Sunday, February 13, 2011

Dealing With Depression

I am not a person with depression. I have always been a "glass half full" type of gal and I think that that fact is one of the many reasons why I am not in a mental institution, thanks to my childhood. But I know first hand what it is like to live with someone who has severe depression.

Last Wednesday evening, my youngest brother tried to take his life by putting a BB gun to his chest and pulling the trigger. He is only 18 and although we talk often, he is two states away from me. Never, in a million years, would I have guessed that he was depressed. But he was. Enough to have warning signs for the last couple of months that he kept hidden... depressed enough to decide that it was better to be gone than be a failure in his mind.

Luckily my sister, who lives with him, found him before he bled too much and got him to the hospital in time. He will live, but has permanent damage to his heart as well as a pellet lodged in the heart region that is too dangerous to remove. I got to see him yesterday in the hospital and although he is very sore, he is alright. We got to talk for awhile and I am thankful that he will now get the help he needs.

Depression to me is so scary because I don't know anything about it and feel so helpless because I truly don't understand it. It is pretty easy for me to pull myself out of a funk, even in the worse cases in my life. But I know that people with depression just can't. All I can do is be there, listen, and let that person know that I love them very much.

Unfortunately my brother is not the only person in my life dealing with depression. It is a disease that is hitting very close to me, in more ways than one. And all I can do is be here, realize that it is not me who is causing it, and treat the person as if they have any other disease that can't be "thought away". I am very grateful that there are resources out there for people who live with someone with depression because for the longest time I just didn't get it. Now I do... I just wish that I could have seen the signs before my brother picked up the gun.
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Lrc said...

I am so sorry to hear about your brother's depression and attempt to commit suicide. It can be very difficult to know the warning signs...but I think that now many more people are aware than they used to be. I wish your family healing in this difficult time.

Amy said...

Connie...I am so glad your brother survived and that he is now getting the help he needs. As a therapist, this really makes me sad. There are so many people out there hurting so bad they can't go to anyone...out of fear, embarrassment, etc. and no one knows it b/c they are so good at hiding it. He is lucky to have you guys; you and your sister. Just be supportive, but not overbearing...let him know you are here for him w/o judgment, as that is a major factor for so many.
Thinking of you and your family during this difficult time.

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