My name is Ed and I'm starting this campaign to help save my best friend Doug's life. Doug suffers from what is called TRD, or Treatment Resistant Depression. This is very different from the depression you might already know about. This is a neurological disorder that is caused by his brain being genetically "damaged", or underdeveloped.
You see, his brain has a hard time creating the "happy" chemicals that we need to maintain a normal, healthy life. Because of this, Doug has not been successful with any typical therapies or drugs. He got so desperate that he finally joined a study in Canada where they performed brain surgery on him and implanted electrodes deep into his brain to try to stimulate the production of serotonin. He has had mixed results, with a couple of short remissions where he felt great, but these ultimately prove fleeting and short-lived.
Because of all this, Doug is on disability and cannot work. Canada provides some assistance, but it's not enough to stay above the poverty line. At the end of every month, Doug usually falls short and has to go without food for several days, and cannot leave his apartment to anywhere further than walking distance since he doesn't even have enough for bus fare.
The realization that he cannot provide for himself and is always inches away from homelessness invariably brings him crashing back down, even if his mood was up previously. The reason I am starting this campaign is to help him start a cushion of security so he doesn't starve to death or become homeless. This, in turn, will keep him from having the monthly stress that deepens his depression.
All money will go to Doug so that he knows there are people out there who support him and want to see him succeed in battling his depression and trying to lead a normal life.
Doug on the left, me on the right (circa 1989)
Doug and I currently do a podcast about mental health, but he hasn't been able to participate recently due to his depression. Our podcast is called Unhinged and we've done 32 shows so far. I hope to do more when he climbs out of the darkness.
Doug's story inspired me to write and record a song about him. I call it "Journey Unhinged", and it's available on Soundcloud (https://soundcloud.com/ed-caggiani/journey-unhinged)
The song is very emotional for me and contains clips of Doug speaking when he was severely depressed and suicidal. It is a true snapshot of what he has gone through in his 47 years of depression, but ends on a positive note. I want this song to become an anthem for those who suffer from mental illness so they know that there is always hope out there.
Let's band together and help Doug survive!