Feb 21

We are only as sick as our secrets

Comments (99) by Leslie Marinelli February 21, 2013 - 7:02 AM

My grandmother committed suicide in 1949 at the age of 31.

She left a husband and three young children behind, one of whom was my 9-year-old father.

This family secret has haunted me for most of my life.

Why did she do it?

Were there warning signs?

Did she try to get help before she got to a place where taking her life seemed like her best option?

Nobody really talks about it. My dad and his siblings were so young when it happened that they don't really have many answers...not that I would ever dare to ask much about such a traumatic part of their lives.

But I think about it often.

I think about how a woman gets to that point.

I think about the time in my life when I battled depression like my life depended on it -- because it actually did.

And I think about how my generation is and isn't much different from my grandmother's.

Back then, she didn't have the ability to connect with other women on the Internet and find out that she wasn't so alone. She didn't have access to information and online communities. She may not have had anyone with whom she could share her dark thoughts and get support.

Perhaps instead of dealing with her overwhelming feelings she numbed herself with wine every afternoon like so many women do today not realizing they're compounding the problem.

Or maybe she did reach out to someone but was told to "just snap out of it."

Whatever she did or did not do is irrelevant. She lost her fight with depression. And her surviving family has suffered greatly because of it.

But my generation has the ability to do better. We are armed with more information, choices, and support than ever before.

Just this week, Xanax 'better mom' trended on Yahoo. A blogging friend of mine, JD Bailey of Honest Mom is one of the brave women interviewed in that hot-button Parenting article.

Sadly, there's a whole world of judgment being unleashed upon these young mothers for how they're managing their depression, anxiety and rage.

And I wonder, would these outspoken detractors prefer the alternative?

Because I can't imagine anyone would think that severely abused, neglected, or abandoned children are a better outcome than a generation being raised by stable, caring, present mothers.

These women are your sisters, your friends, your favorite bloggers, your neighbors. Depression is nothing new. But talking openly about it and successfully treating it is.

Regardless of how women today manage depression, be it medicine, talk therapy, diet/exercise, alternative therapies, or a combination thereof, shouldn't we stop judging them and be grateful they are getting the help they need?

It's a popular saying in 12-step groups that "we are only as sick as our secrets."

I wish my grandmother's story had a different ending. I wish she could have had access to the same treatments and support we have today. I wish depression didn't feel like such a shameful secret to so many young mothers. But I am alive today thanks to the antidepressants I took at a time when I needed them. And there is nothing sick or shameful about that.

 

Leslie Marinelli of The Bearded Iris and In The Powder RoomLeslie Marinelli is a writer, wife, mother of three, toilet humor aficionada, and transplanted Pittsburgher trapped in the suburbs of Atlanta. She's a weekly columnist and the Editor-in-Chief of In The Powder Room, as well as the creative force behind the award winning blog, The Bearded Iris: A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All. Leslie enjoys writing in the third person as much as she likes finding hair in her food and getting episiotomies. You can connect with her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter as @TheBeardedIris.  

by Leslie Marinelli February 21, 2013 - 7:02 AM

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Comments (99)

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  • Report Sun Jun 16, 2013 - 1:12 pm
    I have lots of friends who shop in Karen Millen ranging from size 6 to size 16 so the cut and sizing obviously does work for some ladies.
    Reply Delete
  • Report Sat Jun 1, 2013 - 3:00 am
    I agree, I have been selfish. Each day, I struggle to get my act together. I want to prove to everyone that I'm not lazy & that I'm doing my best. I'm suffering in silence right now because my family thinks I'm just making excuses. Thank you for the article. It seems like people will not understand how much pain you're in until it's too late.
    Reply Delete
  • Report Tue Mar 5, 2013 - 6:31 am
    by  Linda
    I've suffered from depression since I was 12. In my early 20's, I thought I had my depression under control. It was not until I started having kids that my deprsesion started to get worse again. In hindsight, I should never have had kids. I'm a terrible mother. I often think that if I just left my kids, they'd be better off. The first thing most people will say when they hear a mother talk of suicide is "How selfish. Think of your kids." I agree, I have been selfish. Each day, I struggle to get my act together. I want to prove to everyone that I'm not lazy & that I'm doing my best. I'm suffering in silence right now because my family thinks I'm just making excuses. Thank you for the article. It seems like people will not understand how much pain you're in until it's too late.
    Reply Delete
  • 1 reply, Last reply by Danielle on Tue Mar 26, 2013 at 9:03 am
  • Report Tue Mar 26, 2013 - 9:03 am
    by  Danielle
    @Linda: Linda, do you have health insurance or a clinic you could visit? I bet you're not a terrible mother. But sometimes it takes more than "getting your act together" to change things. The best thing you can do for yourself and your kids is to get the help you need. Don't spend your life wishing you could do better when there are tools that could help you. Would you try to hammer in a nail with your bare hands? Use the tools you have. Take care of you. Don't wait until, as you say, it's too late.
    Reply Delete
  • Report Wed Mar 6, 2013 - 1:24 am
    by  Mamaintheburbs
    I must of forgot to comment on this article. I'm sorry about your grandmother. It took a lot of courage to write this article. As someone who suffers with really bad depression, I know how important my medication is to me. I think if people want to judge me for being a mom who takes pills and sees a therapist they should look closer at their lives. It's not fair that women are bullied for taking meds, not breast feeding, coparenting, the list is endless! As you said these are our friends, our neighbors, our sisters! They should not be passing judgement. If it wasn't for my medication I wouldn't be the good parent that I am today! And just like if I had diabetes would people deny me of my medication? NO! I'm starting my new blog this month www.mamaintheburbs.com and will def be writing a lot about my struggles with depression. I think the more women speak out the better! So thank you!!
    Reply Delete
  • Report Fri Feb 22, 2013 - 2:17 am
    by  Meredith
    You are so right about this--it's amazing and sad how little depression used to be "acceptable". My mother lived her whole life with it, but would never consider seeing a doctor about it or getting treatment. I'm so thankful that I can seek help and medication without any shame or embarrassment. Thanks to people such as yourself and JD, the acceptance of this is our culture is such a blessing...
    Reply Delete
  • 1 reply, Last reply by Leslie Marinelli on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 11:31 pm
  • Report Thu Feb 28, 2013 - 11:31 pm
    @Meredith: Thank you Meredith! We really do have it better in so many ways.
    Reply Delete
  • Report Fri Feb 22, 2013 - 4:02 am
    by  Elizabeth
    Thank you for this article. And thank you to all the amazing and strong people sharing their stories in the comments. I come from a long line of family members with depression. A lot of them attempted suicide - though none that I know of ever succeeded, they ultimately just drank themselves to death. My mom has depression and raised my siblings to be aware of our family history. She wanted us to know the signs, as well as steer clear of alcohol as it can compound the depression. Not all of us have it, or if we do it manifest itself differently in all of us. I had the occasional bout, but nothing too bad until I had my child. I thought my life was OVER. I literally cried for 4 weeks straight. Finally my sister told me to call my doctor and get an anti-anxiety medication. Within a few days I was "better". I didn't have to stay on the medication for too long, and I now use some more "natural" methods of trying to control it. But If I ever again feel like I did at that time, I wouldn't hesitate to get back on the meds. I became so frustrated after my experience, when I would hear that women were having a hard time and either not doing anything about it, or feeling embarrassed about it. From there on out I made a point to tell every expectant mother about my experience. (Hope I'm not too big of a downer at baby showers). Just think if by sharing your story inspires one person to get help - you saved someone's life. Think how many people you have helped with your blog. Thank you.
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  • 1 reply, Last reply by Leslie Marinelli on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 11:30 pm
  • Report Thu Feb 28, 2013 - 11:30 pm
    @Elizabeth: WOW Elizabeth - thank you! I sure hope that I've helped people in some way otherwise I'm just embarrassing my family for nothing! :) My story sounds very similar to yours. I like how you are sharing your strength and experience to help new moms - wish someone had done that for me. You are a gift! XO
    Reply Delete
  • Report Fri Feb 22, 2013 - 4:27 am
    by  Peg D
    Leslie, Thank you for sharing this powerful secret. I was sexually abused as a child for many years and that secret is a difficult one to reveal to people, but I tell my story intentionally. My hope is that by exposing it, maybe I can help to prevent it from happening to others. Also, I have had people share their secret about their own abuse after I have told my story. I have lived with chronic depression as a result of my childhood traumas and I believe firmly in therapy and medication. It allows me to be a very successful, productive member of society. I admire you for being courageous enough to share your story. Please don't ever feel like you have to be constantly humorous. Your gifted writings bring joy to people and there are times when your expressing what others think about, but don't have the courage to say, is just what is needed. On a lighter note, did you give anything up for lent? I have a friend who insists on genuflecting every time she says the F bomb during lent. It is very entertaining to see.
    Reply Delete
  • 1 reply, Last reply by Leslie Marinelli on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 11:27 pm
  • Report Thu Feb 28, 2013 - 11:27 pm
    @Peg D: Hi Peg! Thank you for such an awesome comment. I'm so glad that you are able to channel your experiences into helping others. What a gift! And thank you for the encouragement about spreading my writing wings. I definitely needed that. No, I didn't give up anything this year. I gave up booze/wine last year and have stayed off the sauce for a whole year....so I figure I've earned enough brownie points with the Lord that I can take a year off of any more sacrifices. ;) Oh man, if I had to genuflect every time I dropped the F bomb, my knees would be jelly. Give that friend a fist bump for me. I like her style!
    Reply Delete
  • Report Fri Feb 22, 2013 - 5:25 am
    by  Jane
    I am so glad to call you my friend. You are a strong and brave and role model for us all! Thank you
    Reply Delete
  • 1 reply, Last reply by Leslie Marinelli on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 11:23 pm
  • Report Thu Feb 28, 2013 - 11:23 pm
    @Jane: Thank you Janie. Right back atcha, sister. XOXO
    Reply Delete
  • Report Fri Feb 22, 2013 - 7:16 am
    by  Roshni
    I'm so grateful for the blog world and social media, which has allowed me to connect to so many wonderful people online, and to find out that everyone of us has common issues and concerns that we are all trying to work through... so grateful for the support that most of us get as a result. Thank you for a wonderful, thoughtful article, Leslie!
    Reply Delete
  • 1 reply, Last reply by Leslie Marinelli on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 11:22 pm
  • Report Thu Feb 28, 2013 - 11:22 pm
    @Roshni: Thank YOU Roshni! I'm grateful for you too!
    Reply Delete
  • Report Fri Feb 22, 2013 - 8:27 am
    So the whole "just snap out of it thing"... it makes me want to kick a puppy when someone says that. Luckily, my dog is full grown so no puppies are at risk, but seriously, it's so ignorant. Mind over matter is what I'm told all. the. time. My problems are more anxiety based than depression, but I can relate. I've been trying to "mind over matter" it for years, and now that my kids are being affected, I'll take medicine if the doctor thinks it would be best. Pride comes after what's best for my kids and so does what the jackasses who judge moms who need medicine think.
    Reply Delete
  • 1 reply, Last reply by Leslie Marinelli on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 11:22 pm
  • Report Thu Feb 28, 2013 - 11:22 pm
    @Kelly @ In the Mom Light Blog: Right on, Kelly! Mind over matter may work for some, and God bless them, but if it's not enough, there is no shame in doing whatever it takes to get over that hump. Thanks for being here!
    Reply Delete
  • Report Fri Feb 22, 2013 - 9:23 am
    by  anon
    My cousin suffered from bipolar disorder. She took her own life just last year. She was a young mother, 26, and left behind her pride and joy, her 5 year old daughter. She had today's resources, was in treatment, was on medication for a period of time, yet she still lost her battle. The stigma and shame of mental illness is devasting. Even with improved resources we can't save everyone. But, I know we can do better. We can be more supportive and caring toward people with mental disorders and their families. We can advocate for more funding toward mental health agencies to make treatment more accessable.
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  • 1 reply, Last reply by Leslie Marinelli on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 11:17 pm
  • Report Thu Feb 28, 2013 - 11:17 pm
    @anon: Oh I'm so sorry. What a terrible loss for your family. And you're so right, we are still losing people every day, even today. We have a long way to go, but hopefully we are headed in the right direction.
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  • Report Sat Feb 23, 2013 - 10:09 am
    Beautiful. Powerful. Emotional. I am so glad today we can attend to the needs of moms who suffer... Thank you for giving those women a voice. Through yours.
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  • 1 reply, Last reply by Leslie Marinelli on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 11:15 pm
  • Report Thu Feb 28, 2013 - 11:15 pm
    @Chris Carter: Thank you Chris! I appreciate that so much!
    Reply Delete
  • Report Sun Feb 24, 2013 - 10:02 pm
    by  RachRiot
    Leslie, I love love love this. I agree with everything everyone said. My mother suffers from depression and I distinctly remember thinking she was just lazy and hating her for not being the kind of mom I saw on tv. She didn't talk about it (and still really doesn't) because of the shame. It left me confused and angry. Secrets only live in the dark. Thank you for giving this light.
    Reply Delete
  • 1 reply, Last reply by Leslie Marinelli on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 11:15 pm
  • Report Thu Feb 28, 2013 - 11:15 pm
    @RachRiot: Hugs to you, Rach. Thanks for being here and staring down your demons with me!
    Reply Delete
  • Report Wed Feb 27, 2013 - 10:17 pm
    I'm not sure how I missed this article last week, but I am reading it now and I am saying, "AMEN, sister!" Antidepressants saved me from going out of my own head when I was in the throes of depression; and yes, they may very well have saved my life. I never seriously considered committing suicide, but I remember often thinking back then that if I just up and died, maybe it wouldn't be the worst thing. I hate that there's a stigma attached to reaching out for medicated help in order to climb out from the pit that is depression. And I agree that our kids are better off with mothers who are present, engaged, and happy, however chemically induced, than dead and absent from their lives.
    Reply Delete
  • 1 reply, Last reply by Leslie Marinelli on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 11:14 pm
  • Report Thu Feb 28, 2013 - 11:14 pm
    @SaidKristin: Thank you Kristin! Yes, I've been there and it was the worst. So glad I never applied such a permanent solution to a temporary problem. I pray that other suffering souls can find a solution that works for them as well. XO
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  • Report Wed Feb 27, 2013 - 10:33 pm
    I am getting off my happy pills, but boyohboy did I need them after my second girl was born. I was so grateful how many women shared their situations openly with me when I posted on FB about my struggles....you are SO RIGHT. Get it out of the dark, whatever it is. I just posted about two little things I did differently in my mamaing this week...kind of proud of myself, not gonna lie! I am VERY pleased you are around Lady IrisLeslie. Knowing you are out there makes me smile.
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  • 1 reply, Last reply by Leslie Marinelli on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 11:11 pm
  • Report Thu Feb 28, 2013 - 11:11 pm
    @Heather Novak: Big sloppy MUAH to you Heather, Love.
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  • Report Thu Feb 21, 2013 - 11:07 pm
    Some people think that parents today are "taking the easy way out" by using antidepressants. And that women in previous generations just stuck it out and made it through, so we should be able to, also. I say that's a load of crap. We are fortunate that in the year 2013 we have medication, therapy, and doctors who support us and help us manage our depression. And there's no need for women to suffer in silence while their families feel the effects of their pain. But women still do because of ignorant people who spout out their baseless options and perpetuate the notion that depression is something to hide and be embarrassed about. It's tragic. Thank you for sharing your story and helping to chip away at the stigma of depression. Big hugs to you.
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  • 3 replies, Last reply by Leslie Marinelli on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 11:10 pm
  • Report Fri Feb 22, 2013 - 2:00 am
    @JD Bailey @ Honest Mom: Thanks JD, and thank you for all the hard work you are doing to take charge of your health and spread the message of hope. Mad props, sister.
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  • Report Thu Feb 28, 2013 - 5:38 am
    @Leslie Marinelli: @JD Bailey and @The Bearded Iris both of you are doing a magnificent job spreading the message to society that changes need to be made. Asthma and arthritis are accepted by everyone but any psychological condition is frowned upon by many people and these medical conditions should not be treated any differently just because you can't draw blood to diagnose them. How many lives are going to be ruined before the world realizes that mental illnesses such as depression are widespread and devastating? Keep spreading the word ladies...it's a beautiful thing!
    Reply Delete
  • Report Thu Feb 28, 2013 - 11:10 pm
    @nursemommy: Thank you Stacy! XO
    Reply Delete
  • Report Fri Feb 22, 2013 - 12:44 am
    Thank you so much for writing this! I grew up with a bipolar mom and spent a lot of time in psychiatrists' waiting rooms, and I tried as best I could to be the "good girl" so that I didn't add more stress to the family. Nobody bothered to consider what that might do to me. Also, I functioned so highly that few people guessed that I was holding myself together with baling wire and chewing gum. I thought my panic attacks and not wanting to get out of bed in the morning were a weakness of character on my part, and I'm ashamed to say that I judged my mother for the ways in which her world view had contributed to her problems. After my 2nd child was born and my marriage was disintegrating, the wheels finally started to come off, and only then did I understand what she had dealt with. When I did start taking meds, suddenly I felt "normal," whereas before I'd felt like I was walking around in the world without any skin, like a car without shock absorbers. It was a huge relief. Talk therapy is an enormous help, too. Of the moms I know well enough to ask, all are taking antidepressants. Are we part of some larger problem where we are turning normal emotions into a medical problem? I don't give a crap. I'm not responsible for anyone but myself, and I know I did the right thing, because if I hadn't sought help, I would either be dead or a basket case (on my way to being dead before my time). And, it was people who said I should be able to handle life's ups and downs without medication who kept me from seeking help sooner. It begs the larger question of why raising children in our society is so f-ing stressful, but that's another conversation. Anyway, thank you so much for continuing to shed light on this issue. I like your writing even when it isn't about vaginas. :)
    Reply Delete
  • 1 reply, Last reply by Leslie Marinelli on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 2:34 am
  • Report Fri Feb 22, 2013 - 2:34 am
    @Kathleen @ Middletini: I think I may have sprained my neck from nodding so vigorously while reading your entire comment! Yes, yes, yes, yes, YES. Raising kids today does feel so f-ing stressful doesn't it? And yes, I do want to have that conversation (not today, but soon) because it really is mind-boggling how many of my friends and peers are either on meds or self-medicating with wine every day. However, like you, I think a properly medicated mom is better than a dead mom, so I don't give a crap. Sorry about your mom - I have a friend who is bipolar and going through a bad spell...it is heartbreaking to watch, especially for her oldest girl child. And I totally relate to the "good girl" thing and having to keep it together. That was me too. And thanks for liking both my vagina writing and non vagina writing! That's so nice to hear! I always feel bad about my more serious pieces...like I'm burdening readers instead of entertaining them. So, thanks and recovering good-girl fist bumps!
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  • Report Fri Feb 22, 2013 - 12:30 am
    My mother self medicated her depression with alcohol leaving me to rear my brothers. I started at age 6. SIX. I cared for three boys who were ultimately four, six and seven years younger than myself by the time she was done having children. I did not have a childhood. I cooked, I cleaned, I changed diapers and I babysat. I fully suspect it is why I never wanted children of my own. I had already had three. Had she been "more present" my brothers and I might have had a mother. She didn't kill herself then but she did drink herself to death. It just took 40 years.
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  • 2 replies, Last reply by Pricilla Famous SpokesGoat on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 2:24 am
  • Report Fri Feb 22, 2013 - 2:14 am
    @Pricilla Famous SpokesGoat: I'm so sorry, P. Abandonment or neglect in any form is so hard on a child. Alcoholism/addiction and depression usually go hand in hand. Hugs to you, my friend.
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  • Report Fri Feb 22, 2013 - 2:24 am
    @Leslie Marinelli: Amen to that. She lived in a bottle and missed out on so much, including her grandchildren.
    Reply Delete
  • Report Fri Feb 22, 2013 - 1:04 am
    by  Tricia O.
    Once I started taking anti-depressants in my early 20s, I realized that life didn't have to be so damn miserable as it is/was for my mother, grandmother, and aunts. Their misery was passed down for generations, and I think some of it was learned, but much of it was genetic. Anti-depressants and therapy helped me realize that I could and would stop the cycle. Thank God we live in a time when they are available. Screw the people who think they are unnecessary or are judgmental about those of us who need them. I'm a pretty good mom who has some bad days, but without meds I'd be a really shitty mom carrying on a cycle of despair.
    Reply Delete
  • 1 reply, Last reply by Leslie Marinelli on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 2:23 am
  • Report Fri Feb 22, 2013 - 2:23 am
    @Tricia O.: Amen, Tricia! I'm so glad you were able to find a solution and break the cycle. Your kids are going to be so much better off because of it! XO
    Reply Delete
  • Report Fri Feb 22, 2013 - 12:11 am
    Thank you for writing this. So many people suffer from depression that there should be more acceptance. Sadly too many people hide what they're going through because of the stigma that by the time people realise how bad things are, it's too late. Here in New Zealand we have the worst teen suicide rates of anywhere in the world. As a Paramedic I went to far too many young people who felt the only way out was to put a rope around their necks. It was always too late by the time we got there. Depression often starts early in life. With help, in whatever form that may be, people can get through it. If depression were given the same status as the flu in the eyes of the general judgemental population, perhaps more people would seek treatment. With understanding comes acceptance.
    Reply Delete
  • 1 reply, Last reply by Leslie Marinelli on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 2:09 am
  • Report Fri Feb 22, 2013 - 2:09 am
    @WubBooMummy: Wow - I did not realize that about NZ! How awful to be a Paramedic on the scene of that. I am definitely going to be keeping a close eye on my kids, given the genetic component. I'm certain mine started when I was a child, but I wasn't officially diagnosed until my thirties. Thankfully so! XO
    Reply Delete
  • Report Thu Feb 21, 2013 - 10:59 pm
    by  notalone
    Both my parents attempted suicide when I was about 8 years old. My dad was first. He overdosed on narcotics, but was found before it was too late. I was living with him at the time (parents were recently divorced) and I was removed from the home. My mom attempted it about 6 months later. She literally attempted to jump off a cliff. She had called my dad to let him know what she was going to do and luckily with the help of some fishermen, he was able to find her broken body. She broke her back, pelvis, shattered her ankle. BUT, she was still breathing. That was about 30 years ago and while they are still battling depression, they have it more under control. It is so scary how broken you can feel that this is the only solution you can find. Luckily they were able to watch me and my sisters grow up and have families and are a big part of our lives. I hope that brings them some comfort. This is a family secret. I have never told any of my friends.
    Reply Delete
  • 2 replies, Last reply by Leslie Marinelli on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 2:06 am
  • Report Thu Feb 21, 2013 - 11:21 pm
    by  notalone
    @notalone: And all I can say to all the naysayers is that I would much rather have a mom and a dad who take medication and have found help, than to not have either of them at all.
    Reply Delete
  • Report Fri Feb 22, 2013 - 2:06 am
    @notalone: Oh honey - thank you so much for sharing that story today! What a difficult secret to have kept for so many years. I was 8 when my parents divorced, so I know exactly how tender that age is for dealing with that kind of family upheaval. I'm so glad both of your parents survived and are healthier today! And I hope that you and your sisters have a good support network for managing the feelings you must have at times about your childhood. You are most certainly NOT alone.
    Reply Delete
  • Report Thu Feb 21, 2013 - 6:39 pm
    by  lhewitt
    Hey Leslie, My dad committed suicide 12 years ago this week. I have those questions, but no answers and I never will. I think he had some pretty sick secrets. I will read the article, but I already know what the "normal" people are saying. I know how they look at me and what they say about me when they find out I take medication for "mental illness" (don't you just love those quote marks?). Fuck Them. I do what I have to do. That is all.
    Reply Delete
  • 4 replies, Last reply by lhewitt on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 2:01 am
  • Report Thu Feb 21, 2013 - 7:47 pm
    @lhewitt: Oh Lisa - I'm so sorry for you and your family. Yes, "mental illness" in quote marks...that. I hope you will always do what you have to do and know there is no shame in taking care of yourself properly.
    Reply Delete
  • Report Fri Feb 22, 2013 - 1:55 am
    by  lhewitt
    @Leslie Marinelli: Oh Leslie - First - I am sorry about your grandmother. I did not mean to skip over that and hate this has haunted you. I commented and then had to go out and worried about my comment the whole time. Now look at all the other comments - You. did. that. I think your grandmother would be so proud of and for you. I know I am. And I will do what I have to do to take care of myself.
    Reply Delete
  • Report Thu Feb 21, 2013 - 10:02 pm
    by  Liz Dawes
    @lhewitt: BIG HUG. And anyway, who the hell wants to be "normal". X
    Reply Delete
  • Report Fri Feb 22, 2013 - 2:01 am
    by  lhewitt
    @Liz Dawes: BIG HUG back - who decided what this "normal" was/is?
    Reply Delete
  • Report Thu Feb 21, 2013 - 10:58 pm
    I couldn't agree more. Love and hugs to you for speaking this, and being here, and being you.
    Reply Delete
  • 1 reply, Last reply by Leslie Marinelli on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 1:58 am
  • Report Fri Feb 22, 2013 - 1:58 am
    @hollow tree ventures: Love and hugs right back, my friend. XO
    Reply Delete
  • Report Thu Feb 21, 2013 - 10:31 pm
    Well said, girlfriend! I have suffered from anxiety my whole life. It's only been in the past few years that I've openly admitted it and discussed it. I find tremendous healing power in not treating it like a dirty little secret... in talking about it... in my friends and family knowing who I really am. There's no shame in depression or anxiety. It is something that some of us deal with. What's important is the steps we take to get better.
    Reply Delete
  • 1 reply, Last reply by Leslie Marinelli on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 1:58 am
  • Report Fri Feb 22, 2013 - 1:58 am
    @Steph at I'm Still Learning: Here here! Thanks for being here today with me Steph!
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  • Report Thu Feb 21, 2013 - 10:27 pm
    This is such a great take on the bullies, trolls, and judgers out there attacking people for getting help. I couldn't believe some of the comments made on that article. Seeking support and finding helpful medications is certainly not the easy way out, as some think. Depression is not laziness. And a mother who can control herself, be kind to herself and her children, and model something other than depression is a gift to her family over the alternatives.
    Reply Delete
  • 1 reply, Last reply by Leslie Marinelli on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 1:57 am
  • Report Fri Feb 22, 2013 - 1:57 am
    @Allison Hart : PREACH, sister. Thanks Allison.
    Reply Delete
  • Report Thu Feb 21, 2013 - 10:15 pm
    by  Tannith
    I battled depression since I was a teen. I was told by a family member that everyone has issues but responsible adults learn to deal with them. So that's what I tried to do, therapy embarrassed my family and when I moved out I "medicated" myself to a point that probably should have killed me. I thought I was happy, but it wasn't until last year when my brand of medication proved to be as poisonous as a weapon that my husband helped me get the help I need. I have no shame that I sought treatment and took medication until I could stand on my own. I wish more people felt safe asking for help, I wish more people weren't scared to tell their friends they needed medication or still do. I hope that people that read this post and these comments see there is NO shame in being depressed or anxious and there is no certainly no shame in getting or needing help. Thanks for sharing
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  • 1 reply, Last reply by Leslie Marinelli on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 1:56 am
  • Report Fri Feb 22, 2013 - 1:56 am
    @Tannith: Me too, Tannith. Thank you for sharing and I'm so glad you finally got the help you need. "responsible adults learn to deal with their issues"...yes, and sometimes that means asking for help and sometimes that help starts with a prescription. Pshaw! I've been down that self-medicating path too. SSRIs are much safer and better for the family. Thanks for being here with me today!
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  • Report Thu Feb 21, 2013 - 9:58 pm
    Thank you for sharing this. And thank you for being here. Always. Xoxoxo
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  • 1 reply, Last reply by Leslie Marinelli on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 1:48 am
  • Report Fri Feb 22, 2013 - 1:48 am
    @The Suniverse: Well thank YOU for being here with me, sweet thang! Love you.
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  • Report Thu Feb 21, 2013 - 9:56 pm
    People that don't struggle with it don't understand it. I love the "Just don't worry about it" comments as well as the "What the hell do you have to be sad about" ones. I don't understand the stigma behind anti-depressants. If someone can use an inhaler to help them breathe without judgment - why can't people take a little something to help pull them out of the doldrums?
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  • 1 reply, Last reply by Leslie Marinelli on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 1:48 am
  • Report Fri Feb 22, 2013 - 1:48 am
    @Tracy Winslow: Oh I KNOW - those kind of comments are the worst. And when they come from people we trust the most, they REALLY hurt. I think we should all just be more compassionate with each other. Judge less, love more. Thanks for being here Tracy!
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  • Report Thu Feb 21, 2013 - 9:48 pm
    My greatest wish is that we could all as mothers take our advice- the advice that we give to our kids about how we treat others- and support one another instead of making life into a contest that is winnable by tearing each other down to build one's self up. Thank God you got help when you needed it. That is a brave thing to do.
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  • 1 reply, Last reply by Leslie Marinelli on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 1:38 am
  • Report Fri Feb 22, 2013 - 1:38 am
    @Julia's Math: That's a beautiful wish, Julia. We really do need to be kinder to each other and respect each other's choices more! Thanks for the great comment.
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  • Report Thu Feb 21, 2013 - 9:44 pm
    by  Med-Head
    Suicide is a tragedy at any age, but it really breaks my heart that your grandmother took her life when she was only 31. She missed out on so much. I consider myself a poster child for antidepressants. I started on them after a friend (also medicated) said she had started taking meds when she asked herself "just how bad are you willing to let things get before you ask for help? Do you have to hit your kids? Hurt yourself? Or is it enough that you know that Something is Wrong and your kids deserve to have the best Mommy you can be?" I probably make a nuisance of myself with my girlfriends (and even acquaintances) talking about how much my life has changed since I started taking them - and how long it took to find what works for me. When, after years of trying different prescriptions, dosages, and combinations thereof, I finally had A Good Day, I just wanted to call everyone I knew and apologize for being such a shit for so long.
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  • 1 reply, Last reply by Leslie Marinelli on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 1:37 am
  • Report Fri Feb 22, 2013 - 1:37 am
    @Med-Head: I think your amends probably occurred just by turning your shit around and becoming healthy. It took me a while to find the right medicine and dose too...that was hard. But not as hard as being so ill. I remember getting to a point in my depression where I was so angry and full of rage all the time that I couldn't stand to be around my kids. I remember yelling, I mean YELLING, at my sweet gentle oldest boy when he was 4 bc he spilled some water in the kitchen. I knew something was wrong - everything seemed like an impossible hurdle. I'm so glad that awful phase didn't last for very long. I am a much better mother when I'm healthy and patient and HERE.
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  • Report Thu Feb 21, 2013 - 9:37 pm
    It's amazing how much people like to push it in the closet, isn't it? No one likes to talk about anything unpleasant. There was a suicide in my family that no one talks about as well. All I can say, is thank GOD for pospartum meds and antidepressants for being there.
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  • 1 reply, Last reply by Leslie Marinelli on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 1:31 am
  • Report Fri Feb 22, 2013 - 1:31 am
    @Christa Palmer: Totally! Our hormones play such a key role in our mental health. My lowest points were always triggered by hormonal changes like childbirth and weaning. I am definitely going to have my doctor at the ready when menopause hits!
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  • Report Thu Feb 21, 2013 - 9:17 pm
    Amen. Amen, Amen, Amen.
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  • 1 reply, Last reply by Leslie Marinelli on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 1:29 am
  • Report Fri Feb 22, 2013 - 1:29 am
    @Dusty Earth Mother: Thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you! XO
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  • Report Thu Feb 21, 2013 - 9:10 pm
    by  Emily Fine
    Thanks Leslie - I take a little pill every morning and it has changed my life not to mention the lives of my husband and daughter. It took a very explosive and frightening week for me to get help. Now my cup runneth over. Husband and friends are on board and proud of the way I handled it. My mother..... doesn't quite understand why I need a pill. Perhaps it is the same reason why she should take a pill - although she will never see it that way. Different generation I guess. But she's way crazier than me.
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  • 1 reply, Last reply by Leslie Marinelli on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 1:28 am
  • Report Fri Feb 22, 2013 - 1:28 am
    @Emily Fine: I'm SO glad you have found a solution that works for you, Em! I had people in my life who disapproved of my meds when I was on them. I never understood that. Eventually, they either came around when they saw how much healthier I was, or they backed the fuck off and eventually our relationship withered and died anyway. Either way, I'm here, and I'm in a much better place. Glad you are too! Big hugs to you and your family!
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  • Report Thu Feb 21, 2013 - 9:10 pm
    by  Abby
    As someone who has suffered from depression for more than a decade, I appreciate your honesty on the topic. Yet I'm still amazed that all this time later the stigma attached to mental health issues is still so prevalent. There are so many great resources and so much great support, but yet some people still see it as a personality flaw, as something that makes those who suffer "less than" or "weak," which couldn't be farther from the truth. We're strong because we battle through, because we do talk about these things and seek out support instead of feeling shame or keeping things secret. Perhaps it's fear on the part of those who perpetuate the stereotypes and refuse to accept that life isn't always just peachy. Perhaps it's simply just ignorance. Regardless, I'm grateful that at this point in time, we know that we can reach out and get that support. It's a matter of dropping our veil of invincibility and admitting that yes, we struggle. There's no shame in that. That's something I've come to accept and thankfully, embrace. XO
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  • 1 reply, Last reply by Leslie Marinelli on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 1:21 am
  • Report Fri Feb 22, 2013 - 1:21 am
    @Abby: Well said, Abby! I agree with you that an attitude of gratitude (sorry for the cliche) is truly helpful. XO right back atcha.
    Reply Delete
  • Report Thu Feb 21, 2013 - 10:21 pm
    by  Kristen
    Amen.
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  • Report Thu Feb 21, 2013 - 8:43 pm
    My grandmother committed suicide, too, when I was 5 years old. It sounds like she suffered with mental illness/depression for a long time, and was hospitalized at least once. My family doesn't talk about it much, although one relative told me that my grandmother went to her pastor for help, and was essentially told everything was her fault because she didn't pray hard enough or love god enough, or some such bullshit.
    Reply Delete
  • 2 replies, Last reply by Cheryl Breuer on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 9:53 pm
  • Report Thu Feb 21, 2013 - 9:16 pm
    @Cheryl Breuer: Oh holy Jesus - that is horrifying. Your poor family. I'm so sorry. You know what doesn't help depression? Guilt. Oh my God. Why on Earth would someone lay that kind of trip on someone who is suffering instead of guide them toward effective options?! Fucking A. Don't get me started! Hugs to you, girl.
    Reply Delete
  • Report Thu Feb 21, 2013 - 9:53 pm
    @Leslie Marinelli: Thanks. I wish I knew the real story, and not just bits and pieces of secondhand information. I'm sorry about your grandmother, too. Thank you for writing this.
    Reply Delete
  • Report Thu Feb 21, 2013 - 9:14 pm
    by  MN
    I was diagnosed with depression back in 2003 after I attempted suicide. I was literally saved by the Powerpuff Girls, which were on the piece of paper I was to write my suicide letter on.I didn't have the energy to go to my car to get paper, so I asked my then 7yr old to give me some of her paper. When she brought it to me I started crying and laughing, thinking to myself that I can't write a suicide not on Powerpuff Girl stationery. That led me to call people to say goodbye, one of them being a coworker from the police dept where I worked . They broke down my door and saved me. The stigma of depression weighs on me heavily, keeping it a secret even heavier. So many people don't understand or simply don't want to understand that depression, clinical depression is an illness and not a choice. I've been disappointed so many times by people that I risked trusting with my secret and in return got judgment and criticism. When I would have a good day followed by a bad day, instead of telling me "well done" for getting out of bed and accomplishing x,y, and z yesterday, I got "well, why can't you do such and such today? Yesterday you did this, so why can't you today?" making me feel as if my depression is a choice...I battle with it everyday and wishing I had the courage to just shout it from the roof tops...it would be so freeing...in so many ways...
    Reply Delete
  • 1 reply, Last reply by Leslie Marinelli on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 9:23 pm
  • Report Thu Feb 21, 2013 - 9:23 pm
    @MN: I'm SO glad you didn't do it, MN! And so is your daughter, family, and friends. Thank you Powerpuff Girl stationery! Listen, I had a close family member who is an actual certified therapist tell me, "You have nothing to be depressed over." I totally get the added pain of people not getting it. I also have a friend who is mentally ill and not taking her meds as prescribed. Now THAT is *crazy*. Taking charge of your health is nothing to be ashamed of. I'm going to smile and think of you every time I see those sassy Powerpuff Girls! :)
    Reply Delete
  • Report Thu Feb 21, 2013 - 8:33 pm
    Thank you for being brave enough to write this, to share your story, to remind people that an "option" that many people choose is to end their life. Working with doctors, prescriptions, therapies and the laundry room hum are all worth a serious shot in order to avoid that.
    Reply Delete
  • 2 replies, Last reply by Kim Bongiorno on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 9:17 pm
  • Report Thu Feb 21, 2013 - 8:46 pm
    @Kim Bongiorno: Thank you, love.
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  • Report Thu Feb 21, 2013 - 9:17 pm
    Reply Delete
  • Report Thu Feb 21, 2013 - 8:43 pm
    by  Mary Anne
    I take beta blockers for high blood pressure, I take B12 for energy, I use Preparation H for hemmorrhoids, I use sunscreen to prevent sunburn, and I take wellbutrin to help my brain. Judgers can kick my ass. Or frontal lobe...great post sweetie!
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  • 1 reply, Last reply by Leslie Marinelli on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 9:11 pm
  • Report Thu Feb 21, 2013 - 9:11 pm
    @Mary Anne: Aw HAYLE yeah, Mary Anne. I love you and your frontal lobe.
    Reply Delete
  • Report Thu Feb 21, 2013 - 8:55 pm
    by  Toulouse
    It really is about being open about our problems and our solutions. Keeping secrets just makes things seem even darker and more despairing. You are awesome for sharing your experiences with us. Thank you for your honesty and bravery.
    Reply Delete
  • 1 reply, Last reply by Leslie Marinelli on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 9:09 pm
  • Report Thu Feb 21, 2013 - 9:09 pm
    @Toulouse: Amen, sister. The truth will set you free!
    Reply Delete
  • Report Thu Feb 21, 2013 - 9:01 pm
    by  Andrea
    Thank you. For sharing so deeply and opening up in this way. What you are saying here could save someone who doesn't know how to reach for help. I am so sorry that your grandmother was not able to find the help she needed. Times were so different then, and yet it hurts me to know how many women today go without it because they are afraid to reach out. Thank you for this beautifully written reminder that it is okay to.
    Reply Delete
  • 1 reply, Last reply by Leslie Marinelli on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 9:09 pm
  • Report Thu Feb 21, 2013 - 9:09 pm
    @Andrea: Thank you Andrea! I hope someone who needs it will find it and know they aren't alone and have no reason to feel ashamed.
    Reply Delete
  • Report Thu Feb 21, 2013 - 8:51 pm
    I am so grateful that you and others are putting out this message of support. Your grandmother's story is so painful- I'm sorry.
    Reply Delete
  • 3 replies, Last reply by Leslie Marinelli on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 9:08 pm
  • Report Thu Feb 21, 2013 - 8:59 pm
    @Kerry Rossow: Thanks Kerry. Depression is treatable, just like any other human condition, so why not treat it! I took SSRIs for a couple of rough years, got better, and haven't had to be on them for a long time. (Although I am writing this comment from in front of my new light box!) :)
    Reply Delete
  • Report Thu Feb 21, 2013 - 9:02 pm
    by  Anna
    @Leslie Marinelli: I LOVE my light box!! :)
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  • Report Thu Feb 21, 2013 - 9:08 pm
    @Anna: I'm so glad you saw that comment, Anna - because YOU are the one who inspired me to buy it! I didn't want to out you without your permission. :)
    Reply Delete
  • Report Thu Feb 21, 2013 - 8:52 pm
    Simply amazing in every way. Your honesty is inspiring and will no doubt help someone sitting somewhere who needs to release a secret. Thank you.
    Reply Delete
  • 1 reply, Last reply by Leslie Marinelli on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 9:03 pm
  • Report Thu Feb 21, 2013 - 9:03 pm
    @thedoseofreality: Thank you! That is always the hope. There is comfort in not being alone in our secrets.
    Reply Delete
  • Report Thu Feb 21, 2013 - 8:51 pm
    by  Rebecca
    My 17 yr old cousin committed suicide in 2009. It's a rare day that I don't think about her and question. Depression runs in families... it runs in mine. I take Celexa daily and it helps. It makes me a better mom, daughter, friend, employee, and person. I don't understand the judgers... you take Tylenol (or whatever) for a headache, I take Celexa for a chemical imbalance. Anyone who thinks that's their business can bite me. If they spent a day - or even an hour - with someone who has lost someone they love to suicide, they'd know. It's a loss unlike any other.
    Reply Delete
  • 1 reply, Last reply by Leslie Marinelli on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 9:02 pm
  • Report Thu Feb 21, 2013 - 9:02 pm
    @Rebecca: I'm so sorry Rebecca. Suicide is always heartbreaking, but there is something particularly crushing about the loss of a teen who hasn't yet experienced so many things. There is definitely a genetic component to mental illness. Glad to hear you are in control of your health and proud of it! Atta girl!
    Reply Delete
  • Report Thu Feb 21, 2013 - 8:30 pm
    by  Kim P
    Way back then (and yet not so long ago), women were expected to just pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and keep going. There was no understanding, no support, and no magic pills to take. My grandmother's were a big part of my life and I can't imagine having to grow up without them. I'm sorry for all your lost time with her and for the lost memories of her.
    Reply Delete
  • 1 reply, Last reply by Leslie Marinelli on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 8:45 pm
  • Report Thu Feb 21, 2013 - 8:45 pm
    @Kim P: Thank you Kim. I've heard she was the life of the party and a great dancer. I think we would have gotten along famously. Truly breaks my heart for my dad that he didn't have more time with her and that I never got to meet or know her.
    Reply Delete
  • Report Thu Feb 21, 2013 - 5:21 pm
    by  Liz Dawes
    I lost a friend to depression - she jumped out of a window of an office building way up near the top. At the time I went round and round and round the reasons why she had done it, and why we had all failed to keep her safe. There's no way of knowing the answer to that but one thing was clear to me - she suffered with a profound and debilitating illness that she could no more snap out of than you could a broken leg.
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  • 1 reply, Last reply by Leslie Marinelli on Thu Feb 21, 2013 at 7:45 pm
  • Report Thu Feb 21, 2013 - 7:45 pm
    @Liz Dawes: I'm so very sorry, Liz. Profound and debilitating indeed.
    Reply Delete

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