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Saturday, July 05, 2008 Darlene, Community Member, asks

Q: Is there any known correlation between depression (bipolar2) and brain aneurysms?

I have an 18 year history of severe depressive episodes....years ago the diagnosis was bipolar2.  I have been hospitalized 8 times over this timeframe; twice for serious suicide attempts. There is a history on my maternal side of depression and suicides.

 

Last year I suffered from a brain aneurysm rupture.  I was told that I was a "miracle", which I now believe is true.  I had surgery at Toronto Western Hospital and have a clip in my head where the aneurysm ruptured.  I also have a "mirror image" aneurysm on the left side of the brain, which is currently being monitored.  I am to go yearly to the Toronto Western Hospital for an angiogram to check the size and rate of growth.  My first angiogram was done last December, and it looked okay; only .03 cms (I think it's cms!) and no growth reported from when I had the surgery on the right side, in March/07.

 

My choices are to continue to go yearly, or I can opt for surgery at any time.  Coiling apparently is not an option due to where it is located.  I really didn't understand a lot of what happened at the time and immediately was in a deep depressive state after the surgery.  To compound these depressed feelings, I felt guilty for living....I sincerely felt that this "miracle" should have been saved for someone more worthy...i.e someone who didn't have bipolar/depression....someone full of life who wasn't making their loving families lives a living hell at least once every 2 years.  I strongly believed that I must be a horrible person.....neither God nor the devil wanted me. 

 

In August of last year, months into this living hell once again (I did seek treatment from my doctor and was on medication), but to no avail.  Then I had a seizure.  I couldn't/wouldn't believe it... but it was true and it ultimately was the best thing that could have happened.  I was hospitalized for depression and took 6 months off work. (Afther the aneurysm rupture, I went back to work 4 weeks later, which in hindsight might have been too soon).  I continued taking antidepressants and monthly follow ups with my psychiatrist.

 

I recently read an article in the Globe & Mail regarding Mental Illness...in particular a not widely used treatment for various illnesses called DBS (Deep Brain Stimulation). The procedure sounds to be very similar to that of the brain aneurysm surgery that I had and perhaps will have to have again.  I am seriously thinking of talking to my psychiatrist about this treatment.  I once joked with the neurologist at TW Hospital about "if I was to have the second surgery, could they "balance" the chemical inbalances in my brain?  He just smiled at me as he knew I was joking.

 

But now after reading this article about how it could potentially cure the "unhappy" thoughts I am thinking of little else.

 

I would appreciate any comment from anyone.

 

Thank you

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Answers (2)
martin fox, Community Member
10/12/09 12:34pm

Darlene,

I too have had brain surgery,once after having a hemmorage which i had the "shunt" fitted and further surgery later to remove a cist in a ventricle in my brain.

Since I have like u suffered from depression, im still on medication and have been hospitalised once or twice. Im not mad but if like us youve had operations upstairs-you are different and people, I dont know how see this, no ,matter how hard you try to hide it!I think it is a new found kind of intelligence awakened by brain trauma.Using new areas of the brain perhaps I dont know.Also you try and get any type of decent employment if you mention what youve had to a employer then forget it!

The only advice I can give to relieve the depression in dont drink, get to sleep before 9pm avoid crappy Tv, only watch things that stimulate you mentally-no soaps, these will make you more depressed than ever and try to get some sort of paid employment -it will give u a sence of purpose.Accept that you now enjoy your own company more than with others as they will not understand what is going on in your head.And of course large amounts of vitamin C.It does help!

I will email u again if you need to share your thoughts.

yours Martin Fox   

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william g., Community Member
7/ 4/10 12:41pm

I SEE YOU IN THE MIRROR

      Dear comrad,

    I never watch the tv show house but I did last night.They were trying to figure out what was wrong with a guy whose condition had progressed to the point that he could not speak.They investigated his life and one of the main clues for his problems was the fact that he could not finish any projects that he started.You mentioned this in your comment.I am a educated guy 38 yrs old.I have been to school for landscapeing archetecual engineering and then to be a machinist.I am a journeyman machinist now.I have at least a dozen large projects that I have started and have let die.Its not because I dont want to finish them it is like I lost total interest in them.I refuse to accept this!Now here isthe uncanty thing aboutthis correspondence to you.I had a 1/2 inch diameter cerebral aneorysm rupture on feb 9 2010.I was treated at barns jewish hospital in st.louis, mo. at wich time I had a 6 foot coil of titanium coiled into my head on my left side.Get ready for this!I ti have another bulge in my vain on the right side wich has to monitered.I went back to work about 4 weaks after wich now i know was way to soon.I have been to the nut house 2 times.One time for an attempted suicide and one time when i had unbelievable sleep depprevation,this was before the aneorysm.Now some times my head and my goals are are so clear and it seams that my eppisodes are over.Wrong!!!!That last for a short upredictable amount of time then I crash and burn.People know that i used to have a drinking problem for wich i went to rehab 2 times so they think that i am just playing games.I have long ago figured out that drinking this problem in my away is no longer an option if i want to live to see any kind of longivity of life.I would have already swallowed a shotgun barrel but i have a blessing in an older brother because he owns a business wich is a large industrial machine shop.He picks me up every morning and takes me to work with him.The people that work there are so cruel with no sympothy for anything that I am dealing with in my life.Nobody understands the horror that is going on inside of me everyday,my own niece that i love is telling me that i am just using the aneorysm as an excuse to hide behind.Basically it sounds like she is saying that i am just a fuck up.That cuts to the bone!I am going to go and see a phsyc. i dont know what he can do for me but am crossing my fingers.I to know that i am a living merricle and also feel that it was wasted on a "wretch like me".I struggle daily with the idea if there is a god why would he break out a fresh can of woop ass and help a person like me live?I understand what you are going through,you are not alone in this battle that rages inside of you.The fact is that there are many of us survivores on this earth but is is a big planet and though we are alone in this struggle on a daily basis,we really are a part of an elite club than no ammount of money could buy into.Not that anyone would want to.There is a site on the net called aneorysm survivores,you can find it on facebook.I hope this helps you know that you are not alone.I know i know that your story here has helped me to know that i am not.

                         Keep on keeping on,

                                             William G.

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By Darlene, Community Member— Last Modified: 06/16/12, First Published: 07/05/08