I had a conversation today with a dear friend who suffers from unexpected bouts of deep depression that send her to bed, unable to function until the event passes. She said it's like a cloak that comes over her, and her brain simply cannot accept "helpful" advice. We got on to the subject of suicide and she completely understood the recent spate of well-known, as well as the very frequent lesser-known occurrences, notably by people who have weaned off of medications yet are ill-equipped to cope with the emotional impacts. She shared that in that depressed state, suicide seems to be the only thing that makes sense. It just is. What keeps her around (thank goodness!) is that she remembers that it's temporary.
In seeking help for a family member, I recently learned of an FDA-approved noninvasive, non-drug treatment for depression called transcranial magnetic stimulation. TMS is offered at medical centers and universities around the country, and is generally considered highly effective for depression and other conditions, without side effects.
I've also been researching personal devices like the Fisher Wallace Stimulator and CES Ultra, both of which have positive reviews without side effects. (I'm surmising that the lack of public knowledge about rTMS has much to do with the fact that this safe and effective treatment is generally not covered by insurance. A topic for another day.)
If you have experienced TMS, I would love to know your thoughts. If you have not, and are looking for an alternative to drug therapy, I hope that you find this helpful. I would love to know what you learn. In the LA area, TMS is available at various locations through UCLA.