1 Million Americans Have TRD But Think They Have Depression Due To A Misdiagnosis by Rick London

Sadly, I still have numerous friends who have dealt with depression and/or other mood disorders and for many years have received treatment to no avail.

Most, by now have read about TRD (Treatment Resistant Depression) and VNS (Vagus Nerve Stimulator). The name itself is a bit of a misnomer, in that it is not depression at all, but creates the same symptoms.  It is a vagus nerve disorder and is a much “closer cousin” to epilepsy (though there are no seizures with TRD); the vagus nerve simply freezes to a certain degree.

It is an estimated 18 million Americans have depression and of that 18 million, app 1 million have TRD) but they are being treated for depression or some other mental illness (and there is no improvement).

I was one of those patients for a number of years (being treated for “garden variety depression” and tried a myriad of treatments, with no real improvement.

Around 1998, I read a magazine article about the clinical trials of VNS which was making a dramatic difference in patients who had tried many other modicums of treatment for a number of years…generally with little or no improvement. The testimonials and initial double-blind studies were showing phenomenal results. Finally I saw hope.  But I would have to be patient.

It was not approved by the FDA for TRD, some seven years later in September 2004. On January 25, 2005, I was one of the few hundred in the U.S. (and one of three in Arkansas) approved for the treatment and had the 45 minute procedure at UALR Medical Center (an implant/pacemaker placed right below the skin in my chest) which, inevitably saved my life).

The battle was still waging between the Giant Pharmaceuticals along with the American Psychiatric Association to try to put a halt to Cyberonics.com’s invention.  They were not able to shut it down, but they made it virtually impossible to receive.

Most psychiatrists do not like losing patients.  If you are eligible for VNS, contact a caseworker at Cyberonics.com in Houston.  They will work to make certain you get an implant.  Chances are very slim you have depression if you’ve been treated with all that is available for the disease.  It is usually inherited.  Did one of your parents take antidepressants (and see little or no improvement over the years)?  It is not always inherited; you may have just noticed it in your own (or a friend’s life).

I just learned today of an insurance company  who is once again covering this expensive (app $40,000 procedure).  I know nothing of this firm; own no stock, and just found this article.  So I am guessing some other insurance companies are now also covering it again (which means the APA and giant pharma are losing ground in the battle).   After the procedure, and the grogginess wore off, something interesting happened.  I didn’t have “depression”, because I never did.  The surgery is performed by an ear, nose, throat surgeon, and is painless, even after awakening.

Many, though still have to continue to take antidepressants. I was one of the lucky ones who did not. The device itself does the trick.  I’ve not experienced “depression” since that time.

If, after many different treatments, you feel it might not be depression after all, talk to your therapist or psychiatrist.  Let them know about VNS.  If they say absolutely that cannot be what it is, I HIGHLY encourage you to contact Cyberonics.com.  A good therapist who cares about your health wants you to try every modicum of treatment to get well.  A bad one, simply wants to keep you to pay his/her home mortgage.

More information on VNS is available at Cyberonics.  After the procedure, you will still be working quarterly with a psychiatrist, simply not the same one you previously had (usually) as only a handful in each state are trained to “tune up” the device. It’s done with a “computer wand” and there is no pain.

This treatment is not for everyone. Many really do have depression. I encourage you to study Vagus Nerve Stimulation on the Internet.  Every major hospital has scholarly studies from Mayo Clinic to Johns Hopkins.  

I write about this about once a year to help those who might have tried everything else, and feels “life will just have to be this way forever”; when nothing could be further from the truth.  If you have any questions, feel free to contact me via Twitter @RickLondon or on facebook http://facebook.com/RickLondon1


Rick London is an author, cartoonist, and designer.  He founded Londons Times Offbeat Cartoons & funny gifts which have been Google #1 ranked since 2005.  His two cartoon compilation books on Amazon Kindle are also #1 ranked. He is a product/gift designer as well.  He is married to popular nature photographer Lee Hiller-London and together they live and hike in the beautiful Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas. They are active in childrens, animal, nature and green causes.  Both are happy vegans.

Politics & Psychiatry. When To Debate When To Get Therapy by Rick London

        If you have been in a political debate or have seen something political either on facebook (or in real life) of which you disagree, and you think less of that person for posting or saying it, I suggest long-term therapy (and this time I’m not being funny).

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       All of us are much more than our petty political viewpoints….that is just a very tiny part of us. Never ever just become your political point of view, because once you do, you’ve lost yourself in a horrid way. Human beings are of the greatest value. A sign of maturity is differing in POV, yet still thinking highly of the other person as one of God’s children. It doesn’t matter if you are Democrat or Republican. It’s the same disease when we close our minds to opposing points of view. We don’t have to like their point of view.  We don’t even have to come close to agreeing.
It is legal to entertain a new idea, without accepting it.

       Think about how you were from birth to age 5 or so. Politics was not even in the picture.  All the possibilities of this great big mysterious world were abound.  If you grew up, and you left all that to become “your political idealism”, think how very, very sad that is. I’m not saying it is not okay to have a political view; it is in fact healthy.  But just keep it in perspective.  Know that when you post it on facebook or twitter, it truly is for your own entertainment.


     It is not going to change anyone’s mind; in fact studies show, it usually has the opposite effect (but admittedly it can be fun, as long as one does not become obsessed with it).


Like religion and spirituality, it should be “walked and lived” but when it becomes preached or coerced, it tends to lose its value (or people tend to take us a bit less seriously).

         To occasionally watch network news stations with which you disagree shows true maturity and a need/want to open the mind and learn more. To not do so is to stagnate the mind in a most pitiful way. And I don’t say that out of spite or with glee. I learned that from interviews with nearly 50 nursing home residents in 1996-1997  with my question, “What would you have done differently in your life…if anything?” The answers were solid gold and most were happy to answer.

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         Their answers,were of such value I could never repay even if I tried three lifetimes.  Most would not have wasted time in silly petty political or social issue disagreement.  They simply



would have walked their own walk; leaving others alone to walk there’s; and not only tolerating an opposite walk, but applauding it.  Now that’s wisdom.

Several said they would have not been coerced or try to coerce others into believing or thinking as they did (in other words walk the walk of “living and let live”) and so much more; enough to loosen the cobwebs to launch LTCartoons.com on March 19, 1997. I can never repay the residents of Hattiesburg Nursing Home, most of them 70+ who taught me life, real life, before it was too late.

          Though my reason for visiting the nursing home, at first, was to visit my beloved grandmother Ruth “Dear” London.  Many of the residents were quite lucid and great conversationalists.  I thought I might volunteer and offer some of my time, and be a good listener.

        Just imagine my surprise when they ended up giving me more than I could have ever given them. 


Rick London is a freelance writer, author, musician/songwriter, cartoonist, designer and founder of Google’s #1 ranked offbeat cartoons & funny gifts Londons Times.  He is married to popular nature photographer Lee Hiller-London who owns the popular nature photography blog Hike Our Planet.  Together they live in and love the Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas and are active in animal, green, children, and ecology causes.


Ayn Rand (By Rick London c2012) Song Parody Sung To The Tune Of David Essex “Rock On”

Money bids from Brothers Koch,
Ayn Rand…sell my soul,

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Hey kid, boogie blues, John Galt….

Lets do the Medicare shmooze,
What’s gonna happen when granny catches flu?
Hey Mitt, sold your soul, Cheesy grits or an ice cream cone.

Now Paul Ryan’s 2nd tier,
So Medicare cuts are oh-so-near.

  He’s so cool & likes Zeppelin more than Queen
Prettiest boy whose mighty lean,
In the private sector he’s mighty green,
(Way green)

 Drove the Weinermobile As A Teen & drank beer,
Now he loves to instill fiscal fear

To the elderly men and senior queens,
                               Persona non gratis never seen,
  Take Social Security down to Wall Street..Coffers clean.
And nobody counts the beans
Ayn Rand
Ayn Rand

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Ayn Rand

Election day,
Atlas Shrugged,
           Watch the GOP…you’re gonna get mugged.

Ayn Rand,
Romney, Romney
How do you roll?
Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand,
                         Seamus stay,
While the car rolls,
Ayn Rand.

Ayn Rand.
Election Day,
Fools vote,

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John Galt.


Rick London is a songwriter, author, cartoonist, and designer.  He founded Londons Times Cartoons in 1997 which have been Google’s #1 ranked offbeat cartoons & funny gifts since 2005.  He is married to popular nature photographer Lee Hiller-London.  They live in the Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas where they are avid hikers.  They are active in animal and ecological causes.  They are also happy vegans.

“Bored & I’m Mild” (Song Parody By Rick London c2012) Sung To Steppenwolf’s “Born To Be Wild”

Bathroom jokes aren’t funny,
And my hair is real gray,
Lookin’ for my dentures,
And Poligrip paste.
I get shingles relief with hot cayenne,
Glad I got the extra strength leg and arm brace,
My sleep apnea sounds like machine guns,

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My alarm clock doesn’t phase.

In the shower I try to remember,
  Who are my friends on facebook,
Gas X reduces wind,
   At least I’m not 6 feet under.
   Yeah darlin’ got a case of Depends,
Not quite Magic Mike’s love embrace,
I smoked medicinal pot once but didn’t inhale,
But the brownies sent me to space.

I play Lawrence Welk real loud,
We are bored, bored and we’re mild,
Wow Weren’t Golden Girls so wry,
I’m usin’ ammonia-free dye.


Rick London is a parody songwriter, poet, author, cartoonist and designer.  He founded Google’s #1 ranked offbeat cartoons & funny gifts & funny tees.  He is married to nature photographer and designer Lee Hiller-London who owns the popular LeeHillerDesigns which sells many online gifts at affordable prices.  Together they live in the beautiful Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas where they hike often and commune with nature.  Follow them on Twitter: @RickLondon and @LeeHillerLondon.




Don’t Tell Me About That….. Poem by Rick London c2012


I don’t want to talk about straights and gays,

I have little interest in Chic-Fil-A,

Don’t bombard me with your political agenda,

I might say something that might offend ya.

Don’t tell me the Chinese bought the Canadian pipeline,

Last I heard Conoco who owns it was doing quite fine.

Of the Mideast don’t give me no lip,

Your opinions are pointless on Hamas’ terrorist Gaza Strip.

Yeah, I’d like to know why Romney didn’t pay taxes,

And made a bundle on the poor’s backs-es.

Don’t tell me about Anne Romney’s Horse dressage,

Or how Al Gore gives tips for message.

Blaming economic woes on GW Bush is a little bit rotten,

But let’s not forget Obama signed off on Bin Laden,

Don’t share what you’ve charged that you can’t be affordin’,

Or even your thoughts on Gitmo or waterboarding.

I want to talk about simple things,

Like tapioca, vegan meals, and 60s music cell phone rings.

I’m sick of Romney and his foreign policy gaffes,

But I’m leaving necks that stick out, to gossips and giraffes.

Talking about simple things is what makes me happy,

Like being in love, puppies and things you find sappy.

Don’t try to lure me into your pro-life or pro-choice endless debates,

And the same old song that you regurgitate.

Tell me about how you’ve learned how to think,

Beyond your upbringing, outside the rancid box that stinks.

Show me that you’ve come to terms of being infected,

From well-meaning friends, parents and teachers who were quite misdirected.

You’ll never know from whence I speak,

If you’ve chosen not to listen but only a sermon do you speak.

But one day, (you never know) you may come around,

If we can just get you out of that incestuous town.


Rick London is a poet, author, songwriter, cartoonist and designer…..He founded Londons Times Cartoons and Funny Gifts in 1997 which have been Google & Bings #1 ranked offbeat cartoons since 2005.  London is married to nature photographer Lee Hiller-London who runs the popular nature and wildlife blog Hike Our Planet. Together they live in the beautiful Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas.  They are active in eco, animal and childrens causes.