Monday, March 14, 2016

Him


It was an old gun.

The man had bought the gun in 1967. He was a young lawyer, with a toddler and another on the way.

His wife was a schoolteacher, supporting their small family while he started a law practice. His father had been a cloth-cutter at a factory in Chicago, and worked long hours to support his family and pay for his son to go to law school. The older man had always believed in "give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day... teach a man to fish he'll eat for a lifetime" and wanted to do that for his son.




After graduating from law school the young man and his wife (they'd known each other since they were 15 & 14) felt like their future was elsewhere, and moved west. They left behind the only family they had and only place they'd ever lived. Most would follow them in a few years.

The man was 25 when his only son was born. A month later the man's father died at 66. It devastated him, and took him a year to recover. He was an only child and returned to Chicago to close things out, and his mother decided to move West to join the young family.

One day, after he'd won a divorce case, the lady's ex-husband threatened to kill him. Since the ex had a history of violence, the lawyer bought a small handgun and some ammo. He hoped to never use it, but also wanted to be able to protect his family. It wasn't even much of a gun. Just a .22 pistol, the closest thing to a pop gun among actual firearms.

The threat never materialized. The ex moved away, and the lawyer hid the gun in an old suitcase in his closet and forgot about it.

The man's law practice grew, and he became a successful attorney. He found his niche in life, and was good at it. He loved his work, but was also devoted to his family. As his kids grew he took time off whenever he could to do things with them. One day he and his wife called them in sick to school, so they could take them to the zoo instead. The family traveled to Hawaii. Up and down throughout western America. Europe. Mexico. Canada. Disneyland. The beach. River trips. National parks. Hawaii. Alaska. Nothing incredibly exotic, but fun. While not wealthy, they were comfortable. He worked very hard.

On a 1979 trip to Mexico City, his son remembers watching an old beggar shuffling down the street holding a bucket in one hand and shaking maracas in the other. He had no teeth, and both eye sockets were empty. The man watched the beggar, then walked over and put a handful of coins in the bucket. The beggar silently made the sign of the cross.

In a city full of people asking for money, this was the only time the man ever did that, and he told his son that some people truly needed help, and that was one of them. The boy never forgot that.

The boy grew up remembering hearing his dad get up early, like 4-5 in the morning. He'd listen to him get dressed, then the loud clumping of dress shoes going down the tiled hall to the garage, then the door lock, and his car drive away. Sometimes, if his son was awake during the summer, the man took him to work with him. He put his son in charge of making photocopies for his office when he was there. The boy loved this. Made him feel important. Sometimes, if he heard the man getting ready, the boy would cough loudly to show that he was up, hoping to get taken to the office on a school day... but it didn't work that way.

On rare occasions the kids got to go see their Dad in court. It was cool, watching him examine and cross-examine people. They could see why he was so highly regarded in local circles.

Life, as it will, goes on. The kids grew. One year, while poking around, the son as a teenager found the old gun. He quietly left it alone, locked in the suitcase. Once, during a teenage depression, he thought about it again, but never went back to see it. It was soon forgotten again.

As his kids grew the man took them on special trips. His son to Washington D.C., the girl to watch her favorite football team play in Los Angeles. He took them both Las Vegas, where he played (and won) tournament blackjack, and taught both kids to play, too. His son became a car geek for a few years. One morning, just to let the teenage boy look up close at a Lamborghini Countach that was on display, the man pretended to be interested in buying a Mercedes at a dealership.

The man and his wife aged well. He made it through a heart attack and his wife survived breast cancer. Together they traveled to Australia, Japan, Europe, Israel, Hong Kong... Places that when they were young they'd only dreamed of someday being able to see. Hard work and life had been good to this family.

Like kids do, they left the nest. The boy had always dreamed of being a doctor, and the man helped him get there. Tuition in the 1980's wasn't what it is today, but it wasn't cheap. The man, like his father, believed that you should do your best to support your kids' education so they could support themselves. His son came out of medical school with far less debt than he normally would have, and was able to start a practice and his own family. The man's daughter, to her surprise, discovered that being a mom was all she'd ever wanted, and so did that full time with her own kids.

The man and his wife saw time go by. Age brings both the good and bad, but for them it was still good. Love, 5 grandchildren, and their 50th anniversary. They celebrated the last in the company of family and many friends, most of whom had been at their 25th anniversary, too. We all have to get old, but doing so in the presence of good friends helps. Life has tragedy, comedy, and love, and it's good to have others to share them with.

A few months later the man became depressed, and it gradually worsened. There was no real reason for him to be depressed - he had everything anyone could possibly want -  but he did. He went to his regular doctor, then to a psychiatrist, and they both tried hard to help him.

Depression is REAL. And it hurts. The world is full of people who don't believe in it and deny that it's an illness. I encounter them in my practice and on trips to visit in-laws. One loves to use the phrase "people just need to put on their big-boy pants," as if her simplistic insight would magically solve everything.

I see politicians and insurance executives on the news claiming mental health doesn't need to be covered because it's not a "real" disease. In a world where fortunes are spent on breakthroughs for rare diseases a more common one - depression - takes a back seat because it's not a "real" disease. The most common treatment given is to tell people to suck it up and deal with it. And, speaking from personal experience, that only makes it worse.

The attitude of many toward mental illness today is not better than 200-300 years ago, when its victims were chained up in dungeons and forgotten.

But the man, fortunately, had good insurance. He was able to see a psychiatrist, and afford medications. And he tried hard. He really wanted to get better. He took them as directed, trying one after another, living with side effects. His family tried hard to support him. Calling him often, visiting when he was willing to see them, and telling him how much they loved him. But none of it seemed to help.

Then, one day when his wife had gone out to the store to get some things, he remembered the old gun.

Dad, I miss you so much.

97 comments:

Anonymous said...

Depression sucks so bad. And I am so sorry it took your father. It's a mean, cruel illness, and I'm ready for a real cure. Prayers for you.

Suzanne Lucas said...

I'm so sorry. Depression is, indeed, a real disease, as are all mental illnesses.

Allan said...

I'm sitting here on my break on the first day of a new clinical placement, with the light streaming in through the windows and birdsong rising above the dull roar of nearby traffic. I've enjoyed your blog time and again, and while you often make me reconsider the world this is one of those moments where everything else stops.

Thank you so much for sharing; this could not have been easy for you.

Much love from over the Atlantic, Ibee.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing and I'm so sorry for your loss.

When will people realize that depression is a disease like so many others?
No one tells the patient who is having signs of a heart attack of stroke to just "think positive thoughts" or "stop stressing out so much". Nope, they take immediate intervention to try and save their life.
No one chastises the patient with a broken bone for taking pain meds, accusing them of turning to pills to fix the problem when they should just "deal with it".

My heart aches for you, your wife, and your grandkids.

SLU / AmC said...

Oh, Dr. Grumpy, I am so, so sorry...

Anonymous said...

I'm just a nobody who reads your blog daily (first thing in the morning), and have enjoyed it now for years.

My deepest condolences to you and your family.

Anonymous said...

I just want to send you some hugs this morning. Depression is a tough, tough disease, and anyone who doesn't think it classifies as a disease obviously has never had it.

Suze said...

Depression stinks and attitudes towards it are worse. People medicate for many illnesses; why does the stigma remain?

I lost my brother to suicide and as far as I know he was depressed. No one will talk about. Please accept my condolences. I have found that time does not heal the pain we just learn to deal with it.

MSGMD said...

So very sorry to hear of your loss. Think of how much you DID do by calling, visiting, loving, and how much worse he would have felt without your efforts.

I believe that depression is THE health crisis of the 21st century, rather than cancer, heart disease, dementia, or stroke. And our main approach is to treat it as a character flaw. Like telling a hearing impaired person to "listen harder". We NEED an ice bucket challenge for MDD.

Sorry for my rant. Go hug your kids and your sister, and your mom. Assure them that he didn't do this out of a lack of love for them (or you) but only because the pain was too great to bear.

Mari-Ann said...

He sounds as if he lived a good life and was a wonderful husband and father. That this should be the culmination of a life well lived is truly tragic. I am so sorry for your loss. I think he fought the good fight but lost in the end.

And I will think twice before I believe that someone can just "snap out of it".

leslie sobel said...

Depression is a horrible disease and we need better treatments along with no more stigma. I am so very sorry for your and your family's loss.

Candida Gomez said...

I am so, so sorry for the loss of your father.

Depression: I've walked that path. I've talked to the counselors, taken the pills, thought the thoughts, felt the pain. I've seen it in my dad and my son. I suspect my mother suffers from it. I've seen alcoholism destroy the lives of relatives on both sides, relatives who refused to admit they were 'weak' and see a psychiatrist or psychologist.

It's not weakness to admit you need help. It's one of the hardest things you'll ever do.

And there's all the 'taking pills to change your mind is wrong', and 'people have it worse than you' and 'life throws you lemons sometimes, suck it up'. And my personal favorite, 'it's all in your head'.

What finally alleviated my depression on a quasi-permanent basis? I went to see the doctor after several years of not seeing one. He prescribed generic Zoloft, but he also did a full workup inside and out, including blood tests.

I have hypothyroidism. A few months after being prescribed levothyroxine, my world opened up and lightened up. The black murky sea that constantly followed and clung to me retreated. I saw things in a different way. And when Leonard Nemoy died months ago, and when one of our cats had a seizure that resulted in brain damage that killed him less than ten days ago, grief felt different. A light at the end of the pain could be seen.

Got to love it, though. It's fine to take a pill to bring your body's chemistry back into balance, although taking one to balance your mind is subject to criticism. Mention that your personal depression was a side effect of being out of whack chemically, and things get... interesting. Particularly with those who just won't believe it's real.

On the flip side, these days you also run into people who can't understand why depression and other mental illness can't be "cured" by popping the right pills. Humans are far too complicated for that.

(Our cat Blitz had a history of seizures, two to three months apart for at least a year. This last seizure was unattended, with my father returning home just in time for the end-phase drooling, shivering, and staring. We don't know if the seizure caused irreparable damage this time, or if he hit his head on the metal legs of the den table or the front of the den fridge. We don't even know if initial damage or illness caused the seizures, or the seizures caused more damage. His final symptoms followed the pattern of a slow brain bleed, and brain surgery on cats doesn't happen. His last seizure was mid-morning on the fourth, and he was put to sleep in my Dad's arms on the seventh. We lost a beloved friend, and my Dad lost his best buddy.)

Sorry, Doc. I honestly don't mean to steal the spotlight. Your father's more important than my cat.

chuck w said...

Having suffered from depression myself, I understand some of what your father endured. I was very fortunate to have found both an effective medication and a way to recover from my bouts of depression and I am so sorry for your mother, you and all of your family.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry to hear that. I've always thought of mental illnesses as the most debilitating diseases ever. One can have a healthy body, but with an unhealthy mind, it all means nothing.

awesomesauciness said...

Depression is a horrid, heartless, cruel bitch. I'm so incredibly sorry for your loss, Dr. G

Anonymous said...

Such a heartbreaking story. I'm so sorry for your loss. Losing a loved one is never easy, but losing a loved one in that manner...I can't imagine.

Mental health is a real issue. I wish more people recognized that.

Melinda said...

Thank you for sharing this. I'm so sorry for your loss.

The more people who read about depression and the toll it takes on people, the more likely we are to get support for research. It's a horrible to disease.

Amy said...

Depression is very much real. I have struggled with it my entire life and go through stretches of being suicidal. It's a battle to get help and often that help is fairly close to worthless. I understand your father's despair.

My sympathies to you and your whole family, Dr. G. May this horrid disease get the attention and research $ it deserves.

Jen in Cincy said...

I'm so sorry that depression took away such a wonderful man from many friends and loved ones, far too soon. Thank you for sharing such an intensely personal, and incredibly important, story.

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry for your loss. My prayers go out to you and yours.

Imamontanalady

Packer said...

I knew where this was headed before I finished the second sentence.

The pain of the mind is the worst sort of pain that exist.

You have to have been there to understand.

Moose said...

I'm so sorry. This is so wonderfully written and an amazing tribute.

Depression and mood disorders are the most common mental illness yet our society still tends to treat it as a moral failing. "He had no reason to be depressed" is, exactly, the issue -- depression is not the same thing as being sad. Society keeps trying to insist that depressed people just need to cheer up, and it's not helping.

I have treatment-resistant depression. It's documented that most drugs for mood disorders work no better than placebos, that a success rate of no higher than about 1/3 is normal. That's why many people have to try different medications until they find one that works... if they do.

There is so much more that needs to be, must be done.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for writing so beautifully and openly about depression and suicide. The enforced silence and secrecy doubles the pain of this cruel disease. Whenever I'm in a place where the silence is broken it seems as if most of us are survivors of it in one way or another.

And thanks for all your writing. It enriches my mornings.

Rebecca Hoover said...

What a beautiful tribute, to a wonderful father. So sorry that it ended so sadly. My thoughts are with you.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Grumpy: I am a faithful reader and appreciate your work. You rock.
Chris

Marjie said...

So sorry for your loss Dr. Grumpy

gloria p said...

Thank you for sharing this painful experience.

Depression is like a black dog that sits on your shoulders, weighing you down. Occasionally you can get him to jump down, for a long or short time with medication, meditation, exercise, or for no reason at all. You think he is gone and that is a great relief, but don't look back, because he is following in your footsteps, looking for an opportunity to jump up again. His opening can come from an experience that leaves you vulnerable or from an unknown, like the flipping of a light switch.

If you or someone you know seems inconsolable, get help. It's not a character flaw or lack of self-control. It's an illness.

Ms. Donna said...

Oh, I am so sorry.

Someday, I hope, depression will be seen as the killer it is and not be treated as a joke or the common cold.

Your post might help with that.

MoonGoddess said...

I am so sad to hear of your father's passing. I know, firsthand, the struggles we have with depression and if this way out of suffering is what your father chose, then please know that it was all that was left for him and he did it with his life and heart full of love for all who knew and loved him right back.

HeroHog said...

First, I'm so sorry for your loss.

As to depression, I have it. Thank God, mine is manageable with prozac and I don't have any real adverse side effects. Without it, I am a hot mess. Fortunately, I haven't ever seriously considered self harm during the times I was off prozac and going through rough patches in life.

Doc, y'all did all you could short of being at his side 24/7. If he gives you no outward signs that self harm is being considered, you are not inclined to "be the bad guy" and remove all the pills and sharp objects. From your tale, I take it that old .22 was all but forgotten and not considered as something to be used against anyone.

Find your peace with this Doc. Your father sounds like a good man who died from a bitch of a disease.

Diane Evans said...

I am so very sorry for your loss.

I, and every member of my family (husband, daughter and son) have all suffered from depression and I could not agree with you more that it is a real disease that needs to be treated with the seriousness it deserves and not as a character flaw.

I am deeply sorry that your Dad could not find the right help. He sounds like he was a wonderful man.

bobbie said...

First and foremost ~ I am so very sorry for your loss.

You have written a beautifully eloquent tribute to the man ~ thank you for sharing it with us. It can't have been easy for you ~

Also ~ thank you for speaking out about depression. Like many who have posted today, I have depression ~ well controlled by medication.

Bless you ~

Denise Perry said...

I'm sorry for your loss.

My sister was lucky. As much as I hate my sister's ex-boyfriend for certain reasons, I'm grateful that he was able to stop her attempts from being successful.

Unknown said...

I'm so sorry.

Rachel S said...

Thank you for sharing this deeply personal story about who your father was, the kind of man he was, a wonderful man and strong man. And the way depression can feel like it takes everything good away, no matter how often people try to help you remember the good things in life; that depression can be such a serious disease and no matter how other people try to help, sometimes a very fatal disease that takes its victims anyway. Anyway I'm rambling. I am so sorry for your loss. I am so sorry. I know you will, in fact already have done, carry on his legacy of what a wonderful, giving, caring, strong person he was. Sending lots of good thoughts and caring towards you and your family.

Jono said...

Because politicians and insurance executives know so much about health and medicine they should be left out of the system. Just patient and doctor should be in control. Depression and mental illness is real. I am sorry your dad is gone. I miss mine, too.

Elli said...

I lost my father to suicide more than 40 years ago. I am so very sorry that you lost yours.

Anonymous said...

Please accept my deepest condolences for you and your family.

Anonymous said...

I can only second what Rachel S at 3:23 said. I am so, so sorry for your loss. As a long time reader of yours, I know what a kind and caring father, husband, and physician you are and I know that your father was your role model. Of all the accomplishments your father made, you were his greatest.

Anonymous said...

Oh my God, Dear Dr G. I am so sorry.

tbd88 said...

Like the others, I must say that I am terribly sorry for your loss and that while deaths from disease are inevitable, some of them are absolutely preventable and this was one of them.

I was diagnosed twenty-five years ago, when I was eleven. It gets better, it gets worse. I've spent time inpatient, I had to take time off of college because medication failed and I couldn't work, but overall I'm doing well. But in the back of my head, I know that it might not stay that way, and that gives an uncertainty to my life that I would very much like to be without!

When I was 14, a teacher and friend of mine who had been diagnosed as having Seasonal Affective Disorder was taken off of his meds because his insurance ran out. A month later his wife and his four-year-old son found him dead in the living room of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. The day I found out, I decided that if I ever wanted to kill myself, I had to first make a list of all of the people who would be more hurt by my death than I was hurting right then. As long as there were people on the list, I couldn't do it.

Sometimes the list runs out for some people; the pain is so bad that you can't see anything else. I forgive anybody who has felt their list run out and gone.

Christine said...

What a poignant, wonderfully written story. Thank you for sharing. I saw it coming. And I begged it not to come at the end. I'm so sorry for your loss.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Grumpy, thank you for you blog.
Your stories helped me through the pain of losing my mother.
I wondered what had happened when you disappeared -
Strange how we have this connection with people we have never met.
Thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry for your loss. As a social worker I deal with mental illness daily. People can't choose to not be ill. Positive thoughts won't make it go away, yet we still can't get away from the stigma of having an illness that we can't see on an X-ray or scan. We also devalue our elders as a society and try our best to not age even though it is inevitable. Elder depression is on the rise because growing old is sad and renders one useless, or so says our society. You did all you could. And I hope that if you ever feel that way you will reach for help, to us, your family and friends. Take care and grieve. There is no shame in grief

- unpolitically correct social worker.

lbparker said...

I'm very sorry for your loss, Dr G. Thank you for sharing this. It can be unpleasant to "go public" with a tragic loss, especially on the internet where people can drop in and say any nasty thing that pops into their heads. Please know that your willingness to share your life with us is very much appreciated. We respect your humor, honesty, professionalism and transparency. May God comfort you in your grief, and help you, not to "get over", but to move forward. You and your whole family are in my prayers.

Shawn Stratton said...

Oh Dr G- I'm so sorry, depression runs deep in my family too. If words could help, remember these, " DEPRESSION LIES" sadly not everyone can hear them.

Debbie NP said...

you are a gifted man. I am sorry

Anonymous said...

OH, words are meaningless and I can say nothing that you haven't heard...but thank you for taking the time to share what made your Dad the man he was and how that helped make you the man you are.

MBee

Anonymous said...

Sending sympathy and much love, Dr. Grumpy.

clairesmum said...

I am so sorry for your loss. Depression is so nasty, and so hard for anyone who has not known it to understand. And meds don't always help, or help enough. Talking doesn't always help, or help enough. Thanks for sharing your story, shining light into the darkness of depression does help.

Anonymous said...

המקום ינחם אתכם בתוך שער אבילי ציון ןורןשלים

srmd86 said...

I'm so very sorry for your loss Dr. Grumpy! Sending you love and prayers!

jen said...

i am so sorry, dr. grumpy.

Anonymous said...

Dr Grumpy, I'm so sorry for your loss, and the loss of all those others in internet land.
It just shows that mental illness does not discriminate and it is a real and legitimate illness.
I've attempted suicide and lived for years with severe depression- it thought it was just me and my fault. If you do find yourself not feeling well; anxious, depressed, not sleeping, thinking horrible thoughts- it's not your fault and it's not permanent. Get help, it's not the end.

P.S. Thanks to my psych and all the caring and kind psychs out there. :-)

Unknown said...

I was discharged from the hospital after a depressive episode the same day Robin Williams killed himself. I just kept thinking it could've been me.

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry for your loss, Dr. Grumpy. Thank you for the beautiful tribute to your dear father. He was a fine man, as are you.

--Queen Anne's Lace

The Reader said...

I am so very, very sorry. What a wonderful man your father was, and what a wonderful tribute you've written here.

My heartfelt prayers go out for you & your family.

Anonymous said...

This is a tragedy. I am so very sorry, Dr. Grumpy, that the depression entered him and took his life. You are a wonderful son of a great man.

Anonymous said...

Dear Dr. Grumpy so sad to hear your life has been so deeply touched by suicide. I was on the phone with my best friend when she found her nephew who blew his head off with a shotgun. Not a pretty sight. She raised that boy because his dad, her brother, committed suicide by slitting his wrists. It is awful for the victim and for the family left behind. We often wonder what more could we have done? He was 25 when he did it. You have my deepest sympathy.

Anonymous said...

Very touching. So sorry!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your story. Sorry to hear of your loss.

fiberman said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. Thank you for writing so eloquently about your father's life and for your honest words about his illness.

Depression sucks, and people who say it's a simple matter to pull yourself together suck even more. I've dealt with it since I was a kid. It's mostly under control now.

Recently my sister mentioned snooping through our dad's dresser as a teenager and finding his old gun from his time in the service. I never knew he had it. It's just as well. Had I known about it I probably wouldn't be here, either.

Thanks you again.

Rachel Rand said...

I suffer from depression, better now that I've transitioned (a lifestyle choice according to some ignoramuses). I've not thankfully been as bad as I was before I came out again, but I've visited dark places more than I'm comfortable with.

If it weren't so awful I would curse those that deny the seriousness of depression to suffer from it. But I am just not that cruel a person.

My deepest condolences that your dad remember it in his moment of despair.

Rachel

Anonymous said...

Wishing strength to you and your family.

Christine said...

I am so very sorry. What a beautiful tribute.

Rich said...

Hugs Grumpster

Just Me said...

HUGS!!! Best description of depression....

http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2011/10/adventures-in-depression.html

BB said...

I just wanted to add to the condolence chorus.

I know you know, as a professional, that it's not your fault. But I thought you should hear it again. It's *not* your fault!

Your blog, and most of the commentators, are one of my favorite things on the web. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Please accept my deepest condolences for you and your family. My dad died the same way. The oain never goes away and nor do the what-ifs that are unique to a suicide. Survivors of suicide don't have a drunk driver, disease like cancer, or a psychopath to blame so the survivors blames themselves. I know because I think about it every day.

There truly needs to be more help available for people who are suffering so much they feel death is the only answer.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry. I agree there needs to be more help and better funding for mental health. I am so sorry for you and your family.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful tribute to your father. My condolences to you and your family.

Anonymous said...

Deepest condolences to you and your family Dr. G. This will renew my commitment to remember to ask about guns and urge family to get them out of the house when someone is battling depression. I would encourage all people in healthcare to do the same.
Deep peace of the earth to you.
-whitecap

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry for your loss, Dr. Grumpy. Your blog entry made me tear up a little and think a lot.

ShadowBunny said...

this cut close to home. I've had major depressive disorder for 2/3 of my life and it's so hard to grit your teeth and keep on going when people tell you that you should stop taking your meds or just think positive thoughts. I once read a book in which a character described living with depression as "like standing on top of a mountain, with a foot balanced on either side of the peak, whilst screaming epic poetry in to a howling gale, trying desperately not to fall". that's what life with depression is like. it's climbing a mountain when everyone else is walking up a gentle hill, it's black storm clouds when everyone else has sunshine.

I'm so sorry that your father lost his battle. I wish that more people were as understanding and kind as you are.

Anonymous said...

So sorry for your loss. Depression is an evil beast. My great-grandpa ended his life the same way, and now I am all over my one son who is battling the depressive part of his bipolar disease ("disorder" sounds too trite ). I have read both your posts today - again, so sorry for your loss. Oh your poor mom.

JFSinIL

Anonymous said...

Dr. grumpy, deepest condolences to you, your family, your mother and sister. I'm so sorry to hear this tragic news.

Truth: depression is deadly. I've lost two siblings way too soon, and the stigma is not only on the depressed, but also on their relatives who "didn't do enough." The ripples of grief are endless.

Those reading this: please advocate for mental health care reforms!

LadyLuz said...

I am so struck by you and your family's sensitivity and humanity in agreeing to let your father go without further intervention. As you said, he would have wanted that and you did what he preferred at the cost of your own instincts to "heal". And, too, depriving you all of his presence. How brave, how loving.

Thank you for your account of this and for highlighting further the stupid attitudes to depression that many people, including professionals, still have.

Sapphire said...

I have no words, but plenty of tears. I am so struck by your incredible loving and tragic story of your dad. I am so very sorry. Depression is real and I nearly fell down that black hole many years ago, and the pain was reaching an unendurable level.
Just over three years ago you consoled me when my dad died with Alzheimer's, and I wish I could hug you and let you cry on my shoulder, no words needed. My heart and prayers go out to you and all of your family and friends. I wish you peace.

Anonymous said...

Oh no. I'm so sorry.

Anonymous said...

I am very very sorry for your loss...cannot imagine your pain.....
Sending my biggest hug...

A said...

I wish it wasn't called depression. People who haven't experienced it think they know what it's like to be depressed, and in the truest sense of the word, they do. They know what it's like to be down, to go through a rough patch. They don't understand though what it's like to be drowining in your own head. Clinical depression is an illness. Even calling it a mental illness lessens the impact. It is consuming, it is chronic, it kills.

Ibee, I'm so sorry that things ended that way. I lost my brother to clinical depression. As many times as I remind myself there is nothing I could have done, you think of one more thing that you might have tried. The rational part of my brain keeps being beat up by the emotional side. Thank you for sharing your story. The more who do, the more this might be accepted for what it is, a disease. Your dad sounds like he was a great man.

Erin said...

Oh Dr. Grumpy, I'm so, so sorry for your tremendous loss.

Old NFO said...

Thoughts and prayers.

Peter B said...

The heartbreaking thing about depression – from the inside and from the outside – is that it can kill the one thing that makes life worth living: that you love someone or something enough to stay alive.

From the inside, that's an agonizing place to be. From the outside,
for the survivors, we can't help thinking "if only I'd..." but even when we can logically conclude that that's not so, that we couldn't have stopped it, we realize that someone we loved was in so much pain and felt so alone.

You're not alone. Thank you for telling us about your father and to make this electronic shiva visit.

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry. I lost a family member to suicide.

Anonymous said...

I'm unable to think of anything to write which would make an iota of difference to you right now. I'll just say I'm so sorry for your loss. £eslie

Dawn said...

Dr. Grumpy, I am so sorry for your loss. My prayers are with you and your family.

Anonymous said...

I am so very sorry for your loss. Words cannot express the emptiness of someone who is there and then suddenly is not. Keep one foot in front of another and know that many many people have been touched by your words.

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry for your loss. I lost my first husband to suicide due to depression also. I wish I had words of wisdom for you.

Tom said...

Dr Grumpy, I am so very sorry for your loss. More than words will describe. Thank you for all of your blogging, and thank you so much for sharing this with us. It had to be hard. I'll be passing it along.

Tom

Brooke said...

I am so sorry.

monique said...

You did the right thing for sure.
Depression is too real and no one can explain or answer the questions that a person dealing with depression faces.
I'm very sorry for your loss but I'm sure your dad was very proud of you.
May he RIP.
Monica

Susie M said...

What a beautiful tribute to your father. Hugs to you and your family.

Susie M said...

What a beautiful tribute to your father. Hugs to you and your family.

Samantha Duzinskas said...

So very sorry for your loss, a touching life. One filled with love and adventures. So wonderful you had a father like that. Sadly this is how I lost my uncle in 2009. Depression mixed with side effective medications. It just hurts thinking about the what ifs and all the things he'll miss and things you miss about him. Gets easier but always apart of you. I try and support walk out of darkness, to write love on her arms, and mental health in general. Spreading love, open mindedness, and acceptance.. Thanks for sharing.

Arzt4Empfaenger said...

Depression is the silent killer. This post made me cry. Be well, Dr. G.

Anonymous said...

Dr G, I've been a reader of yours for years, and have never commented. Thank you for sharing the story of your beloved father's passing, in the hopes that it might save others suffering from his disease. Depression is real, and it is a tragedy. I'm not a praying girl, but my thoughts are with you and your family.

 
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