Sunday, July 06, 2008

What if my Depression Is Related to Physical Brain Trauma or Illness?

I am scheduled to undergo a C.A.T. scan of my brain(?) head(?) this Wednesday. I am having some strange problems along with my depression that are worrying me. I am concerned that concussions and head traumas I endured earlier in life may be responsible for both my ongoing, refractory depression and my recent concerns. Here is what I am experiencing:

1) Extreme word retrieval problems. Throughout the day, and almost every time I talk with someone I will go to say something and I cannot find the word or the thing. It is always a simple words I cannot find.

For example, in my session three weeks ago I was describing my learning blues guitar techniques and then how the teacher and I would play together, each listening to the other and making up music that went with the other's playing. There is a word for this. it is simple. As soon as I described it Dr. X. said the word. When I got home it was gone again. After a week of thinking about it it finally came to me a few days ago, and now, for the past 4 days I cannot find the word, even if I try concentrating on the definition for a long period of time. (it is not "accompaniment, or duo, or duet...but something that expresses the making up of the music as you go along...if you think you know the word PLEASE share it with's driving me mad)

2) Confusion/concentration/memory problems.
I feel a sense of being elsewhere (not dissociation) but confused easily by directions, where I am in my car, driving etc. I feel like I cannot stay on task for any length of time, my mind is constantly wandering from thing to thing. I put things down and can't find them a few minutes later. I walk into a room and cannot remember why I am there. I am putting things in strange places. The other day I was looking for the disinfectant wipes I keep on the kitchen counter. I had just used them. I looked everywhere; cupboards, bathroom, other room in the house..then 2 hours later I found them in the fridge of all places.

3) Saying strange things/speaking strangely.
  • My husband asked me why I wasn't watching T.V. I wanted to say "It's a commercial", instead what came out of my mouth was "It's a nude" was disconcerting.
  • Then that same day I tried to say something and I started to speak, but it came out as a stutter. I couldn't get it out. I've never stuttered before in my life.
  • Then last night I went to say "Turn it down" (the T.V.), but what came out was "make it soft."...which is sort of similar, but not what I meant to's like my brain is shuffling my words.

4) I am tripping and falling and bumping into things much more than usual.

I have fallen and hurt myself 3 times in the past two weeks, before that I almost fell through our front window and about a month and a half ago I fell all the way down my sister's staircase. I am tripping all the time.

On Thursday I told Dr. X about all the head injuries I have had. I am pretty sure I told him before, but he said I hadn't. I have had two confirmed concussions (once at 5 or 6) when I fell from a 12 step stair landing headfirst onto the pavement below, and then at 17 when I was in a really bad car accident.

Over and above that I have had to have stitches due to head injuries twice, once at 16 when I dove into the pool and hit my head on the lifeguard chair's diving ramp and the other when I fell headfirst off my bicycle. I hit my head on the side of the pool in a diving accident. I fell at the pool at the top of the water slide and knocked myself out for a few seconds; I incurred a compression fracture in my spine in that fall, I was bucked of a horse into the hole we had dug to build our new house, again landing head and arm first...and the last one I remember was rollerblading for the first time (and of course being an idiot with no feet went straight out from under me and I landed back of head first on the pavement. I ha a massive egg shaped swelling where I landed.

Anyways, I started thinking, what if my depression is caused by an undiagnosed brain injury. Does medication help if it is a brain injury that leads to mood disorders? (I know that can happen because the girl I was in the car accident with had severe mood changes and personality changes following the accident). I also am worried the problems I am having might indicate an illness above and beyond my depression.


deepblue said...

Is "Improvising" the word you were looking for? I'm not sure if that's quite it - but it's the only thing that came to mind. Hope your CAT scan gives you some answers.

Aqua said...

deepblue: THANK YOU!!!!!

Aqua said...

Now I can come here if I forget the word again...that is IF I remember it is here...ha, ha.

The Silent Voices in my Mind said...

A very good friend of mine was in a ski accident and went headfirst into a lift pole. He now has epilepsy and bipolar disorder. That was almost 20 years ago. He is now stable and functioning on medication, though it took a while to find the right med combo for the moods.

Have hope and good luck with the CAT scan... {{{cyber-hugs of support}}}

Fenghar The Nord said...

Woah, you hit your head A LOT! I mean, A LOT! Wowee. Like, I forget stuff a lot too and I put stuff in the fridge that doesn't go in the fridge but Woah! WOOOAH!

Yeah, but I feel for yah, hope everything turns out good and you can get the meds or whatever you need.

Aqua said...

SV, I'm happy to hear medication helped your friend who had head injury related mood disorders. I've had anxiety since I was a small child, but I never started getting depressed until after a big car accident in high school. I'm more concerned about the word finding and jumbled words and balance problems.

You made me laugh...and those are just my head injuries! I am the epitome of an accident prone individual. My friends and family all know that and can't believe how often I fall and break bones, or really, really hurt myself. I've been really clutzy since I was young. Know idea why.

MtnMan56 said...

See a neurosurgeon now!
I had some of your symptons in 2003
After passing out the last thing they did was an MRI (ins companies hate them).
There it was! NPH.Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus.
Please.Dont'put it off.Any dammage is irreversible.

Annie said...

Aqua, I am so glad you are taking a stand and doing the CAT Scan and hope it gives you some answers. It takes courage to identify your symptoms and even more courage to do the CAT Scan and find out what is causing your symptoms. With so much courage you know you can face the results. Take care! Annie

jcat said...

Good luck, sweetie....don't know whether to hope they do or don't find anything.

One thing that comes to mind for the cause of a lot of strange stuff is the meds....I've had various ones where I would battle for ages to find words, I've stuttered, there've been meds where I might have looked like I was there at the time, but a few hours later I hadn't a clue what I'd done. Actually, there are still some times where tdoc (who has an incredible memory and has never made a single note in sessions) can tell me with great certainty what I did 2 or 3 years ago that I have absolutely no recollection of....
At least tho the scan should either give you an area to explore further, or set your mind at rest. Well, sort of!

jcat said...

First of all I am sorry to hear you are struggling with these issues. I want to validate your concerns with a study we wrote about at our blog, showing that structural brain damage plays a part in psychiatric illness. There is also information on treatment, I hope it helps you.

Aqua said...

Thank you everyone who responded. Really, I'm trying not to be too concerned and like Jcat says it really could be side effects of medications. I did afterall fall and break both my elbows while taking an anti-seizure med, and fall off the curb in front of a car three weeks later. Also, Epival made me so stupid I could remember nothing. So there is a precedent(sp??) for falling and memory/concentration probles caused by meds.

On top of that my depression is/has been so severe and chronic that memory and concentration problems are part of the illness. Dr X. and I decided to err on the side of caution though and get a CT done in case something else is wrong. I will let you know what comes of it.

Fenghar The Nord said...

Don't worry you spelled precedent right :)

Aqua said...

Thanks Fenghar,
When I had ECT the only thing I lost was my ability to spell. Before ECT I was great speller and could write pages and pages of documents with absolutely no spelling mistakes. After ECT I really struggled with my's getting better with practice though.

Why the hell don't they have spellchech on this "reply" thingy???

pprose said...

I laughed when I read your post because I knew the work that you were trying to find but couldn't remember it, either. (The embarassing thing is that I majored in music in college.) You could have been describing me with your symptoms except for the head injuries! My son now says things like, "You said blue, did you really mean to say cat?" I have learned to laugh at myself since I know that it is just my illness (or meds, getting older or something). I hope that you get some answers and that your answers help you to figure out what's happening.

Jazz said...

Like jcat said, above, meds could be causing this...Depakote caused problems for me with both word finding and balance.

Good for you for getting it checked out, though! Good luck!