Depression is often a silent ailment

Dear Editor:

Robin Williams died of depression. He had a disease that affects millions of Americans, touches the lives of millions more, and reaches across all lines; racial, economic, gender, or otherwise. He was a talented actor and comic, an entertainer known around the world with an abundance of fans. He had a spouse, children, friends; a success by almost any standard.

But depression is often a silent ailment, a black miasma of agony, fear, and hopelessness. The afflicted feel tired, alone, worthless, and a burden to others, with no hope of ever being of real value to anyone. Often expected to suffer in silence and to solve their own problems without complaint, a person can be caught in a special kind of unique hell known only to them.

It’s often a long battle, sometimes life-long. Many find themselves dancing along the razor’s edge. There’s no magic bullet, no divine intervention. Sometimes medication can help, cognitive behavior therapy, counseling, but ultimately it’s a battle that can only be won or lost by the individual.

But support matters. It’s a busy world and we all have our problems, but for those few moments when you can help, be patient for an extra moment, return a greeting, take a minute to listen, or ask about someone. Find a way.

Ken Vaselaar