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Personal Debt Wrangler – Had my money head in the sand – but no more!

Thoughts on Suicide

94 Comments

I never thought the day would come when I would write about this. In fact, I immediately dismissed the idea when it popped into my head.

But here it is staring many, many of us down, like a big festering pimple.

The ‘S’ word.

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We have all been touched by the loss of Robin Williams. His uniqueness, his notoriety, his talent, his presence, his diversity, his accents and his laugh will be missed. No doubt his family will miss so much more. Most that only knew him as a celebrity, may have heard of struggles with alcohol and drugs. I had not heard about his depression. But in retrospect, it makes sense.   Issues with any addictions are usually about trying to cope with something like this.

It’s been many years, but I know the darkness and pain in the world of people who face this disease.

I was in my late twenties. My self esteem was in the toilet in the middle of difficult relationship. I felt unloved, unworthy, untalented and just really sad. There was lots of alcohol and risk taking during this period. Then the pain began. Then I started fantasizing about a pain free state. I thought about the hows. I thought about the sadness I would cause my family. I couldn’t bear it, but still the pain persisted.

I soldiered on, I continued to manage to work and I started psychological counseling. I was pretty together when I first met my psychologist but she did some testing on me to evaluate the depth of my depression. That was very appropriate for her to do because I was faking a lot without even realizing it.

As soon as she got the results, she was flabbergasted and went into full damage control, setting up a suicide pact with me. If I ever wanted to do something, I promised her that I would call her first.   She prodded me and needled me on this like a mother bear manages her cub. I barely knew this older Jewish lady, yet I felt comforted that she seemed to know her stuff and was very concerned about me. Someone knew the depth of my secret and that was the first step in opening a tiny crack in my darkness to let the light in. I would learn later the importance of the connection between counselor and patient when I went for therapy at other points in my life. Since she was my first, I didn’t know how good she was, but would find out later with other therapists. [Take away: If one doesn’t click, find another]

The drinking continued and so did the bad thoughts. I thought about accidents, how I could stage them. Jumping off a chair lift, driving into a wall. It scared the $#!+ out of me, but yet I still kept thinking. The pain persisted and I found some relief at the butt of a burning cigarette put into my arm, for which I still bear the scar today. The bad thoughts had jumped out of my head and were now evidenced in physical terms on my body.  I could not deny it any longer. The physical injury and reality of this act was enough for me to say, man I’m <#(%ed up. I guess it was my rock bottom, because I knew if I continued this way, I would be self-harming a lot because it brought great relief. I sought that crack of light and continued to practice my coping strategies which then started having some impact. Once I started moving up instead of down, things moved quite quickly, but like a scuba diver going to the surface, my psychologist didn’t want me to surface too soon in case my recovery was premature and then I would relapse.

This was my worst depression. I was brought out of it without the use of drugs but strictly with very good cognitive behavioural therapy. That’s the best treatment for me. I have been quite low since, with some thoughts but not to the same extent. I’ve also used medication during some periods of depression which helped quite a bit. I’ve been medication and therapy free for five years, but it doesn’t mean I still don’t have some lows. I don’t rule out that I may need either type of treatment again. You just never know. My mental well being is heavily influenced by my life circumstances.

I was thinking that maturity and experience has shown me that eventually I can bounce back so I just have to ride out the storm. But then I look at Robin Williams and wonder if he had never learned that he could ride out the storm. His storm must have been much worse, because from where I sit, I would think he had smooth sailing.  He certainly would not have had any financial worries, could he?  It has taken me a number of months to process feelings about a former colleague who ended her life earlier this year. She was the same age as me, had two grandchildren, beautiful home and seemed to be sailing into the sunset.  I did not see that coming. Not only is it incredibly sad but It scares me as well.   It seemed like she had been able to go even further in her life compared to mine.  Don’t compare.  A young indirect subordinate in her early twenties ended her life when she worked in my team back in the 90’s. She was vivacious and beautiful. I felt incredible guilt that I did not see that coming either. My daughter lost a friend in high school, the daughter of our neighbour.

I’m not even going to mention the number of attempted suicides of people I know or are very close to.  I am just so thankful they have a chance to dance again. Like my cigarette butt scar reminds me, it’s possible to be happy and laugh again.

I recommend some related reads on this topic from other PF blogs:

Depression and Christianity and Student Loans by Kirsten @ Indebted and In Debt

Oh Captain, My Captain by Tanya @ Eat, Laugh, Purr

What has your experience been with suicide or mental illness in your life?
Do you think it’s possible that if you are exposed to suicide a lot it makes you stronger, or more vulnerable or neither?
What was your favourite Robin Williams role or movie?

Part of Friday Jet Fuel #6 and

Messy Money

   

Author: debster

I am a fifty-something wife, mother and new grandmother, who admits to having their “head in the sand” about their financial situation until amassing $247,500 worth of consumer debt for a total debt of $393,500. We've paid $121K in 2 years with four more years to go. Join my journey at debtdebs.com sharing ideas and motivation to all those coping with poor money management and bad debt decisions.

94 thoughts on “Thoughts on Suicide

  1. Thank you so much for sharing your story Deb. I’m sure that was difficult, but you shedding light on your own experience can maybe help someone going through their own. I have certainly felt very blue at moments in life, but I never ever felt hopeless. There was always just enough of a glimmer to that I never thought about ending my own life because there was/is still so much I want to do, but that kind of darkness does frighten me. Could it ever happen where I don’t feel hope? I don’t know. I hope that I would realize that I could get help. I was very saddened to hear about Robin Williams. It’s hard to know what my favorite is, but I really loved him in Good Will Hunting and DPS.
    Tonya@Budget and the Beach recently posted…Being Uniquely YouMy Profile

    • I think being aware of the darkness is very important for our own mental awareness if we do suffer from depression and also to be able to be empathetic to our loved ones. I finally decided to share my story because that is the purpose of this blog, to help others. I want others to know the darkness is temporary and can be overcome. Sometimes it’s a lot of work and I can understand when sufferers get tired of it all if it is relentless. I like to follow Dory on Finding Nemo who says “Just keep swimming”. I think we can swim our way out of it with the right medications and therapy, it’s just a matter of finding the right combination. I hope I am right. :-D

  2. Brave post.

    I went through some hard times in my teens but I don’t think I ever suffered from true depression.

    Hard to say. Of course as a kid I loved films like Jumanji. Today I’d probably say Good Willl Hunting, Awakenings or What Dreams May Come. This week we watched The Fisher King, which was pretty bizarre and I dozed off briefly in parts.
    NZ Muse recently posted…Five material things that (would) make me happyMy Profile

    • I’ve never seen The Fisher King. I think my favourite is Mrs. Doubtfire followed by Good Will Hunting. Thanks for your support, EE!

  3. Thank you for stepping out of your comfort zone to share your experiences with us Deb. Most would not have the courage to do so. This hits very close to home. All too many suffer in silence and shame from struggles with depression and other mental illness, abuse of all forms, chemical dependency and more, yet there are subtle warning signs that can be picked up on by those closest to them.
    Kassandra recently posted…Is Your Spare Room Costing You?My Profile

    • The thought crossed my mind that even if someone sees the warning signs, they are too busy dealing with their own mental health issues (which can be exhausting) that they are wary to reach out. Having walked in those shoes, I prefer to reach out because I think I can help because I know what that person may be going through. However, I’ll be perfectly honest and say sometimes my own plate is full and I just don’t have the bandwidth. Since I tend to take on others problems if I am not careful, I need to be selfish in those instances. But when I am feeling well, I do everything I can. Thanks for your comment and support, Kassandra! :-)

  4. Thank you for talking about this and sharing your story. I’ve struggled with depression for as long as I can remember. As hard as it is lose people to depression and addiction, it gives me hope that someday those who’ve never experienced it might get a glimpse of what it’s like and start taking mental illness seriously.
    Kate@GoodnightDebt recently posted…Obituary: Loan 3My Profile

    • Hey, Kate, I’m sorry to hear about your struggles. I agree that the awareness by others that have not experienced this is very important. “There but for the grace of God go I”. The tides are definitely turning which is a good thing.

  5. This couldn’t have been easy to share. But is so touching in its raw honesty. I’ve had friends go this way, and it’s too much to process. The illness hasn’t taken any of my effected family members, and I thank God or whatever power is holy for that every day.

    I heard a Pittsburgh native comedian commenting on his death… he said something that rang very true. This type of deep dark depression doesn’t care how big or small your house is, whether you own a Maserati or nothing at all. It spans social classes, and it’s surprising how many people fake it. Be constantly vigilant in the awareness of those around you.
    femmefrugality recently posted…Reliving my Childhood: Lake Arthur Regatta 2014My Profile

    • It is hard to share, it’s true, but it’s also true about it spanning all income levels, job classifications, achievements and talents. Robin Williams is an example of that. Thanks for your support and furthering the awareness, FF!

  6. Thank you for sharing such a personal story with us, Deb. There is such stigma around depression and people wonder why you can’t just get over it. But it’s not that simple. I’m glad you found a therapist who helped you through such a tough period. I can’t imagine what was going through his mind in his last days but my heart aches for him and his family. To feel so hopeless and alone. And it’s people sharing their stories that will help others suffering alone and silently. Thank you for mentioning my post too.
    Tanya @ Eat Laugh Purr recently posted…Comment on Oh Captain, My Captain by Tonya@Budget and the BeachMy Profile

    • That’s exactly the problem, Tanya. People who don’t have it wonder why the afflicted can’t just get over it. It’s also important to encourage people to get the help they need. It’s not something they can sort out on their own, though many try. Even as a sufferer, I can be empathetic, but sometimes I even get frustrated when people don’t do as much as they can to help themselves. So if we can raise the awareness on both fronts, I think it can go a long way to helping to overcome the worst of mental illness.

  7. That is one brave post Deb. Thanks for sharing.

    I’ve witnessed others suffering with mental health issues, and it can be so hard to watch. I try to help, but can only do so much sometimes. But I keep trying. Maybe one day it will be what they heed that day to help them through a rough patch.
    Alicia recently posted…Why I Want to be Called DoctorMy Profile

    • Thanks, Alicia. Keep trying, I know it can be frustrating. The best encouragement you can give them is to continually seek help, whether it be a support group (you can go with them), finding a therapist, driving to appointment, going for a walk to get exercise, doing a less taxing task (jigsaw puzzle – great for conversation) together, helping to clean their house or a problem area (garage, basement). These may be stupid examples for some, but as a sufferer I would welcome any of these. The important thing though is to help the person claim their ownership for these tasks. It’s really just to help jump start them or get them over the hump or periodically for a tune-up. A person should never become dependent on someone else for this support.

  8. Wow, you are brave. Thank you for sharing such a painful chapter of your life. I’m so glad that you have discovered that you can dance again : ) I hope that many, many people learn from your experience so that if they hit despair, they will remember that there is music on the other side. Robin Williams was so brilliant, and he came across as a genuinely good guy. I did read this morning that he was having financial stress (connected to divorce), and that he was very preoccupied with it. I’m learning more and more that even the very rich have financial stress and problems with debt. God bless you Deb. Thanks so much for opening up at a time when we’re all inclined to reflect.
    Prudence Debtfree recently posted…Two Debt Bloggers at Tim Hortons: My Meeting with Debt DebsMy Profile

    • Thank you for your kind words, Prudence. ;-) God bless you too! I do always say that financial stress is all relative, but from a person who is less financially successful it’s always hard to understand. Regardless, as FF above pointed out, mental illness affects all income classes.

  9. Thank you for sharing this, Deb. I can’t imagine it was an easy decision for you to write this. I’m thankful to you for being brave and putting this out there because I’m sure it will give others hope. When we’re suffering, or in a dark place, it always seems like no one else has ever experienced what we feel. You’ve shed light on your own experience, which will hopefully give others the courage to seek the help they need. Thank you.
    Mrs. Frugalwoods recently posted…Great Trash Finds: The Mom EditionMy Profile

    • Thanks, Mrs F. I appreciate your thoughtful comment. The young can be very impulsive, so we need ways to make them aware that what they are feeling can be overcome. For older people, I’m not sure what the approach can be. Obviously they have tried for many many years to overcome the dark monster. That’s the part that scares me. I would hate for him to come back to me, so I want to be prepared in case it does happen. Looking at so many great people who have faced this and lost, makes me not so naive.

  10. Thanks for sharing your story Deb. It’s not easy to come out and share with the world what you went through I bet but if it helps educate others and others in the same position then it was worth it. I have never personally lost anyone to suicide but I do know people with depression. It’s certainly a dark place for them.
    canadianbudgetbinder recently posted…Not having one of the best paying jobs is embarrassingMy Profile

    • Thank you for your comment, Mr. CBB! I do hope to reach others in this position. I really appreciate it when people are brave enough to speak about it or comment about it in support. It acknowledges that we are all vulnerable and yet we are not alone.

  11. Debs, we share quite a lot in common on this, and I know it must have taken a lot to write it all down. Sometimes I try and block out the person I used to be, the places I used to go in my mind…I know so many people say suicide is selfish, but when I was in such a hopeless state, I truly believed I was alone and that no one cared. Of course, that was silly (people did care), but I wasn’t in the right mindset to realize that.

    I’ve very thankfully never lost anyone close to me because of it, but this story does hit home as my dad is the same age as Robin was, and I can’t fathom what his daughter (and family) must be going through. I know my dad has had his own battles with depression, and again, I’m just glad he’s still here. Thank you for sharing your experience, and I’m glad you’re in a better place now!
    E.M. recently posted…Don’t Let Perfect Be the Enemy of GoodMy Profile

    • Thanks for sharing your personal struggles yourself and with your Dad, E.M. It’s so true that when you are in that place, you do think no one cares or understands. But in fairness, we are usually so overwhelmed with ourselves that we don’t give them the opportunity to show they care.

      Loved your post, which I just now had a chance to read. It was very timely, because I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed trying to keep up with everything and so relaxed my perfectionist tendencies a bit this week so consequently I’m behind on everything. I don’t know if I will be able to catch up, so I need to be reasonable and say, it’s good enough.

  12. This made me want to cry. But, then I wanted to cheer for you because you made it across the great chasm between Depression and maintaining mental wellness. I think that in the U.S. it’s very easy to get lost, and lose hope. Finding a good therapist and community is so important. A few weeks ago was the 9 year anniversary of my friend’s brother’s death. It still hurts her everyday.
    Michelle recently posted…How to Dress Cheaply For the Rest Of SummerMy Profile

    • Well thank you for that, Michelle. I’ll take that as a compliment. It’s very true, it’s hard here in Canada to get a good therapist. The ones covered under the public health are overbooked and hard to get into. You have to be really bad (attempted suicide) to even get in to see one. Otherwise, you need to pay out of your pocket or if you are lucky your company benefits will pay for it, up to a maximum annually. There’s such a difference between counsellor and psychologist and psychiatrist too. Clinical psychologists, IMO, have the best skills, but having said that a good counsellor could be trained in CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) to help their patients too. Sometimes I find the counsellors are just talk therapy, which is part of it, but they need to give you tools and techniques to apply to your day to day living. Otherwise talk therapy is just a step above what you would get from a supportive friend. I’m so sorry about your friend’s brother. We need to get the message to young people that it’s only temporary and they will get through it with the right therapies. Thanks for reading and commenting. :-)

  13. I think being exposed to mental illness and having depression has the ability to make you stronger overall, but for some it doesn’t work out that way sadly. Hearing the news of his passing has been such horrible news for everyone, even if we didn’t know him personally. He touched the lives of millions.
    Alexis recently posted…Settled in Aurora, IL and Update on LDRMy Profile

    • It’s an interesting question that I’ve been wondering about myself a lot lately, Alexis. For me, I think being exposed to it with family (both sides of my parents) and my husband’s family, my siblings, co-workers, neighbours my children and myself has forced me to learn a lot about it and also be less afraid and a bit more resilient. I certainly hope so, anyways. Thanks for visiting and for commenting too! ;-)

  14. Thank you for sharing your struggles. I want to throw support behind your statement that, if counseling isn’t working, find another counselor. (Oddly enough, the only one I’ve ever loved was an older Jewish woman, too!)

    I’m like you and don’t ever really think depression is behind me. The shadows lurk and I have to try very hard to keep my light stronger than those shadows.

    Thank you for including my post. I hope sharing our stories encourages others.
    Kirsten @ Indebtedmom recently posted…Depression and Christianity and Student LoansMy Profile

    • So funny that our therapists were similar! Kirsten, we share a lot, so I am learning. It’s so refreshing to be able to be open and honest. I really think God is guiding us well and I will continue to pray for us and seek his counsel and respite. I loved in your post about how you acknowledge the influence of all aspects in your recovery – therapy, medications and spiritual. I feel strongly about this as well. I didn’t bring out the spiritual aspect in my post but it’s always there. However, when I had my deep depression I felt a bit abandoned by God, and then I found Footprints in the Sand which was great comfort and still is. It’s important for people to not just rely on God or to have things to be done for them. They have to heed his guidance. Here is a funny joke on this -> God will save me

      • I’ve heard that joke before! God works through medicines and doctors and counselors, I believe…

        I never felt abandoned by God (which must have been an utterly hopeless feeling for you), but I did wonder about the story of Job. Had Satan asked to torment me? Was it all a test? It made me
        determined to seek God. I didn’t feel abandoned, but I did feel separated. And totally frustrated.
        Kirsten @ Indebtedmom recently posted…Success Story Saturday & Other Good ReadsMy Profile

        • Yes, he does and he works through people just like you and I. I must have just been separated but I felt like I was abandoned. I didn’t understand why God could let me suffer so much. I asked him why. I was so angry with him too. I challenged him to show me his working in my life. I did keep praying, but they were angry, taunting prayers. It’s almost like I was a little kids saying said “Well you don’t care about me. Watch me… what I’m gonna do”. Over the years I have had a couple of blatant instances of his working in my life that were too unbelievable to be considered coincidental. So while I’ve had the despair, I’ve also had the joy of his presence and for that I am so grateful and sing his praises for all to hear.

  15. Thanks for being so brave, Deb! Glad you are here. My experience with mental illness and suicide is tough. I have a history of it in my family. My grandpa killed himself when my mom was 5, so I never met him. But then I’m inspired by my grandma who raised 6 kids alone and feel like I’m a hustler, like her. My other grandma and dad have moderate to severe mental issues. I feel like I was born with this genetic predisposition. As a teen, I was severely depressed. I fantasized about dying. I’ve been on what seems like every med there is and have been in and out of therapy my whole life. I was told I should never go off meds, but I did anyways. I wanted to stop feeling so hazy. It was hard at first, but I am happier than I have ever been. I am scared to be happy. I don’t know what it’s like, in all its glory. I am worried I will go back to “that place.” Once you experience it, you know you could always revert back. Happiness is a choice, so I am trying to do just that and be happy and cope with problems well.

    Posts like this make me feel so much less alone. It’s been an issue my whole life; a fight with my brain; a battle, even. Every day you have to put your fighting pants on. Today, I’M going to win.
    Melanie @ Dear Debt recently posted…Knowing Your Spending TriggersMy Profile

    • Thank you for sharing, Melanie! Your family sounds like mine!! LOL When I am on meds, I can’t seem to cry and I can’t get joyously happy. It’s even steven all the time and get’s a bit tiresome. Almost like I want to let some emotion out and I can’t. But I know if I need them, I will not hesitate to go on them again. Of course there are so many different types of medications and they are coming up with new ones all the time.

      I like your philosophy and approach to tackling this disease! It’s not easy to overcome, but I think it can’t hurt to be positive and fighting at the same time. Love that you have your “fighting pants on”! You go GF! I’m right there with ya and if you ever need someone to help you go to battle with that monster, I’m your girl and I’ll bring my friends! :-D

  16. I for one am so thankful that you have soldiered on Deb!!! You make the world a special place and I am glad that you are in it. I have numerous friends and family who suffer with this illness and as painful as it is for the person who has it, it is 10 times more painful to watch the person that you love suffer from it. I read a book about happiness and the author, a Buddhist monk, said that people fixate on the bad things that happen; however, we should not fixate on the bad things, but rather the opportunity for goodness and light to come from them bad. I was heartbroken about the news of Robin Williams; however, the next day on my local radio station, they were speaking about suicide and the importance of seeking help, and I thought to myself, here is the good that is coming from this. My hubby’s brother suffered from depression and he passed early but it was not from suicide. My hubby decided to share his story of depression with the seniors in the high school where he teaches and pleaded with them to seek help if they were suffering. A few months later he got a note from parents in the school stating that my hubby’s talk inspired their son to come forward and ask for help. Three years have passed and their son in thriving in college. Good can come from bad and good will also come from your story. Thank you for sharing!
    Shannon @ Financially Blonde recently posted…Sometimes You Do Not Want to KnowMy Profile

    • Thanks for sharing your inspirational anecdotes, Shannon. It is true that we need to look for the good coming out of the bad. This is the only way to make sense out of any tragedy. I must disagree with one point though, it is not more painful to watch the person who suffers from it. Unless you have been through it and to that depth, you can’t imagine what it is like. But, having been on both sides, I will agree, it is so hard to watch someone suffer from it and especially if you have been there yourself. You know their pain and you feel so powerless to help them. You are on tender-hooks too, because you are so afraid because you know what lurks. You know they need to be pushed a bit to help themselves because you cannot do it for them, but you are afraid to push to hard in case you push them over the edge. This is why this is best left to professionals and pray to God you get a good one who knows what they’re doing, and if not keep looking. Thanks for your support, as always! Mwah xo

  17. Thanks for sharing Deb, I’m sure this wasn’t easy for you. I bet this post will help someone else struggling with similar feelings. I have seen depression first had with some close family members. Sometimes its tough to see or understand, but taking that first step for help is so important and having support of a counselor, family member, friend who isn’t judgmental can make all the difference.
    Brian @ Debt Discipline recently posted…Burgers, Coffee, and BeerMy Profile

    • Thanks, Brian. It is important to not be judgmental. The depressed person already feels bad enough and has put their own guilt trip on themselves. Fearing judgment is why they keep it to themselves which doesn’t help them get the help they need. Vicious circle. We can all be pretty good actors like Robin Williams when the crisis requires it.

  18. I suffered with depression throughout college, particularly my freshman and senior year. I went to the school psychologist for help and got on medication which made me feel a whole lot of nothing all the time. I decided to go off it after six months and I’ve never looked back. Pain is real and painful, but I so is joy, and that’s something I don’t want to give up to meds. I’m just glad I was able to find it again. And I’m glad you have too.
    Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life recently posted…What Gives Worth vs. What Gives JoyMy Profile

    • I had the same experience with some medications, too, Stef. But if it helps you get over a rough patch and thinking clearly again, they are well worth it. Often people don’t realize that some meds work differently on different people too. Sometimes it’s trial and error. Glad you were able to sort yourself out. With a milder depression, it is sometimes just a once in a lifetime occurrence. Sometimes it will reappear, but at least you know a bit of what to expect and that you can get it sorted out. I never say never, because then I am disappointed if it comes back. I expect the worst but hope for the best. If my depression repeats I will just get my big girl Fighting panties on like Mel says and go to battle! Thanks, a lot for sharing, sweetie! ;-)

  19. You are very brave for sharing your story with us. Thank you.
    Morgaine recently posted…Weekly Spending: Aug 4-10My Profile

  20. Thanks for sharing Debs. I’m glad you’re still here. But I think depression needs to be brought out into the open, and this is exactly how it’s done and how the stigmas that prevent people from seeking help get removed. Thank you again. You never know who is feeling the pain.
    Ryan at Impersonal Finance recently posted…5 no-effort ways to save money todayMy Profile

    • Well thank you, Ryan, for the vote of confidence. When people recognize the need and are willing to talk about it, it helps a lot.

  21. Thank you for sharing this personal story. It’s difficult for people who have never struggled with depression to understand it.
    Tre recently posted…Chasing Our American DreamMy Profile

    • Tis true, Tre. I just want to slap people who say “Just snap out of it!” If it were that easy, it would be done. On the other hand, I have even had this thought myself when I am frustrated with a family member who can’t seem to help themself, and this was post my worst depression! See how complicated it can be?!

  22. Thank you for sharing your story with all of us, Deb. I am grateful that you were able to get the help you needed. Depression affects so many people and it’s hard for me to imagine the pain they must feel. I have never suffered from this disease but have watched loved ones battle it. I know they often feel alone but there are so many people who want to help. And I know by sharing your story, you’ll help others who reach out and get the help they need and deserve.
    Shannon @ The Heavy Purse recently posted…4 Guiding Money Principles Every Child (and Adult) Must LearnMy Profile

  23. You’ve done a beautiful job sharing your experience. I hope this week prompts people in pain to be willing to share their challenges, and their loved ones to take it seriously. For so long there’s been a stigma about any emotional or mental challenges — we need to move past that and focus on what is helpful.

    Thank you for your courage to put your story out there. I have to believe it will touch someone in an important way.

    • Awww… what a nice comment. Thank you, Jean. I hope you’re are right. Thanks for visiting and I’m really glad I found your blog from James.

  24. The suicide of Robin Williams leaves me very sad. I used to think about suicide often. Not so much anymore. I understand that people with Williams’ brilliance are often prone to being self-destructive. Too bad there was not more that could have been done.
    Brad @ How to Save Money recently posted…Don’t lose it, reuse it – Recycling and Reusing IdeasMy Profile

    • Thanks, Brad. I’m sorry that you have had bouts of depression but am happy you have been able to deal with it. Thank you for sharing, for together we a stronger than as individuals battling the darkness alone.

  25. Thank you for sharing and happy to see that you have found a way to overcome. These issues are hard to talk about but are all around us – the great big pink elephant in the room. I was sad to learn about Robin Williams but hope that it raises awareness and makes it easier to talk about and accept the idea that there are distressed people hiding behind happy facades. It seems that people are talking about it and that is a great step. I hope that something good can come from it.
    May recently posted…Am I a Personal Finance Blogger?My Profile

    • Thanks, May. You are right about it being the big pink elephant. Good thing I like pink… and I love elephants!!

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  28. What a brave post. Thank you for sharing your experience with depression. It is incredibly sad when anybody feels so helpless that they don’t see any other choice. There was something on the media that said that Robin Williams actually had Parkinson’s disease and couldn’t cope with it. In any case it’s so sad. I was not a huge Robin Williams fan but the movie I remember him most for was Jack.
    Daisy @ Prairie Eco Thrifter recently posted…It’s Time to Leave Your Money Mistakes in the PastMy Profile

    • It’s true, Daisy, he probably felt he had suffered enough and couldn’t see his way forward to deal with all that Parkinson’s would throw at him. Thanks for your support.

  29. Thank you for sharing, Debs. I think that it is so difficult to be brave and put this information out there, but it is SO important. Mental health issues are still so poorly understood and stigmatized by so many people. I’ve ended up in huge fights with people on the topic before, because they fail to understand that the chemicals in the brain drive these things and people should “just be happy.” I’m getting riled up thinking about one person in particular. I kind of hope he is very close to someone with mental health issues in the future, so that he changes his tune and understands. That said, I wouldn’t want to be that person, because he is horrible and doesn’t get it at all.
    My Mom once told me that we are with brain chemistry where we used to be with diabetes, in that we used to know people needed insulin, but it was a guessing game as to how much because we couldn’t test. Right now, that’s what we do with SSRIs and whatnot, we guess on dosages and particular drug types. Hopefully we can get to a place where we can more accurately test and diagnose, because currently, a diagnosis is just the beginning of a long guessing game that is often a horrible process to experience.
    Anne @ Money Propeller recently posted…Friday Jet Fuel #6My Profile

    • I don’t know if someone who is that closed minded would be able to cope with this in someone they are close to. I agree, it will be wonderful when the measurement of the missing chemicals is possible so that precise medications can be prescribed. Our bodies are a pile of chemicals, and no two are the same. It is no wonder that we are all a bit different. I do think that there could be a life experience impact on top of the brain chemistry that makes a depression come about. It’s like a double whammy. I have a childhood trauma that may have predisposed me. That said, I do think that bi-polar is more chemical than situational, same as things like OCD, schizophrenia etc. Thanks so much for your great comment and for sharing my post, Anne!

  30. Wow, Deb! I’m sure it wasn’t easy to share all of this, but thank you for talking about your experiences. Depression is so common, and yet we just don’t talk about it enough.
    Lauren recently posted…Let It GoMy Profile

  31. Thanks for being brave enough to share your story with us, Deb! As someone who has suffered from mental illness (anxiety and depression) for the last few years, I’ve always found comfort from others who have been willing to share their experiences. I lost a close friend / co-worker to suicide a few months ago and it was devastating, but it was extremely therapeutic to write about it. I hope writing this post was the same for you.
    Addison @ Cashville Skyline recently posted…Holding Myself Accountable: the (Belated) July ReviewMy Profile

    • I remember that happening to your friend, Addison, because it was around the time that it happened to my associate. I think I was still dealing with her death, so it was kind of therapeutic to write this because I was thinking of her a lot these past months. Thank you for being open to sharing your experiences. I don’t think it serves the current sufferers well when we don’t open up. They need to see and understand that hope exists, and it won’t be like this forever.

  32. Thank you for sharing such a vulnerable and honest story. Robin Williams’ passing away was such a tragic loss, and I can’t even fathom what he was going through. I’m genuinely glad you sought help, and thank you for being alive.
    anna recently posted…Savings Rates, Baby Kickbacks, and Brief Preggo StuffMy Profile

    • Oh, what a sweet comment! Thank you Anna! It makes me smile and laugh because of a funny story with my daughter. When eating supper, we had started a habit with our kids of thanking the cook while we were eating and saying what a good supper it was. It was usually “Thank you for the good supper, Mom (or Dad)”. Usually it would be me or my husband starting it and then the kids would all chime in and repeat the same line, one by one. Eventually, they started doing it on their own. Then eventually it started in the car after we had taken them somewhere. It’s funny how small good habits started just grow and grow. Well one day when our youngest was about five years old, she started off the thank you line in the car after coming home for an outing. In turn the other kids said their thank you’s as well. Then, our youngest, who was having a particularly good day, said thank you for something else, and then something else (I can’t remember what they were). She was on a roll and just kept going until the final thank you which was “Thank you for my life”. Well we all laughed and laughed. It was so genuine and off the cuff (and so true!). Well after that, since she got such a response, she continued to thank us for her life many times when the thank you lines were done. We have continued to laugh about it all these years. Your statement “Thank you for being alive” brought back that wonderful memory. Thank you for that, and I hope that you start some great traditions like this with your wee one. :-D

  33. You are very strong to be able to share your story. I am still working on my post to talk about mental illness after I saw the news of Robin Williams. It saddens me to see someone who makes everyone laughs would end his own life. It also shows how scary depression can be if goes undetected.

    My father committed suicide last year and it is still a shock to me today. He had been battling with bi-polar disorder for the past 6 – 7 years. My mom passed away two years ago due to lung cancer and he hasn’t been the same since. He left us a note saying he can’t bear living without my mom anymore and said that he also cannot bear with his own mental illness so he took his own life.

    To this day, I still think that I could have done something more, or that it was my fault for not being able to detect his illness. I also ask the question: why did he do it? why did he pick that day? doesn’t he love us enough to stay with us?
    Money Pincher recently posted…The Power of Tracking ExpensesMy Profile

    • I’m so sorry about the loss of your Dad and Mom, both to very painful illnesses.

      One thing I’ve learned, is that there is not anything anyone can do, it really is all in the hands of the sufferer. When I was not feeling well but dealing with teenage kids with issues my therapist said, the only way you can help them is to help yourself first. Being well myself was the best way i could help them. So I began to focus on myself getting well and I think it worked. Sometimes I feel selfish, but I remind myself that this is the bad thoughts trying to bring me back down into depression that speak to me this way. For some individuals, when they are depressed, they don’t want to burden others so they stuff it down and this is why it is not easy to detect. On the surface they seem okay or dealing with it. Some call mental illness a very selfish disease because some others talk incessantly about it, almost to the point of turning people off. It may be their only way of coping, so we should be kind but also manage our own mental health needs first, and tell them that we are doing so but not shutting them out.

      So all this to say, it is not your fault. It was his decision and he was suffering so much that even his love for you was not enough to take away the pain he felt. Don’t put any burden on yourself or him. It is what it is. Forgive yourself if you think you did not do enough. I’m sure you did the best that you could. Forgive him for not being able to get himself well. It is not his fault and he did the best he knew how under the circumstances he was dealing with. As with any loved one, we miss them so much when they are gone, no matter how their departure. Allow yourself to miss him, celebrate him and cherish your memories. The rest is just noise in the channel at this point and it’s best to just let it go.

      Stay strong, Money Pincher. You will be in my prayers.

  34. I think when it comes to emotional issues, what doesn’t kill you makes you more resilient. I’ve had friends commit suicide and it brought forth thoughts of sadness and also thoughts of anger. Suicide is a touchy subject for anyone, but especially if you have been hit with personal experience through friends. I think it’s selfish, but at the same time, if someone is to the point of considering suicide, it must be bad. I was so sad to hear about Robin. He was definitely one of my all time favorites. What Dreams May Come was always amazing to me. I also loved his most popular roles, like Good Morning, Vietnam, Ms. Doughtfire and Jumanji. He brought so much joy to so many, it was almost as if it was transferred from him to the masses.
    Kalen Bruce recently posted…6 Take-Action Steps to Get Out of Credit Card DebtMy Profile

    • We don’t see the impact people make until they are gone. This is really interesting to note that your imprint will not be fully known and recognized until then. I often had a concern about this when someone would die and all this nice stuff about them would come out and I would think, why don’t people say this stuff when the person is alive. Some do, but not to the same extent, myself included. It reminds you that it’s important to tell your love ones what you think of them and to tell them that you love them often.

      I’ve never seen What Dreams May Come (or at least I don’t remember, it’s entirely possible I did see it LOL) but if it’s as impactful as you say, I think I would remember it. I’ll have to check it out. Thanks, Kalen.

  35. Pingback: The Impact of Mental Illness & Suicide | The Money Pincher

  36. Tough topic. I have battled with depression on and off and its not easy. Even with everything going well on your exterior people dont understand your inner turmoil with things. Keeping an open mind has helped me greatly out of depression to try new things and make changes that are outside my comfort zone.
    Asset-Grinder recently posted…$2,126,094 Net Worth Update August 2014My Profile

    • So glad you’ve been successful in finding tactics that work for you, AG! It definitely is a hit or miss thing isn’t it? Things that help you feel better about your circumstances that work when you are well, do not necessarily work when you are depressed. Therefore, you need to mix things up a bit. I find keeping myself distracted as much as possible has helped. Putting one foot in front of the other and not looking forward has helped to. Thanks for weighing in an providing some valuable insight. Grinding on. ;-)

  37. Thanks for sharing and opening up about something so personal. Several people in my family have suffered from depression and I lost a friend in high school to depression. Talking about things helps and searching to find the right therapist is worth the extra effort. I’m glad you have turned the corner and have found happiness again!
    Untemplater recently posted…Maybe You’re Your Own Worst Enemy?My Profile

    • Thank you for sharing how this illness has touched your life and for your kind words to me. It’s great that we are starting to talk more openly about it now.

  38. I really appreciate you sharing your story. I think there is a huge stigma around getting help. Imagine how many people never take the step to get help when they know they need it? It sounds like your therapist was a lifesaver, and I’m so thankful for all the therapists out there who can act as a lifeline.
    DC @ Young Adult Money recently posted…Why You Should Pay the Minimum on Student LoansMy Profile

    • A depressed person can be quite immobilized so they may need some help getting help but usually (hopefully) they can muster up the courage to do something when they know how bad it is. The problem comes when it is difficult to find the right help. People get discouraged and give up. They don’t have the energy to do the legwork. Depression is extremely tiring. Once they finally decide to do something to get help, that’s when they are ready an the resources need to be available pronto, and sadly they are not always available. At least this has been my experience with family members so people suffering from mental health issues really need advocates to navigate the system with them. Thanks for weighing in, DC, and for your kind comment.

  39. I was devastated knowing that my favorite comedian actor is dead. I could not believe in it until I saw the news. He was a great man, father, friend and actor. He is a loss in the industry. Only could I watch him again in his movies. Sad he left too early.
    Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank recently posted…Monster Piggy Bank Turns 2!My Profile

    • It’s devastating to lose anyone, no matter the age, no matter the accomplishments or income level. Life is sacred and we mourn the losses in this way.

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  41. You are so brave for sharing this story. It’s not easy sharing something like this with someone, let alone sharing it on your blog.

    I remember my experience with a therapist. I didn’t have a very good one – very pushy, yet didn’t say much. I never felt comfortable with her. Thankfully, I had a lot of great friends who didn’t give up on me. Therapy isn’t for everyone, but it sounds like your first therapist was a great one.
    Lisa E. @ Lisa vs. the Loans recently posted…Lisa vs. the 2014 Goals – Checking InMy Profile

    • Thanks Lisa. It’s like every profession, there are good doctors and bad doctors, good lawyers and bad lawyers… same goes with therapists. I’m sorry you did not have a good experience. Later on I had different counselors off and on, and some were better than others. If they weren’t that good I didn’t continue much. It was just such a hassle then finding another one. Thanks for commenting. :-D

  42. I appreciate you sharing this, Deb, and I’m grateful you are here to do so. As others have said, it was a powerful read and for me it touched close to home. Thank you for being courageous enough to write and post this – I think such open, honest, and sincere discussions do good work in removing the stigma attached to depression and related issues. We need to talk about these things, so those of us who suffer or have suffered from them can see we’re not alone and those who have no idea what it’s like to be stuck in that darkness can start to understand.

    Robin Williams’ death made me, as you said, both incredibly sad and scared because it was proof that depression can lead us to a place no one and nothing can reach to save us. I’m happy for everyone who has reached out and received the help they needed and I hope that those who feel hopeless and alone right now can find the strength to do, or continue to do, the same.
    Kali @ Common Sense Millennial recently posted…Yes, Life is Hard – So Toughen Up, ButtercupMy Profile

    • Thank you Kali. What you’ve stated is exactly the reason for sharing my story and more importantly the deeper message for those who need to hear it.

  43. I’m not that much of a internet reader to be honest but
    your sites really nice, keep it up! I’ll go ahead and bookmark your site
    to come back in the future. Cheers
    Situational Depression recently posted…Situational DepressionMy Profile

    • Situational depression is real, I think that is the kind I suffer from. It’s difficult because you can’t always control your environment so I need to accept what I cannot change.

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  46. Wow, this is such a touching story, thank you so much for sharing. You’re so right that we shouldn’t compare because even with our own family and closest friends, we sometimes don’t realize what someone else is really going through. In college, a friend of mine who “had everything” committed suicide and we were all simply shocked. It happens so thank you for sharing your experiences. We all learn from you.
    MonicaOnMoney recently posted…3 Common Money Worries Everyone HasMy Profile

    • Thank you, Monica. This is how I’m feeling about my associate who died this year as well. I understand but am still shocked. I’m sorry about your friend. In Canada we have this Bell (sponsor) Let’s Talk Day on depression to raise the awareness to help remove the stigma and money. It’s been hugely successful in not only getting people to talk on that one day, but all year through. A former Canadian Olympic athlete (in both summer and winter Olympics), Clara Hugues, is a spokesperson who suffered from depression. http://letstalk.bell.ca/en/

  47. Wow Debs! You seem so put-together and vivacious (at least over the internet). I’m so glad you are in a better place now and that you know that at some point you may have to seek help again if things take a turn for the worst. You are so brave!
    Kayla @ Shoeaholicnomore recently posted…September 2014 Budget PlansMy Profile

    • Thanks, Kayla. I’m good, and very happy to be here to help others to know that eventually all will not be bleak again.