I’ve been trying various medications for depression since about 2001, with very little success. I’ve been suffering from depression since at least my teens, and got no help or treatment at all until my late 20’s. The best I ever managed with drugs was to numb all of my feelings until I didn’t care about anything anymore. I didn’t hurt as much, but I didn’t feel any pleasure or interest either. At that level, the drugs were also having such a significant impact on my memory and concentration that I was almost unable to work. It seemed a bit like severe Alzheimer’s. I finally just gave up, quit taking everything, and completely detoxed my system. It took almost a year to get used to the noise in my head now that I could feel again, but the depressions were, of course, still there. Tried reassessing myself, and took a different approach that maybe it was Bipolar I. Better, but still not right. Then I found out about neurofeedback. Yes, I had the typical reaction most have when it’s mentioned. “What, that pseudo-science, New Age biofeedback crap from the 70’s?”
Turns out, it’s more like the scientific hugely effective real thing that the New Age claptrap was very loosely based on. Here’s where I went, and they have good information for further detail.
After a whole bunch of testing, I discovered some rather surprising things about myself and my condition, including just how much you can get used to working around without realizing just how bad you are. Turns out, I scored worse than the 99th percentile for ADD, in the top 1% for depression, and also have some mild anxiety disorder as well. I was also surprised to discover that the tests indicated a high likelihood of head injury, and the location corresponded to where I’d hit the corner of a coffee table as a child after falling off of a recliner. As far as I’d known, all I got was some stitches as was fine.
I’ve spent my entire life believing what I was told growing up: that I was just lazy, didn’t try hard enough, wasn’t paying enough attention, and just did sloppy work. I was always felt that I was wasting my intelligence because I didn’t bother using it to my potential. Instead, it turns out that the only reason I’ve been able to function as well as I have at all is that my intelligence has allowed me to figure out effective coping strategies and ways to work around my limitations.
The good news - The odds of them being able to correct it all permanently (or at least get me very close to normal) are extremely good. All of the subtypes that I have have been successfully treated in other patients many times. Unlike medication, neurofeedback changes are permanent. Once the levels are trained to normal, they stay there.
The bad news - Insurance companies are skeezy bastards and refuse to pay for cures. They only pay for the cheapest medications that treat the symptoms until you get off of their plan and become someone else’s problem. Neurofeedback treatments are pricey, and I need around 60 to 70 of them for how severe my issues are. That adds up to thousands out of pocket.
Frankly, when I look at how many tens of thousands of dollars I’ve lost out on from lost/quit jobs, failure to keep up with tech advancements in my career, interest on debt because of unemployment, and inability to tolerate the stupidity of formal schooling, the ROI on this is pretty significant. If it works, I’d say it’s well worth every penny.
The more I learn about all the research and proven results from this kind of treatment, the more angry I get that insurance and drug companies work so hard to keep it hidden from view. This stuff has been around since the 70’s to one degree or another, and not one of the doctors, shrinks, therapists, etc. I ever went to mentioned it even in passing to me. Sure, it comes with all the usual caveats of any medial treatment - doesn’t work on everyone, results vary, not the best choice for everyone, etc, but I highly encourage everyone on here still looking for help to consider it as one of their treatment options.
I’ll post occasional updates about how my own treatment progresses, and especially how it affects my study and coding work. I’m still afraid to hope, but even just the 2 treatments I’ve had so far managed to turn off a bout of depression that had been plaguing me all that weekend.