I have lived with depression(Dysthymia, Psychotic depression) since the age of twelve and discovered that my mood and energy were highly dependent on my sleep cycle. A rather minor change in bedtime could significantly alter my mood and quality of sleep. Delaying my bedtime by an hour seemed to be helpful, perhaps due to reducing the sleep fragmentation. When younger I also experienced a rather pronounced diurnal rhythm( ultradian cycling?)  where I went from suicidally depressed in the morning to euthymic/hypomanic (feeling at one with the universe) at night. In addition to sleep, diet and hormonal shifts such as menses, seemed to also have a significant impact on my mood.

In 1994 while in college, I had an improvement in mood due to an operation and it occurred to me that the anesthesia might have played a role. When I looked up how anesthesia worked I noticed that it affected the permeability of the cell membrane and it occurred to me that the anesthesia might have affected the number of receptors on the cell much like antidepressants do. Later of course Ketamine was hypothesized to work similar to my guess.

In 2003 my experience with sleep and mood problems inspired an experiment. The research had to do with degree of depression and circadian phase shift hypothesis. It was published in the Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2006 May 9;103(19):7414-9. Epub 2006 Apr 28. It was also mentioned in the textbook “Manic Depressive Illness” on page 687.

Secondly, in 2003 I had a premonition that the vagus nerve might play an important role in the brain gut axis. This idea was due to a number of  reasons: Ayurveda has long believed that there is a connection, an anatomy course revealed that information traveled in both directions via the vagus nerve, and thirdly my experience with diet. Ayurveda more specifically mentioned that toxins in the gut could affect the nervous system. The vagus nerve seemed like one way toxins in the gut could be affecting the brain. This of course has been confirmed to a degree recently via the microbiome however not “toxins”.

Then around 2010 I experienced an episode of psychotic depression. I believe it was possibly due to the severe stress of losing my job and the deteriorating health of my father. There was also a possible bad reaction to an antidepressant and another drug, Valproate, used to prevent migraines. During the episode for some odd reason I noticed that my vocal cords were moving when I thought I was experiencing voices. At one point I remember holding my voice box because I wasn’t sure if I was producing the voice of it was somehow independent. Interestingly most recently someone discovered that people experiencing voices were in fact creating these voices and when they experienced them their vocal cords were moving. My “voices” seemed more internal and closer to subvocal speech.

More recently my interest has been in the concept of a mood spectrum(I also predicted this ~1994 ) and also psychotic depression since this is what I have experienced. Dr. Phelps is one such bipolar expert who believes in the idea of a mood spectrum with Bipolar I at one end and Unipolar depression at the other.

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Academically my background is in biochemistry and psychology. The information in this blog is not meant as a substitute for medical advice. If you found this blog helpful please consider donating to my Paypal account.

 

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