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To My 'Treatment-Resistant' Major Depressive Disorder

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Dear Treatment-Resistant Depression,

I’m getting a bit sick of your antics. I know you like to play games with my doctors, reacting weirdly to medications they try and throw at you, causing my problems to get worse. I know you like to play hide and seek with them to trick them into thinking their treatment plan is working, only to shoot them down days (or even hours) later. I know you don’t want them to see you for what you really are — an evil, twisted presence in my mind.

Often when people think of depression they also think of therapy and antidepressants, and people recovering from their depression and getting on with their lives. For those of us that are friends with you, dear treatment-resistant depression, the reality is a little more bleak. A lot of us have given up hope for treatment. We have given up trying to find something that will put you out of your misery and make us feel whole again. But you know that, don’t you? You know that a lot of us feel like you’re winning. We know that our doctors feel like you’re winning too, although they would never admit that. They want us to stay positive and keep trying things, even if they know our case might be seen as “hopeless.”

You have taken everything from some of us – our ability to feel joy and happiness, and to be productive members of society. You have taken away our ability to make and maintain relationships, take care of ourselves and those around us, and for some, you have taken away our ability to live.

I have to hand it to you, treatment-resistant depression, you don’t discriminate. You can hit anyone, at any time. Even for those who have been successfully treated for depression in the past, you can surface…an evil presence, lurking in the background, coloring everything we do. You have stripped our colorful worlds to a dull grayscale landscape, void of beauty and life.

I wish more people would take the time to understand you. People tell us to “try harder,” but you don’t want that, do you? The harder we try to feel better, the more you resist. You keep us in darkness and sadness, keeping us void of hope that someone will find something to help us one day.

Some of us may learn to adapt to your presence — we try and make the best of what we have, although it can be hard. We crave understanding from those around us, although understanding is not always something that is easy to find. Depression is treatable, right?

No one wants to hear us say “No, sometimes it’s not treatable.” They don’t want to imagine themselves in our shoes. They can’t imagine themselves in our shoes. Unless a person has experienced you, dear treatment-resistant depression, they cannot begin to fathom what we go through on a daily basis.

Hopefully, one day, something will be found to vanquish you, releasing your prisoners so that they may get back to their lives.

A version of this story originally appeared on

Photo credit: MarinaZg/Getty Images

Originally published: July 24, 2019
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