Watch for de­pres­sion, other signs of sui­cide

Maryland Independent - - Community Forum -

Af­ter read­ing the “Com­mu­nity Fo­rum” in the Aug. 26 Mary­land In­de­pen­dent, I was emo­tion­ally com­pelled to share my feel­ings on the sub­ject of de­pres­sion and sui­cide, due to my brother and only sib­ling tak­ing his own life over 25 years ago. I had not seen him for 25 years be­fore that. He came to visit me and my three adult chil­dren. He ar­rived right be­fore Christ­mas. We were all de­lighted to see him.

I took him around look­ing for a job. He got one at a restau­rant in Wal­dorf. He seemed to be en­joy­ing him­self, and my kids loved their new­found un­cle. Then one day he and I were dis­cussing some­thing. He started get­ting ag­i­tated and started yelling and dis­re­spect­ing me, so I asked him to leave. He walked up to his room, took a few things, called a cab and left. I never heard from him again. I felt ter­ri­ble he left that way. We al­ways loved each other and were close when we were young.

Sev­eral months later, I re­ceived a long-dis­tance phone call from my par­ents. My mother told me my brother had ob­vi­ously taken a cab to D.C. and got on a bus to Colorado where we were born. He hiked his way up into the moun­tains. It was very cold, and the moun­tains were snow cov­ered. He starved him­self to death, and two skiers found him. The only pos­ses­sion he had on him was a blue jean shirt I had bought him for Christ­mas. He left all the other gifts my kids had given him and a $25 pay­check in the room he stayed in at my house.

I was truly dev­as­tated. I re­gret­ted that I let him leave af­ter an ar­gu­ment. I should have given him a hug. I still cry when I think about that sad, un­for­tu­nate day.

Even as a child, my brother suf­fered from de­pres­sion be­cause of our un­happy home life. I left right out of high school, never went back home, and built a life for my­self. My brother at­tempted sui­cide many times.

Sui­cide stems from con­stant deep de­pres­sion and a to­tal loss of hope. He lived like a her­mit and sought coun­sel­ing to no ob­vi­ous help. In my heart, I feel the only way those af­fected can over­come de­pres­sion is through prayer, kind­ness, un­der­stand­ing and good coun­sel­ing.

The out­side world may view at­tempts of sui­cide not as calls for help, but as a way to seek self-serv­ing at­ten­tion, so they ig­nore signs. They don’t un­der­stand or see peo­ple’s pain or do not know how to help. In to­day’s so­ci­ety peo­ple seem more self-ab­sorbed, and only have time to bat­tle through their own chal­lenges. Un­for­tu­nately, some in­di­vid­u­als never find hap­pi­ness and do not seek help.

I miss my brother, wish I knew how deeply trou­bled he was and could have helped. Hope­fully he hears me wher­ever he is. I love you.

Cassie San­drovich, Brandy­wine

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