The Secret to Living With Treatment-Resistant Depression


You’d never suspect this by listening to pharmaceutical ads, but only one-third of people with major depression get better after trying an antidepressant. The others go on to try different drugs, or combinations of medicine and psychotherapy, and usually seven in 10 achieve remission.

The other third?

They are labeled with the three most dreaded words in the mental health profession: treatment-resistant depression.

If clinical depression affects more than 15 million American adults and is predicted to be the second most common illness in the world by 2020, that’s a lot of people suffering with chronic symptoms. There are millions of people in this country who wish they had a terminal illness, an acceptable exit out of life … just getting by hour by hour.

I know this well, as I’ve struggled with treatment-resistant depression much of my life.

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Therese Borchard
I am a writer and chaplain trying to live a simple life in Annapolis, Maryland.

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8 Responses
  1. Therese,
    My journey with “treatment resistant depression,” has led me to change my life, lose my things and be hopefully led to people like yourself who fight on, no matter what. Few humans inspire me any more. You do!

  2. Ammah

    Jim is so very right. You are the very few people who is not going to give up & keep informing us.

    As we seen the numbers of depression rise and more people are aware of depression. We are seeing more cut off, estrangements & divorces. Would this be one of the early tell tail signs of depression? Most depressed people don’t always recognize any thing is wrong. The people closest to you are seen as the culprit because they are the one closest to the truth. They are the first one that annoy you. The first one you bang the door on are your parents & siblings.
    The billion dollar question is how do you tell a person they need help? I have tried but the door was slammed on my face. My daughter estranged us.

  3. New Liz

    Hi Therese. Again you help me get through the day knowing that there are other people struggling. I wish to find a way to not live in constant fear that pervades my being and causes Great Depression and anxiety.

    Sent from my iPhone


  4. Lindsay L.


    Thank you for raising the topic of treatment-resistant depression, which is what I suffer from. I’ve been on 25 different medications, tried CBT, DBT, ACT, twelve-step programs, outpatients, hospitalizations, five rounds of ECT…and some of my closest friends have no idea about my struggles, because I’m so ashamed. I’m afraid of scaring people away, particularly when I say I’ve had shock treatment and am still depressed. And the isolation that comes from the shame and stigma just compounds the issue for me. On a good day I feel like a freak, on a bad day I worry that I’m some kind of alien who can’t function in this world. It’s such a relief to be in a space where people are open and honest about things. Please keep writing.

    Lindsay L.

  5. Lilu

    What stretches of time do you go for without experiencing thoughts of death? I mean with all that you do for yourself health-wise…. Do you go for weeks or months of feeling good or is it a daily struggle?