Melissa's story: Finding a treatment that works

I am 35 and struggled with severe depression for most of my twenties.

I tried so many types of treatments including dozens of drug trials, various therapies, even ECT. I attended day programs and lived in residential treatment and group homes, often needing intense care.The pain was so severe I was hospitalised 20 different times for suicidality and self harm.

Much of the time I was completely without hope. Though I have limited memory of the worst years, I know that it was like slogging through mud. Every movement, every step took so much effort. Being alive was exhausting. But I had amazing support, personal and professional, which kept me alive through the worst times.

After much consideration my psychiatrist and I decided to try an MAO-I, realizing we were running short of options. The very first day I took the medication my life changed completely. I was finally able to live. The depression lifted enough that I was able to make use of therapeutic strategies and treatments. DBT and CBT programs helped me gain the skills I needed to deal with my intense emotions and move forward.

Since that day, over seven years ago, I have not had one single urge to hurt myself or end my life. I have since met and married my amazing wife, went back and finished my undergraduate studies and attended grad school, and now I am the proud mother of an amazing 10 month old girl.

Depression will always be a part of my life. I have to take extra care to keep balance and I still struggle to be "okay". But I am a survivor and I am stronger for having made it through those darkest hours.