Saturday, April 28, 2007


I read the obituaries all the time. What I hate more than anything is that no one is truthful when someone commits suicide. People use euphemisms like "died suddenly". If I kill myself I want my community to understand what it was like living with a mental illness. I want people to hear what it is like to try so hard to get better and to fail at every turn. So I am writing my own obituary:

Aquamarine 1965 - 2006. Predeceased by her mother, who was an extraordinary Mom, she is survived by her loving husband, 2 sisters she loves so much, 4 adorable neices, a wonderful and funny grandmother and her father and stepmom. "Aqua" grew up a happy child in a family that offered her all the love in the world. She had a passion for learning and was never happier than when she was in her final 2 years of university. She was quick to love and laugh, but also felt rejection very deeply. As early as her 18th year it became apparent to her that she felt desperately sad for no particular reason.

As the years went by her bouts of "sadness" began increasing in intensity and frequency. She began having severe anxiety attacks. She began withdrawing from her friends. She sought help numerous times, but for years no one seemed to recognize the severity of her depression. Finally when she was 34 her doctor tried prescribing a couple different antidepressants. They did not help. Eventually she was referred to a psychiatrist specializing in mood disorders. He offered her therapy and began trying to find a medication to help her.

While her psychiatrist was extraordinarily caring, knowledgeable and supportive, nothing seemed to help her feel better. Her depression became so severe it forced her to leave work. At times getting out of bed seemed impossible. She often had detailed, violent and obssesive thoughts about commiting suicide. All she wanted was some relief from the pain. She hung on because she loved her family so much, but eventually the intensity of both the thoughts and the sadness overwhelmed her and she took her own life.

She wanted this obituary to clearly state her cause of death, because she believed too often deaths as a result of mental illness are hidden from the public. She believed this perpetuated the shame and stigma for those who struggle to survive these illnesses. In lieu of flowers please look closely to your family and friends. Perhaps one of them needs your unconditional love and support. Unfortunately, even that is not enough sometimes. Aqua wants everyone to know there is nothing you could have done differently to change this outcome. Everyone did all they could do to help, but her depression was a relentless foe, and in the end it killed her.