It contributed to the failure of two marriages, it prevented me from enlisting in the military, it nearly cost me three different jobs, and it almost killed me. It’s called depression and I’ve suffered with it for more than 30 years.
I’m not proud of it. It’s not a badge of courage. It’s not a scapegoat or a crutch but it is a very real and chronic disease with which I’m afflicted. For years I thought I merely possessed a strange personality and was all alone. I discovered that’s not the case. Millions of people are inflicted with clinical depression and millions more experience some type of situational depression during life.
The television commercials are correct. Depression doesn’t just hurt the depressed person but it also hurts her/his loved ones as well. The worst thing about depression is it deprives the depressed person of all hope. In 1989 William Styron wrote…
Most people in the grip of depression at its ghastliest are for whatever reason, in a state of unrealistic hopelessness, torn by exaggerated ills and fatal threats that bear no resemblance to actuality. It may require on the part of friends, lovers, family, admirers, an almost religious devotion to persuade the sufferers of life’s worth, which is so often in conflict with a sense of their own worthlessness, but such devotion has prevented countless suicides. 
On more than one occasion I was so depressed that I couldn’t find my way out of the fog that had enveloped my mind and plunged me into a hopeless lightless world. I was convinced I’d lost all reason to live. On each occasion it was a loved one that helped me find my way back to reality.
I remember the first time I’d contemplated suicide. I was sitting in my garage with a gun in one hand and a bullet in the other. At that very moment my four year old daughter opened the door from the kitchen and in her sweet innocent voice asked “Daddy, what are you doing?”
Her timing was nothing less than God’s providence. I was shaken by her question. What was I doing? I realized then I needed help. I eventually got it.
It was the love of family and friends combined with medication and a spiritual renewal that enabled me to go on with life. I’ve had three other periods of intense hopelessness and darkness but by God’s grace I survived them. I have a mother and father and three siblings who’ve stuck by me, gave time and money, and supported me through the darkest years of my life.
I’m blessed with six wonderful children and four beautiful grandchildren. Most of all I’m married to a beautiful woman (a nurse who understands depression) who loves me with a love I’ve never known. I literally can’t live without her.
If you suffer from depression or you’ve been told by people close to you that you might, I urge you to seek professional help. The things that helped me the most are prescribed medication, regular exercise, daily spiritual devotion and prayer, and staying closely connected to beloved friends and family. Giving my life to God and people are vital for me to thrive despite the depression which continually seeks to lock me into a world of dark solitary confinement.
 William Styron “Visible Darkness” Vanity Fair December 1989