The REAL Writer of the Family

Posted on December 17, 2012


Lost in the cacophony of ‘guns’ – a mental health crisis that many, myself included, believe to be the root cause of the random acts of horrific violence like Columbine, Virginia Tech, Aurora and the one we all witnessed Friday in Connecticut, the massacre of 26 people, including 20 little children ages 6 & 7, at Sandy Hook Elementary.

My wife Amy wrote this today:

I’m coming out of the closet today as someone who has suffered from mental illness, namely major depressive disorder and anxiety disorder (panic attacks).

Last fall and winter I was in the deepest depths of a depression that I very nearly didn’t recover from.

And while the only person in danger from me was me, I still needed someone to listen to, someone to help me, because make no bones about it, I was dying.

I wanted to die. Instead of the kind of help I was desperate for, I found most people walking out on me (in some cases literally), spreading rumors and lies about me, laughing behind my back at how “crazy” I was.

That only exasperated the pain, the grief of feeling like I didn’t even need exist. Society, the world would be better with me not in it. This is how I thought. And every day, I struggled to wake up until eventually, the only safe place was my closet. And during the day, I would go in there, in secret, and hide, in the dark, the on

ly safe place I could find. Because in the light, there was an enemy, and it was me. Thank God for my husband, my family and my real friends. Because I wouldn’t be here today were it not for them.
This doesn’t make me a bad person. It doesn’t make me weak or unintelligent or less of a human being. It makes me someone who needed help. And I’m not embarrassed or ashamed to shout it from the mountaintops.
A year ago, I didn’t have the strength or willpower to come to grips with it. And it wasn’t until I broke down in tears in my doctors office and explained to him that the fear, grief and depression I was experiencing was killing me that I felt like I had ANY hope in this world. And he listened and after a few months of actual medical care, I pulled myself back out. Being depressed or having a mental illness doesn’t define you. If you have never suffered from or loved someone who has suffered from mental illness, consider yourself very lucky. And to those of you who have, keep your head up and know that this doesn’t define you. Know that you can ask for help.

Only when society accepts mental illness as the medical condition it is, and stops making fun of people who need help and sweeping their problems under the rug because it’s not nice to discuss in mixed company, will crap like what happened last week stop happening. Compassion and understanding are the key to solving this problem.

And guns don’t have a damn thing to do with it.
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