16 July 2005

New depression treatment available


I was diagnosed with depression right around my 18th birthday. In the 30 years since then, I have tried almost every known treatment. Although many made me feel different, and in the triumph of hope over experience I interpreted anything different as "better", none had any lasting effect. Iin all that time, the only relief I had was a two-year period following a long overseas trip. During those two years I returned to school and finished my degree, making the Dean's list every semester, was elected president of my college, made many close friends, and laid the foundation for what became the longest romantic relationship of my life to date. But then what Churchill called the "black dog" returned, and has not left.

In the end, I gave up on psychiatry when I was told that the only thing they had to offer me was ECT, the modern form of shock therapy. I declined, mostly because it's often only a temporary fix, and because of the many problems with memory I'd heard about.

Then a few years ago I was diagnosed with sarcoidosis. Reading online accounts of others' experience of this uncommon disease made me think that I had been misdiagnosed all of those years. Many other sarcoidosis patients feel, as I do, that they've been experiencing symptoms since childhood, and it's only when the disease becomes obvious enough to show up on an X-ray that it gets diagnosed.

Sad to say, there's no "official" effective treatment for sarcoidosis. I'm trying a new experimental treatment, but if it fails I'm faced with the prospect of feeling like this until I die.

Had the sarcoidosis not been diagnosed, I would have welcomed and tried this. From that article, it seems there's still some question about its effectiveness. But I say that even if it works in only part of the treatment-resistant depressive population, it's worth a try. The statistics, and my personal experience, say that population is very prone to suicide.