LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - Reaching out to those who suffer

Wednesday, February 20, 2002

It is time that we reach out to the emotionally hurting individuals around us. It is time to end the stigma of depression and other mental disorders.

It is time that we stop judging those who are afflicted with one of the most devastating of illnesses. And only then will they feel able to share with others the pain that they feel.

Depression is a deep and dark place to be. It shatters the mind and destroys the soul. It holds one in its grip so fiercely that it immobilizes the very life breath of the person suffering. It is not the fault of the person who has it. They have no more control over whether they have an emotional condition than others have when they have a heart condition or diabetes.

It has absolutely nothing to do about whether they love those they leave behind. In fact, I believe, those that suffer and ultimately take their life are so loving and kind that sometimes it is just too hard to go on.

Until we love and care for the mentally ill and reach out to them without judging, without labels and without fear, they will never know that their love is returned.

Living with depression is beyond explanation. I am so reminded today how much we as a neighbor, friend and society need to treat all men with love and respect.

We will never replace our friend on this earth. But I am convinced that we will see him in eternity and that he is now free of his pain.

Loretta Graham,