Depression Marathon Blog

My photo
Diagnosed with depression 17 years ago, I lost the life I once knew, but in the process re-created a better me. I am alive and functional today because of my dog, my treatment team, my sobriety, and my willingness to re-create myself within the confines of this illness. I hate the illness, but I'm grateful for the person I've become and the opportunities I've seized because of it. I hope writing a depression blog will reduce stigma and improve the understanding and treatment of people with mental illness. All original content copyright to me: etta. Enjoy your visit!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Another suicide in the news

This time it was an athlete. Denver Broncos wide receiver, Kenny McKinley, died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. This young man was only in his second year in the NFL. He played in 8 games last year, his first as a pro, and is the all-time leading receiver at his Alma mater, South Carolina. Obviously, Kenny McKinley was a talented young man with seemingly everything going for him, and yet he took his life.

Suicide, like mental illness, knows no boundaries. Black, white, rich, poor, educated or not, nobody is immune. I don't know if Mr. McKinley suffered from untreated depression--the most common cause of suicide--but one has to wonder. Regardless, it's tragic.

This is the second time in the last few days I've been reminded of suicide's pervasiveness. As I ran my twelve-miler on Saturday, I ran smack into the middle of the Out of the Darkness walk. For two of my twelve miles, I ran side-by-side with walkers raising awareness.

The families and friends of suicide victims were obvious, with their coordinated memorial t-shirts, and they were everywhere. The path was lined with numerous memorial placards--photo montages of those no longer here. Among the pictures, all ages were represented from very young to very old. There were students, nurses, bartenders, and more. There were pictures of graduations, weddings, beaches, and friends. There was loss everywhere. It was a powerful event.

It was odd, being a survivor of a suicide attempt, to be among the families of those who've been lost. Suicide's lasting effect on those left behind was palpable. It was good I was there. It was good for me to feel that effect. As I ran, I quietly thanked God for the reminder, and I said a prayer for each survivor I passed. Perhaps it was no accident I happened upon that scene. I won't soon forget it.

Suicide is permanent. Its effects are devastating. If you are considering suicide--I get it. But please, if you are contemplating suicide, call someone, tell someone now.


Anonymous said...

That's horrible about Kenny McKinley. It's really hard for me when I am reminded of suicide because I think "That should be me, not X." It's a weird automatic thought that I go to.

Wishing you well,

Anonymous said...

I needed this. Thank you.

Maggie Beth said...

My heart always aches when I hear of a suicide.

I have been to that point ~ it is a desprate place. But God was 3 steps ahead of me. It always catches in my throat when I think of what - who - kept me from taking my own life.

My dog. My beautiful, white German shepherd. She is gone now and I can't talk about her ~ part of the inability to talk about her is I miss her deeply -- but the other reason I can hardly think of her is the frightening reality that for all the reasons she lived - one of them was to literally save my life.

I call her an angel with fur. She ALONE saved me -- I would not take my own life because no one would love her as much as I did or treat her as well as I did. She needed me -- all the PEOPLE who surrounded me at the time ~ loved me, but I did not give a damn about them. Only her. I spared my own life for her ~ a dog.

(( I am sobbing! SMILE!!)) I praise God for that dog ~ and for the backbone it took to get through that time. Hell, I praise God because I woke up this morning (SMILE).

Suicide is a permanant solution to a temporary problem. (99% of the time).

Maggie Beth said...

Oh, Etta, I just had the most amazing EUREKA moment! German Shepherds are typically the breed used as seeing eye dogs.

My girl was white - with shepherd markings - she was my seeing eye dog too ~ She helped lead me out of Hell....Oh, yes, she was definitely an angel.....

etta said...

Dear depressionsux--
I'm glad you got what you needed here today. Thank you for visiting, and take care.

I used to have a white German Shepherd as well. Eerie.

Puck kept me from taking my own life more than once. He walked into the room, gave me a look, or needed something from me at just the time I planned to take myself from him--like I said, more than once. Dogs are amazing creatures. I don't know what I'd do without him.

The Depressed Reader said...

I've never reached the stage where I attempted suicide, but I have wished for it all to just be over. No more pain, frustration, loneliness. Just oblivion.

Well, oblivion for me. It would be unpleasant for those who were left behind, and especially nasty for whoever found me.

But I've always been stubborn. Sometimes this is a virtue, as in the case of fighting depression. So I keep enduring, keep pushing forward. Keep hoping find a way to be happy. Like the title of your blog says, it is a marathon. But it is one worth running.

Divas said...

Maggie Beth, Guardian Angels come in all kinds of forms.

Running saved me from a pit of depression last year when I lost my job, found out my ex-husband had brain cancer (he just died this year) and my fiance walked out on me - all in the same week. I'm surprised I haven't become suicidal and/or an alcoholic.

It's a scary, sad place to be in when you feel there is no hope. I pray his family finds peace amid such a tragedy.

Unique said...

There was a high profile suicide where I live recently.

Jen Daisybee said...

I always feel empathy with people who commit suicide. I don't think they are all "selfish" people, as many folks who haven't been suicidal assume. It hurts to be so ill that you are suicidal. It is a painful, lonely place ot be in, and I am sorry that this athlete reached such a low point that he thought there was no way out. If there wasn't so much stigma in our society about mental illness, and if treatment was more readily available and affordable, we would probably have far fewer suicides each year than we do now.