I thought it would be helpful to provide an anecdotal story about anti-depressants.
I know a woman who was formally diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder in grad school, 1997. The psychiatrist wanted to put her on medication, but she was hesitant to put manufactured chemicals into her body. She decided on self-treatment with St. John’s Wort, following the brand and dosing used in the latest research. Lo! And behold! She felt a positive effect. It was small but it was noticeable and it was completely different than how she’d been feeling for all of her memory. It let her know that change was possible. But it wasn’t strong enough.
This is when she came to understand that medicine can take the effective chemicals we find in nature and amplify them so that they will have a stronger and more directed effect. She relented and went to her doctor, who put her on a popular antidepressant, and in two weeks she was at the standard dosage. She felt a positive effect but she was also continuously nauseous. She held out for 3 weeks and then gave up. After some time she went back and tried another medication. This one did not have a positive effect; in fact it made her feel numb and out of it, so again she gave up.
Eventually she went back to the original psychiatrist who had diagnosed her. She related her history and the doctor worked with her to find a medication dosage and dosing schedule that would work. They started with the original medication that had a positive effect, but with an extremely tiny dosage. They very slowly worked up the dose. Once she began to feel an effect, they played with the time of day and determined that one dose in the morning was the best. Then they continued to increase the dosage slowly — it took 6 months for her to get to the standard dosage, to feel the full effect of the medicine, and have no side effects. That was in the year 2000, but for the past 15 years she’s benefited from that effort to find an effective medication.
Let me tell you what it does for her. Instead of feeling like she is in a constant Deep Pit, the medication helps to level her. It brings her to the surface. From there it’s her choice if she finds her way out of the Dark Forest, but at least she’s on the surface and she has a fighting chance.
You may need to try many doctors to find a good one but this is your health we’re talking about so do it. It might take months, it might take years, but this is your life we’re talking about so do it. Have patience, stick with it, and find a support network to help you through this. But most of all believe with your entire being — body, heart, and mind — that you will find a solution to help your physical body.
I believe that we can influence our health with our thoughts. I don’t think we can control everything and it’s not magic, but we have a lot more power than we think. If you go into this process certain that there is no regimen that will work for you, you set yourself up for failure. Your body hears your thoughts and it will try to fulfill your wishes. If instead you go in positive that you are meant to be chemically stable, healthy, and with all the possibility in the world to be happy, then you increase the odds medication will be able to work with your body to make that true.
This is one disease that you don’t recover from quickly, but you can recover. You can come out of the Deep Pit, stand on the level ground of the forest, and begin your Pilgrimage out into the world of happiness beyond.