I received my Fisher Wallace Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulator yesterday afternoon in the mail. I utilized it in the evening and now today (Thursday, July 11th) is my first full day utilizing the stimulator. I’m going to try and keep detailed records of my experiences, especially regarding my mood and any side effects I might experience.
7/11 – 9:30 am Report
I had breakfast with John B. this morning, so did not get to wear the stimulator until around 9:20 am. My mood this morning (before stimulation) has been “normal.”
In general I find my mood works something like this:
1 – Suicidal
2 – Immobilized
3 – Extreme Angst
4 – Angst
5 – Numb
6 – Emotional Silence
7 – Emotional Neutrality
8 – Positive Emotions
9 – Happy
10 – Fulfilled
Based on this scale, I spend a significant portion of my time at 6 and below with the majority of the rest at a 6 or 7. 8 occurs occasionally, 9 rarely, and 10 only on the rarest of occasions. At the moment (9:30 am) and since awaking (8:30 am) I have been a 7 (Emotional Neutrality).
Recently my emotions have been more “bipolar” in nature – but not in the sense of moving from 1 to 10 but in moving from 1 to say a 5-8 and then back to 1 again. These cycles are occurring in a matter of hours (e.g. within a period of 3-4 hours I may cycle up or down, though cycling down is more common); though occasionally they last for days (down being the more frequent; though occasionally I experience an “up” day at 6 or 7).
If I was to place a “normal” person on this scale I’d probably see them as following generally on at an 8. They feel relatively optimistic and internally peacefully with brief interludes of depression and anger. Of course, a “normal” person can plummet significantly, but this is usually the result of a significant external stimuli (e.g. getting fired, losing a loved one, financial crisis, etc.).
7/11 – 11:00 pm Report
Throughout my day I stayed at 6 (Emotional Silence). I decided to go to bed at 11 pm and thus utilized the CES shortly before that time. I chose not to take clonazepam, which I was prescribed due to my restless legs (RLS) causing insomnia and have needed to use almost nightly if I want to get more than 3-4 hours of sleep.
7/12 – 9:30 am Report
I began using sleepbot (a free Android app) on 7/8 to track my sleep. According to sleepbot I went to sleep last night at 10:49 and awoke this morning at 7:47 – that is a total of 8 hrs. and 58 mins. of sleep. For me this is extremely good – especially considering that I didn’t take any clonazepam to assist my sleep.
As far as emotionally, I feel somewhere between a 7 (Emotional Silence) and an 8 (Emotional Neutrality); this is pretty good for me. However, I expect that there will be a significant placebo effect with the CES device and the real question is whether I will sustain this level throughout the day.
That said, I think that the effect on my insomnia is probably the best indicator of CES effectiveness at this stage. I do not think there would be a significant placebo effect on my sleep, especially since I was taking clonazepam previously. So, I’ll keep reporting on emotional wellbeing, but for the first few days the best data of whether the CES is working will, IMHO, come from reporting on my sleep patterns.
Initial Thoughts on CES Device
I do not feel any pain or discomfort when using the CES device. In fact, if I didn’t know that there was solid research backing the device, that the company was reputable, and if I didn’t see the flashing lights on the device, I’d think it wasn’t doing anything at all.
I think I may have felt some slight pressure behind my right eye the first time I used it – but I occasionally get this pressure, so it may have been unrelated, and it was only the slightest of pressure.
I have three suggestions for making the device more user-friendly for Fisher Wallace:
There are four yellow lights that show what level the device is operating at. Per the instructions I am starting at Level 2. Unfortunately, it seems that the lights are not isolated from each other – so when Level 1 is blinking, one can see some faint blinking in Level 2, when Level 2 is blinking one can see some faint blinking in Level 3, and so on. I would recommend isolating the bulbs so that they can’t bleed over into the other levels – this would make it easier to tell what level one is one.
The wires that run to one’s sponges are individual and as such have a tendency to get tangled or to hang awkwardly and loosely around one’s body. They might take some hints from earbud/headset manufacturers that have the two wires glued together for a part of the run.
Change Cabling Coloring
This is really just cosmetic, but I would feel better about the device if the wires didn’t look so much like my jumper cables. I’d suggest changing the wire colors from black and red to something else – almost anything else. 🙂
The CES certainly hasn’t had any negative effects on me. It is too early to know if it is having any positive effects, but I am optimistic. The device itself is easy to use and with a few small modifications could be really user friendly.
Let me know if you have any thoughts of questions!