It occurred to me the other day as I stared blankly out of the window, not wanting to get out of bed, just like every other day, I am in the Bell Jar.
So many of the commercials on TV for medications to treat depression are so fake. They depict people suffering with it having a seemingly mild case of the doldrums. Just moving as if stuck in molasses.
They never show you what depression really looks like.
I am willing to let a pharmaceutical company film me to get a more accurate depiction. It would look something like this…..
Voice over of announcer: “Depression robs a person of their energy.”
Camera pans to me sitting in the middle of my living room with a mountain of dirty laundry staring at it like the woman from Close Encounters of a Third Kind. Saying, “I know I should wash you” and then just shaking my head no and finally collapsing back into the cushion and saying “fuck it.” I am down to one pair of clean panties this is now my “edge play.”
Voice of announcer: “Depression feels physical.”
Camera lens catches me glancing outside at the morning school bus through the window . I move to the kitchen and stare at the heaping pile of dishes that has amassed in the sink and repeat “fuck it” as I then head to the bed and proceed to pull the blinds and dive in to the sheets. (Time elapses) I rise in my pajamas in a haze hearing the afternoon school bus pulls around the block again.
Voice of announcer: “Depression causes changes in appetite.”
Last scene too fucking easy. Like a vampire rising from the mist I awake from bed to eat a box of Girl Scout cookies. Because anyone knows that if doesn’t come out of a package or ready-to-eat microvave box, then food isn’t consumed. Camera fades with me on the couch with said cookies in the middle of the night swearing at the Girl Scouts, blaming them for peddling their crack.
Depression is wearing the same pear of sweat pants and tee-shirts every day like a uniform, and having hygiene fall to the wayside til’ someone has to insist a shower is taken. Brushing teeth? what’s that? there’s no energy. Sleeping 16 hours a day feels natural. Feeling black even when the sun is shining.
Depressions steals a person of their emotions. Such that life holds neither joy, nor sorrow, no anger, no pain. It steals away the ability to imagine, to dream, to hope for a better day. It is the great equalizer changing healthy, robust, thriving people into living, breathing, vacuous zombies pondering their very existence.
Why doesn’t Roche, Pfizer, or GlaxoSmithKline want to show what real depression looks like? Because their drugs are largely ineffective against severe forms of it. You will look and feel the same on their drugs as you will off them. Big Pharma doesn’t want anyone to know that. If the efficacy of their products aren’t much better than a placebo than Lord have mercy, where would their capitalist enterprise be?
I have tried 13 anti-depressants over my lifetime and only one did something. Not a great track record for pills as monotherapy. If you are mildly depressed, pills may snap your serotonin back into shape. Buddy, if you have a severe case of dysthymia, and some C-PTSD you are not going to have that sort of response.
Millions of people are suffering with depression. Big Pharma wants to profit from the pills they produce to treat a condition that is largely unresponsive to pharmacological intervention.
The most common reason for people to become depressed is sustaining stress and trauma. Until we become more pro-active as a society about preventing trauma both in childhood and in adulthood we are destined to fail by looking for a pharmaceutical panacea to remedy the problem.
Learning how to intervene once children and adults have been identified as having been exposed to trauma and getting these individuals trauma informed care, we have the hope of healing them.
People need people. The broken trust that happens through the process of trauma needs to be repaired. Pharmaceuticals certainly have their place as an aide. The way out of depression starts with the desire; the wanting to climb out of the bell jar. Once that decision has been made to seek help, the human factor, not a pill, will always be a more effective “treatment”.