Brittnie Johnson

I remember the first time he mentioned it. I took it with a grain of salt and have regretted doing that ever since. “Sometimes I just want to end it all,” he said. I knew that things had been stressful for him for a while. He wasn’t the same, but he was still my dad. I figured he had a hang of it, and I couldn’t imagine he would ever take it that far…that it would ever happen to me, him, my family.

Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the U.S, and depression affects 20-25 percent of Americans. I don’t think you can truly understand depression unless you have experienced it yourself, but having someone close to you with it definitely helps you understand it as much as possible. I have heard people say that they should just get over it, that it’s “all in their head.” What is that even supposed to mean? One of the biggest factors of depression is feeling out of control. My dad explained it like this: “it’s like you can see the end, and as you walk toward it, it continues to move further and further away, taunting you and making you feel helpless and out of control.”

Before my dad’s attempted suicide, I never even tried to understand what someone who chose that route must be going through, what it took to get them to that point. All I thought about is how selfish that person was and how they should’ve thought about what they were doing to others. I never took the time to realize that they probably have. That they must be in so much pain that even though they have thought about that, suicide is still an answer in their eyes.

Currently, my dad’s depression is a work in progress. There are ups and downs, but gradually more ups. I think he will always have to live with this part of himself. I can only hope that he will have the motivation to work through it.

I have learned a lot from my dad. I learned that sometimes they don’t think they are doing it TO others, they think they are doing it FOR them. He thought that he was a burden, and everyone would be better off without him. I’ve realized how serious depression and mental illness are and what signs to look for. Although I will never completely understand what he went through, I continue to learn about what signs to look for and what can be done to help those with depression. There are ways to prevent suicide and cure depression.