first meeting, when he was manic, and his concert tour got cancelled due to it...the devil did get mentioned, and so did Hitler, as I said..two characters that seem to me to represent to him the evil side of all of us...

About the devil, I told him I do not believe in a God who creates devils...but that there is human evil, which comes from lack of love, like Hitler...

God, ducks, nude women ;) ... these are some of his favorite things....calming things...oh, and music, and Casper...etc...

So, my opinion of Dan -

He is an amazingly intelligent man (NOT uncommon in bipolars), a wonderful friend, a truly loving man...of all mankind, falls easily and hard for women he likes,
:( , is a very loving son,

comes from a family that loves him,

but the 'devil as a reality influence' didn't help him emotionally,  

but it also didn't cause his bipolar - that's mainly genetic, 70% concordance rate in identical twin studies - meaning 7 of 10 identical twins adopted out to DIFFERENT FAMILIES will 'get it' ....

...that's where researchers know that 30% of the 'clinical manisfestation' (the phenotype) of the gene/s involved (the genotype) is nurture/environment...so, his environment could have brought it out 'clinically'....but, he also got into drugs, which is part of environment!

I know he still officially 'believes' in the devil, but I think that what I said to him and I am certain what many others say helps him understand that religion is personal, and that some people simply think 'the devil' means 'lack of love' causing people to do very sad things...so, I think his 'idea' of the devil is not as
intense in him as when he grew up.

Well, hopefully, the moderators will not 'axe' this reply...

I hope it was ok to share some of the reality of what happens to Dan if/when he is delusional.
He is VERY stable now...except that his diabetes doesn't help :(

I truly adore his persona, though...he is a true gem among people....

....if you ever got the opportunity to meet him and really interact with him, alone, one on one, he's just terrific...not because of his illness, in spite of it :)


Gina


Title: Re: What exactly is "Severe manic depression?"
Post by: Stress Records on May 19, 2008, 10:46:09 AM

 and from then on actually seemed to begin his pursuit of me ;)

To most observers of that whole mess it appeared to be the other way around. 

Reminder to everyone: take everything you read on the internet with a grain of salt.


Title: Re: What exactly is "Severe manic depression?"
Post by: Psychotic State on May 19, 2008, 12:02:40 PM
Severe manic depression, type II, of course, carried with it delusions.
Not being a PITA, but that would be Bipolar-1 :wink:

My BP1 delusions were around the idea that I was a "superman" of sorts. I won't get into some of my "superhuman acts" but they were far from superhuman. They were the worst, physically, as I could've gotten killed... but I've had other wierd delusional thinking. Some of the stuff you mentioned about Daniel's delusional thinking I've experienced myself... especially being a WWII buff. I went there once even knowing what a horrid man Hitler was. It was just different when I was... out there. I also had some Devil vs. the Holy Virgin Mary delusions. Funny thing is I haven't been a practicing Catholic since I was in grammar school :|

Bipolar-2 is far less destructive to the person's life. They can function at work & with family without issue generally mantaining an almost completely normal life. Also it almost never leads to an inpatient hospitalization. It's hypomanic episodes with depressive times. Nowdays it seems like the pharmaceutical companies are trying to make BP2 as the new depression of the 21st century. Like Prozac did in the early 90's, now we have Lamictal bolstering the whole BP 2 (and now 1) with it's commercials.

I agree with you about the DSM... there are NO two patients that are alike! The more years that go by the more diagnoses we have added to it. Good case is the whole ADD/ADHD thing. It was non-exhistant when I was a kid and showing S&S of Bipolar-1. If I were born 10 15 years later I'd be ADHD. It's/They're all brain disorders involving chemical imbalances. The drugs they make one year for schizophrenia are being used the following year for bipolar, then vice versus. Hopefully one day we'll just have BRAIN CHEMICAL IMBALANCES... period! We can use proper drugs to control symptoms. Make life a lot simpler without 100s of MI names :wink:

Peace to all, peace to Dan  8-)


Title: Re: What exactly is "Severe manic depression?"
Post by: gina164 on May 20, 2008, 01:35:58 PM

 and from then on actually seemed to begin his pursuit of me ;)

To most observers of that whole mess it appeared to be the other way around. 

Reminder to everyone: take everything you read on the internet with a grain of salt.


WHAT?

Bizarre... you were never present when I was with Dan, nor ever when we spoke over the phone.
I actually thought that maybe you were a decent person, after all....but, guess not....

I never pursued Dan -
EVER. I liked him A LOT, as you well knew...but my fan motivation ALWAYS motivated me, and then a real friendship that developed...

He kissed me once...stole a kiss... that's all that ever happened...and I even told you about that...

I thought of dating him, but made a VERY concsious decision to be friends only, and made it clear with him....

...although he continued to invited me to stay with him, etc...and in phone calls, making his wishing my husband would die joke....so, I just let go...

Now, you get to know all of the details....happy now, Jeff?

Done trying to acuse others of victimizing a man you victimized?

I forgave you for that BS...and, I am sure I will forgive you for this current BS....

Sorry to pop your bubble of Dan as the eternal victim.
I let go of the friendship, as he wasn't able to deal with my being married...
I have thought to reconnect and tell him I am divorced, but I know I would not be able to be more than friend with him, AND I am moving to Maui in one month, anyway....

...and so I only send a card now and then, and birthday gifts....

and  I DO NOT EVER plan to tell him I am single....
nor will I ever visit him again....nor go to a concert even...

It'd be too hard on his soft heart.

GEE.....I am SO glad you are out of his life.



Title: Re: What exactly is "Severe manic depression?"
Post by: gina164 on May 20, 2008, 01:49:16 PM
Severe manic depression, type II, of course, carried with it delusions.
Not being a PITA, but that would be Bipolar-1 :wink:

My BP1 delusions were around the idea that I was a "superman" of sorts. I won't get into some of my "superhuman acts" but they were far from superhuman. They were the worst, physically, as I could've gotten killed... but I've had other wierd delusional thinking. Some of the stuff you mentioned about Daniel's delusional thinking I've experienced myself... especially being a WWII buff. I went there once even knowing what a horrid man Hitler was. It was just different when I was... out there. I also had some Devil vs. the Holy Virgin Mary delusions. Funny thing is I haven't been a practicing Catholic since I was in grammar school :|

Bipolar-2 is far less destructive to the person's life. They can function at work & with family without issue generally mantaining an almost completely normal life. Also it almost never leads to an inpatient hospitalization. It's hypomanic episodes with depressive times. Nowdays it seems like the pharmaceutical companies are trying to make BP2 as the new depression of the 21st century. Like Prozac did in the early 90's, now we have Lamictal bolstering the whole BP 2 (and now 1) with it's commercials.

I agree with you about the DSM... there are NO two patients that are alike! The more years that go by the more diagnoses we have added to it. Good case is the whole ADD/ADHD thing. It was non-exhistant when I was a kid and showing S&S of Bipolar-1. If I were born 10 15 years later I'd be ADHD. It's/They're all brain disorders involving chemical imbalances. The drugs they make one year for schizophrenia are being used the following year for bipolar, then vice versus. Hopefully one day we'll just have BRAIN CHEMICAL IMBALANCES... period! We can use proper drugs to control symptoms. Make life a lot simpler without 100s of MI names :wink:

Peace to all, peace to Dan  8-)

Thanks for the correction on I vs II  - I have ADHD, and always mix up these things - runs in families with bipolar - but, yes, there is bipolar with delusions, without it having to be labelled schizo....

Thanks, also, for sharing about your own experiences! I think that's great...mentall ilness is a manisfestation of chemical and neurological imbalances...the fact that Dan is able to tap into places most of our normal denial /defense mechanisms won't allow, is what I cherish in his work....

I see him as very courageous - he knows what people think - some fear him...yet, he still loves his fans/the audiences...he still puts his heart out there....WAY out there....he is one of the most sensitive, loving people I have ever had the pleasure to know.

He is truly a great person, in spite of the mental illness. Dan is a great artist with a disability...not an artist because of it.


Title: Re: What exactly is "Severe manic depression?"
Post by: Henry Long on May 20, 2008, 03:07:25 PM
I think this thread is getting out of hand.

I'd rather not start moderating any of it, but c'mon. Maybe some of this information is best sent to personal inboxes and emails rather than posted in a public forum. It's simply become too personal. The desire to be right and get the last word should not trump Yip/Jump decorum. A suggestion: Please try to consider this a fan forum and not the equivalent of leaving your personal teen angst journal lying open on the kitchen table.

If things start getting deleted, I'm sorry, but it's what I'm paid the big bucks to do. :-D

And all the Psycho-Diagnostic cut and pastes have my head spinning. It's too easy (or too complicated?) to know so little and still suggest what someone who suffers from a mental illness has or doesn't have, or what the condition's accurate name should be, or what the best treatment should be, etc., even though intentions are good and we want to put our own two cents in, based on our own experiences with those murky dangerous waters...

Even the professionals are in disagreement with one another concerning labels, medications, therapies, etc. They change the name of the diagnosis every month, it seems. I don't think we're gonna figure it all out and explain Mr. Johnston's mental health concerns. Please, show a little respect. Who here would enjoy reading pages written by strangers (and acquaintances) debating and labeling their problems? I don't know, maybe I'm off-base with this, but it's starting to get a little weird and over-the-top for me.

If the regular contributors enjoy this kind of exchange, then please, let it be known. But I for one have lost interest, to put it as diplomatically as I can.


Title: Re: What exactly is "Severe manic depression?"
Post by: wickedwill on May 20, 2008, 06:00:39 PM
^^^^^^What Henry said^^^^^^


Title: Re: What exactly is "Severe manic depression?"
Post by: gina164 on May 20, 2008, 07:10:12 PM
Henry -

I will no longer post, nor read, from this forum...

your threats to delete are premature...

In any case, good luck and good-bye, to all here,

Gina


Title: Re: What exactly is "Severe manic depression?"
Post by: OhJoy on May 21, 2008, 07:41:33 PM
Quote
I have thought to reconnect and tell him I am divorced, but I know I would not be able to be more than friend with him, AND I am moving to Maui in one month, anyway....

Gina...so sorry to hear about your breakup. If you read this... I send good wishes along with you to Maui. There is no reason you can't come back here to post and read about your friend and ours Daniel Johnston.

I LOVE DANIEL Johnston.

Good luck on the move Gina.


Title: Re: What exactly is "Severe manic depression?"
Post by: Henry Long on May 24, 2008, 07:41:55 AM
For the record, I never asked anyone to leave, just to tone it down. The rules given to us moderators as to what is acceptable and what is not are fairly clear and defined, but ultimately it falls on our own sense of fairness and discretion. I would never "threaten" anyone. I was, however, reminding our members that sometimes messages (and even whole topics) can get deleted if deemed inappropriate by either the moderators or Daniel's family, and I honestly felt this thread was heading in that direction, and perhaps had already crossed the line.

It's not a personal attack. In fact, it's indifferent. It's just the way the forum works. I'm sorry the results in this case led to the third (or fourth?) "quitting" of the forum member Gina, but that is her choice, and I join  OhJoy in wishing her good luck and will add Health and Happiness along the way.




Title: Re: What exactly is "Severe manic depression?"
Post by: quantumdriven on June 25, 2008, 07:21:02 PM
I've not got the academic chops of you, but I've got my ideas on big Danny.

Schizotypal, maybe.
Bi-Polar, maybe.

But more likely is a learned personality disorder.  And also it's very likely that he was born a "Blue Baby" or the OB-GYN damaged Dan's frontal brain lobes with the forceps.

Dan made a leap of faith and proclaimed "I'm am artist" at an early age.  His family allowed him to get away with it.  Damn great story of nurturing and documentation of him.  But if Dan hadn't "Made It" he'd have just as soon murdered them all, sad to say.

Sure there's talent and I respect it, but in effect Dan decided he was "Special" and too good to work, and he got lucky and got away with it.

He was eccentric, sure.  But the time (6 months) with the caravan and the drugs
left their effect most probably.  Danny wouldn't have been the first kid to fry on an initial try at acid or 'shrooms, hey?
************

I say this because I mirror Dan in a way in my life and inability to conform.
I didn't hear of Dan until April of this year, btw.

I shun people and isolate myself, and have huge bitterness at women.
I believe I'm too good to work.

I say I'm a writer, even though I've only sold one piece that was published in Oct of 2004 to Time/Life Inc. for Sports Illustrated.

I live with my widow mother and have no intentions of leaving until one of my novels sells big and I've got major $buck$ to hire whores to come to a place of my own.

My neighbors pay me to do yard work, but I put it off because I'm writing, and boast to them of that (Translation: Leave me the **** alone unless you want to throw your body at me neighbor lady... I'm an "Artist" here.  Screw your lawn, I'll get to it when I want, lol.).

--Sonney  :lol:   :?


Title: Re: What exactly is "Severe manic depression?"
Post by: cpeter on August 11, 2009, 02:00:39 AM
Depression is one of those disorders which most people face in there life as some stage for one reason or the other. If it's children the pressure of studies gets over their head and if it's adults the pressure of work attracts depression. Rather than going on drugs, one should look for the reason behind there problem . Keeping your self busy and changing the schedule also helps sometimes to get over stress and depression.
The best way to get over stress, depression and anxiety is to take a break from your regular schedule, go out, and take good sleep. This helps in clearing the mind and try consulting a specialist who can suggest you as how you can get over your problem. There are various prescription drugs to get over anxiety and depression, but these should only be used in accordance with the instruction of a physician and going on anti depressants should be the last option.


Title: Re: What exactly is "Severe manic depression?"
Post by: so selfish on September 24, 2009, 04:19:40 PM

i don't know.  *edit. i think you just do your best to help/be nice is my answer. silly love, too.