This “new journey” is off to a great start. Since launching the blog this past Saturday night … we’ve had over 4,700 views of “Lynn’s Love Story/A new journey begins”. Now, I’m new to all of this … but that type of response seems incredible to me … and we are just getting started.
As we move forward with this blog … I’m going to be sharing my perspective on a number of different things related to … telling Lynn’s Love Story; shining a light on the stigma associated with suicide; and increasing awareness of this dangerous disease called depression. I’ll plan to talk about love, faith, humanity, and prejudice among other things. In addition I’ll include some references to resources for getting help and support regarding suicide and depression. I’m new to this … I’m learning … so bear with me.
So as I continue on the early stages of this journey … I continue to be impressed by the comments and reactions to both my posts on Facebook and now here on this blog in addition to the numerous personal notes I receive via the texts and mail. What’s been most encouraging and rewarding are the dozens upon dozens of people who have thanked us for being so transparent about this tragedy; who have stated that they felt shame in the wake of a suicide … and are so grateful we are bringing attention to this; who have acknowledged their struggles with depression; and who have indicated their perspective on these two issues has changed since reading the various things we have put out. It’s so fulfilling, so powerful to get this type of response and feedback … it’s the very reason we are taking this tragedy head on. Here’s a just two of those couple many examples …
From Ruth Baten … a work colleague …
“Lance – Lynn’s story is very similar to my sister. For the bulk of the time she was happy. Just two days before she had gone dancing. Was planning her garden the day before and was planning a sunny beach vacation. Those are not the actions of someone who is tormented. Somehow, in the middle of making a sandwich, something took hold of her that she could not shake. It must have been fierce because my sister was a strong women. You know me, my mood swings … my crying. I’ve been battling depression for more years than I can remember. The vast majority of time I’m super ok and completely at peace with my life. Some days, it’s just hard. Stay strong!”
From a high school friend (who will remain anonymous but who said … I’d prefer to be anonymous but if you think by using my name it will help your boys then go right ahead … how cool is that!) …
… not sure if you remember me because I was pretty quiet and avoided the spotlight. I just wanted to privately reach out to you and tell you how amazed I am at your openness and bravery. I have suffered from depression since a very young age and I was so thrilled to realize that there ARE people out there who can see past the illness and appreciate the person that Lynn was/is and all the good she had to offer when her illness was in check. I struggle on almost a daily basis reminding myself that I have children that rely on me and a family that loves me. Sometimes it’s overwhelming and a true struggle to force myself to go on. Like your wife, it has nothing to do with the people around me, but rather a demon from within. I’m SO, SO sorry that you are dealing with this now, but I KNOW Lynn didn’t want this for you. Her life was just too painful for her. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your boys. Lynn and your boys are so lucky that you’ve been such a good man. Most people aren’t that lucky! I wish you the very best and pray that you and your boys find peace and comfort in remembering all the good times with Lynn. You have been truly blessed, as was she!”
So as you can see from the examples … what we’re doing here resonates with so many people. And trust me I get dozens of these types of notes. But also evident from these two notes is that it truly is not “one size fits all” when it comes to how depression affects people. To that point I want to share something I posted on Facebook that addresses this topic … I hope you find it useful …
“In reading some of the preambles to my posts that folks are sharing, as well as comments to the posts … its evident that there’s a distinct disconnect between how some people perceive Lynn’s life and her battle with depression and how me and my boys see it. Now look I’m no expert on depression. But I was an “expert” on Lynn as she was an “expert” on me. We’e been hanging around each other for 36 years … through the good times (vast majority) and the bad (we had our fair share just like every other couple). I knew her better than ANYONE on this planet … period. And look I wasn’t inside her head as she wasn’t inside mine … but we shared so much … we knew each other very intimately, very intensely … we could read each other.
So again I’m not a doctor. I haven’t done extensive research on depression … yet. But I do have years of practical experience with it. And based on that experience and what I’ve seen within my family and outside with others … I firmly believe that depression is not a “one size fits all” disease. Similar to cancer it’s not just one common disease … it comes in many different forms. So my comments aren’t intended to address depression holistically … but are intended to be specific to what I witnessed with Lynn over the years. As I’ve mentioned before … Lynn battled depression over the years … there were times where she managed it well and there were times where it got the best of her. Lynn also took her disease seriously … she didn’t try to dismiss it, she wasn’t in denial … she dealt with it … she actively sought help. And just know … given how well I knew her … I also could sense when she was struggling. And look, maybe not the instant she started to struggle … but I would pick up on it … I paid attention to her. And the other thing was … she didn’t try to hide things from me … if I asked she told me, and often she told me without me asking. I could see it in her eyes; I could see the tension in her jaws; I could see the change in her disposition; I could see the darkness or steely gaze in her eyes. So based on all of that … what I can tell you is that Lynn was not “tormented” on a daily basis. Quite the contrary … she was enjoying life tremendously … particularly the last several years.
Look I know some folks may not be able to get their heads around this … and you’re just thinking “she had to be tormented constantly to do this.” I get it … but look if that’s you, that’s fine everyone has a right to their opinion. But if that’s you … keep it to yourself … don’t try to push that on me or my boys … because we KNOW differently. She was happy for quite a stretch of time. And yes … that changed in a very short period of time … and it grabbed her and she couldn’t shake it … and she made an irrational decision in a terrible moment of despair. Yes, I believe that … it makes sense … happy people don’t commit suicide. But at the same time … don’t get that twisted with the fact that she had been happy and proud of herself for a considerable period of time preceding this “moment of despair”.
Last point … maybe what I’m talking about here, i.e. the fact that things can turn deadly so quickly … is another reason why we need to recognize how dangerous this disease can be.
So please … try to understand our perspective here. And if you disagree … that’s fine … just keep your opinion or “analysis” off my wall … please.”
So again, I hope you found some value out of this post. Stay tuned for the next one and please spread the word on what we’re talking about here. Peace.