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Thank you to Mark Walmsley of the Arts and Culture Network, which is really a cool and fun organization.  I’ve met some super nice people through ACN. Mark interviewed me a while back about mental health and art, etc.

I have to warn you that this interview is definitely one of my most obnoxious, if not the most obnoxious.. But it’s just me who is obnoxious, not Mark. Mark is lovely and wonderful. I am just talking way too much and most of it is idiotic babble about nothing in my life that matters in any which way.  But in my defense, I had no idea we were recording that day and it was right after TMS and I was not good yet at thinking straight or talking without confusion and rambling. So don’t hate me based on this video. There are other reasons to hate me. Get to know me and find out for yourself.

The really important point I want to make by talking out loud about my experience is that Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) changed my life entirely. I no longer have suicidal thoughts running freely through my head at all hours of the night and day as if they run my life.  TMS really helped me. I still need medication and good old CBT, but everyone needs good old CBT IMO. And most people need medication for one thing or another. Having to take a few pills a day to keep my mind out of the graveyard is okay by me. Because for the first time ever, I honestly believe I have enough of the right weapons in my arsenal to fight my worst and honestly, my only true enemy. None of my other enemies in life come anywhere close to suicidal thoughts. When you want to die more than you want to live, and when you feel that way chronically, it’s just really impossible to enjoy life and be grateful to wake up every day.  Some days, waking up is the exact thing you are trying not to do.  Even when life is good and you are rewarded for your hard work, your good deeds and your dedication to trying anything and everything, it’s hard to live when all you want to do is die.

But now, because of TMS, those thoughts are off in the background somewhere, just hanging out, but not bothering me.  If I didn’t have something helpful to share, I would shut up. I would shut up and just paint and write all day long. And hike. And bike. And snuggle with Bella. And love the people I love. And go to work. I guess we should mention work. But seriously, there are so many things that would be much more fun than talking about my bullshit brain and how hard it has worked to ruin my life. And how successful it has been.

But for decades, I sought out anything – any book, interview, article, anything to read by anyone who lived with a bad brain. Or some chronic condition that ruled their life. I needed to hear how other people  kept going and going and I have to say thank you to their voices because they helped me to stick around long enough to discover TMS.

So listen to the fun parts of the interview where we are joking around. And listen to the part where I say you need to talk to other doctors and other families.  Seriously, you’ll have to fast forward through some grating sections where I just ramble on about my work history and Capital Hill. Ho-hum-yada-yada. But definitely listen to the part about how you need to try anything new and different. And talk to anyone new and different. Because new people in your life will suggest new and different things. And you need new and different things if you are  feeling the same, decade after decade.  Day after day. Week after week. Month after month after year after five years, ten years, decades. You need something new if it has been too long.

I hope your Sunday is wonderful. I heard that Trevor and Jason are off today. Apparently today it’s Taylor’s turn to rule the world. I have to find something good to eat for that event. My approach to the Grammy’s is to get a really good snack, turn on the channel that shows the dresses, turn off the volume and write.

Because at the end of the day, I’m a writer. But now I’m a writer who makes plans for the future. Send me links to your writing retreats! I never thought I would say that and mean it. But I do. I am planning writing retreats!

Off to walk Bella. She likes TMS too.

xoxoxo, d (and Bella)

P.S. An important point I fail to articulate well is that your doctors and family – though wonderful and there for you and all the good things – are limited in their knowledge and experience. Their view of your situation, your resources, your capabilities and your options is limited in so many ways by their love for you, their limitations, their lack of knowledge, their own conditions, and their fear of losing you. For years, even trying to change a dosage would trigger “But I thought you were doing so well.” Family wanted to support me. But family also wanted for me to be great and stay great and not do anything to mess that up.  They wanted so much for me to just be better and not scare anybody anymore or take a chance that we might get scared again.

So ask other families what they have done and ask other doctors what they would do.  Honestly, I did not start to get the help that really made the significant difference in my ability to think, speak, work and live until I spoke with other families and other doctors. I am absolutely grateful to my doctors and my family for all of their support over the years. But they could only do what they knew to do. Me too. I only knew what I knew. You reach the limit on the breadth of knowledge there is in your circle of support.  So widen your circle.  Start with your virtual circle. It’s the easiest. Start there. 🤎

 

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