Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Sharing a Painful Story


Okay, I didn’t intend to write again any time soon about depression and mental health, but I just read a comment from a new reader named Barrett who wrote about his attempted suicide on his blog, Huma B Post, after running across my post on campus mental health. Nearly five years ago, he tried to take his life. I’m glad he’s still here, and I’m glad life’s a lot better these days for him.

Barrett wasn’t the first reader to share a deeply personal detail with me. Another reader, a mother, wrote that her dear daughter had a different outcome when she attempted suicide. I was profoundly sad for I know this hurt will never go away.

Go hug someone you love today. Give a word of encouragement. We all need that.

13 comments:

Akelamalu said...

Oh you are so right, a hug, encouragement - everyone needs both.

Thanks for taking part in the quiz, check back on Friday for the answers.

Barrett Laurie said...

Thank you so much for the kind words! It has been a long five years, but well worth the work! I feel for the mother who lost her daughter, I am glad my mother didn't have that outcome. Thank you again for your kind words and for spreading the message that depreseeion is nothing to be ashamed of, and help is out there! Take care friend!

Sheila said...

akelamalu,
Encouragement can take a backseat to criticism. I need to watch myself. I don't always realize words can hurt even if the intention was not to cause pain.

Barrett,
Your message and story touched me. Like Ross Szabo's (Behind Happy Faces) mission to remove the stigma of mental illnesses, every writer's story opens the door and lets in a little more light.

Joe said...

May You Never Understand

Depression is what depression is
And if you really want to know
I’ll tell you…

But be careful what you ask
For to truly understand, you must step inside my mind
And know what it is to fell the emptiness left behind
When all life, all hope, all happiness
Are sucked inside this hole within my chest

Leaving just my battered soul
And the will of God
To determine my fate.



I wrote poem "May You Never Understand" 3 years ago after I finally broke down and sought the help I so desperately needed to battle the clinical depression I had been living with for the better part of 25 years.
I hid my depression from everyone until I was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease, which proved to be the straw that broke the camel's back. My poor wife almost went into shock the day I called her from a mental health counselor’s office. I too had plans to commit suicide. Everything was planned right down to the last detail, including the date and time. My saving grace…my wife bought me a dog the day before I was going to carry out my plans. By committing that simple, unexpected act of kindness and love, she unwittingly saved my life.

Sheila said...

Joe,
I have no idea of what it's like with Parkinson's, only the insights you and Rosemary share so honestly have given me a glimpse.

Depression gets tossed about here and there, often when someone famous like Mike Wallace or William Styron or Kitty Dukakis talk or write about their experiences. The more we become comfortable talking about it, the more people can come out and say, "That's me. I feel that way. Why? What can I do to get better?"

Thankfully, you ended up in a counselor's office instead of the morgue. Serendipity comes to my mind regarding the dog. I don't know if that's the right word or not, but sometimes the little acts can trigger the change and bring an understanding. What a tragic loss if that had not triggered your visit!

The poem speaks volumes about what was going on inside--that dark part of your psyche that finally you could let out. Take care. It's hard to hear but even harder to know many others want to speak as you have. How can we get them to know that someone cares and that it can be better and to please hold on, help can be given?

The SUCCESS Coach said...

Congratulations on your participation in the mental health discussion. From what I read you have done well.

I see why you are one of the ones Kilroy asked that I make sure to give an out click on Blog Village.

If you ever decide you'd like to write about health you have an open invitation to For Your Success. I will be posting on a regular basis again soon.

Sheila said...

Success Coach,
Glad you could visit. It does seem health is one thing I find myself writing about often.

Sarge Charlie said...

Hugs are a cure all, great medication.

Barrett Laurie said...

Sounds good! I checked out the links! I will have to get the book! Until then I will await your review! Take care friend!

Marion said...

Thank you, Sheila. I learned to always say "I love you" each and every time I say goodbye to anyone dear to me...depression and it's attendant attempts on suicide can happen so quickly.

Even without too much warning at times. Depression is a disease that can be hidden deeply. It takes awareness of the other person...something I didn't have enough of, at the time...to stop disastrous actions from occurring.

Sheila said...

Marion,
I think some people are so good at hiding this that maybe it's just not something anyone would pick up on and that's scary indeed.

Naomi said...

Hugs are the best cure for most ailments, including depression. Hugs and words of encouragement are always a good way to lift people up when they are down.

Palm Springs Savant said...

We often don't realize how people we see everyday may be going through tremendous issues. I make an effort to say good morning to everyone I see everyday and greet with a big smile. its great to watch their reaction. some light up, and others reflect the demons they struggle with internally. Then I know who needs a hug!