This is very interesting if you have the time and interest to read it. I preface this by saying that I believe mental illness and chemically induced depression with no external cause does exist, but I’ve seen it first hand. My wife was so depressed that she basically laid in bed for almost a year and lost so much weight that her hair started falling out.

On the other hand, I felt depressed for situational (pet death) and other reasons that I didn’t understand. I am so lucky that I went to a great therapist who didn’t dissuade me from anti-depressants, but encouraged me to try to some talk therapy and lifestyle changes. Because I was too depressed to actually take the additional step of seeing a psychiatrist for an RX, I did it. I also trusted her even though I often no showed for appointments and even told her at times that I hated her and she was making me feel worse.

I spent almost 5 years doing a very weekly intensive therapy that was difficult and terrifying, but transformed me. As a person, my life is now pre and post therapy. I truly believe that if I had taken meds and felt better, I would have avoided the hard work of years of therapy and self exploration. I believe that the work I did with my brilliant therapist is the reason for all my personal and professional success. I would not have a decent relationship with my family or my current financial success or physical health without it.

I had no idea what hardships were in store for me when I was seeing her, but I could not have survived them if I hadn’t done the work with her and become the strong and (relatively) balanced person that I am today. I think she likely saved my life really.

I have difficulty reconciling this with my firm believe that, at this time (maybe the future holds better cures), the only way my wife and many people can stay alive (depression is a life threatening disease) is with medication AND therapy. I really wish we had a more holistic approach to investigating mental illness both as a medical disease of the brain that is no different from diabetes and in the context of our place in society as relates to work, financial stability, spirituality, and community. I think there is such an either/or aspect to our current approach that people are suffering and even dying from it.