The Process

There’s no cure, but there are treatments available.

Like chemotherapy?



No. Is that something you want? If it is,
then that would be another problem we’d have to address.

Sorry. No. I was just curious. Antibiotics?

No. There are medications, but no antibiotics.

What’s the difference?

Antibiotics kill bacteria. They’re used for infections.
Psychotropic medications alter brain chemistry in an attempt
to produce improved mood and ability to function.

So they’ll make me happy again?

We can begin a treatment program and see what effect the medications have.

You don’t know what they’ll do?

We hope they will have the desired effect.

Which is making me happy.

We hope they will have the desired effect.
I think you would benefit from starting treatment today.


Any questions?

I’m confused.

If you have any questions, you can ask me.
I want you to be able to trust me.

I don’t know what to ask
other than: will these make me happy?

We hope the medication will have the desired effect.
If this medication doesn’t work, we can try others.


Would you like to start treatment today?

If you think I should? I’m tired.

This can be an intense process.

Is medication the only treatment?

There is no cure, but there are several treatments.
Research shows that medication in combination with therapy
produces the best results.

Like, lay-on-a-couch-and-talk-about-my-childhood therapy?

That’s the image they portray on TV. Actual therapy is different.

I was trying to make a joke.


So you think medication and therapy is the answer?
How long do I have to do this before I’m happy again?

Results vary among individuals.
It can be a long process.
I’m going to start you on 25 mg of sertraline,
does that sound okay?

I just want to feel better.

Do you want to try the sertraline?


If you experience an increase in depression,
suicidal thoughts or behaviors—any of those kinds of things—
call right away, okay?

That’s terrifying.

The medication very rarely has that effect.
I’ve yet to see it in any of my patients.
But if you experience any of those things, call, okay?

Call you?

If it’s not an emergency, call the hospital.
If you think you’re going to harm yourself, call 911.

I don’t want to take a medication that makes me want to kill myself
when it’s supposed to make me happy.

That experience is very, very rare
and any side effects you feel should go away in about a week.
The worst thing most people feel is a little nausea.

I’m scared.

That’s okay.
It’s a long process.
It would be good to start therapy soon.
Are you set up with a therapist?

The earliest I could get an appointment is 10 weeks from now.

Yeah, they can be booked out sometimes.

So if I want to kill myself I should call 911,
but the medication is supposed to make me happy
and it probably won’t make me more depressed,
but that is a possibility.

We hope the medication will improve your mood.
Negative effects are very uncommon.
Again, the worst thing most people feel is a little nausea.
You should see positive effects in about six weeks.

That’s a long time.

Research shows that medication combined with therapy
is the most effective treatment. I wish we could cure it
with something like penicillin, but that’s not possible yet.
Scientists don’t know exactly where depression occurs in the brain
and even when we do figure that out, it will take years of research to…


Miles Solstice is from Madison, WI. Find Miles on Twitter: @milessunrise