(Mary is a pseudonym for a Lehigh Valley Health Network patient suffering from major depressive disorder.)
Depression has been part of Mary’s life for more than 30 years now, marked by periods of prolonged sadness, lack of self-esteem, and complete disinterest in the things in life she enjoyed most.
“I would be OK for a time and then I’d just crash,” she says. “I had no motivation to do anything. I felt so isolated.”
In the late 1980s, Mary was initially diagnosed with depression and has undertaken several approaches to treatment. In 2012, the diagnosis was modified to major depressive disorder, an extremely common mental health condition which affects about 2% of the world’s population, according to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. More than 17 million men and women in the U.S. suffer from some form of depression.
It would be decades before a new treatment offered at Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) would finally provide Mary consistent relief from her symptoms. But reaching that point was a difficult journey.