I don't like to probe in the lives of others. Partly because I have been ingrained with a systematic way of gathering information. When I learn details, I am filling in blanks in an framework in my mind, and noting the blank spaces that call to be filled.
So, I end up missing the real deal: just getting to know someone in my personal life, not a counseling client or client being seen for an assessment.
So, I had a discussion with someone -- not related to clinical work -- about problems with depression. A sad story. Then, I heard the part about suicidality after taking SSRI for a while.
That makes me so mad!
No one expects to have this as a side effect of a med that is supposed to make you feel better.
Fortunately, in this case, the person was able to use some support, and some natural wisdom, and get off the meds. The problems that pitched this person into the depths of despair were eventually addressed -- chalk it up as a learning experience that builds character. There is always hope -- this was true long before the first SSRI.
I discussed what I know of this hidden epidemedic. I hope this info was a relief. People are ashamed, when the yget depressed, at how inefective and lazy they are. They know they are falling short of their own standards, and it hurt. It is also tough to face the fact that you were considering killing yourself. Sitting there in a state of ambivalence with such a preposterous idea. Knowing that this experience was a side effect hopefully is comforting for people, instead of living the rest of live ashamed for this past experience of foolishly debating Hamlet's debate, and playing out methods and scenarios with whatever cleverness and problem-solving you are able to muster in the state.
This person is still alive, no thanks to the drug company who covered up the suicidality side effect solely for the purpose of making money.
This is an academic issue for scholars to investigate. But it is also a personal, life-and-death matter. Once you discover this phenomenon, as long as you are in our med-enthusiastic society, you will be reminded of this problem from your family and friends every now and then. Til we recognize that therapy is at least equally effective, is preferred by the patients, and the side effects can be wonderful.