Monday, April 23, 2007

I Have Some Words For You:

If you are fighting the disease of depression, or even if you think you might be and you aren't sure, go get some help. Talk to a doctor. Take it very seriously. Don't just assume it will go away. And if you know someone who is fighting this, encourage them to get help also. Do it today.

On April 4th, my brother Rick lost his fight with this disease and he took his own life. The past few weeks have been hell, of course. As I write this, I've returned from his service in San Diego. I really didn't think I would write about Rick's death on this blog since that's not generally the kind of thing I do here. But it is with great resolve and all the strength I have remaining that I pledge that some hope must emerge from the wreckage of his passing. The hope is this: someone will get help, someone will find a path to better tomorrows, someone's family and friends won't go through what we've all been through.

Here was what ran in the paper.
But what I'm writing here is not an obituary since this isn't the place. I offer only a plea: get help. Mental health issues are tricky because the thing that's wrong isn't as obvious as when there's a physical injury and there's still an unfortunate social stigma attached to them. Get help anyway. Just get some help. I'm leaving comments open but I really don't need any condolences. Honestly. But if you have some thoughts on leading yourself or others toward hope, please share.


John said...

I'm very sorry for the loss you and your family have suffered. All the best to you all.

susansinclair said...

Thank you. Depression is such an isolating illness, undermining our very will to seek help by sapping our sense of the possible. But we owe it to our loved ones as well as ourselves to stay in touch with our professional counselors, because often they will see what we refuse to show those close to us, even sometimes to ourselves.

bonnie said...

John, I'm SO sorry.

I went through a rather mild bout myself after September 11th & dropping out of my kayak company. Not suicidal, just didn't want to do anything but sleep.

Fortunately it was a mild enough case that I recognized that a) this wasn't me and b) this couldn't go on the way it was, I needed to get myself back to being me. I actually "interviewed" 2 counselors. One was a very motherly type; one was a more practical, cut to the chase kind of person. I went for cut to the chase, followed her suggestions, and after about 6 weeks felt like I'd been thrown the line I needed to get out of the hole & was ready to carry on without the sessions.

I'm not sure it ever completely went away (and in fact the counselor said I may well have been slightly prone to it, just never been in a situation where it had such an opportunity to dig in & get so much traction) - when things are going badly, I can feel it hovering, but the good thing about the approach the 2nd counselor used was that she taught me some good tricks for breaking out of the spiral, and now I can pull those out the minute things start looking dark.

Terrible thing about depression is that the deeper it is, the less likely the sufferer is to make those first recognitions.

Again, I'm so so sorry.

Your poor kids. I hope they are ok. Hard enough for adults.

Anonymous said...


My recently diagnosed depression causes me to be overwhelmed by things that should be pretty simple... things like, say, choosing a therapist. I open the insurance booklet, look at the immense list of mental health professionals I don't know, and promptly feel exhausted at the prospect of finding one to bond with.

Your post encouraged me to summon the energy to push on a little harder, and I found some good info at

There are articles about how to find a therapist, questions to ask, that kind of thing -- and even a zip code searchable directory listing of therapists, featuring their pictures and a description of their specialties in very open and welcoming terms.

I found someone I'm going to call tomorrow. I don't think I'm in especially dire straits (mine is a pretty tame and blessing-laden life), but I needed a little nudge to get the ball rolling. Thanks.


john said...

Robin - you made my day. My whole week, in fact.
I say treat it like elbow pain. If you had a nagging ache that didn't get better, you'd go to a doctor just to make sure it wasn't anything serious and maybe get some treatment to make the pain go away. Well, it's not your elbow, it's your brain.

I don't even know you but I'm proud of you.

girard31 said...

What's sad about mental illness is the social stigma.

My mom was schizophrenic. It's funny, when someone in the family has cancer, it's a rallying point. Everyone comes together to help.

But when someone in the family has a mental illness...well, let's just say the family couldn't have peeled away faster. It scares me knowing my kids carry that gene.

Thanks for being there for your brother. You should never feel it wasn't enough.

-kel said...

Good thoughts to you and your family. I also am proud of you for your strength and simply for saying something. You're already helping people, just by sharing your story and getting them to talk and think about this scary, awkward, closed disease.