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Thread by @petersagal: "With two celebrity suicides this week, and God knows how many that didn’t make the news, it’s time (finally) for a thread. (Huge intake of b […]"

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With two celebrity suicides this week, and God knows how many that didn’t make the news, it’s time (finally) for a thread. (Huge intake of breath.)
Back when I did this podcast episode, many people told me that hearing me talk about depression helped them deal with their own. So in the hope that it might have a similar effect, let me tell you a little more.

apmpodcasts.org/thwod/2016/12/…
During the past five years, most especially 2013-15, I went through a personal crisis that was extraordinarily difficult. Other people are involved and I need to protect their privacy. Suffice to say: many days I would wake from a nightmare and the nightmare would be real.
As you can imagine, for a depressive person, real, serious, seemingly insurmountable problems can be devastating. Lethal. And (talking about this for the first time) they almost were.
One story among many: at one point I was thinking of buying an electric car. And in thinking of pros and cons, -- feeling of superiority vs range anxiety -- one of the “cons” was, “If the time comes, I couldn’t park it in the garage, turn on the engine, and die.”
So: why am I still here? Broadly speaking: three reasons:

1) Medication. Anti-depressants saved my life. If you need it, get it. If think you might need it, go talk to someone about it. No shame, no stigma, no regrets. Do it.
2) My job. I talk about this a bit in this interview, but it wasn’t just the need to put on a happy face. I had obligations to the audience, to my colleagues, so I had to keep showing up. chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazi…
At one point, NPR sympathetically offered me compassionate leave. I said no because I needed my salary (among other things, my problems were very expensive.) But staying connected to people, in the office and in our audiences, turned out to be, literally, a lifeline.
(Not that it was easy for my colleagues. My behavior in those toughest times was, to put it mildly, erratic. It's why sometimes I bring in donuts.)
3) Finally, something @JohnMoe said in one of his annual memorials to his brother, who killed himself years ago. He said (paraphrasing) that you might think suicide ends your pain, but it just shifts and magnifies it to everyone else.
You’re taking your agony and handing it to your family, your friends, wrecking their lives as you end your own.
I thought about that a lot. My friends, who were standing up for me. My kids. My colleagues. My parents! Even the person who was at the heart of my troubles. How in the world could I do that to them? Lack of concern for myself was trumped by my obligations to them.
And now… my problems haven’t gone away. Life isn’t like The Book of Job, or “Jerry Maguire,” or “The Grinch.” You don’t lose everything, keep up the good fight for a while, and then get everything back. Some losses are permanent.
But: next Saturday, I’m marrying a woman who has made me finally, late in life, understand all the goopy love stories I used to mock because I couldn’t understand what that kind of happiness would be like.
We have a home and two great dogs and wonderful friends and loving families and every day I wake up to a dream come true. I’m glad I’m here.
And, BTW, I also have an electric car now. A Chevy Bolt. It’s great. The self-satisfaction TOTALLY makes up for the range anxiety.
So stick around. You never know what might happen.
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