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November 27th and 28th are grim anniversaries for me–on both days, a wonderful person I loved lost his battle with depression. I initially wrote this post for my friend Stan Mak, who passed away on November 27th, 2013, but I’m sharing it again in memory of Jevon Mastrangelo as well (November 28th, 2007). November is a tough month for many – if you are struggling, please remember that depression LIES. You are loved, and you are making a difference in the world, even on the days you can’t get out of bed. Someone out there needs you, though you might not know it. Please share this post with anyone you think might need it. – With much love to Jevon, Stan, and everyone who is struggling or has struggled with this terrible disease. <3 You are NOT alone.

It doesn’t matter if you don’t believe in the devil. The devil believes in you.

Depression is a silent killer. Why? Because we don’t believe in it. Much like a boogeyman under the bed or a monster in the closet, we don’t believe it exists.

And that’s when it gets us.

Because, above all else, Depression plays for keeps.

We lost a wonderful man yesterday. His name was Stan. He was 43 years old. He had two darling little girls, and he loved his wife. He had a strong network of amazing friends. He was talented–a well-known sound guy in the local film industry, he had a great eye for photography, and could whip up some wicked fried rice. He was responsible for some pretty amazing Halloween costumes too.

Stan was obsessed with music and movies. And above all, he had a good heart. Stan cared about people. He loved them with everything he had to give and could be the most caring friend, brother, son, husband and father you’ve ever seen. He had a great laugh–it seemed like he was always smiling.

And we lost him.

People will say he killed himself, but the truth is, my friend Stan had a disease. A terrible, horrible, insidious disease that made him feel nothing but despair. That robbed him of his joy. That convinced him he had nothing left to live for.

Depression killed him.

People who are dying of this disease usually know. Every day is a slow, excruciating exercise in treading quicksand. It’s a fight just to keep one’s head from going under. Some people do all the right things, like Stan did.

They talk to their friends. They try to go out and have fun. They struggle to find joy in life. They go to the doctor. They take anti-depressants.

But just like chemotherapy doesn’t always cure cancer, doing the right thing doesn’t always cure depression.

And the more we refuse to believe that depression is, in fact, a serious DISEASE that kills people every fucking day, the more it will steal the people we love from us.

For every Stan who goes for help, there a million more who suffer in silence.

If you lived in fear of the boogeyman, would you admit it?

We say depression is a weakness, it’s a choice, it doesn’t have to be that way, the person who is ill should fight it or hold on or wait or try a little bit harder….

Bullshit.

Do we ever say people who die of cancer could control it? Or should have been stronger, or fought harder? Why is a disease of the body given so much more respect than a disease of the mind, when the mind controls everything? There is no body without the mind.

Suicide is a big ugly guilt bomb that explodes over everyone.

But if we waste time feeling guilty, we’re missing the point.

Guilt is all about us, not the person we lost.

Depression wants us to feel guilty, because then it wins. And hey, if we feel guilty enough, maybe it can claim another one of us.

When a loved one dies of cancer, what do we do? We get angry. We raise money. We hold fundraisers and awareness events and yell, “Fuck you, cancer! We’re not taking this lying down! You’re not going to take another one of our friends.”

So why can’t we do that for depression?

Because trust me, depression needs to have its ass kicked.

Do it for Stan.

I love you, buddy.

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81 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Many thanks for this. It talks about depression in a way I wish I could. A sufferer.

    Reply
  2. Avatar

    Well said, my friend. Proud of you for having the courage to write this.

    Reply
  3. Avatar

    Well Put. Thank you for the kind words for my cousin. He truly was one of a kind. R.I.P. Stan

    Reply
  4. Avatar

    Thoughtful and heartfelt post on the disease of depression, prowling among us. Second only to anxiety in modern culture for damage done….

    Reply
  5. J.H. Moncrieff

    Please let my voice be your voice. Share this with whoever doesn’t get what you’re going through.

    You have my love and hope. Thanks for being here.

    Reply
  6. Avatar

    Sometimes we just don’t know what to do to help. Those suffering depression DON’T want people telling them, “It will get better.” Maybe, but at the moment, they don’t see any lights in the tunnel not attached to trains. They DON’T want people telling them to see a doctor or call a help line. They are just not those kind of people, or they would have done it already. They DON’T want someone telling them all THEIR own troubles, thinking that will help them forget their own.

    All they want sometimes is just someone to LISTEN. Just listen; not comment; not judge; not advise … just listen.

    In honour of Stan, let’s all spend ten minutes with a friend and just listen to them.

    Reply
  7. Avatar

    So sorry for your loss.
    When I first saw the title I thought it was about high blood pressure, which is called the silent killer. The holiday season’s commercials – with all those smiling, hugging, cheerful families – are hard enough for those who don’t suffer from depression to see… and they started so damn early this year.

    Reply
  8. J.H. Moncrieff

    Thanks, Margaret. There are many “silent killers” – high blood pressure, ovarian cancer, etc. And all of them are talked about a lot more than depression. This one needs to stop being silent.

    Thanks for your compassion, and for commenting.

    Reply
  9. Avatar

    So well said. Thank you <3

    Reply
  10. J.H. Moncrieff

    You’re very welcome, Tammy. Thanks for commenting.

    Reply
  11. Avatar

    Great piece. Depression certainly affects a lot of people, and I know many. I wonder how many more lives we have to lose before it is taken seriously.

    Reply
  12. J.H. Moncrieff

    Welcome to my blog, RoseAnna. Thanks for commenting. Unfortunately, probably too many. But if we start talking about it and fighting it, who knows how many people we can help?

    Reply
  13. Avatar

    So sorry for the loss of your friend. I have many people in my life that struggle with the demon that is depression. My heart breaks for them. The everyday struggle to carry on, the unbelievable weight it brings to them and their loved ones. It is crushing to watch the people you love struggle…♥

    Reply
  14. J.H. Moncrieff

    @ Tina: I’m sorry to hear it, but I’m not surprised. It’s way more prevalent and serious than a lot of people think. Thanks for your kind words. I am not going to let this end with a blog post.

    @ Cee – <3 <3 <3

    Reply
  15. J.H. Moncrieff

    You are very welcome. It is the only power I have to help – my words. I hope they can give someone comfort and strength.

    My heart goes out to you and your family. I can’t imagine the pain you are going through right now. So many people loved Stan. He will be forever missed.

    Hugs.

    Reply
  16. Avatar

    Thanks for this. You’ve managed to put what a lot of us are thinking into words.
    Big hugs to you.

    Reply
  17. J.H. Moncrieff

    Thanks Lisa. In honor of Stan, I decided to start telling the truth today. It was the very least I could do. I’m fighting back with the only weapons I have…my words, and my love for that guy.

    These won’t be my last words on the matter. If there isn’t a huge megalopolis fundraiser for this disease, there is GOING to be one!

    Reply
  18. Avatar

    Thank you J.H. More people need to understand this. Depression is not a choice. It’s not a matter of will. Sometimes it just IS. It will take a massive socially conscious effort to change attitudes. And we have to take the first step. Thank you.

    Reply
  19. J.H. Moncrieff

    Thanks for your comments, ladies. They are much appreciated. This is the first step for me, but I am going to go much further. If it takes whatever life I have left to fight this thing and its stigma, so be it.

    Reply
  20. Avatar

    Thanks for not staying silent. Healthy people don’t get what it means and how one can be unhappy in the face of so many blessings.

    Reply
  21. Avatar

    Been there.
    I survived it only because a co-worker recognized the signs (because she too had been through it) and urged me to seek help. We can no more cure depression by ourselves than we can cure cancer by ourselves. I resisted at first for all the reasons you stated. But I eventually laid pride aside and got help. So many are affected, but refuse to see it. So many die thinking they can handle it.
    I’m sorry for the loss of your friend and applaud your standing up to raise awareness. You are a light.
    http://allandouglas.com/blog/?s=lost+in+the+fog

    Reply
  22. Avatar

    We need to talk about depression, and support those who suffer from it. And their families. And stop judging people, and expecting them to ‘toughen up’.

    I lost one of my best friends in 1991, around this time of year, and it still is an aching loss. And I’ll always wonder if I could have done something more, said something better to reach him. My husband suffers from depression and I’ve become adept at watching for the darkness as it creeps up on him.

    But too many are good at hiding their struggle, they are self medicating and trying to meet expectations of them needing to be something else – someone else. This year depression hit hard and that brutal loneliness and the total lack of empathetic voices makes an already horrible disease even worse. We celebrate ‘survivors’ but those fighting depression are not included in that group. We need them to know they are not alone (EVER), to stop judging (NOW) and use the power of social media, smart phones and our feet to stay in touch with people. You don’t know how a postcard, an email or a text can be a lifeline. Not everyone will reach back, or can.

    Great post J.H. Thank you for your friendship.

    Reply
  23. Avatar

    I don’t know you or Stan but as a family of those who live with, suffer, deal with depression your words and compassion are a light in the darkness of many. Thank you 🙂

    Reply
  24. Avatar

    This is an amazing piece that brought tears to my eyes. I have been fighting that monster for nearly 10 years. So far it hasn’t won, but it’s a hard fight. Thanks for giving it words and here’s hoping others start to understand.

    Reply
  25. Avatar

    Sorry for the loss of your friend. Thank you for speaking out. It is the devil and it torments me every day.

    Reply
  26. Avatar

    Thank you Holli for the words you have captured and speaking out and so sorry for your loss of a good friend. For those suffering from the demon of depression remember to reach out and ask god for help! When we open the door and move closer to god he moves closer to us!

    Reply
  27. J.H. Moncrieff

    Thank you for your wonderful, heartfelt comments. I am honored by them. I’m glad this post was able to speak for some. I’ve gotten so tired of hearing this was Stan’s choice or his decision. Suicide is how depression kills people, period. It had affected his mind to the point that there was no longer a choice for him. As long as people continue to throw around the word “depressed” to mean everything from having a bad day to losing an earring, the world will not get it.

    We need to take back the power of this word so it means something again. Depression is a DISEASE–it’s not a bad hair day. Let’s treat it as such.

    Love you ladies. <3 Stay strong.

    Reply
  28. Avatar

    So sorry you lost your friend. You’re right about us needing to draw attention to this. We need to reach out to friends and loved ones, even when they push us away, so they’ll know we do care and that they’re not alone. It can be fought and won.

    I have a family friend who’s a veteran and suffering daily. He came to Thanksgiving this year, so I’m hoping that’s the start of a change for him. This isn’t something one Thanksgiving dinner will fix, or even several. It’s something that needs to be worked at with patience and understanding. He doesn’t have to face it alone.

    Reply
  29. J.H. Moncrieff

    Thanks, Margaret. I appreciate that. I will check them out.

    Reply
  30. J.H. Moncrieff

    Thank you for your courage, Doug. I am so happy you survived your struggle, and grateful for the co-worker that helped you. Can you share the things she said or did that worked? So many times we struggle with what to say, what to do, when we see someone drowning.

    Thank you for your kind words, and welcome to my blog. I really appreciate you being here.

    Reply
    • Avatar

      She was very blunt and up-front. In a kind way. She said she knew I was struggling with something I didn’t understand, Something I didn’t want to talk about. And that’s OK. She had been through it too. She understood. She also knew from experience that I was very close to doing something terrible. If I did not get help, right now, she would loose a very good friend. She gave me the name and number of a counselor and insisted that I call her in the morning (we worked nights). I put it off for a while. Anna kept after me, in a way that only Anna could have. She could be persistent and yet very gentle. I knew she was persistent because she genuinely cared. And I respected her, so after a few days I went to see the counselor. The first session opened my eyes to so much. Knowledge is the answer. Understanding what is happening, why it is happening and what we can do about it. Drugs are a band-aid (sometimes a life-long band-aid) the change will come from within us, and that requires that we understand what we’re up against and recognize that we are not alone and we are not powerless, then healing can begin. Believe it or not, that’s the *short* version! 🙂

      Reply
    • J.H. Moncrieff

      Wow, Anna sounds like an amazing woman. Thank goodness you have such a good, compassionate, brave friend. Not many would feel comfortable being so insistent and bold about it.

      Reply
    • Avatar

      She said once that she knew how important it was and that she could not just stand aside and let it happen to me. She had to try. She saved my life and I’ll be eternally grateful to her for that.

      Reply
  31. J.H. Moncrieff

    I’m really sorry to hear that, Susan. Thanks for speaking up. I hope you have a strong network of people you love whom you can talk to.

    Thanks for your kind words. I wish everyone could have known Stan. He was amazing.

    Reply
  32. J.H. Moncrieff

    Thank you for your comment, Kathy. I appreciate the sentiment of your post, but not everyone has the same religious beliefs. I hope everyone with depression can find comfort, whether they believe in god, Buddha, or the love of friends and family.

    Reply
  33. J.H. Moncrieff

    Thanks for your comment, Donelle. I appreciate your kind words and the fact that you are reaching out to your friend and showing him the understanding he needs. I hope he’s getting help. Veterans have a whole lot of other issues to contend with, such as adjustment problems and PTSD. So sad.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you.

    Reply
  34. Avatar

    I cant tell if you are speaking from your own history…If not, you know the ‘black hole’ very well.

    Reply
  35. Avatar

    I live with this silent killer everyday and it is out of control since my brother passed away
    I have been diagnosed with severe depression years ago, but as a lot of physician explained – whether you agree or not – depression is a chemical brain unbalance,
    I’ve have been strong – or smart enough – to have it under control for a long time, lately I need professional help because panic attacks are getting out of control, and the deep guilt feel of not saying goodbye to my beloved brother is killing me slowly, but I have a son who giving me hope and strength to keep going. PLEASE seek help if you “lost the desire of living” don’t be ashamed, be smart…cheers, my heart and thoughts are with Stan’s friends and family.

    Reply
  36. J.H. Moncrieff

    Thank you, Lylis. Welcome to my blog, and thanks for commenting. It’s a combination of being extremely empathetic (a writerly trait) and having depression run in my family. It’s something I always have to be watchful for in myself. I’m definitely prone to it, so I have to be careful.

    Reply
  37. J.H. Moncrieff

    Thanks for sharing your story, Spardini. That takes a lot of courage.

    I’m very sorry to hear about your brother and about your own struggles.

    I’m glad that you are getting help and have your son to give you strength when you need it. And you’re right, it is a chemical imbalance. The fact that depression often gets a stranglehold because of something tangible in the person’s life: the death of a loved one, the breakup of a marriage, loss of a job–gives many people the impression that being depressed is a choice, or that the person can just “snap out” of it. Unfortunately, once depression starts changing a person’s brain chemistry, that’s no longer the case.

    Good luck to you. Thanks for your kind words.

    Reply
  38. Avatar

    I am 23, I have suffered with anxiety for about 9 years now. The amount of people that say stop worrying, just breathe. I know it’s sounds so easy to them, if it was so easy I would have overcome it by now. It will be with be all my life which is a scary thought but not something I will give into. I know it is nothing like depression as once depression takes a grip it can become out of control. I have times when anxiety is worse and times when it is better. We need to talk about things to make peopke aware we have no control how these tbings affect us.

    Reply
  39. J.H. Moncrieff

    Thank you for speaking up, Anonymous. I think anxiety disorder can be very serious. Panic attacks can often be mistaken for heart attacks–they can be that severe, as you probably know. (A friend with anxiety disorder once told me they can feel like something else–a physical symptom that is not life-threatening, but just as urgent and a whole lot more embarrassing.) Not to mention anxiety disorders can keep people from leading full, happy lives. As such, anxiety often goes hand in hand with depression. I’ve heard of many people who have both.

    How sad that at such a young age you’ve already had to deal with this for nine years. I think the ignorant comments you’ve been subjected to have to do with the fact that, once again, we throw around the word “anxious” to the point where it means nothing, much like the word depression.

    I applaud your strength and your courage. I hope you took some comfort from this post, and the fact you’re not alone. Thanks for being here. I promise you that I will keep raising awareness about these illnesses until there is no more need for public education. Sadly, I think we are a long, long time away from that.

    Stay strong. xoxo

    Reply
  40. Avatar

    Well said, Holli. I remember Stan from high school. Thanks again for writing this.

    Peter

    Reply
  41. J.H. Moncrieff

    Another word on suicide: when someone you know takes his life, it’s okay to say “I wish I would have done more”. It’s NOT okay to say “Everyone should have done more and then this wouldn’t have happened.”

    Because:

    a) It’s not true, and
    b) It belittles all the people who loved that person and who were doing everything they could to help. Sometimes love isn’t enough. This, sadly, was one of those times.

    I find it strange that it always seems to be the people who were the least involved who are the quickest to point fingers and say, “you all should have done more!” Well, maybe you should have, but you can’t paint everyone with the same brush.

    Rant over.

    Reply
  42. J.H. Moncrieff

    Thank you so much, Peter. I’m sorry for your loss. Stan was a great friend and a good man. I wish there was more I could do.

    Reply
  43. Avatar

    Wow, such a beautiful & powerful post! While it’s natural to have an “I wish I could have done something more…” impulse, it’s misinformed (& self centered!) to assume that we have that kind of sway over other people’s actions, brain chemistry and emotional well being.

    Clinical depression isn’t feeling down. Just like an anxiety disorder isn’t feeling anxious. People who are neurotypical use these words to describe experiences that parallel these illnesses, but the difference between them is the difference between night and day.

    I’m so sorry for your loss – suicide is so terrible that it’s just unfathomable, and it sounds like Stan was a wonderful man. I’m also sorry that there are people who are being so… simplistic about his death that they’re making it about them and the people around them.

    I can’t applaud your reaction enough – in my mind using this as a time to celebrate his life and impact on the community, and raise awareness about mental health is a way to honour him and to help save lives.

    You’ve got a beautiful heart, and he was lucky to have you. As we all are <3

    Reply
  44. Avatar

    Thank you for speaking out for those who can not!

    Reply
  45. J.H. Moncrieff

    Thanks so much for that, Kyla. I really needed it.

    I wish more people understood the difference, but I will do everything I personally can to raise awareness. I think it’s important.

    <3

    Thanks for being here and speaking up. It means the world to me.

    Reply
  46. Avatar

    I’m sorry it took me so long to get to this post. I’m so, so behind. I’m so sorry to hear about this. I know about depression inside and out since I’ve battled it for over 18 years now, and I will continue to battle it for the rest of my life. I’m currently okay, but I know things can always turn for the worst. What triggered my depression was the suicide of my cousin, who happened to be a twin, when I was in my early teens. Gosh, that hit me hard, and I didn’t understand at all back then what he’d gone through. I’m beginning to understand it now, especially since I went through a very dark time after my daughter was born and was diagnosed as suicidal. It really IS a disease, and I wish the world would treat it more as such.

    Reply
  47. J.H. Moncrieff

    Thank you, Anonymous. I am doing my best, and will continue to do so.

    @ Michelle: I’m really sorry to hear that you have struggled with this as well. I wish that, too, so much, because the misconceptions people have add to the pain of those who have lost someone this way. It’s hard enough to grieve for a friend without having to defend him–and those who loved him–constantly. Why don’t people get that?

    Reply
  48. Avatar

    In Memory of my wonderful Dad who also fought this disease and lost the battle on Jan 8, 1978. Thank you to this author for bringing it out in the open and naming that suicide is not a choice. And for reminding we survivors to let go of guilt. It is also so wonderful to dispel the myth that suicide is a rage-filled, vengeful act. It is an act born of psychic inner pain that only those who have walked in it, can know. As I have but because of you, I know my enemy and battle him as best I can.
    Rest in peace Daddy.

    Reply
  49. J.H. Moncrieff

    Welcome to my blog, Anonymous, and thank you for your heartfelt comment. I am so, so terribly sorry to hear about your dad. That is truly heartbreaking. I am glad that I was able to say something you could take a little comfort in, not that words can do much. I’m very sorry for your loss.

    Losing someone this way is the worst, because you have to deal with the loss itself, plus all the guilt and blame and anger that comes along with it–not to mention the stupid things people say. It boggles the mind how many of us are still completely in the dark about mental illness.

    Sending you love and light and all good things. Thanks for reaching out.

    Reply
  50. Avatar

    It is so nice to see that there are people out there who realize that this mind set is not something we choose to live with..I live with it everyday my family is always asking what’s wrong and once I’ve told them they just say I need to get over it and there’s people out there much worse off than me and im not some special case. I just no longer truthfully answer anymore I cant afford my pills anymore my spouse is my only strong tower that gets it. I mean I realize there are people way worse off than me in this world but how can people especially your own flesh and blood be so…man I don’t even know a good word for it maybe ignorant or cruel works. They have almost lost me a few times…I owe my very life to my man and my family doesn’t even realize how much more of a role he plays than they do. Pretty sad hey?

    Reply
  51. Avatar

    interesting read and comments………but just like cancer, depression comes in many ways, stages etc . I am not sure what stage I am at………all I know is that I don’t want to be this way. I don’t wake up and decide today I will be depressed.
    it has robbed me of so much in life ……I am afraid to get married because I think I will be a burden ……don’t have kids because you don’t want them to ever have to deal with this………..
    How do you even ask for help when you are the one that puts a smile on everyones face ………..sighing …….how ……how………I am surprised I made to be this old …….there are days…..weeks when all Yoi think about is suicide ………that the world would be better off without you……….you pray …….you try to believe that God has a purpose for you ………happiness for you is making others happy ………but joy …….just never seems to come your way .

    Reply
  52. J.H. Moncrieff

    Thanks for your comment, Anonymous. It’s great that you have a wonderful partner who understands your struggles and who will help you through them. I often find that families are the least likely to understand and accept mental illness…I’m not sure why. Yours clearly doesn’t understand that you don’t have control over how you’re feeling, which is too bad, because it makes life even more difficult for you.

    I’m very sorry to hear you can no longer afford your medication. My heart goes out to you. I’m doubly glad you have a support system. Are you able to take advantage of any other free help, such as exercise, free counselling, support groups, etc.? I’d hate to hear that you and your spouse are going through this alone.

    I wish I could give you a big hug! I really feel your pain.

    Reply
  53. J.H. Moncrieff

    I can guarantee the world will not be better off without you, Anonymous, even though it’s hard to believe that sometimes. I’ve been suicidal several times, and even made an attempt when I was a teenager. Each time, I felt so grateful and blessed the next day when I was still here. As long as you keep living, every day is a second chance to feel better. And you WILL feel better, I promise.

    Please know that you’re not alone, and that you will not always feel this way. I hope you will consider getting some help. There are many resources for people who are feeling the way you are…you don’t have to suffer in silence. If you Google your province or state name with the words crisis hotline, suicide hotline, or depression, you will find a lot of people willing to help you.

    I’m glad that you reached out to me, and I’m so sorry you’ve had to struggle with this for so long. You are not a burden. If you’re the one that usually puts a smile on everyone else’s face, I can promise you that all your friends and family members would love to repay the favour, if you’d only let them.

    Can you talk to anyone–perhaps a close friend or a sibling or parent–and tell them how you’re feeling? Sometimes talking about it can really help.

    Please stay in touch and let me know how you’re doing. I care about you, and I’m here for you. Feel free to email me at barelylucid@hotmail.com anytime, or friend me through Facebook.

    Reply
  54. Avatar

    Just found this post on G+ J.H., and am moved beyond words at the comments and your responses to them. It may be an idea to repost this blog in light of Robin William’s suicide? My brother is severely depressed and I wonder if today or the next or next month or whenever will be the day he decides ‘no more’. It’s been many years now …

    Reply
    • J.H. Moncrieff

      Hi Susan,

      Thanks for your kind words, and I’m so sorry to hear about your brother. That must be terrifying.

      I did retweet it after Robin’s death, and I have a new post coming out about depression tomorrow. I haven’t wanted to repost it because I wrote it for Stan…and I didn’t want to seem like I was trying to use a great man’s tragedy as a way to boost my blog traffic.

      I’ll give it a second thought in light of your suggestion, though. Thank you. I wish you and your brother all the best. <3

      Reply
  55. Avatar

    Thank you. I loved this when you originally posted it. I reach for articles like this every time suicide touches my life; I share them with others grasping at straws. You are 100% spot on. The mind controls the body. And sometimes the mind is fucked up.

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks so much, Phyl. I hope everything is all right with you.

      Reply
  56. Avatar

    Well said, Holli. If more people thought they way you did and understood depression for the killer and the disease that it is, people who suffer from it wouldn’t have to constantly come up against the stigmas and the other heaps of crap people dump on us all the time. I’m truly sorry for the loss of your friend, Stan–he sounds like he was a wonderful human being *hugs*.

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks, Anita. Hugs to you too. I agree – it’s high time to end the stigma. Only makes it harder for people to seek help.

      Stan was an amazing person. He had so much to give to the world, and Jevon hadn’t graduated from high school yet. So sad. 🙁

      Reply
  57. Avatar

    I’m sorry for your loss (and his family’s) but I’m glad you found an outlet by writing this passionate post.

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks, Lexa. 🙂

      Reply
  58. Avatar

    On re-reading this J.H. I am again struck by the power of this post and the readers’ comments to it. Thank you for sharing it again … and you’re so right about the cancer analogy …

    My thoughts are with you as you look back on the persons who’ve been taken by this silent killer. Am sharing this on FB – hopefully it will be read further … xxx

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks so much, Susan. I hope it will find the person who needs to read it.

      Reply
  59. Avatar

    So beautifully put. I think people say stupid things out of ignorance. It’s hard to really understand what someone with a chemical imbalance goes through. We always assume medicine and therapy can “fix” it, but your friend’s story is proof that isn’t always the case.

    Reply
    • JH

      Yes, and it can fool you – he told me the anti-depressants weren’t working, but knowing he was on them made me feel he would be okay. I knew it takes some time for the depressed person to feel a difference. If he hadn’t been getting any medical help, I probably would have been more vigilant.

      Reply
  60. Avatar

    This made me sad. I’m sorry for your lost!

    Your words really struck a chord in me. I suffered from depression…still can teeter into it from time to time. It’s horrible. And it is a silent killer. I wish more people understood. And also that they wouldn’t use the word “depression” so lightly.

    Reply
    • JH

      I agree, Chrys, and I’m really sorry you’ve suffered from it. I don’t know a creative person who hasn’t – they seem to go hand-in-hand.

      Thanks for the kind words.

      Reply
  61. Avatar

    Somehow I missed this and I must say I always say it is a brain disorder or brain disease. People are funny-and not in the Ha ha kind of way. They readily accept when another organ like the heart or liver has medical issues but as soon as we say about the brain, people start judging. We do not know enough about the brain and usually it is something life long that the person must deal with. This, of course affects a person’s mood or personality. They need understanding and patience and be treated with dignity and respect. Unfortunately many people have neither the patience or will to do either. I am so sorry to hear about his passing. He was in so much pain and it must be difficult for everyone now

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks so much for your compassion, Birgit. I don’t understand this either – unless it is that every single one of us realizes it could happen to us, and we always despise our own much-hated qualities when we see them in others.

      I hope my friend has found peace, but I wish more than anything that he was still here.

      Reply
  62. Avatar

    Lovely post, and thank you for sharing. I’m very sorry for your friend. Depression is a nasty disease that gets even more insidious with lack of understanding. Hopefully this post can bring a little more understanding to others.

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks so much for the kind words, Sara. I really hope so. <3

      Reply
  63. Avatar

    I don’t know if you actually knew my brother Jevon or not, I would like to know how and if not I would like you to remove this please, thanks..

    Reply
    • JH

      Yes, I did. I’m a friend of the family and knew him since he was an infant. I don’t know of a Lance, though…you might have been born after I moved away.

      I’m sorry if this upsets you. His grandma, aunt, and uncle were okay with it. Let me know if you’d still like it removed.

      Reply
  64. Avatar

    I have suffered from this illness for as long as I can remember. And now watch my daughter & grandson suffer. No one really understands. I try to talk myself into endING
    It everyday, but think of what it will do to my family. It just goes on & on, I am 63 years old now & have been on every medication there is

    Reply
    • JH

      I’m so, so sorry. But I’m glad you’re still here. Please hang in there.

      Your family would never be the same if they lost you, and would always blame themselves. Please trust me on that.

      Sending you hugs and love and strength.

      Reply
  65. Avatar

    The Black dog howls,
    Another victim!
    Many more waiting to be bitten.
    They look like ordinary men and women,
    Their sickness from us they keep hidden.
    DEPRESSION an illness forbidden.
    Inner strength becomes depleted,
    Another victim lies defeated.

    Reply
    • JH

      Poetic and oh so true. Thank you, Gary.

      Reply

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