Art and Leslie have been married for more than 25 years, have four adult children and 6 (soon to be 7) grandchildren. They’ve also had an unwelcome presence in their home during their marriage – Art’s battle with major depressive disorder. These are their stories.
I started experiencing depression as a child and struggled with it my entire life. My life has been marked by significant tragedies and profound loss. As a result, I would have extreme highs and extreme lows. I had unrelenting sadness and anger. I have tried for years and years to cover up my pain.
About 18 years ago, an incident made Leslie and me realize that I needed to get professional help. I went to my primary care doctor, who prescribed an antidepressant, which started a horrendous battle with trial and error. Over the years, I tried five different medications at different dosages and different combinations.
Every time I would try a new medication, or the doctor would add a medication to what I was already taking, I would be optimistic that it would work. And they seemed to for a little bit, then it would fade off. I was doing everything I could do to make it work, but there was still a battle in my head. To be clear, I wasn’t hearing voices, but by God there was an argument up there. I could not think clearly, could not concentrate, and had a lot of problems with memory on all these medications. I describe it as having lot of fog.
About three years ago, I was taking three different medications, and I just could not deal with my life. I was still broken. I knew it. My depression and side effects got so bad that I took as much FMLA [Family and Medical Leave Act] as allowed. I simply couldn’t get off the couch and shake my unrelenting sadness and anger.
Learning about the GeneSight test
At my psychologist appointment in Feb. 2020, I met with the practice’s nurse practitioner, who had just started there. She reviewed my medication history and suggested that I might be a good candidate for the GeneSight test.
When she told me how it worked, I said YES! I didn’t want to roll the dice anymore. Life is too short, and I’m done playing. To be honest, I was at my wit’s end. I was spent. Leslie was spent. I had to find something to make me better and if the GeneSight test may help, I wanted to take it.
After taking the GeneSight test, the nurse practitioner got the results back in a few days. She explained everything to us and even though I was still foggy, I remember everything she told me because it was so important – it’s when my life changed.
I learned that the five different medications I had tried over the years were all in my significant gene-drug interaction category. The nurse practitioner decided to take me off my existing medications and try a new medication.
Happy is Such a Small Word
I started to feel better – and better and better. In fact, I started to feel like I had a whole new life – it was like a new morning on a spring day. I was ready to get up and go outside for the first time in years.
In fact, I don’t know that I can even tell you how amazing I feel these days because the difference is very difficult for me to describe. I’d have to paint you a picture of the most beautiful scenery to even get close to feeling the feeling I have. It’s like you go to a place that’s awe-inspiring and try to describe it. It’s like that best vacation feeling and multiply it by 30. That’s the goal, right? To have a life that’s as good as a vacation. Well, that’s the life I wanted and that’s the life I got. I got it.
I’m happy. But it’s such a small word. It’s like telling someone you love them and they can’t fathom the depths of the love. I finally feel able to feel the love that surrounds me and that I can hand out. I’m finally the guy I want to be.
Leslie, Art’s wife of 25 years, describes the GeneSight test as “the best thing that has ever happened to Art.” Here is her story:
Before the GeneSight test, Art was very unpredictable and irrational. He was extremely moody. I would come home from work and wouldn’t know what I was walking into – would he be angry? Would he be lethargic and unable to get off the couch? Would he be irritable? Would he even be there?
I was completely stressed out and walking on eggshells. When we got married, we made an agreement that we would never get divorced, but, wow, were we pushing the envelope!
After Art took the GeneSight test and started taking his current medication, I see a huge difference in how Art engages with life and the people in his life. To me, he no longer seems “medicated” like he did before. He is engaged.
In fact, now I catch him playing with our grandkids. It is amazing.
But it isn’t just the change in Art. It’s how it has changed our entire family and how we interact.
It made us so much better. It made our kids so much better. It is impossible to describe the impact and benefit the GeneSight test has had on our family.
I tell everyone about the GeneSight test. When people say you might have an out-of-pocket cost, I tell them living with Art’s depression cost us a lot more than that – and it almost cost us our marriage. It was worth every penny.
The GeneSight test helped my husband change into the person he always wanted to be.
This story is one patient’s personal experience. Other patients may not have the same experience or outcome. Do not make any changes to your current medications or dosing without consulting your healthcare provider.
The GeneSight test must be ordered by and used only in consultation with a healthcare provider who can prescribe medications. As with all genetic tests, the GeneSight test results have limitations and do not constitute medical advice. The test results are designed to be just one part of a larger, complete patient assessment, which would include proper diagnosis and consideration of your medical history, other medications you may be taking, your family history, and other factors.
If you are a healthcare provider and interested in learning more about the GeneSight test, please call us at 855.891.9415. If you are a patient, please talk with your doctor to see if the GeneSight test may be helpful.