Some Thoughts on Depression

Thoughts on Depression from Carrie on Living | www.carrieonliving.com

I was shocked as anyone else when I heard about the death of actor Robin Williams. Even worse was finding out that he took his own life, apparently as a result of severe depression. The story hit home with me as someone whose father suffered terribly from this disease.

For at least ten years and probably longer, my dad was ruined by physical and mental disorders, including depression. Difficult circumstances that would be hard for anyone were overwhelming for him, and he got worse and worse as time went on. For most of my adulthood, I lived thousands of miles away from my dad, so our communication was limited to phone calls. I tried calling at least once a week, but for long stretches of time, months, he would not respond. His wife said he often did not get out of bed for days. I loved him so much, but we couldn’t maintain a decent relationship with those types of barriers.

At the very end, my dad was institutionalized and then lived in a group home. His family helped him get set up in an apartment, but he was incapable of living independently. The last time I spoke to him was just before Christmas in 2011. Nobody heard anything from him for a few weeks and his body was found at least 10 days after he passed away, apparently from a diabetic coma. I can only hope that he didn’t suffer and he wasn’t terrified by being alone and dying.

My dad had so many amazing traits that were muted by mental disease, but he was gentle, he loved animals and the outdoors. He was a sensitive introvert and loved reading, music, and nature. I am his daughter for sure; we were very much alike in many ways, including having my own brushes with anxiety and depression, for which I sought professional help.

Even though my dad lived in Oklahoma most of his life, he also loved California and the ocean, like I do. We took a family trip to Carmel and Monterey when I was six:

Carrie on Living | www.carrieonliving.com

Who would have guessed that I would have ended up living close to this area as adult? I feel so grateful to see the ocean every day and I so wish my dad could come visit. I can imagine that we would take long walks together and he would wax poetic about the state of the world.

My dad was so proud of me and sometimes read my blog. In our last conversation, he told me I should write a book. Someday, maybe I will. Until then, my message is to offer compassion and support to you or anyone you know who is suffering from depression, because I know how much it hurts.

Most importantly, if you have any thoughts of not wanting to live, then you must get help. You are worth it and you are not alone. Please take steps to get better and share your gifts with the world. If you are desperate, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 which is available 24/7. For general information on depression, the NIH has some good information.

For other links to books and websites that have helped me, please visit my Resources page.

For more inspiration on healthy, balanced living, feel free to follow me on my social media accounts @carrieonliving: FacebookInstagramPinterest, and Twitter.

Comments

  1. heather cloudt says

    A intensely beautiful story of your relationship with your dad. What I love the most about this post is that in your dad’s memory, you posted resources for people who are in his same position. I know he must be prod of you – I am!

  2. says

    That was a beautiful post. It brought back memories of my Dad who I believed suffered from depression because of his physical illness. I remember my Dad crying a lot, too much, and sure enough each and every Christmas he would cry because it was his last Christmas. Some friends close to me wonder why I try not to celebrate Christmas and it’s because it just brings back that awful time. My Dad was a wonderful man and I loved him so much, I wish I had told him that but I’m sure he knew it.

    • says

      Thanks for sharing, Judy. I’m sorry about your dad. Depression and illness are very sad to talk about, but I think it’s good to talk about it and let people know that there are options. My dad was embarrassed by his conditions and that held him back from getting help sooner rather than later. Also, I’m certain your dad knew how much you loved him, it sounds like he was very important to you and he must have sensed that.

  3. says

    Beautiful post, Carrie. Loved the photo of you and your Dad at the ocean. So powerful and true how things forshadow and prepare us for what is to come, but thankfully we don’t see all of it, and can just try to trust in the loving parts. Many blessings to you on your life journey.

  4. Lynne says

    Very well written Carrie. I hope this will encourage others who suffer depression to get the help they need. Every human life has value and it is so unfortunate that too many can’t see that beyond their depression.

    • says

      I so agree, Lynne. I firmly believe that depression is a serious disease that should be treated appropriately. Also, I don’t understand the shame involved with being afflicted by mental disease. I know my dad felt a lot of shame, especially being a man and feeling like he was somehow weak because of it.

  5. says

    I was so sad to hear of Robin Williams. Depression is such an ugly thing.
    And I’m so sorry about your dad… I too have a family history of severe depression and it is very difficult to have a relationship under those circumstances.
    I’m happy you have fond memories =)

    • says

      Thanks, Kimmy. I do have fond memories of my dad, although they often get pushed aside by the sad ones. Some good ones include: playing tennis with him, when he taught me to ride my bike, when he played with me in the swimming pool, when he “tried” to teach me how to ride a motorcycle (that was his idea, not mine ha ha), when he built my sister and me a tire swing, hiking together in Colorado, and when we went boogie boarding together in California. :0)

  6. says

    Thanks so sharing such a personal, but relevant part of yourself. I think when taking about mental illness, it is so important to also include in the discussion, how it affects those who have loved ones who are suffering. *HUGS*

  7. Alexandra says

    Raw, beautiful, heartbreaking and heart warming at the same time. Keep writing about it, I see that book forming. You’re truly beautiful, inside and out. Sending so much love and peace, xoxo.

  8. Monica says

    Carrie,

    This is a beautifully written post about your dad. My dad committed suicide when I was barely 2 years old, thus I have absolutely no memory of him. My mom says I am a lot like him in many ways. Unfortunately, one way is that I too struggle with depressive thoughts. It was much worse when I was younger and I took medicine for a time. However, I weaned myself off of it and can honestly say (and my husband agrees) that I handle any depressive tendencies much better now and have learned to deal with them in a constructive and more mature way. This is one blessing of getting older!
    Take care,
    Monica

    • says

      Thanks for sharing such an intimate story, Monica. Your words make me feel so much less alone in this experience, because, although I LOVE that I share so many traits that my dad had, I’m also scared to death of the mental disease aspect, because I know it has a genetic component. I agree with you that age, experience, and therapy to learn how to handle life’s ups and downs have given me the tools to manage my emotions without medication. However, for anyone reading this, please know there is no judgment about whether you take medication or not. The most important aspect is to get help and get better. Thanks again, Monica.

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