Friday, August 17, 2007

Oh, My Aching Head!!

It could have happened any time. It might have first happened when I was 10. My Dad was always in a hurry, which meant that I was always in a hurry. When I was about 10 years old, I became interested in building an airplane or rocket. By then, I had given up the idea of flying like Superman, and had turned to more rational methods of flight. One day, I was in the backyard building a plane from crate boxes, and my Dad yelled, "If you are going with me to town, you had better hurry." So, I quickly ran to the tool shed, opened the door, threw the hammer up on the work bench, and slammed the door. That's when the pain body. You see, in my haste I had slammed the door on my head.

It might have happened because my Mom finger-thumped me on the head for misbehaving. Maybe it was when I rolled my car, or when I had a pool stick broken on my noggin. It might have occurred when my fiance (now my wife) saw a horse throw me head first into a hard oak fence.

I guess the genesis of my problem doesn't matter, but the truth is, I have difficulty with thinking. Yesterday, I couldn't perform simple math functions required by my job. When I was about 30, I had some tests done to find out why I was having so many migraine headaches. One test indicated that I had some impairment in my left frontal lobe. A Cat scan showed an abnormality in the same area. A second test revealed nothing. Finally, I was sent to a clinical psychologist who told me, "Stormy, I believe that you have had some minor brain damage at some point in your life." This confirmed what some smart alecks used to say about me being "one card short of a full deck."

While even minor head trauma can cause some cognitive impairment (do some research), my problem probably originated with my teenage onset of Bipolar Disorder (BPD). In a recent Reuters News Service report, researchers at Dalhousie University have concluded that teenagers with depression may have abnormal brain structure. Imaging studies showed that adolescents with major depression tend to have a small hippocampus. This is the part of the brain associated with motivation, emotion and memory formation. Major stress and trauma, both depression triggers, can also cause the shrinkage.

Another study reported on July 20, 2007, announced that researchers at the University of Edinburgh have found that BPD is associated with a reduction in brain tissue and proves that the changes get progressively worse with each relapse. They discovered that the loss of grey matter tissue is concentrated in areas of the brain which control memory, face recognition and coordination. The researchers learned that the amount of brain tissue that's lost is greater in people who have had multiple episodes of illness and is associated with a decline in some areas of mental ability.

The above information had already been suggested by other studies. That is the reason that this writer has concluded that it is extremely important to bring depression under control, and by any and all means to reduce or stop the repetitive episodes of chronic clinical depression. One might say that the cognitive dysfunction that I have experienced might have been caused by minor brain trauma, but my belief is that it is most likely a result of many years of cycling into and out of depression.

Then again, it might be a result of too much "finger-thumping."

Benita Chick, of Hong Kong, has asked that I inform others of her site for fell0w-sufferers in that country. Her address is

["I'm so low, I could do a ten minute free-fall off the edge of a dime."]

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