NPR has been talking a lot about how ketamine (or, more likely, drugs with a similar chemical profile) could be used to treat people with crisis-level depression. There have been limited studies, but apparently the drug has an immediate effect in a large number of depressed patients, even those who have treatment-resistant depression. The upshot of all of this is this is that doctors could have a way of treating suicidal patients immediately instead of admitting them to a psych ward until one of the current anti-depressants kicks in and/or the feelings that caused the crisis passed.
I was pretty excited to hear all of this for a variety of reasons, but especially because I have treatment-resistant depression and it’s nice to have another tool in the toolbox–those SSRIs are fucking rusty and kinda janky and have all sorts of TMI side effects. I was also relieved that the reports I heard were without all the condescension and ignorance and ableism that often dominates discussions of depression, although the Talk of the Nation show had a member of the Exercise and Eat Right brigade call in. Because the solution to thinking that you’re an utter piece of shit and that your life is so miserable that you’d be better off dead is to take a fucking jog. I was glad to hear Neal Conan basically laugh at him and tell him that the studies supporting exercise for depression were for people with mild or moderate depression, not people who come to the ER wanting to or having attempted to off themselves.
I have been intending for some time to write a post about the dismissive, obnoxious, and potentially dangerous shit that non-depressives say about depression, so right now I’ll just briefly address HOW MUCH THIS SHIT PISSES ME OFF. I know that the “I know better about your life than you do” thing certainly isn’t isolated to depressives and tends to compound based on relative privilege, but it’s been one of the biggest factors for me in the spirals of shame and self-blame that lead to thoughts of suicide and self-harm.
These days, I’m less inclined to take what clueless assholes say to heart, although it still infuriates me. Mr. Exercise and Eat Right probably did nothing other than demonstrate that he is a dumbshit with the listening skills of a kindergartener. But it goes to show that even the simplest, least fraught discussions of depression still result in opinion-havers having opinions that they feel the need to share with the rest of us, despite how dumb and harmful they may be. Which I suppose is a privilege of being American, but goddamn, that shit has got to stop.