Depression is real. And it can be deadly. If you take nothing else from this story, please understand that depression is a condition every bit as legitimate and serious as diabetes, heart disease or cancer.
Treatment for depression is still pretty much a guessing game. It’s a long and frustrating process – try an antidepressant, wait four to six weeks to see if it’s going to help. If it doesn’t, try a different antidepressant, wait four to six weeks, and so on, until either something helps, or begin combining two antidepressants, wait four to six weeks, etc., etc., or you die.
I am now participating in a drug study for Esketamine (a form of Ketamine, a dissociative hallucinogen currently used as a general anesthetic), which acts on the brain in a totally different way than antidepressants currently on the market. The results of the trial so far are promising. Unfortunately, it hasn’t worked for me as I had hoped, so they added an antidepressant along with the test drug, then, after four to six weeks another, and another.
I’ve lost hope of being “cured” of depression. The best I can do is to try to get through each day. To avoid hurting my family with the stigma, rage, and unwarranted guilt a suicide is bound to produce. But, still, I count my pills.
Sharon Baldwin Sittner is a writer from Cincinnati.