I wrote this in 2012 for another site and while the article is still there that site isn’t under my control so I wanted to reprint the article here in case that site disappears someday:
While I was thinking about this week’s topic, I happened to be watching the tribute to Mike Wallace on 60 Minutes. I didn’t know he had lost a son in an accident. I said to myself “There’s one reason he became such a workaholic.” I lost a son to an accident as well. My life shattered that day. There are only a handful of people that I know now that knew me then.
Back to 60 Minutes. About half way through the special, Mike Wallace was interviewed. I was surprised to hear Morley Safer asking Mike Wallace if he had ever considered suicide. I stopped what I was doing to watch intently. I knew the answer. I have the same answer. Almost. Mike said “I have never said this in public to anyone before. Yes, I wrote a note, mu wife found it and my pills. Depression does things.”
I didn’t have a plan or write a note. I knew I was close to not wanting to live. I had people on alert to come help me with my surviving son if I felt I needed treatment. I knew I would not commit suicide, but I deeply wanted to. I knew what happened to the people you leave behind. I no longer feel that way, my heart and mind are still healing, but I am far from that place where I didn’t want to live anymore.
The trigger – the death of a child. But some people suffer depression that is triggered by much less. That doesn’t make their depression any “less” severe than mine was. I got help. Mike got help. But depressions doesn’t just go away because you take drugs, or meditate or see a counselor or psychiatrist. Most people that suffer depression hide it. They feel like they shouldn’t be depressed, their life may be great and they don’t understand where the depression comes from.
They don’t talk to anyone. Then one day there is an extra pressure, extra stress and they take a step too far. If you are depressed, don’t think you are alone. When I opened up and told people I was on a specific medication suddenly many people were at my side – talking about what they are taking and how they want to be able to stop. Depression is a pervasive disease that wants to take your life away… slowly or all at once. It is actually the one condition you can cure through talking to the right people, and realizing you aren’t alone, and understanding that time heals.
If you are depressed, you aren’t alone, don’t feel ashamed or feel that you are a failure. If you aren’t depressed chances are you know someone that is. Don’t judge them. Talk to them.