Find Hope When You Otherwise Must Die – Depression

Jane Eyre

Image by madelinetosh via Flickr

Briggs was crying again.  His wife, who came with him to our first appointment, looked like a peeled fruit beside him.  She was undefended, giving her last layer of self without knowing what would be left.  Briggs was one case of serious depression, but his wife; she was heartbreaking.  Both of them in their own ways would not last long.

It is not unusual in a specialty clinic to work with people such as Briggs who have been around the treatment shops.  Then, finally, in Jane Eyre-style, they appear at my door in the company of death.  They have been through therapies, practitioners and churches, but disease resists treatment.  Everywhere they walk, it is as if Hades (or Neptune) were visiting.  Hope-blossoms wilt as they pass by and those of us who share space, feel like the ground is going to open up and suck us under.  It is not uncommon in specialty-care, to be told, “…I have no strength to go further.”  Like Jane Eyre, they plead, “I must die if….”  (By the way, Charlotte Bronte is the bomb.)

As the person on the other side of this exchange, I have worn down the rainbow of “specialty” options available to offer.  And what are they?

I’m going to write more about those options next, but my questions for you today are:

What has worked for you or your loved one?  Is there any treatment you think is too extreme to consider to get brain health?  Please tell me your story.

Self-Care Tip:  Find your specialty care.

11 thoughts on “Find Hope When You Otherwise Must Die – Depression

  1. I feel sorry for men today, especially those who are breadwinners. While their wives are capitulating, just giving in to breakdowns, the men have no choice but to soldier on. Is this accurate, Doc? Am I right in assuming that brain-health-care issues are more prevalent in women?


    • yyuup. more diagnosed in women at least. there r cultural influences for sure, but u r all girl and u win and bring home “bread” all the time, so…. it’s messy sussing this all out. but easy to say, more women dx’d w “breakdowns.” hugs


  2. Got a D in freshman English having enraged professor saying I thought Jane Eyre a wasted read and could not see why it was heralded as so great. Got another D and F from him and had to change majors. I hate this Jane woman.


    • laughing through my nose. smirk on my face. carl the rebel.
      last night, writing this blog-post, i pulled out my comprehensive Charlotte Bronte, opened up to that “jane woman” to find the text where she was at the door of the St. John’s. Thumbing through the pages, at first quick, then slower and then still slower, I was taken in. Just like that, the language, the universal moral conflicts and the suffering – i barely found my way out in time to finish my own little verse. i know you carl have your own entrapping pieces of written word. i know u have felt this delicious indulgence even if not with that “jane.” keep on mr. english-lit.


  3. Having been suicially depressed for a long period of time, I’d like to say that I don’t think any treatment is too extreme for people like the couple you have mentioned here. However, for me, once I had been put on many, many, MANY antidepressants (and reacted, sometimes to the point of hospitaliztion, to most of them) and once I had seriously looked at (and, eventually, rejected) electrshock treatment, I guess I am not a true believer in “too extreme”. I AM a believer in getting help and not giving in. I think the turn in my depressive life came when I got too afraid of what “they” might do to me that I scared myself into working at getting well…into becoming a friend to Me. It made me crawl out of my life-sucking hole and find who I was before I became who I had become because who I had become had become was too much to live with (or for) but, somewhere deep inside of me, I knew that who I had become wasn’t worth killing who I was. And, no. I am NOT making light of this. Finding yourself when you are suicidally depressed is far from easy and it took me a long, terrifying time to get through it, but, oh, was it worth the struggle – and will continue to be worth the struggle probably for the rest of my life.


  4. I don’t know if I’d say any treatment is “too extreme” … although some suggestions have elicited panic reactions in the past. When I was in detox, my doctor asked me (in front an office full of nurses and students) what I thought about ECT. I immediately told the person who was pushing my wheelchair (had broken my ankle on one of my last drunks) to take me back to my room. The doctor decided that I needed to go to the psych ward, that my presence in a detox unit was inappropriate. Anyway, although I’ve studied and observed ECT as a nursing student and have an appreciation for it, the occasional horror stories scare me, the rare side effects memory loss and personality depth reduction. A big part of me would rather be suicidal than happy, flighty, and vapid–and that is my irrational nightmare version of the “successful” ECT patient.

    Other things — I don’t think I could do any therapy with a ritualized component (rebirth, etc), for the same reason I can’t do religion or politics. I can’t go through the motions if I’m not 100% behind it, and I don’t let myself get 100% behind just about anything. But that’s not to say it’s “too extreme”–only that I’m “too inflexible.”

    Ex-wife #2 was freaked out when medication #5 was added to my cocktail–I think, partly, she didn’t want to think that my disorder was “that bad.” But the polypharm never bothered me.


    • thanks BD. you r a cave that is indefinitely extending into places u can describe better than any of us. i hope u don’t stop talking.

      i’m interested in your experience as an ECT nurse. your descriptions of ECT patients sounded like they were of in-treatment patients. is that right? did u get to see them after they were through their treatment or on maintenance? did u get to see them outside of the OR? speak friend.


  5. The only thing that has worked for me is to be attached to another person but that isn’t no permanent solution. The second thing would be go threw the bad days push threw them resist temptation and live on hope that things get better.


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