Ms. [Leah] Eskin:
I am a depressive or, shall I say, a "closet" depressive. I am forced to hide my illness to avoid the business and social stigmas that articles such as yours ["National Depression Day," October 21] continue to perpetuate. Depression reduced me to a state of vulnerability, weakness and shame for I believed that it was all in my head, that I should just snap out of it, that I was a worthless failure because I couldn't control my life. A typical symptom of depression was my compelling need to isolate myself, to follow the magnetic enticement to live in and continually seek deeper, blacker levels of the mind, which eventually resulted in my disassociation with common reality and created an existence nearly void of life. The base of my illness was so deep that it has taken years of talk therapy along with drug treatment to stabilize my illness to where I can function in a responsible job, regain the love of my family, and work on my inner strength so that I may soon come out of my closet and reach out to others who are still struggling. You wrote an irresponsible article based on your ignorance of an illness that costs some of us our lives. Thank God for the pharmaceutical companies who are out there educating and helping people. Their efforts are helpful to society. Yours, on the other hand, are destructive. I hope the day will come when you will acknowledge through your writings that "Depression is an Illness, Not a Weakness," and for your sake, I hope that happens through education, not through personal experience. Your article has caused me much pain but it has served to reaffirm my mission to not only reach out and offer hope to those who are lost in the blackness of their minds, but also to educate, from personal experience, those of you who are fortunate enough to have been spared the life-draining effects of this illness. I wish you well, and I would like to think that you wish me the same.
I'm attaching an article written by another Reader free-lancer, also on the subject of depression. Mr. [David] Futrelle, thank you for finding the courage to write "Reflections: The Sickness of the Soul" [January 28]. Each article such as yours offers a lifeline to those drowning in the murky waters of hopelessness.