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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).

October 22nd 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 hurry.

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.

He 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.

Michaelj 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.

Behind 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?

After 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.

For 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.

Pulling 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 her.

After 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.

The 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.

His 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 almost gone.

Michaelj 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.

He 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 now.

Michaelj 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.

Michaelj 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.

Fishing 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 tears.

He 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 final.'

-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.

Mary 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.

I 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.

We 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.

His 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.

I 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.

Although 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 problem.

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.

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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 you:

"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 Nicholas Albright,

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 life.

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 being.

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.

When 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 "talk therapy." 

I flunked-out 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 depression. 

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. 

I experimented 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 death. 

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. 

..Another 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 Personality Disorder. 

Finally my 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. 

Finally, after 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 happened. 

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. 

Fortunately, my 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 questions. smrtlauf@yahoo.com 

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