I was talking with a family member the other day and grew increasingly concerned as he described his depression. He told me that he didn’t care if he lived another day or not. Part of the reason was side effects caused by his other medication and part of the reason was dealing with a history of depression.
He said that he had taken anti-depressants on and off for several years, but that he didn’t like to take too high of a dosage. I asked him why, and he said that he was concerned that they wouldn’t work or that the side effects would be too bad.
I thought about what he said and lectured him for an hour later that night on the importance of taking his mental health seriously, especially since he had suicidal ideation. I don’t know how much he listened to me because many people had been lecturing him about the same thing but I think he respected my opinion on the topic because I had come through the darkness of depression myself.
Nothing worked for me when I was seriously depressed but medication. I tried everything: volunteering at the library, exercising, taking walks, taking classes, and writing.
The depression made all of the activities except for writing hard for me to get through. I had to slowly up my anti-depressant with the assistance of my doctor because of my bipolar diagnosis. Over the course of a month and a half, my will to live returned and I was able to enjoy all of the activities that I was doing.
If you or anyone you know has lost their will to live, see a doctor immediately. Don’t play with your fate by avoiding taking prescription medications or by taking too low of a dose. If one prescription doesn’t work, try another.
There are the naysayers out there who judge others for taking care of their psychiatric needs. Don’t let them bog you down. Work with your doctor to find the right prescription and keep talking to other people who have gone through depressions. Don’t worry if your depression is situational or chemical; if your life is in jeopardy because you have lost your will to live, nitpicking over minor differences does not matter.
Not everyone responds to medication right away, and not everyone responds, which is why effective communication with your doctor about how you are feeling is absolutely necessary. If your doctor tries to convince you that a medication you take is effective when you know it is not working, be an advocate for yourself and get the doctor to up the dose or prescribe something else. The doctor will know the chemistry of how the medication works, but you will have to communicate to your doctor how exactly you feel.
Image from The Morgue File