Can debilitating emotions run in families, like blue eyes and freckles? Linda Gray Sexton, author “Half in Love: Surviving the Legacy of Suicide,” shares her struggles with depression and suicidal thoughts.
Q: Can you tell me a little about your mother’s behavior before she committed suicide?
A: She was very peaceful. She had settled her estate, given away personal mementos. And on the day she killed herself she had returned, triumphant, from a very successful reading tour. She had lunch with her friend and went over the proofs for “The Awful Rowing Toward God.” Her suicide was totally unexpected — yet it was not surprising. People who plan to take their own life experience a period of inner tranquility immediately before the act.
Q: I know this is likely difficult to summarize, but can you give me a general idea of the role depression has played in your own life?
A: I began experiencing depression at an early age, when I was a teenager. My mother helped me by getting me to a psychiatrist, but it haunted me throughout the years. When I turned 45, the depression worsened and became acute. My book tells the story of how I worked my way back to recovery. I see recovery as an ongoing process.
Q: Do you think of your depression as something you inherited from your mother? Do you share the same tendencies?
A: Yes, I do believe I inherited this from my mother and my mother’s family. There is a lot of mental illness in my mother’s family — suicide included (her eldest sister and her aunt both killed themselves).
I was there — as a child — for my mother’s multiple suicide attempts. I firmly believe there’s a legacy of suicide — one that was handed down to me. When I was 45, I, too, tried to kill myself.
Q: How did you convince yourself suicide was something you had to do? What was the rationale?
A: It’s not a matter of convincing yourself. It’s a matter of trying to escape the pain. Depression is an agonizing experience that manifests itself both emotionally and physically. At the time you consider suicide, you believe it’s the only way out (even though it’s not).
Q: How do you feel today? Has any form of treatment been particularly helpful?
A: I’m in full recovery. My life has really turned around and I face each day free of the depression that so debilitated me. It took hard work in therapy and a lot of experimenting with my psychiatrist to find a treatment plan that helped me regain my health. That, with the support of my family, has given me my life back.
Review from the Editor:
It is tell the very truth of depression. People often have a lack of understanding of being depressed, and clinical depression.
I had inherited depression from my father’s side of the family, while my other siblings did not. I was in shock when I was first diagnosed, since I’ve had been living green and eating healthy. While I am fortunate enough to have support of close friends and family by my side. I can’t say that I could have done it without the help of psychiatrist, attending support group and medication. I had tried alternative treatment such as homeopathic or Chinese medicine but did not do much for me.
I am lucky to be able to afford and continue to live green, organic food, personal trainer, and yoga. and now weening off medication. Although my children had been living green life with generally good health, I was no longer surprise to that the depression gene continue in her and not the others. It’s is very hard to accept, but I embrace the truth and help her to deal with it. It took me years to get to where I am today being much more serious, it only took her few months to get herself together and back to her education. The only thing that bother me about depression is the stigma that comes with it, and the ignorance of people who are not qualify or educated about it, who can’t face it or accept it, scare to get help. and that’s truly unfortunate, until someone get worse and/or ending their life.