By Sean Dietrich
CYNTHIA— I’m depressed because I’m stuck indoors because I have a compromised immune system. I miss my husband. He died two years ago from a stroke and I’m still learning to be an old widow.
You mentioned once you play online Scrabble, I love that game and wanted to know will you play me sometime? I’ll warn you though, I’m pretty darn good and I don’t ever lose.
DAN— Dear Sean, I have been depressed for the past fifteen years off and on. It doesn’t matter why because I now realize that it’s a chemical thing and it’s just the way I’m made and I’ve gotta deal with it.
In May I tried to do the ‘stupid thing’ [suicide] you mentioned in your earlier column but I called my mom and she saved me. She found me in a bad place and never judged me even though I was in a really bad place. I’ve been on and off meds for a year and I go to therapy but it’s a never ending war. This ‘rona has really been hard for me. Thanks for listening. I’m not going to give up and I don’t think anyone else should give up. My mom is awesome.
GAIL— I’m 79 and I have never been this depressed in my life. My kids threw me a birthday party when I turned 79 in June but I was only pretending to have a good time, inside I was wondering what the point is to being alive. I live in Ohio. Visit me.
HELEN— Can’t you see that you’re just part of the fear mongering Sean? Quit scaring everyone into an early grave. OK, Depression is a thing. OK, we get it OK? But people like you are focusing on the virus and it’s making it only worse.
JOHN— I lost a brother to suicide. I also work in the mental health field; I want to share the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK. They also accommodate members of the Deaf community online. Thank you.
MELODY— Yeah, I’m depressed. I feel like a real weakling for saying it, because I have a really good life and a great family … I never had problems before, and I always believed people with depression were just looking for attention until now. I made an appointment with a counselor in my church because I know there’s a light at the end of this tunnel. I hope I find it.
CHELSEA— So I started drinking a lot, Sean. Before this quarantine the problems were already there but not that bad, but then it just went all to [deleted]. I didn’t want to admit I’m an alcoholic but that glass of wine wouldn’t let me go … I’ve been going to meetings online now and I have accountability and I just wanted to say that I’m sober now for a whole four months and other people can do it, too. Trust me, if I can do it…
LORIE— I’m going to get help for me my kids and for my grandkids … I’m 62 and so depressed that I can’t see what the point to everything is anymore, I’m gonna do the help thing and let someone in. I thought about ending it all one time and it scared me that I would even go there.
MARK— Been staying home every day from the virus. Don’t talk to my friends anymore, quit going to town because I get delivery on my groceries. Then I wash them down on the porch with sanitizer then I wash my hands with rubbing alcohol, but food doesn’t even taste good to me these days. I have been thinking that I’m sinking lower, Sean, into maybe OCD. I’m afraid to even leave my house because I might catch the virus and die. You’re the first person I’ve told.
HARRIET— I’m a doctor, Sean … Any light brought to the realm of mental wellness is welcome because it really is an anxious time right now. We have to educate people, the same way we do with COVID-19, about depression and its triggers.
SAM— I wish my brother would have gotten help. He never talked to me, and we lost him. But now I talk to him every day. He loved Auburn football.
ERICA— My teenage daughter has been getting help and it’s made all the difference. I want parents to know that teenagers are affected by this stuff right now, too, and they don’t know how to tell you about it because their little brains don’t understand.
ME— I am overcome. I have been reading letters since this morning in response to yesterday’s column. I have shed my share of tears. And I have felt my share of warmth. People are stronger than I ever imagined. Stronger than me, that’s for sure.
My words seem so feeble, but I truly mean them: Thank you. To anyone who took the time to send me a story, an email, a private message, a text or anonymous comments about your experience with depression, suicide or mental illness. Once more, thank you. I sincerely believe anyone who is struggling right now needs to hear the following words:
May God bless you and keep you.
And Miss Cynthia, if it’s a Scrabble war you want, you’ve got one.