Depression Personal Stories
If you would like to share your story with
others here, write here
and we will post it.
(Permission was obtained to include the
person's full name in this first story).
2004 was a sunny day, with mild weather. The Colorado wind was
blowing, not terribly, just enough to tickle the windchimes.
Michaelj took a drag from his smoke. Today was his day, he
planned on it for a week. His Fiance', Mary opened the door and
pestered him while he tried to work through his math homework.
She wanted a bite to eat, a cup of coffee and some time alone
before she left to pay the bills.
It was Friday. Friday
was his day to relax, drink a bit and chew down on a perfectly
prepared omelet. Of course it was only perfect because he made
it. No one could ever make them as well as he did.
He stood over the
stove with two dogs at his feet. He would never leave them out,
an omelet each. Through the grease splatter Michaelj made Mary
an extra large cappuccino. While finishing their breakfast they
chatted about the new house they would be moving into, its a
cute one bedroom in the northern part of Denver. She loved the
location, he loved the thought of being with her.
After breakfast they
piled the dishes in the sink and he went out for another smoke.
A reminder of real-life surfaced when he checked the mail that
morning. 'Stupid bills,' he muttered under his breath. 'I'll
never get out from under this crap.' Around 10:30 he cracked a
beer and joined nature on the back patio. The view of the
mountains was magnificent. As the wind blew lightly, he sucked
on his smoke and sipped at his beer.
Fishing through left
breast pocket of his flannel shirt he retrieves a digital
recorder. "My name is Michaelj Doyle Albright, that's M-i-c-h-a-e-l-j,
all one word, Doyle Albright." he always took pride in that
name. He changed it when he was a boy. "Everyone will know
me, the star, when I record my first album'' was the explanation
you'd get after asking why. "My social security number
is..." he finished by clicking the recorder off. He put it
back in his pocket and finished his beer. Staring toward the
south, he could see cars passing by, everyone is always in a
After another smoke
he went inside and sat down at his computer terminal. In the
reflection he could see his dry erase board with math problems
covering it. Last weeks homework was of no use now. He stood up
and erased the board. Sat down, stood up, and re-erased the
board, this time with liquid cleaner.
Sitting back down at
his terminal he pushed the space bar to suspend the screen saver
on his computer. Microsoft Windows 2000 with a backdrop of his
Kimber 1911 pistol. He loved that pistol. It was one he and his
son had picked out together. Michaelj logged into his
hotmail account and started typing an email to his employer, USA
Today. After a few lines he stopped, turned on the screensaver
and went back outside for a smoke.
Tap and turn, tap and turn, his lighter repeated
over and over on the patio furniture as he fumbles for his
digital recorder again. "Synopsis, I am a high tech worker,
who for the last three or four years has been unemployed or
under employed, and I have reached the end of what I have to
give." The recorder clicks off, and he drags on his smoke.
While its fresh in his mind he clicks the record on again,
"Nicholas, take care of things...." He trails on for a
minute or two about how to tend to the bills. Another click of
the recorder. After another smoke, he makes his way inside, to
the beer cache and takes a couple more.
walked back to his study, kicks his feet up on the desk and
marveled at the feeling of the liquid hitting his belly. Fridays
really were his day. His day to have a bit to drink, lots to
smoke and just be Michaelj. Mary rarely complained about his one
day weekends. He worked very hard every other day of the week,
he deserved it.
spent some time working on a new Java program he was writing for
school, but couldn't really get anything accomplished. Today he
had other things on his mind. He soon got tired of trying to
debug the errors in his program, and went back to writing his
email. The email, it turns out, will be a resignation. Enough is
enough. What started out as a bitch session, has turned into a
farewell resignation effective today. He is not going to live
his life as an underpaid paperboy any longer.
some books was a bottle of vodka, half full. He sipped some
straight from the bottle and kicked the words around in his
mind. What is the proper way to word this email? What is it that
I really want to say?
a few hours, the wording was still not correct. Michaelj was now
a little tipsy from the beer. He tried working on math instead.
Numbers suddenly became stick figures like in cartoons. Amusing
at best. Ah, another cigarette sounded good. But certainly not
before another beer, and another message clip.
a late lunch Michaelj made tacos. He wasn't able to cook much,
but what he could cook he mastered. As he and Mary ate the tacos
they talked about the wonderful times to come. After they
finished eating they cuddled for awhile.
another smoke from his pack he told Mary he would be back inside
in a bit. He recorded another message. This one was just for
a few minutes Mary joined him on the patio and told him it was
time to head into town to run errands. "Would you like to
come along?" she asked. His reply was convincing, "No,
I'm not feeling all that hot, I'm gonna have another smoke and
probably lay down for awhile." She kissed him and left for
town. He looked at the clock. Its four in the afternoon. Another
day nearly over. He talks to the recorder some more, as
life goes on around him. At 5pm he pours the last bit of vodka
into a flask.
now empty bottle of vodka is lined up with the half dozen or so
empty beer bottles he had through-out the day. He makes one last
attempt on his email. The email sounds right, the proper anger,
the proper bitching. Nearly perfect.
steps are now confident and meaningful. The double shot of
courage he just downed from his flask makes him feel all warm
inside. From his top dresser drawer he retrieves his .45 caliber
Kimber pistol. He polishes it for a moment or two with his shirt
tail. Then he holsters the weapon, and tucks the whole rig into
the small of his back, unloaded. Reflecting on the last week,
he'd spent over $200 in booze and cigarettes. Both of which were
takes the empty pack of cigarettes and alcohol to the trashcan.
Back inside he pets the dogs for a few minutes before finally
pushing the SEND button on his strongly worded email. The time
is now 5:15. In the fridge there are two bottles of beer. In his
shirt pocket, his pack of smokes. Only two left. His flask is
three quarters full of vodka.
stumbles out to the garage, toasted. He sets the beers on the
table. One falls off, "damn, misjudged the location of the
table." It shatters at his feet. To late, can't fix that
retrieves his cellphone and scrolls to the numbers for each of
his kids. The only scrap paper in the garage is the piles and
piles of unwanted USA Today newspapers. He pulls a section out
of the paper on top, and carefully takes his time to write down
two phone numbers. He triple checks to be sure he got them both
right. Then he lays his cellphone on top of the phone numbers,
so that they are likely to be found.
loads up his remaining beer, flask, two cigarettes and handgun,
and leaves the house. For about 6 minutes he walks, tripping a
few times. On the way he works on finishing whats left in his
flask. When he gets to a nice spot, he finds himself in the
middle of a field. It has a great view of the Colorado
mountains, he lays down and looks at the now bright red sky. He
was on a rarely used dirt road only a couple hundred feet from
the house where he has spent the last six months of his life.
his digital recorder out of his pocket he starts talking.
Through tears and the wind he tells Mary he loves her very much,
and that he feels she can do better then him. Over and over he
repeats the same phrase, "I love you." After 12
minutes, he states, "I'm going to have one last cigarette,
and finish my beer. These are the last two pleasures." For
the last time he turned the tape recorder off and dried his
tells himself he needs to be focused if he's going to go through
with this. He lets the empty beer bottle fall out of his hand,
walks a few feet and places his personal belongings in a pile.
After saying a quiet prayer, he inserts the magazine into the
gun. Then he racks the slide. 'Hollow points, my choice is
-At approximately 5:40 pm on October 22nd
my father, Michaelj, took his life with a single gunshot. His
body was found by a neighbor only minutes later, who called 911.
Death was pronounced at the scene.
had left for only a few hours. During this time she was
withdrawing money to use as a deposit on a new house they had
just signed for. The police made contact with Mary's son in law,
who called and told Mary to come home.
often find myself asking why. Almost a month has passed, and the
question has yet to be answered. I know one thing for sure;
besides being a loving man who cherished music and computers, he
also gave to those who needed it. He is a man to be proud of.
His achievements are hard to count. He spoke so much of a
program he helped design and write while employed with Sun
Microsystems. The program earned a patent and his name is
actually on that patent. Every day for a month solid he called
me and gave the patent number. He was so proud of his hard work,
and so was I.
all thought he was dealing with depression well. Many would
question if he ever had the symptoms. Sadly this wasn't his
first attempt at suicide. While cleaning through his personal
artifacts, we found a suicide note from 2001. The method he used
that day is unknown, in fact we didn't even know it happened
until after his death in 2004.
life was back on track, so the explanations elude us. His three
wonderful grandchildren spent a great deal of time with him, his
soon to be wife, his new house, attending school.....on the
outside everything appeared better than normal. Sadly we can
never know what was happening inside.
am well aware of the grieving process. The anger period hit me
while attending his memorial service. A photo slide show of my
dad started making my daughter cry. She understood he was gone,
and it would be along time before she would see him again. The
pictures of the two of them together were overwhelming for her.
Choking on tears she tried to express her feelings.
she is only four years old, her feelings are well developed.
That was the moment I filled with anger. How could this jerk
make my daughter cry!? Who the hell was he, making her have
these feelings of sadness. Had he been alive, I'd have beat the
living crap out of him.
Now that I am through
the majority of the anger, I am focused on the why and the how.
Eventually I will let the questions go, and accept that what
happened most certainly happened because of a choice he made. No
one put the thoughts in his head, no one would change his mind.
I understand that in
my head, but my heart does not. After compiling all my thoughts,
and dads paperwork, we have established that the why may be
answered with just $5,000 worth of debt. Maybe it was something
else. Maybe he felt we held him to a higher standard then he was
able to achieve. He made reference to failing quite frequently.
If he only knew how much he accomplished maybe his choice would
have been different.
All those are just
maybes. The only thing we know for sure is he had just a few
thousand dollars worth of bills. Sadly anyone of the people at
that memorial service would have given a hundred times that to
help him make a better decision. He just had to ask. Part of
stubbornness is the unwillingness to ask for help to fix a
You may ask why I
wrote this reconstruction. Or why you should you trace my
fathers steps. The reason is quite simply because education is
the only cure for ignorance. It is my hope that after you read
this you will understand that suicide doesn't end the pain. It
just deflects it to another person.
Not one day has gone
by without my eyes glazed over with tears. Not one day has gone
by where someone doesn't ask "is there anything I can
do?" The answer is; Hell yes there is! Go home, right this
minute. I want you to walk up to someone you love be it your
mother, sister, brother, father, cousin, spouse, child or
friend. Talk to that person. I want you to start your
conversation with the words "I love you, because," and
if it doesn't take you at least a lifetime to finish, find
another person and tell them too.
If you remember
nothing else from this article, please remember these words to
"If you need a
friend, I'm here. I'll listen, day or night, forever if you need
me to. I'm not going to judge you. I am here with you, because I
love you." --- Nicholas Michael Albright
A word of thanks from
I am not an angel. I
have a past, many stories from my past include law
enforcement...placing me in handcuffs. Want to know why? Cause I
was wrong. I broke the law, I hurt someone. The police officers
did their job. They were there to help someone recover from what
I did. It is hard to admit when we are wrong. It is just as hard
to admit when we need help.
On October 22nd
I had another run in with the police. This time I was the
victim, and I needed help. Want to know a funny thing about
that? They went above and beyond to help. Stories about heros
are told every day. I can't say enough about the heros in my
I was offered free
resources to help the grieving process, and at least a half a
dozen police officers took personal time out to help me
cope with my loss. When I mean personal time, I mean officers
willingly gave up their lunch breaks, and ability to go home on
time. They were all focused on my family, and our well
The lead detective in
my fathers suicide, Gregg Lotspeich taught me something about
people. His team of officers, who worked on this case, were
personally involved. They did not know my dad, they did not know
me or my family. Yet they had tears, they mourned with us. We
shared good stories with these officers. Those stories helped
them as well as us. Knowing they must see incidents like this on
a regular basis somehow gave me a false sense that heros are
desensitized to emotional events like this. Detective Lotspeich
set me straight.
There are thousands of people who are able to
help us in our time of need. Your hero could be an emergency
services worker, victims advocate, friend or the person on the
other end of the 1-800-SUICIDE line. These people do not judge
you. They know life can some times deal you a pile of crap. They
will also help dig you out, and they are willing to do it over
and over again if needed.
A world of thanks and love comes from my heart
to the people in the Frederick police department.
I will never forget the others who are so often
overlooked, from the neighbor who found my father and acted
quickly, to the emergency workers, to the donors alliance team,
to my family.
Especially my wife,
Noel. Above everyone else she has been there every time I fall,
literally or emotionally, I have always been caught. With the
help of my kids, I know that even though I hurt, life will go
on, I will feel better, and so will you.
I was born, my father gave me a little something I will carry
for the rest of my life. It took the tragic events of October
22nd for me to realized how proud I was to bare his first name
as my middle name. A part of him will forever live through me.
This story is true, Parts of my fathers last day maybe slightly
inaccurate or the sequence maybe out of order, but I tried to
reconstruct them as best as I could. With respect to copyright,
please feel free to copy and share the story as is. Do not make
any changes to it.
In 1974, my 15 y/o brother committed suicide. I was 21y/o at the
time. I was dx. with depression in 1975, but the MD used only
of college. I had a good hangover at least once a week, lost a lot
of weight and had debilitating anxiety.
I'm now 48.
I've been on Lamictal and Effexor with pretty good results. My
daughter was dx. with leukemia in 1992. That threw me into a deep
Two years ago I
filed for a divorce from a physician and I've had two years of hell.
Last week I had to go back to court and listen to my ex-spouse tell
the judge, under oath, how I had threatened to kill myself, my
children etc. He was given custody of our son who is 14. He didn't
seek custody of our daughter because she is safe with me. He stated
that I "have a problem" with men, therefore my son's
welfare is in jeopardy. Needless to say, I've had a terrible time
with my illness. I've lost three jobs in 1 year.
Today I needed
a resource and found sanctuary. Even my psychiatrist dumped me
because I no longer had $, and after 9 years of treatment. I know,
well I kind of know, that things will improve. I've made it through
so much stuff already. This is my depression story.
My birthday is
December 11, 1981. I turned 18 in 1999. My whole life I have known
something was wrong..just didn't' know what. So the week after my
birthday and before christmas, I spent hours on the net looking up
stuff on depression and anxiety. When I finally convinced myself that my problem wasn't going away, I talked to my friend and mentor,
Karen, DVM veterinarian..about it and she agreed not to tell my
parents about my problem and she would go with me to the free clinic
to get help. So that week I went to the free clinic, loaded with
information about what was bothering me and the doctor agreed to put
me on paxil.
Well, I stayed on a low dose of paxil for about three weeks with out
anyone but my closest friends knowing. Then I crashed big time. I
had the bottle of sleeping pills all ready and all i had to do was
get the correct dose.
and gave out hints to everyone. Finally someone got the message. The
guidance counselors in school told me I should talk to a counselor
downtown at "teen health" a counseling service for
troubled teens..best yet its free!! Well those people convinced me
to tell my parents..stupid.
So my mom came
down and was finally told..she started bawling and blaming
herself...which is why I didn't want her to know in the first place.
They took me to
the hospital in Lacrosse which is 30 min away. When I got there they
put me in a waiting room for a half hour, and then in a room by
myself. Apparently they were expecting me because they had the cops
and social workers there waiting to talk to me.
Well I talked
to a social worker for 15 minutes and then I sat there for two hours
by myself...my parents had to go fill out paper work. Two hours
later a cop comes in and asks me to explain "the pills". I
couldn't, so he said he was going to put me in the hospital on a
Chapter 51..which states if I have intent to harm myself or anything
else they can put me in a psych ward against my will. Well, to make
a long story even longer I stayed there a week.
It was hell.
Well, after that stay I saw a counselor once a week...who was
determined to do a type of counseling which I didn't want anything
to do with. Well, during my struggle with my counselor I got worse
again. And in March I admitted myself into the hospital again.
This time I got
a change in counselors..twice..long story there wont explain. But
That was the last time I was in the hospital.
Since then the
anxiety has gone down but the suicide thoughts are still there..I
should have been admitted twice since then but I will not go in
again. It hasn't done anything yet..and I am stubborn.
Why I think
this all happened... I think it started when I was 11. At that time,
my grandmother and an uncle from the same side of the family, died
within a week. A year later my aunt, whom I was also very close to
died. Then two of my neighbors, four classmates, two uncles, two
more classmates and many more died.
I think that is
why I have what they call "shell shock". They say only
military people have it, but military people also see a lot of
Right now, I am
in the middle of a rollercoaster. I can't tell which way I am going
yet..either up or down. I am not on any medication right now because
they were making me worse and I am beginning to hate my current
counselor...so right now you all are all I got.
Since I last
typed this, I have been hospitalized twice...once on my own terms
and another for an OD on flexor. I've been through a lot, so please
talk to me if you need help. I hope this is a good explanation of me
and what I have been through..any questions let me know...I am not
afraid to answer.
Update..(6/28/01)..Since the last time I updated this, which was
sometime in November of 2000, I was hospitalized one more time and I
have been labeled with a new dx (diagnosis). This is a strange story
so I will bore u with it. I don't remember the exact date, It was in
April of 2001 I know for sure.
Anyway, I was
having a really bad day and I had tried to talk to everyone I know
to try to lift me up, but nothing was working. So I went to my last
resort, which I will never resort to again. I called a hotline.
Instead of a national hotline, I went to a local hotline...BIG
MISTAKE. Here's what happened.
I called a
place called the "Crisis Connection". I talked with a lady
there for a while and she decided I needed higher help. She wanted
me to go into a walk in clinic but I was to scared to go outside so
she said there was nothing more she could do. Then we hung up.
Luckily my therapist at school gave me three crisis phone numbers so
I called the next one. This one I should have known I was being set
up, but I am blonde and didn't listen. This was someone in an ER.
She just referred me to another phone number..the third on my
list..and hung up on me. Being as desperate as I was, I called.
They asked me
for some very important details and then called the cops behind my
back. The cops came talked to me for a few minutes..waited for the
ambulance to arrive and then let me go with the ambulance.
I spent 12
hours in the ER with no one to talk to...all I wanted to do was talk
to someone. I was admitted after 12 hours and some struggles..The
nurses were complete jerks, wouldn't talk to me. This place was
totally weird compared to the last two places I was at. This place
didn't have groups...it only had occupational therapy and an
Education group. This place also diagnosed me with Borderline
therapist agreed back at home that I had "traits", but not
the full blown disorder. My doctor back at home is still in denial
about this whole thing. Anyway, I was sick of that place after a day
so I left after four days. Didn't really help any.
After that my
therapist in school and I never really saw eye to eye anymore.
three weeks, I got back home. This is when things in therapy really
picked up for me. I had a new bond with my old therapist..and I
really like her now. We decided that the reason for my depression
actually started when I was approximately four. See here's what
My dad was an
alcoholic before he was married. When he got married, my mom made
him quit drinking...So he stopped. Cold turkey. My therapist says
this is where the problem started. He never really had a chance to
deal with his alcoholism and took it out on his kids.
When I was
four, and my brother was just born, we started going to the baby
sitters. My dad would get home two hours before my mom did...so we
were alone with him for two hours. During this time...all he could
do to keep his sanity is either yell at us or ignore us. Being a
daddy's girl and having your father ignore you until u were ten is
pretty hard. Then when my mom came home..we would cling on her.
brother hasn't suffered any effects yet..He just yells back now. So
anyway...that has been a huge relief. Now that's what we are working
on in therapy and we are also working on educating my parents.
If anyone has
any questions about any of my story, or me, or any of the dx's I
have, feel free to email me. I will be happy to answer your