When I learned about the GeneSight® test, the first thing I did was go to the website. I started reading the stories and watching the videos from patients and healthcare providers.
And I thought, “Yeah, right. There is no way someone went from being depressed to feeling better in days. It is just not possible.”
To say that I was skeptical was an understatement. I thought the people who claimed to get better were lying. How did I become a believer? First, you must understand how much I struggled.
“The Deepest, Darkest Depression”
I’ve been battling depression for more than 15 years. My ex-wife, April, is still my best friend and very supportive. My two daughters are the lights of my life and are “daddy’s girls.”
Despite everything I had to live for, I was massively depressed and suicidal. No matter what medication I took, it never helped. I think I tried so many antidepressants. Most made my depression worse – or caused an increase in suicidal thoughts.
I absolutely hated life. When I was with family or friends, I would fake being happy to lessen the burden on them. I slept day and night. When I would wake up, I would sometimes cry (well, sob uncontrollably) simply because I was awake. I came to hate the daylight because seeing it meant that I would have to face another day.
I didn’t plan for the future – I had zero retirement savings and lots of debt. I didn’t take care of my physical health and smoked because I didn’t think I was going to be around to get older. I thought there was no way I would ever beat this depression. It had been around too long, and it was so severe that I almost couldn’t remember a time that I’d been happy. I never thought I would be around to walk my daughters down the aisle on their wedding days.
I told people about how I was feeling. Most people were dismissive or said: “Everyone has bad days.” I started to think: “You can’t tell anyone. No one will ever believe you.” Yet depression and thoughts of suicide never left my head.
It got so bad that I put a timeline on how much longer I would be on this earth. That’s just how awful it was.
Doing Whatever It Takes
I’m lucky to have April. I told her about how I was feeling, and she made me promise to do whatever it took to try to find a solution. She told me that not only did she need me, but, most importantly, my daughters needed me.
We researched alternative depression treatments. We saw multiple doctors. Finally, at one therapy appointment, my therapist asked me if I had ever heard of the GeneSight test. The eternal skeptic, my first thought was that it would never work. I looked over at April for validation, but she looked intrigued and was furiously taking notes. Despite my skepticism, it was something I hadn’t tried before, so I decided to talk to my doctor about the test.
I made an appointment with my primary care doctor and asked him about the GeneSight test. Not only was he familiar with the test, he could administer it right there in the office.
Finding Medications in the “Use As Directed” Category
Shortly after taking the test, the nurses in my doctor’s office sent the GeneSight report to me. I found that all the medications I had been taking for my depression over the years were in the GeneSight test’s “Significant Gene-Drug Interaction” category. I thought, “Wow, here is scientific proof that the medications that made my depression worse and caused my suicidal thoughts weren’t genetically right for me.”
There were a few medications in the “Use As Directed” category that I’d never heard of. This gave me a glimmer of hope as I thought I had taken every antidepressant there was. My doctor selected a medication from this category and prescribed it.
Falsely Imprisoned for 15 Years … and Now Free
Here’s where I became a believer. After just three days on the new medication, I started to feel better. And then immediately I got nervous. What if this was the placebo effect? What if it was my imagination? What if the medication wore off or didn’t work in a few months?
But the days of no depressive symptoms turned into weeks, and then months. Now, six months after taking the GeneSight test and getting on a medication that works for me, I feel better than I ever thought possible. For the first time in my life, I’m not simply surviving and getting through the day.
I’m happy – which is a new thing for me. I text April every few days with the message: “Can you believe this? I’m still feeling good.”
I love the freedom from depression. Sometimes, I’m still worried that the depression may come back, but with each day that goes by, I’m adjusting to a new normal – a life where I’m actually happy.
I don’t know what would have happened if I hadn’t learned about the GeneSight test. It may have been fate, but I truly believe the information it gave my doctor helped saved my life.
Most importantly, I can see the future for the first time in years. Now, I’m going to start saving for my retirement and dream about the days when I get to walk my daughters down the aisle.