Intense Talk About Depression Continued

By: GardenGrrl , 10:20 PM GMT on August 13, 2014

Robin Williams was one of our greatest comedians.

It was a huge surprise to find out he had
been battling depression and committed suicide.

My worry is that others who struggle with depression will now see this as encouragement to
give up and commit suicide as well. If you are struggling with depression and his suicide
makes you feel like maybe it would be okay to kill yourself, PLEASE DON"T.

Talk to someone. If you don't feel like you can talk to someone you know you can call the
Suicide Hotline at (214) 828-1000. Be aware, that the line is getting a ton of calls right now
and you may actually get put on hold. If you don't think you can wait call 911.

If you want to talk to someone via e-mail, there are chat groups you can Google. You do not
have to be alone with your pain.

For people who don't understand depression, it is a serious and often deadly disease that
affects many people. It has not been taken seriously as a legitimate medical condition
because of the fallacy that it is a character defect. People used to think cancer and diabetes
were character defects too.

I think people consider depression "All in some ones head" because it does not make
sense to feel that sad and full of despair in proportion to ones life situation. For someone who
suffers depression it can be a beautiful day, you won the lottery, you are surrounded by
friends, yet it all seems hopeless. To feel that bad for no apparent reason a lot of depressed
people try to find reasons to be sad. Sometimes depressed people will sabotage their own
life so they have a concrete reason to feel so down.

Depression flat out does not make sense to the person feeling it. The lows are so low. Their
mood can swing one way or the other for no apparent reason. Life can be so good yet look
so hopeless and there is no reason. So a lot of people will create one. There are therapists
that really don't understand depression and they will help you create reasons too.

Depression is a chemical imbalance that affects moods. Yes, some depression is situational
caused by a trauma, but long term chronic depression is a medical condition. Unfortunately
medicine has not advanced enough to find treatments that work for every body every time.

If some one you love suffers from depression, it is not because they are weak. They have a
medical condition. If you suffer from depression, it is not an excuse to wreck your life. It can
be treated. It just takes a lot of work and vigilance. A lucky few find a medication that works
great. Most people need to try several kinds to find one that gives them relief.

Cognitive therapy also helps with depression. Because often there really is not a reason to
feel that bad except for the disease playing havoc with your emotions, it is important to think
through a crisis of feeling really low. Cognitive therapy helps.

Medications. Only illegal drugs will give a sense of every thing is good, but that doesn't last.
For this reason a lot of depressed people end up in drug or alcohol rehab. Be realistic about
what medication can do. If it keeps your mood from going too high or too low it is working.

Normal means you will still feel sad sometimes and generally when it is appropriate to feel

Often medication will work most of the time but occasionally you will hit a low. Cognitive
therapy will help. Distracting yourself with other things will help. Talking helps.

Suicide will not help.

This is a short description of what depression really is. If you love someone who suffers from
depression I hope this helps. If you suffer from depression I hope this puts it in a better
perspective. You probably already know a lot of doctors don't understand your condition.
You need to learn to understand it and your life will get better.

Yes it is work. No you will not always be a ray of sunshine. The lows will come and go but as
you learn what it is and how to deal with them they are not so bad. If you can say a lot of the
time Life Is Good, it means you achieved normal.

Don't give up. There is Hope.

In case you don't get to Sandi's comment #4, here is the link she posted. It also explains depression quite well. Whether you suffer from it or know someone that does, knowledge is one of the first steps in treating it. Article in the Post

Red Bellied Woodpecker (GardenGrrl)
Red Bellied Woodpecker

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

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30. WunderAlertBot
4:11 PM GMT on August 21, 2014
GardenGrrl has created a new entry.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
29. BriarCraft
3:33 AM GMT on August 21, 2014
Nanu, nanu, Mork calling Orson...
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
28. plapman
12:39 PM GMT on August 20, 2014
Good morning Gardengrrl.
The crane is a good idea. The man has a basket that fits on the end that's big enough to hold 2 men. They cut off the branches before the main part of the tree is cut down.
It was sad to hear about Robin Williams. I'll always remember him as Mork in Mork and Mindy.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
27. GardenGrrl
12:56 AM GMT on August 17, 2014
Thanks to everyone for taking part in talking about a very tough subject. I have changed the blog title because it is was kind of an in-your-face way to get the message out. At this point I think everyone on the blogs that may need to see this already has. I will be keeping this blog up until Thursday. As this is my long work week and it only leaves me time to eat, sleep work, I won't be moderating the blog for a few days. Please be respectful of each other. Once again, if you need help, if you need to talk to someone please reach out.

Hi OSHNBLU, thank you for talking about your experience. I can only guess at the pain you have gone through. Sadly so many other people have been through something similar. Your story will help them not feel so alone. It is frightening to think that in our life time that treatment for depression has been so barbaric. It's a small wonder that people have been afraid to reach out for treatment. Thankfully it has gotten much better than shock treatments. As we continue to educate people about depression, as people like you speak out, we will find better answers.

DataPilot, so glad you found the right treatment. While we are not doing shock therapy anymore we still have way too many ignorant people working in the mental health system. Compound that with lawyers outlining health care policies in many occupations yes, we still have a ways to go. Is it better than thirty years ago? Definitely. Still, it is maddening that people in many professions have to remain silent or lose their jobs. What the heck kind of policy is that? Only a lawyer can answer that it is better the company does not know and someone does not get treatment than someone who receives treatment have any kind of accident unrelated to the depression and lawyers will line up to sue.

It is only through people speaking out, people breaking the silence that eventually depression will be treated as a disease and researched as a disease instead of a defect. I suspect you know that and that is why you are speaking out. Today you are not a poorly understood statistic, you are a voice that is part of the solution and cure.

Guyinajeep, thank you for being a friend that listens and for showing people how they can help their friends or family members in crisis. Just listen. Just be there. That can make all the difference sometimes. In Alcoholics Anonymous they have a saying "One Day At A Time". The principles of AA are just as useful for dealing with depression as they are addiction. For those contemplating suicide choosing to not kill ones self today and waiting for tomorrow is a good way to get through a crisis. In the morning one has the choice again to say; "Just for today I will NOT kill myself".
You are a good friend and a life saver.

Hi ricderr, oh my, that is a loaded statement "the comment that gets me most is when people talk about how selfish the act of suicide is...for the's not being selfish....far from it....once again...thanx for the great post" I will not contradict or debate it, I know what you mean. I think when people deal with grief it is sometimes easier for them to get angry in order to carry on. People comforting loved ones of the deceased some times don't know what else to say except something they think will help the family member "get mad" and pull through the crisis. Just as it is not selfish to have cancer, it is not selfish to have horrible soul sucking depression. It just looks like it some times.

Hi Jane, depression has so many faces. Each one an individual. Really is hard sometimes to figure out what is the right thing to do. Ignore the person crying? Talk to the person? Run. It had to seem strange having the parents say that. Sometimes people in the depths of depression will just break down and start sobbing when you talk to them. I don't know what that situation was. I do know that you are a warm and caring person. Just be yourself around people suffering depression. It will be the right thing.

You are right about how depression as a word is thrown around. There are several kinds that can be treated. Acute debilitating depression is one that comes and goes. It is the one that usually causes people to feel suicidal when it rears it's head. A person can have chronic depression which is mild to moderate depression most of the time. Mild to moderate depression tends to respond well medication. Acute episodes of debilitating depression is the tough one. Both, however, are tough to live with. People with chronic mild to moderate depression have a greater chance of severe depressive episodes. Sure people tend to throw around arm chair diagnoses of depression, but if you suspect someone is dealing with even mild to moderate depression it is probably a good idea to get screened for it. That is usually done with a simple question and answer test from a health professional. As far as I know they have not developed a blood test to diagnose depression yet.

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
26. ricderr
1:54 PM GMT on August 16, 2014
Great wife is an LPC/LMFT mental health counselor with her own practice and 5 other clinicians working for her....I work at the "family business" and am the stepdad of two children who suffer from depression and as such see first hand the affects of depression....the comment that gets me most is when people talk about how selfish the act of suicide is...for the's not being selfish....far from it....once again...thanx for the great post
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
25. JanesVacation
1:34 PM GMT on August 16, 2014
GG, thanks so much for stopping by my blog because it brought here to read the stories posted about depression. I'm totally blown away by these candid experiences that are being shared. Robin Williams has unknowingly opened up discussions that never took place before and getting the information out and the discussions going could lead the march for more research into depression therapies.

My close friend has a 25 year old daughter that lives at home and has suffered from depression for 10 years. It began when she was in junior high and I wonder if there is hope for her. All the experiences I'm reading here in your blog suggests there is and that is good. Her name is "Robin" and she is the face of depression for me. I saw her recently and my friend told me ahead of time to say "hi" to her, but not to strike up a conversation. I followed her wishes, but that seemed like such a strange request. It made depression even more mysterious for me. Maybe that is the big issue? How helpless and mysterious others feel when encountering an individual with depression. Maybe that is why it isn't talked about and it is just that faceless person next to us in traffic or in a restaurant?

I also want to comment on what many of you have said about real depression vs just feeling tired or sad. My sister seems to think her husband is depressed (she commented this to me after the death this week of RW), but she said it is because "he sleeps until 11AM on weekends." Comments like that seem to be a disservice to the clinically depressed. Anyway, the discussions are out there and I hope they continue. You are all very brave for sharing and I think it helps keep the focus on depression and not just one person's suicide. (Couldn't help but notice that like cancer - everyone has a story in their family or among their friends.) Cancer used to be something that we didn't talk about and now it is on its way to being treated and often cured.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
24. DataPilot
3:35 AM GMT on August 16, 2014
I see that the FAA's blanket ban of pilots using antidepressants was loosened a bit in 2010. However, only 4 SSRI drugs are allowed, and the pilot using them is grounded for at least a year. If one of the 4 approved SSRI drugs doesn't help the pilot's depression, but a different antidepressant does, too bad - the pilot is still grounded.

The FAA really needs to get their act together. While I fully understand their hesitance to allow pilots to fly while mentally unstable, I'm absolutely certain that their overly tight reistrictions are continuing to push depressed pilots into hiding. That's not acceptable in this day and age, IMHO.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
23. Guyinjeep16
1:34 AM GMT on August 16, 2014
Well I have a kind of weird story as Ill put it:

I had a friend who was suicidal and I wasnt really sure what to say to her about it, she ended up really upset one night and started emailing me about how she was going to kill herself that night, and the only thing I could think of saying (other than listening to her) is wait: you can always kill yourself tomorrow. ( I tried anything to get her attention because she really seemed set on it).

She actually laughed, I think it caught her off guard, and maybe even got her thinking that what I said was true, and she ended up not doing it and did feel much better after a few months. But she was really bad off for a few weeks.

But yes, I think simply listening and actually engaging the person can really make a big difference.

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
22. DataPilot
8:24 PM GMT on August 15, 2014
Great Blog GG. And thanks to all who have contruibuted here. Robin Williams death has hit me very hard. Had all sorts of odd anxity ridden dreams.

There are people you see everyday that just kind of count on you being there. The semi stranger you smile at and say hi to at work. For some people, especially those with depression, that smile is the one thing that gives them hope to get through the day. You had no idea your just being friendly was saving a life.

No one really knows how much their lives mean to other people around them. Part of depressive thinking is the idea that your life isn't important to anyone else. Not true, but I'm sure that Robin Williams would have never believed how many people would be affected by his suicide. That's the nature of depressive disorder.

I, too, was treated for major depression back in the early 1990's. It was initially a disastrous experience due to a poor selection of therapist and the attempt to undergo therapy without effective meds. Once I was stabilized on meds and had obtained the assistance of an appropriate therapist, I was able to work my way through the recovery process. I think that's why learning about my old friend's self-inflicted disability was so difficult for me - "There but for the grace of God go I".

Which brings up yet another topic. Back in the 1980's I was a commercial pilot. But I only flew small planes out of a semi-podunk airport, so the financial compensation for my efforts was, well, marginal. I found that I enjoyed working in IT and could make a heck of a lot more money at it, so I let my aviation career fall to the side and moved on. Besides, my eyes had always been less than healthy and maintaining a medical waiver for them was a pain. That turned out to be a good thing.

Back in those days, if a pilot was treated by a physician with psychotropic drugs of any sort (including as anti-depressants), their aviation career was over. Just like that. But a significant percentage of the general population suffers from depression at some point in their lives, and pilots are no different. When a pilot became so depressed that he needed meds, he had to choose between giving up his career, lying about his treatment or not getting treated at all. Guess what he probably did? Yep, most pilots in that situation would do without. Scary thought. Things are a little bit better now, in that pilots who are off psychotropic meds for a specific amount of time (a year?) can get their medical back. Still, that's a long time to be off work.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
7:15 PM GMT on August 15, 2014
Great Blog GG. And thanks to all who have contruibuted here. Robin Williams death has hit me very hard. Had all sorts of odd anxity ridden dreams.

My father had a series of 21 shock treatments in Nov. 1969, I was 16. Back then they called it Manic Depressive- and he self medicated, so Alcoholic. (He was sober from the time I was 5 until I was 15) The story of the effect of those treatments will never be told by me in any public forum. Glad they dont do that anymore.

So Smart, so funny, VERY sucessful in his career, functioning well, until it all came crashing down, like everything else in 1969.

He died (of a heart attack, or so the certificate sez)in 1973-I was 18.

Genetics. I am so happy for those that have not experienced the genetic predisposion to depression and mental unhealthiness. If I had inherited genes for diabetes,theres a med for that...The rest is stigimized.

I truely hope that in the future, there will be more research and effective treatment. I pray for my children and grandchildren and their children, there will be.

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
20. GardenGrrl
5:17 PM GMT on August 15, 2014
Hi Data, your friends experience fits with Sandi's understanding of depression before she started reading all this. Because we don't talk about depression and suicide in every day conversations people really don't know what it is. Even the people suffering from it. Sure we see those commercials on TV for various meds for "those people" who have depression. Usually its a female, so it reinforces stereotypes from a male point of view that depression is for weak people like women. Yes that is sexist but many guys do think that way.

Depression also does not make sense to the person suffering from it. If there are some problems in ones life no matter how minor, a depressed person will focus on those because they need to have a reason for this chronic bad mood or blue feeling. When depression goes deeper into the terrible despair and hopeless pit and there are no really big life problems around to account for THAT lost dark hopeless and helpless feeling, some people think they are weak and God forbid anyone know that their football team losing or getting teased has devastated them. It hasn't. Those things are just incidental to deep depression but to the sufferer they NEED to have a reason. If there is no external reason for these painful feelings then the only other thing it could be is that they are crazy or something.

Shame keeps people from realizing or acknowledging that they have clinical depression. For years depression has been called "Mental Illness" or a profound character defect that weak people have. No one wants that label. That is why a lot of people don't get help. That is why some people commit suicide. They would rather die than seek help because they feel this condition is so shameful for them. Ironically these same people are often very compassionate to others with depression problems.

Data, you friends story is an important one for those reasons above. Thank you for talking about it.

Brair, we are both tough gals and survivors. It is your courage to step forward and share your struggles and gains that will give others courage. The hard thing about being the rock everyone else leans on is eventually you feel crushed by the burden and something has to give. For the "rocks" and "family heroes" it is hard to find the strength to ask for help. After all, we are women of steel, right? (lol) Getting help is hardest for the people who help others.

Then there is the family connection. Depression is hereditary. It runs in my family as well. One of the reasons I never had children was I did not want to pass this curse on to my kid or a grand kid. Yes creativity, intelligence and athletic skills run in our family too, but the off and on nightmare of dealing with depression throughout my life kept me from having kids. So, I have pets.

Long Term Illness and Grief.

As mentioned before, Miss Elisabeth left out survivor guilt with the stages of mourning. Anyone, everyone who has been a caregiver for someone terminally ill has thought at least once, and often more than once; "I wish they would hurry up and die". I worked at a long term care facility/hospice and that thought would wrack family members with guilt some times. It is so common and normal to think that. It is common to feel relief after someone in hospice dies. These are defense mechanisms. Unfortunately then the guilt starts. Then if it is a partner, sometimes the absolute rock bottom of grief drops out when you realize they are gone.

Many people contemplate suicide after the death of a spouse or child. It can be part of the grieving process wanting to "go with them" or feeling some how you caused it. Talk to people about this. Put that demon of guilt and loss to rest. It does take time. Like Briar, think about where you are needed. Seriously, her cat did need her to stay a live. She needed to stay alive for the cat because they have a bond. When it comes down to it, even your houseplants need you to stick around.

There are people you see everyday that just kind of count on you being there. The semi stranger you smile at and say hi to at work. For some people, especially those with depression, that smile is the one thing that gives them hope to get through the day. You had no idea your just being friendly was saving a life. Someone I really did not know once told me that my being nice made a difference one day. And yes, one day a stranger just being nice made a difference for my continuing to live that day. You do matter.

Okay, and as Sandi brought up, no discussion about suicide is complete without addressing assisted suicide and Living Wills.
Assisted suicide is for people at the physical end stage of life. Some people don't want to be bedridden in a care facility. Some people don't want to be tied to tubes unable to care for themselves. Unable to even change a TV channel for themselves. There are all kinds of debates about this. I won't debate that here.

The point is, many depressed people toy with the idea that because they are in so much emotional pain that perhaps assisted suicide is appropriate for them. The only problem is they usually don't consult all their loved ones first before pulling the trigger. That is not fair to the people around you. You may argue that it is not fair you live in a black pit of despair. It is not fair that any of us have the often painful condition of clinical depression. It can be treated. The pain can be made less and you can live a decent normal life.

If you use the argument of chronic internal pain as a good reason to kill yourself then we are going to lose a whole lot of the population to arthritis, back pain, knee problems, hip problems, irritable bowel syndrome, inflamed nerve disorders, diabetic gangrene, etc. etc.

I know, I really do know what it is like to feel that kind of pain inside and just wanting it to stop. I also know that I have been able to treat it. Have been able to work through it on bad days...or weeks. I also know that on the days I am alive and can appreciate being alive, that is a great feeling. It is a gift. I see long term depression as kind of like having to give up my free time to go to work at some stupid job. I go to that job to survive and pay bills. But when the clock says GO, man I love my free time even more. Living with chronic depression can be like that. Try not to feel your depression but to think through it instead. You can be happy in a mostly normal way.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
19. BriarCraft
3:43 PM GMT on August 15, 2014
According to C my positive, and sometimes negative, personality trait is that of a "control freak" ... I have to be in control, of everything I do...... does this mean I have "obsessive compulsive personality disorder"? No, I don't think so... I am just a strong, organised, (usually) person, who like to know what i am doing, where I am going, how I will get there, and the outcome.

I'm glad you posted this, as well as your difficulty in understanding depression. Try to imagine, if you will, what it would be like not to be able to control the most important aspects of your life. And not being in control for an extended period of time, despite everything you do. That might well cause a feeling of hopelessness if it continued unabated for long enough. That feeling of hopelessness would be very similar to depression and could easily lead to actual depression.

Even if you can't quite imagine that hopelessness, it is very apparent from what you have said that you are also a compassionate person. There are lots of people in the world who don't understand depression, but there is a distinct shortage of compassionate people. That you don't understand depression is not a bad thing. That you are compassionate is a good thing.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
18. sandiquiz
9:20 AM GMT on August 15, 2014
All the posts I have contributed have been about someone I knew, or words and articles from other people.

I, and I am ashamed to say it, find it very difficult to understand depression. I have had lengthy discussions with C about this, and reading all the heart-breaking episodes in this thread, I feel I am beginning to understand how difficult and 'dangerous' it can be.

I have never been depressed in my life, as far as I am aware. I have had times of sadness, but nothing compared with what I have been reading this last few days. According to C my positive, and sometimes negative, personality trait is that of a "control freak" ... I have to be in control, of everything I do...... does this mean I have "obsessive compulsive personality disorder"? No, I don't think so... I am just a strong, organised, (usually) person, who like to know what i am doing, where I am going, how I will get there, and the outcome.

{ You will never know how long this sat on the computer screen... should I post it, should I not... suddenly I am not in control any more!}

Post it woman!
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17. BriarCraft
6:53 AM GMT on August 15, 2014
You started something here, GG. Lots of good information from commenters as well as you.

Someone very close to me has lived with chronic severe depression their entire life. This person has visited many psychologists and psychiatrists over the years and advises: "There are good professionals out there, but they can be very hard to find. People with emotional problems often end up studying psychology in college, and become mental health professionals, but they still have problems, too. If you need help, don't get discouraged if the first several are not a good match for you. Keep looking until you find someone who can help."

As for myself, I have been suicidal twice in my life. As a teenager, when my parents and brother were gone for the day, I sat in the garage with the car running until I passed out. Later, I was caregiver and breadwinner for six years when my first husband was terminally ill. Shortly after he died, my dream job fell apart about the same time I was dealing with the guilt phase of grieving. Suicide was frequently in my thoughts. At times during my struggle, strange as it may seem, it was only concern for my cat that kept me from pulling the trigger.

My brother had troubles practically from birth. He was considered "hyper-active" as a child. He had horrible rages and sometimes hurt himself. He was in his 30s before he was diagnosed as bi-polar. Now that he is in his 50s, and thanks to him finally finding the right psychiatrist, he has learned how to manage his life somewhere in between a manic high and deep dark depression.

My point in sharing this is to say that nobody is immune from depression or even suicidal thoughts. Sometimes the depression is a life-long challenge. Other times, it may be temporary, brought on by hopelessness, survivor guilt, accumulated stresses, or any number of other things. With Robin Williams, perhaps the diagnosis of Parkinsons Disease was the last straw for a man teetering on the edge. Who knows? I do know enough not to be judgmental.

After Sandi's mention of Switzerland, I do feel compelled to talk about a different kind of suicide -- the kind which is carefully thought-out and discussed with family and doctors. I am lucky to live in one of only two states (Oregon and Washington) that have death with dignity laws to aid the terminally ill who wish to exercise some control over their end. I hope never to need it, but I find it reassuring that the option is there should the circumstances ever warrant it.

So, enough of this depressing talk. I'm going to go watch some funny YouTube videos to get my mind off this subject before I go to bed. Sweet dreams, all.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
16. sandiquiz
5:58 AM GMT on August 15, 2014
One thing in the news here the last year or so has been about "assisted suicide". There is a clinic in
Switzerland that will take you, if you can afford it, to enable you to "sleep for ever"

A dear friend of mine, whom I got to know 30 years ago, was the most active person I ever met. She climbed mountains, she played tennis and cricket for her county, and was the life and soul of the party. Then 10 years ago she developed aches and pains which were eventually diagnosed as MS. She became wheelchair bound, unable to do anything for herself, and I mean anything, and she hated it. Everything stopped functioning but her brain.

"and you're not weak."

This phrase from Data made me think of my friend. She wasn't weak, she was extremely strong and brave when she decided, after discussion with family and friends, that she wanted to end it all, but with some dignity....... She went to Switzerland.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
15. DataPilot
12:53 AM GMT on August 15, 2014
......We are helped with a good conversation, weighing possibilities...... Quality and quantity are two totally different things. Get to know us. We are your cousin or your granddaughter. We are your bus driver or your comedian. We are everywhere."

.... And you may be one of us.

This is a really a difficult subject for me to talk about.

I recently met up with an old friend that I hadn't seen in eons. At our meeting, I learned that he is permanently disabled, as a result of a botched suicide attempt. When he was diagnosed with a terminal illness a few years back, he became so depressed that he attempted to end it all. It wasn't until he found himself in the hospital being treated for his self-inflicted injuries that he realized that he'd been depressed for most of his life, and that his terminal diagnosis was just the last straw. He has since reach a stable state - both medically and psychologically - and his illness has gone into remission. Ironically, after going through all the pain, the hopelessness, the suicide attempt, he has improved to the point that he's able to start building a new life. A happy life.

I asked him why he didn't he ask for help before hurting himself. He said that he didn't think that he needed mental health care because he wasn't crazy. Killing himself made sense, since he was just going to die anyway - except that it didn't, and he didn't. He could go on to live for years.

My point is that it's OK to seek help if you even find yourself kind-of, sort-of contemplating suicide. You're not crazy, and you're not weak.

...And you have plenty of company.
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14. GardenGrrl
10:28 PM GMT on August 14, 2014
Hi All, thanks for participating in talking about such a scary subject. Bringing things into the light helps chase away the darkness and shadows of fear.

Dear Lurkers, if this is touching a nerve, please talk to someone.
If you would like to share here but want to remain anonymous, just make up a new blog name and jump on in. There are also many online forums to talk in if you Google the subject. I don't know which ones are good so can't recommend one.

Hi Mike, yes indeed humor helps. I was actually thinking that when I wrote "Your doctor or therapist may be an idiot if....."

Hi Shirley, that is such good advice you give about not letting the thing about they already have your case and info hold you back from changing if the doctor or therapist is not helping. To many doctors patients really are just a file folder. A good doctor is like a good mechanic, you hang on to them. If they aren't find a better one.

Hi Sandi, wow, that is really powerful. You are finding some great info today. (See #11)

Hi Calpoppy, teen suicide is really a tough one. Teens are naturally secretive so when they decide to commit suicide it is really hard to predict they were planning on it. Like you said, sometimes they didn't know they were planning on it until the impulsive decision hits them. For some it is a cry for help when they just have no words for their pain. Unfortunately some of the methods they use only give you a couple minute window to discover and rescue them.

Hi Karen, so sorry to hear of the tragedy that has come to your family. Being a survivor of any death involving a loved one brings on so many different emotions. Elisabeth Kubler Ross very accurately describes the stages of grief as Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance. You can go through them in any order and back to some stages more than once during the healing process.

The one thing she left out was survivors guilt. This guilt is toxic. It does not belong in your grieving process but often sneaks in to torment the people left behind.

The reason survivors guilt is not valid is because of this hard truth; After We Become Adults There Are No Victims, Only Volunteers.

I know this brings out a part of us to look for all the exceptions. There are a few. War. Un-anticipated violence from another person. Accidents. Muggings. However, in our personal relationships and in our own actions we choose what to do.

Right or Wrong. Misguided or Uninformed we choose our own actions. When we are adults, there are no victims, only volunteers.

Sadness, missing the person, grief, these belong to mourning the loss of a loved one when they commit suicide. Guilt does not. It is a hard truth of adulthood, there are no victims only volunteers.

Absolve yourself of guilt.

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
13. SBKaren
9:30 PM GMT on August 14, 2014
Suicide is a horrible thing. Unfortunately, I have experienced two family members who have committed suicide. My step-brother, back in the 70s, and my nephew, just this past year (my nephew committed suicide on 1/2/14 - he was 24; and my brother passed from a stroke on 1/5/14 he was almost 63- one of the reasons I have been pretty absent of late - been a lot to deal with).

If anyone on here is or has thought of suicide, I beg you to seek help. The hurt that is left behind is unimaginable. But in reality, I guess the hurt that those that are left behind are experiencing, is similar to the hurt that the person is going through. That's what I figured about my nephew. He must have been in an awful lot of pain to think that killing himself was the only answer. He was surrounded by lots of good friends, and a very loving, close family, but whatever HE was thinking, it must have seemed unresolvable to him. So talk - just talk!!! And if you're on the receiving end....LISTEN WITH NO JUDGMENT!!

But the questions the family has and the extreme grief that a family goes through, constantly questioning themselves as to what they could have done to prevent it, can tear a family apart.

My brother's family is faring OK, but my brother's youngest son no longer wants to live in the house that they live in (he did not commit suicide at home, but in a solo car accident). He has practically lived in this house his whole life, but now there are too many memories for him. They are seriously contemplating it, even making a clean sweep to another county. Before anyone judge, they have thought about this move before, but this just might make it occur sooner rather than later.

I know when a person is depressed enough to want to think of ending it all, the LAST thing that goes through their mind is what will happen afterward. But it's hard, very hard. it's painful, very painful, and it never goes away.

We are spreading the ashes of my nephew and brother together in a few weeks (it just couldn't be done earlier), and I know that will bring up a whole lot more fresh hurt.

Thanks for posting this GardenGrrl - you just never know who it will matter to. It's a hard subject, but necessary.
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12. calpoppy
8:09 PM GMT on August 14, 2014
That was great article sandi! What great input from everyone including the blogster :)

Helping people with mental illness is certainly not America's strong point. But even Robin Williams with all his resources could only find one answer to his agony. Can all the help in the world help every individual that suffers? Something to think about. Not everyone who thinks suicidal thoughts will commit suicide, not everyone who suffers from depression will commit suicide, so my question is what is going on with the people who do. Is it something in the brain that can not be helped by any type of therapy? Could Philip Seymour Hoffman been saved, John Belushi?

With teenager suicide I think it is more of a quick decision, certainly not a life time of depression. And to me that is the saddest of all!!!!!!

I guess my thought for middle age to older individuals who commit suicide is it an organic brain problem that medical science has overlooked.

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
11. sandiquiz
7:27 PM GMT on August 14, 2014
I went back to the link I posted to the article in the Telegraph and read some of the replies in the discussion thread.
This one hit me between the eyes....

"We are everywhere. You stand behind us in line at the supermarket. We sell you a novel at the bookshop. We are your neighbor. You sit next to us on the bus. We are people like Robin Williams and you wouldn’t think it when you look at us, but we are in pain. You don’t see it, because we function. We do our utmost in a world that does not really tolerate us. A world that is scared of us. You’re startled when you hear how we use a belt and a closet door to choose an ending, because you never expected us to......

......We function and if we are lucky we don’t constantly have to fight our own limitation. Then we might even have success. But we don’t live wholeheartedly. There is something there that just makes it impossible.

.......We are helped with a good conversation, weighing possibilities...... Quality and quantity are two totally different things. Get to know us. We are your cousin or your granddaughter. We are your bus driver or your comedian. We are everywhere."
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10. Barefootontherocks
7:04 PM GMT on August 14, 2014
Quoting 7. GardenGrrl:

Hi Mike, you understand very well the darned if you do darned if you don't thing about finding a therapist or counselor. So many just do not understand that with depression we don't want to get "in touch" with are feelings we want to tone them down. There really needs to be a standardized manual for dealing with depression to refer people to so they can go on and find the right kind of help and counseling.

You know something like, here are some tried and true coping skills. Here are ways to build a support network. Here are ways to help your family help you. Here is how to recognize when you need a kick in the butt to deal with this. Here are signs "You know your doctor or therapist is an idiot if:......"

You can write it! Bet you can find a publisher in a quick minute. I think a book like this would help family members and loved ones also. I understand a lot more about depression after reading your blog and the comments. Thank you for posting this blog.
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9. WeatherWise
6:48 PM GMT on August 14, 2014
Hi GG, Thanks for sharing. You and Mike are right about getting the right counselor. And should a male counselor or any counselor give you a warm bear hug at the end of the session? I would say it is okay to change couselors if you are not feeling comfortable. It's kind of like getting a lawyer and you think you can't change because they are the only one that knows your case - don't ever think that - you are just a folder or nowadays a computer file that they have to open as you walk in to even recall your case. Change midstream. Same thing with doctors we feel we can't change because they know our history - not so you are just a file folder that must be opened for them to even recall your care and needs. Change anytime you feel uncomfortable.

Also, probably, to decide whether to go to a psychologist or a psychiatrist would be a big decision too.

In some states, a psychologist with doctorate can obtain an extra masters of a certain type that makes them qualified to write precriptions. I am not certain which states.

I know very little about Psychology other than the required courses or electives I took in college. I am wondering if it would not be a better order to work back from present as starting with childhood many seldom stay in therapy long enough to get to the present?

Just some more random thoughts.
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8. clearlakemike
5:48 PM GMT on August 14, 2014
Not to make light of any of this, GG (but laughter is good medicine,)

"You know your doctor or therapist is an idiot if:......"

But you made me laugh on that! Briar said something funny recently also about how you have to be "careful" what you say to them as they like hearing certain things that get them excited (and I am very badly paraphrasing what she said.) Not to disparage their profession, I have had some excellent ones in the past who I dearly miss. But like any profession or trade...Caveat emptor

Like you mentioned, depression and associated conditions are maybe like the depths of the oceans. We know more about the Moon than we do the Marianas Trench. The brain still is very much a mystery. As is our 'soul'.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
7. GardenGrrl
4:50 PM GMT on August 14, 2014
Hi Mike, you understand very well the darned if you do darned if you don't thing about finding a therapist or counselor. So many just do not understand that with depression we don't want to get "in touch" with are feelings we want to tone them down. There really needs to be a standardized manual for dealing with depression to refer people to so they can go on and find the right kind of help and counseling.

You know something like, here are some tried and true coping skills. Here are ways to build a support network. Here are ways to help your family help you. Here is how to recognize when you need a kick in the butt to deal with this. Here are signs "You know your doctor or therapist is an idiot if:......"
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
6. clearlakemike
4:26 PM GMT on August 14, 2014
there are therapists
that really don't understand depression and they will help you create reasons too.

Good blog GG. I am just speed reading through it and the contributions at the moment. As someone who has dealt with depression all my life - from childhood - it is a very interesting subject to me. I didn't know Robin Williams or all that much about his personal life as a 'fan' of his work so the news did come as a shock. But having known others dealing with depression also I have seen that money, fame, success, etc does not necessarily buy "happiness". Anyway, all good advice. Seek treatment...whether it be talk therapy, meds, meditation, exercise, all of the above...whatever works. Like any chronic disease it is a constant and lifelong treatment usually.

On a lighter note, I think, the quote above made me laugh as a therapist I went to recently made me want to "kill myself" upon leaving a session. I am not kidding! I went in feeling fine and left feeling...omg. Fortunately, I had other 'tools' or arrows in my quiver and quickly resumed feeling ok. Anyway, I guess the bottom line is if you are dealing with it or dealing with someone with depression is don't give up....keep up the struggle as best you can. Sometimes it will even be less of a struggle and hopefully more an annoyance. More later maybe when I can read more in detail at a slower speed.
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5. GardenGrrl
3:32 PM GMT on August 14, 2014
Thank You, WTS, Shirley, Data, and Sandi for contributing.

Medically and scientifically we are so behind in the treatment of depression. Twenty some years ago I worked in the mental health field with both adults and adolescents that had dual diagnoses of mental illness and chemical dependency. Quite often what they had was clinical depression that they self medicated with drugs and alcohol.

Skipping right to the point, back then and today many doctors and mental health practitioners really suck in their understanding of severe depression and it's treatment. This point should not be sugar coated. A lot of doctors, both family physicians and sadly many psychiatrists have no idea how to prescribe medication.

Quite often at the halfway houses I worked at we would have clients come in from jail or a treatment facility and be either nearly psychotic, doped up or just "not feeling right" due to improperly prescribed medication. Our staff psychiatrist who understood how meds work would either lower the dose or change the meds and the client became functional enough to benefit from treatment.

Our Director was rather brilliant and understood how to treat depression. She had us focus with clients on behavioral therapies instead of the whole "let's rehash your childhood" or lets do nothing but talk about feelings and no matter how crazy they are they are valid. People with mood disorders need to talk about feelings but in the sense of how to register them on a normal level. This is not easy as you have to walk a line between discounting over the top feelings and acknowledging feelings within a normal spectrum for the situation.

As proper medication only works to a certain extent on some people it was very important to teach coping skills and thinking skills for people to get through the lows and the mood swings.

Skip ahead to a few years ago. My own experience. Over the course of my life I have dealt with depressive episodes. then in my late forties I started having cramps and terrible moods swings. Went to the doctor and a physician assistant was certain I had ovarian cancer. The gynecologist (who incidentally now teaches at a major med school) said the little bump was a cyst and I was just having pms. The mood swings and depression increased. I went to more doctors that gave me hormones which made me crazier. They gave me anti-depressants which did not help much. They kind of treated me like I was making a big deal out of something I really should not be having such a problem with.

My life started to unravel. Everything bothered me. I was crying all they time. Sometimes I would get rushes of explosive anger. Sometimes I would have panic attacks. I was on the verge of being violently barking nuts and felt if this emotional bombardment of depression and anger and fear could not be lowered even a bit I would have to kill myself before I killed someone else.

I went to another doctor, a different gynecologist and they found I had a cancerous tumor almost the size of a small nerf football. Well, that explains the hormonal imbalance and mood swings.

What got me through was following the same advice and treatment I gave to my clients many years ago; Breath, Breath slowly, deeply, calmly. Think. Is how I am feeling appropriate for what is actually happening? Think some more before acting or reacting. Breath....

Today I am back to my normal mostly happy and I think the world is cool kind of place self. Yes, the depression I have had my whole life still comes up and I talk myself through it. Some times I need a valium but not very often. It is a life long disease. Some day the docs will figure out how to regulate brain chemistry. Until then those with depression will need to use cognitive therapy, develop coping skills unique to your personality and hopefully find some meds that help keep you from going too high or low.

The sad part here is a lot of doctors and mental health people are complete idiots so you will have to learn to care for yourself and cope until you can find one that either gets lucky with your meds or knows what they are doing. The important thing is learn what is "normal" and what is depression and self talk yourself through the feelings that are hurting you.

If you want to know more about developing coping skills give me a holler. You don't have to just survive, you can live.
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4. sandiquiz
11:11 AM GMT on August 14, 2014
Bravo GG!!

From the Daily Telegraph today

"When we misuse words like "depressed" something insidious and destructive happens. They become part of our vernacular, their meaning is diluted, it becomes much harder to give weight and necessary attention to those who really are suffering from depression. Real depression is something so serious, so life-threatening, so heavy, that it is more than disingenuous to bandy the word around lightly – it is dangerous. "

To read the whole article click here
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3. DataPilot
4:15 AM GMT on August 14, 2014
Plus 10000000000000

Clinical depression shouldn't be taken lightly. With treatment, it can be cured, or at least managed; without treatment, it can be fatal. I've never gotten to meet my maternal grandfather or father-in-law, as both of them died from depression at a relatively young age. If they'd been treated, they probably would have been cured.

Thank you for writing this, GG. You never know, your blog entry may save someone's life.

Choose Hope.
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2. WeatherWise
4:14 AM GMT on August 14, 2014
Great blog and well stated. I have some thoughts or beliefs about suicide and depression. So far I have not experienced depression as such.

Ramblings and thoughts of suicide and depression.

Of course, as folks go through rough times or tragedies they quite often experiece clinical depression which reaching out to family and friends usually helps resolve without meds or treatments.

First of all I resent folks that try to say one committed suicide because of this or that happening in their life. I don't think so. I truly believe those attempting suicide are depressed and in a mental state of mind at that moment..

Mental depression is a very cruel illness to both the patient and their friends and family.

A person who attempts suicide but survives is never the same person ever again. They can not tell you a reason why they did it. No amount of treatment seems to bring them back to their normal self again.

So often family members blame themselves - if only they could have spoken with them or if.....So many times you are sitting right there together and they just walk out and do it.

And yes, the chance of repeating it - seems I have read somewhere that if it happens within a family, there is a greater chance someone else in the family may do the same time. I agree that the media hype playing it up is not good.

In a small group discussion in Sunday School class, all of these ladies were saying they got depressed when etc. I am wondering if they are using the word depressed for upset or angry and really don't understand that depression is real.

Oh, and about being surprised, folks with mental illness can hide it. They can be happy and jovial when folks come in, talk and carry on like normal, then after the visitors leave - go right back into the "I don't know anything mode."

Treatments do not always work right away and everyone wants a quick fix and often quit treatment before the battery of treatments are completed and come home completely wild or they can come home hardly comminicating.

Types of treatments use to be so harsh with shock treatments and all which I don't know a whole lot about. Hopefully modern day treatments are better.

Time is no longer on one's side as insurance is the driving force that determines how long you get treatment.

Yes, about the stigma attached, too. Weak mind - all the things you said much better than I can.

Another thing, people talk - whispering nontruths as if they are stated facts as to what the reason was. That is just a fact of life - folks do it. The family and friends close by just really have to harden their shells, lift their heads up high, and go on about their life and know it was nothing they did or said that caused it to happen.

I have rambled on just throwing out thoughts as they came to mind. Family and friends, stop blaming yourself.

If someone you know is depressed try to get them to seek help -that in itself is almost impossible.

Oh, and one more thing: if you experience it with a close relative, seek treatment to help you get through the tragedy and resume a normal life. Now, that can really happen. You don't have to carry that burden the rest of your life in pain and hurt, though most folks do. A friend went through it - lost her mate to suicide. I encouraged her to go through counseling. She did. She would go to sessions every Thursday afternoon and then meet a couple of close friends and I for dinner. She stuck with it and was able to return to a normal life and to even remarry and be happy again. She had a lot of friends and close family support as well as friends at work.

I have rambled on for far too long.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1. WatchinTheSky
2:52 AM GMT on August 14, 2014
I was surprised as well, to hear of his depression and times in rehab - his outward appearance was far from that. I hope his path does not encourage others, though I was dismayed that there is seemingly plenty of info/instruction online vin how to do what he did to end his sadness.

Very nice blog, and though, as you said, it is plenty hard work, hopefully more people will recognize themselves in the Robin's publicity and search out help. Such a shame to come to a needless end.

It's a little scary that problems with brain chemistry are sometimes so much more difficult to manage than other ailments.
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