David Cole (23 years old)
Medical History & Symptoms
I showed signs and symptoms of ADHD at a young age. Although a well-behaved child, I was often spanked. I seemed oblivious to everything around me and was fidgety. When sitting too long, I'd move my arms around in the air. My mother would grab them and move them back down. Within a few minutes they were back up moving in the air again. The same thing would happen in school. It was impossible to sit still at my desk without squirming or standing up. As a result, I was often punished despite trying my best to please my teachers. Even my speech was hyper — too fast for people to understand. They were forever telling me to slow down.
I was unable to listen and understand what people were saying to me. This caused me major problems at home. My parents would often tell me not to do something. Mishearing or not hearing them, I'd often do it. And I never knew why they became infuriated with me.
It was impossible for me to read. Nothing ever made sense. And I couldn’t read for more than a few minutes at a time, especially by myself. My mother would sit beside me and correct my every mistake. This helped. But I couldn't remember what I read. Even though reading and writing were problems for me, I excelled in math and science. As I got older, I struggled with French and recalled only a few words despite 3 years of really trying. Being bright, I continued to receive above average grades. So no problem was recognized. And no treatment was sought or obtained.
My not listening and understanding what people were saying got worse in college. I also noticed a delay before hearing what my teachers would say in class. Then I'd panic. I'd frequently ask, “What did you say?” And as I was saying "What," I'd suddenly understand them.
I would get very angry in the mornings as my day began. I seemed incapable of intuitively functioning in time. And so I'd get increasingly frustrated as the day evolved. I just couldn’t accomplish what I wanted to. This included getting my homework done and even finding time for fun things. Looking for lost items was a constant problem. I was unorganized. And if I filed items away I couldn’t remember where I put them. Daydreaming took up a good chunk of my day. And although damaging to my social life and my grades, it seemed a great way to pass the time.
During these college years my ADHD and dyslexia started to significantly affect my grades--and me. And so my need for treatment intensified. For example, one day I was working on a reading assignment. It was simple: read the question, read the book, find the answer in the book, and write the answer down. I still remember reading the first question, “What should a woman NOT do when breast feeding?” For two hours I read the chapter over and over and I could only find a section where the book described how a woman should breast feed. I finally flipped out, threw my book up against the wall, and left my apartment angry.
An hour later I came back and reread the question, “What should a women do when breast feeding?” I couldn’t believe it. I read that questions 100 times and I was 100% sure the word not was there. I got Cs on so many exams because I misread questions. Of course I also got C’s on exams because I couldn’t pay attention for more than 20 minutes when studying. All ADHD medications were a failure for me. Some made me extremely suicidal. And some made me vomit throughout the day. I still remember having to repeatedly leave class to throw up. The treatment was worse than the problem.
Bipolar Type II
I started having symptoms of bipolar disorder when I was about 15. And the symptoms got worse as I aged. By 18 my bipolar disorder was so bad my parents made me go to a psychiatrist. I would often get extremely angry for no real reason. It wasn’t hard to set me off. Before that I was misdiagnosed with depression. This was a problem because the depression medication made my mood worse. I struggled with my bipolar disorder till I was about 21. Only then did I start keeping it under control. By 23 I would only have one large bipolar episode a year. And it wouldn’t linger for more than a day. At age 25 I have yet to have a bipolar episode. However, I still snapped at people for random things such as touching my stuff and disagreeing with me.
Narcolepsy has been a horrible problem in my life. I experienced my first symptom when I was 15. I woke up on the couch at a friend’s house. I could hear everything people were saying but I couldn't move. By age 17 I started to have sleep paralysis once or twice every 3 or 4 months. And their intensity increased over time. During these episodes I started seeing terrifying beings, like black shadow men with horns and red, green or yellow eyes. They had evil smirks on their faces. And they always appeared across the room and slowly walked towards me. During the sleep paralysis episodes my eyes were always closed. Yet I could see my surroundings. My heart rate would increase. And my ears would be ringing. The only thing I could control was my breathing. Later on I learned to increase my breathing to tell my friends to wake me up from my sleep paralysis.
By college age these shadow creatures started touching me. I could feel them run their fingers down my spine. And if I was on my back they would sit on me and compress my chest. If I pushed back they would push even harder. And I'd wake up sweating.
By age 20, my sleep cycle was completely reversed. I slept from 7am to 7pm. I sought treatment because I didn’t want to fail out of college. I was sleeping thru my classes and continually yelled at by my professors. My narcolepsy is still a struggle. Although I only experience sleep paralysis 2 or 3 times a year, it is very hard for me to sleep at night.
During Dr Levinson's Treatment
After starting Dr Levinson's treatment I have seen a big difference with my mood, concentration, reading and memory. My memory isn’t great but better. When I now hear French words or read them I can remember what they mean. I can sit and read for about 1 hour before I need a break. And I recall what I've read. I also get less frustrated, especially in the mornings when I wake up. I understand what people say to me the first time they say it. My dyslexia is no longer a problem, though I occasionally have minor issues with it. I don’t daydream and I am much more productive.
Bipolar Type II
My bipolar treatment had decreased the number of episodes I experience a year and the length they last. Stress and frustration are major factors in bipolar episodes. Dr Levinson's treatment has significantly decreased my frustration and stress. As a result, my mood stays more stable and my bipolar disorder is much better controlled.
With narcolepsy I want to sleep all day and I have so much trouble falling asleep at night. I take medicine at night that forces my brain into REM 3 and REM 4. Even with this medicine I sometimes still stay awake all night. There have been a few times were I missed a dose and been unable to sleep. However, It is amazing how Dr Levinson's treatment has affected my narcolepsy in a positive way.
Summary of Symptoms and Improvements
Before Dr Levinson's Treatment: Trouble sitting still, lack of concentration, anger and frustration, reading and writing difficulty, trouble listening, trouble understanding, day dreaming, poor memory & unorganized
With Dr Levinson's Treatment: Able to sit still, increased concentration, more relaxed, increased reading ability, no noticeable change in writing skills, increased listening, able to understand when spoken to, little to no day dreaming, small increase in memory, small but noticeable increase in organization.
Before Dr Levinson's Treatment: Manic, depressed, anger, frustration and lack of motivation.
During Dr Levinson's Treatment: My mood is more stable with less bipolar episodes and more motivated to accomplish tasks.
Before Dr Levinson's Treatment: Excessive daytime sleepiness, sleep paralysis with tactile stimulation, hallucinations, difficulty falling asleep at night, poor memory and weakness.
During Dr Levinson's Treatment: Much easier to fall asleep, slight increase in memory.