Today and forever

*mild trigger warning*  

Last week our nation was hit by a terrible tragedy, leaving so many of us reeling and wondering “why?” and “how”?  This weekend my family was hit by a tragedy that hit much closer to home.

I don’t write much about Hailey (both to protect her, and because she’s not really old enough to make a valid decision if she wants her whole life recorded in my strange little diatribes) but those of you who know me well enough know that Hailey was very blessed to go to an after-school and summer program she went to every day for years.  She loved Ms. Ally (her teacher) and Mr. Dan (Ally’s husband) and they loved her right back.  Ally and Dan were very special.  Loving, supportive, always helping.  Ally taught the kids and Mr. Dan (her soulmate of many, many years) was there for anything anyone needed.  He loved those damn kids.  He loved his own kids.  He loved his wife and the community, and he was the first person to show up at my door if I needed any sort of help.

This weekend Dan lost a battle with depression and ended his wonderful life.  He will be remembered as a strong and amazing man with a contagious smile and laugh, a father, husband and mentor, and the not for the demons that ultimately took him from us.

We – the men, women and children who loved him – can ask ourselves “why” and wonder if there was something we could have seen or done, but in the end sometimes terrible things happen in an instance.  And sometimes beautiful things happen too.  Like the way that our tiny community is coming together to try to help Ally and her family.  But there is so much more to be done.  Ally cannot (and could not be expected to) return to that home.  Her children can’t handle this alone and should never have to.  There are so many things that need to be done and we’re doing everything we can.  We’re standing by the family.  We’re rallying.  And we need help.

If you pray, pray for this family.  In the coming weeks I may direct you toward a fund to help with the expenses (once we know better what they are).  If you can’t do either of these I understand, but you can do something else.  You can tell your family that you love them.  You can tell them that you expect them to ask for help as soon as they need it.  You can forgive yourself for any guilt you have for living when others aren’t so lucky, because that’s what they would want.  You can post information for the suicide hotline on your twitter and Facebook or blogs.  You can save someone else in the same way Dan saved so many people in his life.

A lot of you have asked if this had to do with the Connecticut shooting and in some ways it may have contributed.  Dan worked Search & Rescue in the Coast Guard for many years and never fully recovered from the trauma of retrieving young bodies from the sea.  PTSD is an misunderstood thing and can lead to inconceivable actions.  I’ve never really written about it but when we were newly married Victor was lost at sea during a terrible storm and was finally rescued by the Coast Guard, so there’s a special place in my heart for those heroes.

One of the hardest things to accept about this tragedy is that Dan did ask for help.  When things got bad he went to the VA but was told that he couldn’t get the specific help that he needed because he didn’t serve during wartime.  I don’t know if he tried again for help, but personally I know how incredibly difficult it is to fight for your own mental health when depression lies about how you aren’t worthy of that help, and I know how hard it is to find good mental health in America when you barely have the strength to get out of bed.

The last time I was in true jeopardy I couldn’t find anyone willing to take me as a patient and had to call a suicide hotline to get their help in finding someone.  Even when I did find a doctor who specialized in what I needed she didn’t take my insurance so I happily pay thousands of dollars a year out of my own pocket to keep myself sane.  It shouldn’t be this hard to get mental health help.

There are no ultimate  solutions.  There are no answers to the questions of “why?”  There is only us.  And that’s one hell of a thing to be proud and happy for.  The Dan that I knew would not want us to grieve for him, and would be the first person here making an irreverent joke to make everyone feel better, and I think that helps…knowing that he’d want us all to be happy and to remember his best times instead of his lowest.

There are other things that you can do so that we can make sure the Dan’s life wasn’t in vain.  We can remember the joy he brought.  We can remember the love.  We can help others who are currently in Dan’s place, who are hurting more than they ever let on.  We can push for better mental health resources and make sure that our friends and family know exactly where the current resources are.  We can tell them to not believe the lies of depression and remind them how much they’re worth to us.  When this happened I tweeted about it and a brave soul came forward to say “The bravest thing I’ve ever done is to seek help and check into a hospital. I’m proud of myself for once.”  I retweeted it.  That day two people contacted me to tell me that was the impetus for them and they were going to ask for help themselves.  We help each other in ways we can’t possibly imagine, and the good outweighs the bad, even if it’s sometimes hard to see.

We can come together.  We can make this world brighter for all of us one tiny candle at a time.

Tomorrow will be better.  Tomorrow we’ll be better.

Dan would hate for me to end his story on a sad note, so instead I’m ending it like this: A few weeks ago I asked your help in raising the money to donate Nighty-Night Packages (a new blanket, stuffed animal and book in a canvas bag) to 1,000 homeless children. Last night these tweets came out from Project Night Night:

Thank you. Because out of the darkness shined a light that I needed to see, and I’m so grateful to be part of a community that can laugh together, cry together, and help together. I love you all very much.

*Worldwide suicide hotlines*

527 thoughts on “Today and forever

Read comments below or add one.

  1. A dear friend of mine killed himself this summer. I never imagined I would ever feel better again after he died, but things have gotten better. I still miss him fiercely, but now I think of the funny things he would say or the things he’d tell me to do when I’m feeling down and it makes it not hurt as much. Depression is mean.

  2. That was a powerful and moving post. You use your influence well Jenny. Proud to be called a blogger alongside someone like you. I’m also so incredibly sorry for your loss.

  3. Oh my heart. Keeping Dan’s family and yours in my thoughts and prayers.

    And thank you for the love and honesty that shines through your writing. You are truly a gem.

  4. Damnit, woman. Now I feel like an ass for joking about your cat posts. Not all of us follow twitter religiously 😛 I only go on there to get free crap from my company during the Holiday Hell Corridor. T-Day, Xmas, New Years.

    So, please accept my apology but I will still give you crap about excessive cat posts…when the timing is more appropriate and your walls are back up to fire back rebuttals. Its not fair to shoot flaming arrows a crying woman in a field. I hope things get better for you, madam.

    (You are always allowed to joke about cat posts. 🙂 It’s an internet rule or something. ~ Jenny)

  5. I volunteer at a suicide hotline. Please call. We want to hear from you. You don’t have to be suicidal; we’ll talk to anyone who is in crisis, needs resources, or wants to help someone else in crisis.

    <3

  6. I am so sorry for your loss. I have been hugging pretty much everyone tighter and more often since Friday, but now I will up my game.
    xo.

  7. I still can’t get over a friend’s suicide that happened 8 years ago – events where she should have been there, like my wedding, just make it so much harder. Thank you for speaking about mental health issues, and helping to get the spotlight onto the issue of funding. The more we talk about it, the more help we can get to the people who need it. And it turns out, it’s a LOT of people.

  8. I lost my father earlier this year. He had cancer, and shortly after we were told that we had a few months left, he died (2 days after we were told, in fact). It is one of the most difficult things I have ever gone through, and I couldn’t have done it without the support of my friends and family, and our amazing community of neighbours. I do hope that Ally finds that support from your community, and I’m sure that she will.

    As someone who has depression, and has had some pretty tough times, I’m always encouraging people to try to get help, and I keep hoping that one day, there won’t be any more stories like this one.

  9. Poor Dan. I’ve lost too many people to suicide, some who got help and some who didn’t. Either way, it’s a tragedy to think a person got to that point. I got to that point last year but it never occurred to me to call the hotline. I begged for help on Twitter and people rushed to help. I was lucky. RIP Dear Dan.

  10. I’m so sad for the loss of your friend and will keep him and his family in my heart. Keep on doing what you’re doing, Jenny. You save someone every time you post.
    XOXOXO

  11. Thank you.

    I was going to leave it at that, but now I cannot. My own suicide (not attempt. I was dead for two minutes – with lasting consequences) should have been enough. The suicide of a friend who had touched the lives (and saved several of ours) should have been enough. Each meaningless death should be enough. But the help is not out there for most people, just out of reach or so far out of reach as to seem impossible to ever attain.

    Telling people to check in – that takes so much bravery, and is such an amazing step – please, keep telling us.

  12. I’m so sorry for your loss. I’ve nearly lost my father and brother to Depression related suicide. I agree that mental health needs a bigger spotlight in our country. People need better access to it, and more insurances need to cover it.

    You are all in my thoughts in this difficult time.

  13. My thoughts are with you and Dan’s family. As a former Coastie and firefighter I can understand the PTSD aspect, sometimes it comes back with no warning. And unfortunately dealing with the VA can be trying.

  14. I. Am. So. Sorry. I was actually working on a post about how to help someone who is dealing with devastating loss (my brother was murdered this year). I was looking for where to email it to you but couldn’t find anything. If you think it might help your readers, I can send it to you. My thoughts are with his and your family.

    (Feel free to link to it in the comments when it’s ready. Sending love. ~ Jenny)

  15. Almost 3 years ago now I was on the edge. I spent months asking for help, and didn’t get any response. I attempted twice, and before I made a third attempt, I went to my family and begged them to bring me into the hospital before I could go through with it. Wish I could say I found the help I needed after that, but it was almost a year from that time before I found a doctor who truly listened and genuinely wanted to help, and not just pump me full of pills.

    It can be tough, and you have to fight long and hard sometimes to get the right help you need (what works for someone won’t work for someone else), but KEEP FIGHTING. There will be someone in your life who will be there to support you. Even if it’s not your family, find that person, even if it is only one, and listen to them. Together we can all get through this.

  16. SHOUTING AMEN. YES. YES. YES. YES. “The last time I was in true jeopardy I couldn’t find anyone willing to take me as a patient and had to call a suicide hotline to get their help in finding someone. Even when I did find a doctor who specialized in what I needed she didn’t take my insurance so I happily pay thousands of dollars a year out of my own pocket to keep myself sane. It shouldn’t be this hard to get mental health help.”

  17. I’m at my desk crying, and praying so hard for Dan’s family. I am so sorry that you and your family have to deal with the loss as well, as he sounded like an incredible man. The world is without one of it’s shining lights now.

    thank you. xoxoxoxox

  18. I will add the family to my prayers. I’m so sorry for your loss. He sounds like he was an amazing man and will be greatly missed by his family and friends.

  19. This is beautifully written, and I do sincerely hope that Ms. Aly finds peace in her heart again someday. At the same time I know how hard the struggle is, and I know that some days the desire to just give up really trumps everything else. It’s not worth it, I know that too, but when you’re mind is racing and you can’t make it stop, it can be very hard to remember that people will care if you’re gone.

    Which leads me to a question, one that I am sorry to pose at such a difficult time, but I’ve always felt that this is the one place on the internet I can not be judged for my own demons; what do you suggest for someone whose anxieties include a fear of doctors? I have no problem going for my yearly girl-checkups, or for going to get an xray if I break a bone, but the idea of going to someone and letting them inside my head terrifies me. I think that they’re going to lock me up. (The logical part of me knows they won’t, but we all know depression isn’t logical.) And I really need to go. 🙁

    (You find someone that you can talk to as a friend. A clinic that has a homey feel instead of a clinical one. You find a doctor willing to do visits over the telephone when you can’t leave the house. It took me years to find her but I found one. They are out there, I promise. ~ Jenny)

  20. So painful to read such a sad, frustrating story. I’m really sorry to hear this news–I wish you, your daughter and Dan’s family all the best. Thinking of all of you.

  21. “It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.”

    I will say so many prayers. I feel so blessed to be part of this community of love and support.

  22. I love you. I’m grateful for your heart for others. I can relate because I had to have a similar conversation with my daughter when she was 9…

    and your ALIVE voice is making a difference to so many.

    I’m praying for YOU as well as those so intimately affected by this horrific tragedy.

    xo

  23. What a beautiful post for someone who seems as though he was a beautiful person. I think that this is the conversation we should be having. It shouldn’t be hard to get help. It shouldn’t be hard to find support. We should do more as a society to ensure that the needs of everyone are met.

    My brother last several friends to suicide as a teen because their families and society didn’t accept their sexuality. My parents ensured that my brother talked to someone qualified to help him make sense of his world and feel confident in who he was. We need to do better. Until we do, we will continue to lose our future.

    Thank you for this post.

  24. It is so sad that it’s so hard to get the right help and not have to pay extraordinary amounts to get what you need. I’ve been battling anxiety as well as depression for years. The help I would like to have a I can’t afford. It just doesn’t make sense why it has to be difficult to get what you need in order to feel like a human who can smile.

    I am so sorry that Dan thought that was the only way out. I know how it can seem so dark sometimes. And I’ve never had PTSD so I can’t relae to how he must have felt. Thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.

  25. What I love about you, Jenny, among other things, is how you use your influence to contribute to the causes that can help make a difference. You’re like Oprah, only way funnier and less wealthy. But more amazing, I think. <3
    Thank you for sharing all that you do. And my prayers are with Dan's family and friends.

  26. I’m so sorry for your loss, Jenny. Thank you for holding so many people up. We are all broken right now, and so many people that we love are too close to feeling that it’s easier to just let go. As someone from my kids’ school said yesterday: “Let’s hold hands and walk through the broken glass together.”

    xo

  27. I almost lost a friend to depression this summer. He did seek help but it wasn’t enough (navigating insurance coverage & all). All I could do is check in with him & hope he made it through another night… & we talked about how annoying depression is (I too struggle with it). He’s ok now but as we all know that dark cloud is always looming.

  28. I’ve got this lump in my throat that just won’t quit.

    I am bipolar. Today is a rough day. My illness is acting up and telling me to just end it already. That I’m worthless.

    I wish for peace for Dan and strength for Ally.

    Mental illness is an asshole.

    (You are worth it. Your brain is being an idiot. But you are amazing. Listen to us…not your illness. ~ Jenny)

  29. Thank you for this Jenny. There are so many people struggling and it’s nice to have someone advocate. My condolences to you and Dan’s family.

    Amanda #33 – I get what you’re saying; I had the same issue. It’s not logical, but it’s there. I actually went to my primary care physician and she was able to help me by getting me on meds. The therapy came after I had the chemical issue under control and everything didn’t seem so scary about someone picking my brain.

  30. I should have heeded your trigger warning. That’s so sad for his family.

    In three weeks it will be the 3 year *commemoration of the date on the calendar* when my son took his own life. I have struggled with depression myself all my life, and had no idea my son did too (he was my stepson so I didn’t think he had the same *genes* as me, and he was always so cheerful around us, but now I know it was all a show much like the one I put on some days).

    This is how I deal with it: I play a trick on myself. I buy life insurance once a year that has a no-suicide-for-one-year clause and cancel it at the end of the year and re-buy it again. It is a very expensive habit. But it’s effective in making sure I don’t let my thoughts about different ways to die get too real, because I have a few kids who won’t get the life insurance money if I go too soon. I feel stupid sometimes, and weak that I have to play that game. Other times I feel smart that I’ve created a no-way-out clause for myself.

    I have to finish the game. Too many people rely on me to quit now. I wish your friend had finished the game, too. Who knows? Maybe he would have won.

    (So beautifully written. Thank you for sharing his story and his life with us. Sending you and yours love. ~Jenny)

  31. My heart goes out to you and all of Dan’s family and friends 🙁 My younger brother lost his best friend to suicide a couple of years ago. He was a freshman in college at the time and family and friends missed the signs that he was seriously depressed. I agree that we definitely need better mental health resources.

  32. There is a time to poke and something and a time to not to. Like me calling your cat a fatass and you laughing. But the next day you go off on me cuz the reason your cat looks fat…its an enormous tumor.

    I am may be sarcastic, caustic, I have been called cold. But I never go out of my way to hurt someone. I try to know when to leave something alone and when I can beat you to death over it and both parties are grinning and throwing barbs!

    Not trying to deflect, give your munchkin and extra hug for me. And then tell her a stranger said she had to hug you back. Then do something to Victor that reaffirms to him that you shouldnt be allowed to have your own credit cards and that he stlll isnt safe even though he only left the butter knives.

  33. I’m really glad I followed the twitter link and read this. I needed reminding. There’s someone in my life that needs to know no.matter.what.happens they’re worth more to me than I could ever even express and that’s no matter what happens.

    It’s easy to forget how important that might be when you’re not suffering from depression. You gave me my goal for Christmas. I want to make a difference.

  34. there’s mad love, light, fierce hugs and glitter for your whole tribe, jenny. you’re always in my heart and i’ll keep sending it your way.

  35. @Amanda (#33) – One of my best strategies is to bring a friend or loved one. Whether it’s medical or psychological, docs can and should be okay with you having a buddy there with you. If they express reluctance, tell them it’s a potential dealbreaker if they say no (they shouldn’t). You can also work out a signal with your buddy if you need to leave. Flash the signal and you both get the hell out of there and get to your rally point (I usually pick the elevator or the hallway). Having a buddy there can be good because you know they will stand up for you and watch out for you so nothing happens you’re not okay with already. My wife and I fly in tandem because I’m trans and it has helped everywhere from the doctor to the TSA.

  36. I am so sorry Jenny. It’s a tragic loss. I am the praying kind and I will be keeping his family and friends in my prayers. Along with the many that face this issue of depression and demons with no means to get help. Been there. I heart you.

  37. Dan, his family, and you are in the prayer box!! So glad Project Night Night exceeded their goal. People really capable of greatness and being a light.

  38. Wow. Jenny, you never cease to amaze me with your strength. I started reading your blog because I found you hilarious, and crazily enough, can relate to a lot of your humor and life experiences. As I continued to read day after day, week and week, month after month and year after year, I’ve been educated on what an amazing person you are. The many sides of Jenny. You are funny, that cannot be denied, but you are also compassionate, which is incredibly obvious with all the charity work that you do and support. You are human. Perhaps the reason so many people look up to you is that you don’t hide your faults and you are so incredibly strong for being able to say “I have bad days” and so incredibly inspirational by following that up with “This is how I cope and get through them” and telling people that they are worthwhile and they can get through the darkness as well and that they are cherished and their lives are worthwhile.

    So I just want to say thank you for being you and for sharing yourself with the rest of us. Keep shining like the star that you are, guiding so many along the way.

  39. I’m commenting, but I really actually don’t have real words to say. “I’m so sorry for your loss” almost feels trite…for your, his wife and kids, the families in Connecticut…the coworker who lost his estranged father also to suicide days before the shootings here. I’m not a religious person and I don’t pray, so at times like these I am at a loss on what to do. The vigils and services for the children here are all religious services.

    Days like these I only wish I had your army; I wish I had won the lottery because I would truly love nothing more than to give the gifts of relieving financial burdens. You can’t throw money at problems and money can’t buy happiness but I know from personal experience that in the face of extreme grief, keeping up with your bills is the last damn thing on your mind. I got myself into severe debt after my father died unexpectedly when I was 20, and ruined my credit for years. Losing the major income in the house was a bigger deal than my 20-yr-old self could fathom and credit cards for household bills don’t last you very long.

    I find myself this week at a loss for words and no clue what actions I can take to help lift the suffering. My heart breaks for everyone affected this week.

  40. I truly love how you are able to put all of this into words on a page that are so resonant and so widely seen. We need it…we need to know all of this…whether we are the ones seeking help or in need of help OR the ones who are able to provide help. I’ve been on both sides of the equation. We need to step out of our bubbles whenever possible and extend help. Reciprocally, we need to allow this help into our bubbles. Thank you so much for this piece.

  41. My nephew suffered from PTSD (two tours in Iraq) and turned his anger outward rather that inward. He killed my sister (his mother) during a bout of instability. He, too, asked for help from the VA and was told to find a shrink (on his own) and sent him on his way. There was not only nothing available to him beyond that recommendation, but he didn’t have the money to get better, so he suffered in silence. I can’t, in good conscience, blame my nephew for the brunt of his crime; had he been able to get the help that I KNOW is available, my sister would still be alive.

    Homicide is bad enough, but suicide is equally devastating. I went to school with someone I’m still friends with who is going through a divorce. He was with his wife since we were sophomores in high school and due to a brain injury several years ago, he’s not the same person she married and last Christmas, she took the kids and left him. He’s left devastated. He drinks every minute of the day when he’s not working and spends the weekends completely bombed out of his mind. He doesn’t eat, refuses help and essentially does not want to get better. Though he denies it to me, he’s told another friend that as soon as his divorce is final, he’s going to kill himself. He’s decided the date and the method and despite what any of the rest of us tell him, he’s determined to do it. I’m at a loss except to love him for the time he’s here. It hurts my heart to know how broken he is, but I know I can’t help him if he doesn’t want to get better.

    Like you, I urge people to tell their loved ones what they mean while they’re here. Depressed people often don’t show that they’re depressed and won’t let you know that they need to be reassured of your feelings. I’ve fought this wretched disease for almost thirty years – believe me, I know.

    Love unconditionally. Offer help when you can. Be there to support someone dealing with depression. Forgive them for their mood swings. Be their light whenever possible. You never know who you may be saving by doing so.

  42. God hears sinners prayers,right? so I will add mine; I am so very sorry. My brother in law ended his life 8 years ago and it is still very raw for all of us. I know he had to be hurting so badly; the rest are very angry still. It still hurts.

  43. Thank you for posting this. So many of us have struggled with depression and can relate. It is sad that when a person is already struggling they have to jump through hoops to try & get help. Then if they can find help they must do so knowing that all too often they will have to deal with the debt they racked up because of no insurance. We really do need to stick together & help each other as much as we can.

  44. You have a beautiful way with words and I thank you for this after everything bad that has happened in the last few days this does indeed help me see light. I will be praying for Dan’s family and all of you who knew him and loved him.

  45. It’s always horrible to hear that someone can’t get the help and support they need. A lot of people can’t afford therapy and I know I struggle with the $140 an hour it costs me. But it’s just as critical as having surgery or setting a broken bone. Thoughts and prayers with his family and your family.

  46. I am so sorry for your loss. I will keep Ally and family as well as all those who’s lives Dan touched in my prayers. Thank you for writing this piece. People suffering need better care and they need it now. I truly hope we can get it together and provide help for all who need it.

  47. i love this blog post – you have an incredible gift of writing, and it is easy to imagine that Dan would be nothing less than completely honored to have your words written in this way. thank you.

  48. Such a tragedy and such a loss for those who looked up to him and will now forever not know the amazing person he seemed to be. Mental illness is something we need to take a better look at and maybe, just maybe a person like yourself can help initiate that change (along with all of your loyal followers).

    Thanks for the efforts to help Project Night Night… a worthy cause indeed and i hope they continue to prosper.

  49. My 14-year-old daughter is struggling mightily with depression every day. She is on an adult dose of Zoloft, Abilify and Wellbutrin and it is a constant daily struggle to keep her from wandering down that dark path. She loves to read your column and your book actually made her smile (a miracle upon miracle!). When you said how difficult it was for you to find a therapist that took your insurance I completely understood what you meant as it seems that NOT ONE adolescent child psychologist accepts our top 3 national health insurance. It’s sad. However, I will do whatever it takes to save my child and show her the world is a bright place because of her. Thank you for showing that you are one of the faces of depression. I’m so sorry for your loss (and Hailey’s, and Ally’s). May you find the light that leads you through the tunnel. Keep smiling and giggling. We love to hear you.

  50. We are all suffering because of these tragedies. There has got to be more money available for mental health services. Too many people need it and too few can afford it. I have a feeling we are hitting a tipping point.

  51. Thank you so much for this. I think you hit the nail on the head with, “It shouldn’t be this hard to get mental health help.” I think you talking about it is SO important. It’s not something our culture readily talks about and it becomes something to be ashamed of, something to keep secret, when so many of us are actually dealing with it. Shining this light on it is the best thing you can do for so many people. I highly recommend reading this article: “I am Adam Lanza’s Mother” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/16/i-am-adam-lanzas-mother-mental-illness-conversation_n_2311009.html. We need more options, we need better options.

    Thank you. Love and peace to you and yours.

  52. Bless Dan’s family as they try to muddle through the coming days, weeks and years without their loved one. Many prayers for them.

  53. I am so, so sorry. Those words are so trite for all that you and your family are going through. My family knows too much about suicide. My heart goes out to you. I will be thinking of you. Thank you, as always, for sharing.

  54. I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety disorders for years and it’s always hard to see someone losing the struggle with it. I wish there was more easily attainable help for people, because I have found that often the most caring and wonderful people happen to be those who have had this struggle because they can empathise with others and their pain.

    I am so sorry for the loss of your friend, but I believe your amazing and heart touching post will help others who are feeling down, especially in the stressful holiday seasons. You say he wouldn’t want to leave it on a sad point so I can say I believe your words of love and help will help others. In some of my darkest moments reading your blog kept me sane and gave me a smile on the worst days. And I think that this post about your friend Dan may help others win their battle with mental illness.

    My thoughts and love go out to your family and Dan’s.

  55. Thank you so much for your words, today and every day. I will be praying for Dan and everyone who loved him.

    Please please please remember, Jenny, in your darkest moments, that YOU are a light. You have shared so many touching and wonderful things, you have helped so many people, you have made us laugh so many times…please fight to keep that light burning. The world would be darker without you.

  56. Here’s a resource for you guys as you help Mrs. Ally with her new challenges. http://www.sslf.org/index.html The Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation is a wonderful cause to help Widows no matter what their background. My friend became a widow 2 and a half years ago at the age of 26 and this has helped her immeasurably.

  57. I am terribly sorry for your loss and for those felt by the entire country of late. I too recently lost a friend and in an effort to increase awareness and thoughts on mental illness, will be documenting my own struggles over the next month (http://bloglafleur.blogspot.com/2012/12/28-days-of-keeping-it-real.html). I am so grateful for your honesty and openness in discussing your own mental illness, and strive to do the same.

    Many virtual (non-weird) hugs.

  58. I will and do tell my family I love them. But you, as all of us who come together to laugh and cry with you, are apart of my extended family too. So with that, I love you Jenny. Sending my light to you and your community.

  59. Great post and well worded. I too have suffered from depression and have never really reached out for help. I’ve been fortunate to be able to work through much of it on my own…which isn’t always the best way, but has worked for me thus far. There is so much going on in this world and I often wonder why we still spend more time tearing people down instead of building people up…the culture in this country specifically is sad to me. Keep up the great work. Cheers!

  60. Blessings to all, and prayers for clarity when there appears to be none. Thank you, Jenny, for using your talent and love to save lives and give comfort and understanding.

  61. thank you. i just posted on facebook today about mental illness. i have bipolar disorder and luckily i have insurance that covers me. i know how hard it is to get help and i’ve met people who are having a hard time finding help. i’ve seen people try their best to get family members help but to no avail. the system needs an overhaul NOW. nobody should ever be turned away when they are seeking mental health help and families should be able to commit relatives who need help but aren’t willing to seek it for themselves.

  62. Prayers for Ally, you, Hailey, and everyone who is dealing with the aftermath of this tragedy.

    *HUGS*

  63. You know, while I will always have amazing respect for the military, the Coast Guard has a special place in my heart…

    And group who’s unofficial motto is “You have to go out, you don’t have to come back” is a special kind of badass.

  64. I love you, Jenny! So many people are hurting and those of us that suffer from mental illness and depression have such a difficult time finding resources to begin with. Thank you for posting Dan’s story, his family will be in my prayers.

  65. So sorry for your loss. It’s been a very rough week. You are amazing, and I am so happy there is still light out there like yours.

  66. Beautiful words. So sorry for your loss and Ally’s loss. My daughter, who is a psychiatric nurse practitioner, echoes much of what you said. Mental health care in this country is woefully inadequate. People NEED HELP and we need to make sure they get it. Thank you for the wonderful words you write. You never cease to make my day.

  67. Both my Mother(52) and my Brother (26) took their own lives. It is something that haunts me daily. Neither wanted to admit how bad things were and refused to be shamed by getting help. It’s a stigma i hope we can overcome as a nation. I am not politician, I don’t know how to change the system, I just someone who knows what it’s like to lose loved ones when it could have been prevented.

    My thoughts to you and the family of those who have lost so much.

  68. My beautiful friend lost his life a little more than a year ago. He had battled depression his entire life.

    I will miss him for the rest of my life. He believed himself to be worth so very little but the truth is, he was worth so very much. One of the wonderful people of the world. The fact that I will never be able to call him and talk to him, never again see him, still isn’t real. And yet it’s far too real.

    I am so very, very sorry for your loss.

  69. Your book inspired me to get out from under the rock of secrecy and stigma. I’m trying to live out in the light now and ask for help when I need it. I also realize now that I tweeted you about this when you were going through all of this… sorry about that :S Sometime, when you’re feeling better, I’d love it if you read it though. You really have saved my life through your work. I feel much like a leper now 😛 I feel like I could become successful despite all of this. Thank you for sharing your story.

  70. praying. praying for all who are affected by mental health, for this family, their families, and their friends, and for all the people affected in Conneticut.

  71. Thank you for your eloquent words on a subject people don’t want to talk about. Thank you for talking about it. And keep up the fight.

  72. My heart grieves for them. I lost both my father and my older sister to suicide, my father when I was 11, and my sister just this past April. Nothing can ever prepare you for the blow, but the support of friends, family, and even strangers can help.

    My sister spent time in Iraq when active in the Marines and also suffered from PTSD. It is an ugly disease that can wreak havoc if not treated properly. I now know a wonderful therapist who specializes in EMDR (Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) who has had GREAT success in treating her patients with PTSD. If you or someone you know has PTSD, I highly, HIGHLY recommend looking into EMDR.

    Never take for granted those you love, or those who love you. My thoughts and prayers are with you and yours <3

  73. Jenny, I’m so sorry for everyone’s loss but the first thing that came to mind (as a mother) was “how is Hailey?” Sending love and prayers, Laurie

    (She’s resilient. She cried for 20 minutes and was really sad for Ally and her family and then she was herself again. She still has questions and not always ones that I can answer, but she’s taking it better than expected. She’s going for a playdate tonight with some of the other kids she knows who are suffering the same loss so that they can talk to each other or just play. ~ Jenny)

  74. Thank you so much for posting this. I lost my stepfather less than a year ago to depression as well. Depression does lie and often those who need the help suffer in silence.

  75. I’m so sorry for your loss.

    It always scares me a little, to hear that people like your friend Dan lost that fight. Scares me, because it makes me question whether or not I can win it. And the holidays are the worst. 🙁

  76. Thanks for sharing Jenny. May Dan’s family find inner piece and light knowing that we are all praying for Dan and his family.
    Life is hard enough and then dealing with things we can’t really explain hovering and suffocating us sometimes. Since Friday I have felt an overwhelming sadness with humanity. I know there is still a lot of good in the world but in times like these it’s hard to see the good. I turn to my family, I hug my children and remember they are the reason to keep going and survive.

    I hope that you are doing well Jenny. We will overcome the bad- we have to 🙂

    peace and light for us all!

    xoxo

  77. I am so sorry. In our small hill country town we have had 6 suicides in 2 years. We have a population that resides here of less than 8k. IT IS TRAGIC and hard to accept. I am a spiritual woman and I am blessed to have the support of my church family and community to help cope with our struggles but there needs to be medical assistance for the issues that plague our bodies and in turn take over our spirit. I have a very loud opinion about this but right now I hope you hear my softly spoken words of sorrow and love for you, your family and your community. I hope for you all the peace that passes all understanding.

  78. It breaks my heart every damn day that good and kind people struggle so with depression. I have struggled, and my brother struggled until he couldn’t anymore, and then, like your friend Dan he opted out of this life altogether. There is breathtaking beauty all around us every single second of every day, though sometimes it’s so hard to see. Bless you for your courage and your caring heart. Bless Dan and his family for the pain they must bear. Bless us all.

  79. My step-brother lost his battle with mental illness last year. He jumped off the highest ramp on the 281/410 intersection. Our lives were turned upside down. I feel your sorrow Jenny. xoxo

  80. “It shouldn’t be this hard to get mental health help.”Truer words have never been spoken. I came to the brink myself because of the difficulty getting what I needed. I occasionally throw a fit in my therapist’s office about the fact that it seems that I have to go into crisis in order for anyone to take me seriously. This does not reward taking responsibility for ourselves and our illnesses.

    I hate the fact that getting help requires taking risks (of disclosure, and of getting quackery instead of qualified professional help), and it requires making sacrifices (many have the choice of being restricted to what their health insurance will pay for, or paying out of pocket, which I don’t think is even a choice).

    I may be ill, and struggle mightily for my own sake, but my moral compass still works, dammit.

  81. I’ve fought depression since I was a young teenager. I spent a night in a crisis center in college. I will always be on Prozac. I still fight it. I used to cut and burn myself to deal with the pain and stress. It has been over a decade now since I’ve done that. Every woman in my mother’s side of the family is on some sort of mental health medication. I write honestly and openly on my blog about my struggles. It pisses my sister off. She’s convinced I’m ruining my life.
    No, I’m finding my life. It is time we stop being ashamed. It is time we stop treating mental illness like a weakness. I am NOT weak. I am strong. Dan was NOT weak. Dan was sick.
    It is time to start fighting for better understanding and better care. I’m uninsured, and it is pure luck my symptoms are handled by such cheap medications. Even with insurance, mental healthcare is sometimes unobtainable. THIS NEEDS TO STOP.
    It is time for love and compassion. I’m so sorry for you and Hailey’s loss. Your tribute is wonderful.

  82. Thank you for sharing this. I have struggled with depression/anxiety for all of my adult life and I, too, pay thousands of dollars a year to keep myself (relatively) stable. I lost a friend to suicide a few years ago and it was truly one of the most difficult times in my life.

    Thank you for making these struggles visible. I make a point to talk as openly and shamelessly about mental health and therapy and suicide as I can — so others who feel shame maybe have a slightly easier time bringing their issues into the open. I’ll be sure to do so today in honor of your friend’s life.

    Sending your family and his family light and love in this difficult time.

  83. Super emo today. I think I feel a little bit like a raisin. That makes so much sense to me right now. Strange.

    Love and light and kisses and hugs to you and Dan’s family and all of us.

  84. Big smooshy hugs to you and your family.

    It was a tough thing for me to finally seek help several years ago when depression and anxiety had a choke hold on me. It was stressful and expensive, but ultimately worth it. It took awhile to find someone I was comfortable with and like you I had insurance but my shrink wasn’t on their “preferred” list, so it was pricey. It would have been impossible without any insurance at all. What I would love to see is specialized help available for anyone with a mental illness be as easy to come by as it is to see a GP, and with no more stigma attached than if they were being treated for high blood pressure or an ingrown toenail.

    Continue to be awesome, Jenny. It’s contagious. The good kind of contagious!

  85. So very sorry for your loss and for his pain. Thank you for speaking openly about it, and about the mental healthcare crisis that is obviously such an issue right now. Hugs!

  86. May his memory forever be a blessing for his family and all who knew him. Sometimes, the demons do win and then it’s left to the rest of us to push them back for a while.

    May his friends and family be blessed with more than enough strength to do just that.

  87. While there may not be help at the VA for some veterans suffering from PTSD, there is help out there. We provide Veteran Service Dogs to help our wounded warriors live more comfortably with their PTSD. Here’s a link to that section of our website – http://www.guidedogs.org/index.php?page=veteran-assistance-dogs All of our services are at no charge to the veteran, thanks to the generosity of our supporters.

    Thank you for posting Dan’s story.
    Jennifer, Southeastern Guide Dogs

  88. I’m so sorry for this loss in your community. Thank you for sharing and letting us help hold some of the pain for you. I face these struggles every day and discovering your twisted corner of the world was a good day. My heart hurts for your tribe but I will continue to try to honor those lost by how I choose to live.
    peace and love to you.

  89. Saying prayers for Ally and for Dan. The mental health crisis in our world has to be addressed. Lighting candles and praying that light spread into the hearts of all this holiday season.

  90. Thank you for sharing this. Too many people either go undiagnosed with mental issues (weather it is PTSD, Depression or whatever) and it all needs to come o he fore front. I battle depression myself (as does pretty much every woman in my family) and so I know all too well how hard it can be sometimes to get the help needed as well as support. I will pray for this family in their time of grief. I can’t even imagine what they are going through, but they are so lucky to have such a wonderful community rallying around them right now. I will share this post in hopes it not only helps bring depression and other mental illness to the fore front, but also in hopes that when the time comes many more people are able to donate and help this family.

  91. Wonderful post. Between meds and doctor visits, I can’t count how much we have spent out of pocket over the last year. It’s terrible, we need to reform healthcare and make sure mental healthcare is on par.

  92. I had a boyfriend choose to leave us, 18 years ago in August. Every year, since I have had my blog, I write a message about hope and finding care. I always include the hotline number. Too many people, too many lives, not enough help. Thanks for sharing. I will be praying.

  93. I sent an email about this as well, but stories like these just make me so angry. For Dan, for Ally, for families like Mel’s above, and for all of the homeless Veterans, the ones who’ve lost their families through substance abuse, anger, or simply being unable to handle having people who love them when they don’t understand how it is possible, and for all of the people in their community who are affected.

    I hope your Veteran readers (or those who are close to Veterans who need help) know that there is help for them when VA does try to deny them the medical or financial benefits they deserve, and that they can usually appeal these decisions–for free–with the help of service organizations or other representatives. There are people out there who will fight for them even when they don’t have the strength to do it themselves.

  94. So sorry for you loss and the loss of that family and community! Thank you Jenny for bringing things to light in a different way. As someone who has struggled with depression, your experiences, your way with humor and sharing of your own experiences has shown me that I’m not alone!

    We, as a nation, as a community, need to figure out a way to make mental health accesible, affordable and available!!!

  95. Damnit. His dear wife and children. It’s just not fair. My brother killed himself 5 years ago after a lifelong battle with depression. There are no words that can describe how much it hurts to have to carry on without them. I have to remind myself and my brother’s children on a regular basis that no matter how heartbroken we are to be without him, we must take that loneliness and multiply it by a million and that’s how alone and worthless those that take their own lives feel. I’m so sorry that your friend felt that way. So sorry. I have faith that Dan’s family and friends have a close, strong support system. May you all find comfort with one another.

  96. Thanks for posting this. Non-combat related PTSD is so overlooked, overwhelming and devastating for those suffering and their families. I don’t know if it helps anyone, but I lost my father about 6 months ago, and wrote a few blogs about it. I hope others find comfort in knowing that they aren’t alone. Here’s the starting blog link. Best to your daughter, Ally and the family and to all of us, each day.
    http://tigerlilydesignsseattle.blogspot.com/2012/06/i-am-grateful_2675.html

  97. Jenny… You are a beautiful soul…I have connected with you thru your book.. and your blogs.. i’m sure i’m not alone when i say that I really feel connected to you.. like a soul sister. you speak just how i have seen life and gone thru … i cant say it any clearer than I TOTALLY RELATE!!! I am soooo truely sorry for your loss, Hailey’s loss.. your community’s loss. My heart goes out to Ally and her family. Thank you for making these type of things in your life so public…. for me.. it helps because I know i am not alone in these thoughts and reactions to everyday things… and all the stupid things that happen that shouldnt happen that leaves us to forcably change our lives just as we get comfortable with it. The key is be flexible, learn to accept and realize the world keeps turning, the sun will rise again.. and you can start all over.. ok so now i’m rambling.. anyway.. Thank you!!! for everything…. I love you dearly.. even from Ohio.. lol

  98. Depression is a hard thing to overcome and there are many people who don’t have the resources to seek help. There used to be a lady here who did pro bono counciling to all sorts of people. She didn’t care about the money as long as she could help somebody. How great would it be if every counciler did that, just for one or two people? So many lives could be changed and saved.

  99. I’m applying to Ph.D. programs to study psychology, hoping to focus on PTSD. Too many people struggle with it and we need to take better care of them, as we need to take care of all people in need of help, be it mental, physical, or spiritual.

    Dan and his family, and yours,will be in my thoughts and prayers.

  100. Praying.

    Mental health IS broken in this country. We even had Timothy’s Law passed here in NY to stop insurance companies from discriminating against and limiting mental health services, but every year, my insurance company refuses to approve more than 20 visits. (My husband’s employer has fewer than 50 employees, which makes a difference under the law.) I go bi-weekly to see my doc. That’s 26 visits a year. It has always been difficult to pay for the “extra” visits out of pocket, and I have skipped appointments to cut down on the financial costs… but I pay for it big time in emotional and physical costs. (I’m very psychosomatic. The pain isn’t “in my head.” The pain is real. But the physical stress is CAUSED by my emotional stress.)

    I hope the family and community can find peace in the coming days as everyone has to come to terms with this loss.

  101. *i m sorry.. when i say “stupid things” i am by no way saying this tragedy here was such.. i was more refering to the things i am facing.. sorry to anyone who took it that way…

  102. Jenny,

    I couldn’t just read this and not post. People tell you often how wonderful you are and how much you have helped them. And somehow it still isn’t enough to fight off the dark days. I wish there was some way we could add up all of the times you saved a life, made a change so great in someone’s life that there are no more dark days for them. You are special. And so was Dan. And so is the next poster. If there were spreadsheets where we could quantify the impact we have on each others lives, maybe, just maybe, we could all look in a mirror and know we make a difference. There isn’t. Today I will tell one person that they made a difference for me. Maybe if we all did it, we could make a difference.

    This is poorly writen and not well said. I just want everyone to know they do make a difference. I keep thinking of the memorial party we threw for a 27 year old kids social worker who killed herself. Over 200 people showed up to an impromptu service. 200 people and there was not one she thought she could call. We all just wanted that phone call. We so wanted to let her know that we would have listened and helped. I am still angry at her. It isn’t right to be, but I am.

    When the time comes to help Dan’s family recover the material part of their lives, count me in. If you Jenny need anything that we can provide, ask. We owe you.

    I’m sorry.

  103. Thank you, Jenny. For all you do, for being your amazing, crazy, hilarious self and for bringing into the light things people would rather keep in the dark. People will get help – people have gotten helped! – because of you. My prayers go out to Dan’s family during their grieving the loss of what sounds like a truly wonderful man who sadly wasn’t able to keep fighting the lying demons. May he have finally found peace. May they find peace knowing that he doesn’t suffer anymore, and may they (and you) find the strength to move forward. His spirit lives on in all the lives he touched. Hugs to you – for everything.

  104. thank you for posting this. over the years many of us have cobbled together our own support systems. with time and effort and these kinds of open conversations, maybe someday we can look back and say, “remember when this was so hard?”

    blessings and heartfelt prayers to you.

  105. Beautiful post! Most needed for those of us that suffer in silence especially at this time of year.

  106. I. LOVE. YOUR. SPIRIT. I am jerk for wanting to throw money at problems, but it is something I can offer. I eagerly await information from you to help the children of a kind and giving Dad.

  107. My hugs (virtual though they may be) to you and Hailey, because I know how hard it is to lose a friend this way. My sincere and heartfelt sympathies to Ally and the rest of Dan’s family and friends for the devastating loss they are experiencing.

    Lastly, a big fuck you to Depression, that cheating, lying, son of a bitch, who stole another good person from this planet.

  108. My husband goes to the VA for mental health care. It’s almost a joke how horrible they are – it’s like they’re trying to make people more crazy.

    I’m so sorry for your loss…

  109. This is a wonderful tribute to Dan – helping others. I don’t pray, per se, but I will be thinking positive thoughts for his family. I’ve been dealing with mild/moderate depression, OCD, social anxiety, agorophobia and panic disorder for awhile now. I know how hard it is to ask for help. I’m getting help and it’s STILL hard to ask for help. It’s hard to admit how rough things are sometimes. Sometimes, no matter how wonderful and supportive a family is, bad things happen. Dan’s family is in my thoughts. Thank you for shining a light on mental health issues (btw, I have encouraged everyone I know to buy and read your book! it’s hysterically funny, but also quite poignant and you were able to put into words so many of the things I deal with but can’t quite explain).

  110. I’ve lost friends to suicide and the love of my life suffers with severe depression, so I know all too well how difficult and devastating depression can be. My thoughts and prayers with you and Dan’s friends and family.

  111. Thank you so much for posting this. My youngest suffers from PTSD (because of biomoms abuse) and we’ve been through three suicide attempts with him starting when he was 8. It cannot be expressed enough – check in, ask for help, seek support wherever you can find it! You are an awesome person for putting this out there in our faces to remember!

  112. Brilliant perspective on a dreadfully sad event. Thank you, as always, for your heart and wonderful mind.

  113. Dan’s family (and the others like his family out there), you are in my prayers. And, Jenny, believe me when I say “thank you for all that you do”, and assure you that yes, if I find myself in need of that type of help, I will get it. Somehow.

    Now, I need to find out what allergy is causing all this watery stuff to appear in my eyes…

    ~EdT.

  114. Dear Jenny – thank you for that wonderful posting. My thoughts and prayers are with Dan’s family. As someone who is dealing with a major family crisis I can speak to the emotions, thoughts and difficulties that one encounters during the most difficult of times……and the darkest of hours. There is so much that could be said but at a time like this take heart that many people are sharing in your thoughts and support. Thank you for being such a kind person and thank you for being you 🙂

  115. Beautiful post, Jenny. My father took his own life, on his second attempt, many years ago, and I’ve struggled to separate his actions from those of depression. Depression is an asshole. Depression is why he won’t be walking me down the aisle in 9 months. He did reach out, but unfortunately was not successful in getting the help he needed. I’m so glad that you continue such an eloquent dialogue about mental health issues so that perhaps it will one day become easier for others to get the help they need. My thoughts are with Ally and her family. And, of course your daughter and yours.

  116. You have my sincere condolences for your loss. A big hug to Hailey and Ally and to all of those who were touched by Dan. I’m glad that they have such a supportive community during this painful time. My heart goes out to you all.

  117. I’m so sad for your loss – you got all sorts of prayer and karma and so does Ally and Dan’s family. It takes a special soul to spell it out like this – you are doing a wonderful thing by starting and keeping this dialogue real. Thank you.

  118. Goddammit, I need to start heeding your trigger warnings. F’cking Prednisone is having its way with me, and I sit here at my desk crying, during a meeting. Fortunately there is a “mute” button, and I am not afraid to use it.

    ~EdT.

  119. Thank you for posts like this, Jenny. We need to be reminded every now and then that there are terrible things that happen, but there are good things that can come out of tragedy. I have suffered with PTSD for years and years. I’m finally FINALLY getting better, but only because I was incredibly lucky to find a therapist and psychiatrist that are brilliant and amazing through my county’s discounted health system. If I hadn’t found them four years ago, I wouldn’t be alive. They have saved my life more times than I can count. I am thankful that I lucked out, and I feel for those who have difficulty finding help that’s affordable or even just fucking AVAILABLE. It shouldn’t be this hard to get help for mental illness. You’d never tell a diabetic that there’s just no one to see and so they’ll just have to cope without insulin.

    It’s horrible when someone close to you loses their life. It’s even worse when you know that loss could have been prevented so easily. Thank you for sharing this story, as difficult as I know it must have been to write it. Prayers for both Dan’s family and for yours (because those left behind have a hard time and need prayers, too).

  120. My heart aches for you, your family, Dan’s family, and everyone touched by his untimely exit. I’m so sorry he’s gone and will keep all of you in my thoughts. Thank you for sharing this and reminding us to pay attention and love every chance we get.

    Hugs and love.

  121. Love. Hugs.

    The man who helped me, my psychiatric social worker committed suicide last year. I wish I could have helped him the way he helped me and so many others.

    I’m sending hugs and squeezes and chocolate and cats and smiles your way.

  122. I am so sorry for your loss and the devastation his family must be feeling right now. My husband has been battling depression for over a year now and has had terrible thoughts of ending his life. It’s a terrible thing to hear that come from someone you love. He finally went to a doctor to ask for help and his doctor said “It doesn’t sound serious enough to go on medication for” and offered no alternate form of support. It really makes me angry that some people do get strong enough to ask for support and the people that should be helping don’t. Thank you for bringing more light on depression and offering ideas for where people can go to get help.

  123. I just wanted to say think you for your willingness to share. My prayers will be with this family, and for all those touched by the loss of Dan. I wish you peace.

  124. In the immortal words of David Cassidy….
    “I think I love you!”

    You are a shining light.

    You are the difference that makes the world better.

    Your friend is in a place of puppies and kittens (the real kind) and I hope he has found the peace he so deserves.

  125. I recently discovered that my mom is suffering from depression. Maybe I have known for a long time but facing the reality was just too much for me. It hurts to watch someone you love endlessly struggle such an ugly hidden demon. I am finally at a place where I can deal with the harsh reality of her mental illness. I will be there for her every single day, trying to save her life. I have made what feels like hundreds of calls trying to give her options but the resources are just not easily found. After Friday’s tragedy I am more certain then ever that the way we are handling mental illness is flawed. We need to make this a priority!!!

  126. Thank you. Thank you for this post. Thank you for being you – because you make a difference in a way nobody else can. Thank you for shining a huge brilliant light on the lying darkness of depression. Prayers and positive healing thoughts to you, your family, Dan’s family, …and all who need them.

  127. Today is the 3 year anniversary of my daughter almost ending her life. She was strong enough to
    reach out for help and I am grateful for that every single day. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your friend’s family and everyone else who struggles with that asshole Depression.

  128. There is such heartbreaking sorrow in the world… I am so glad there are still people who help and love each other.

    My heart is full for Dan’s family and all others struggling with depression and sorrow. Thank you for your reminders to get help and to love. <3

  129. My deepest sympathies on the loss of your wonderful friend. I am adding him to my prayer list.

    What you are doing is so important in helping to shed light on mental illness.

    Thank you.

  130. Jenny, SO sorry for your loss and thank you for your post. I love you, you always know what to say.

  131. I am so incredibly sorry for the loss of your dear friend, but I also want to thank you for sharing his story – especially the good parts! – with us. It’s the goodness in others like us, those dealing with depression, that helps quiet the lying parts. I hope Dan’s family and friends find strength in his weaknesses and remember the love he had for them. Thinking of you, friend!

  132. Maybe it’s the Impending Doom Of The Holidays, but today’s post really spoke to me more than any of your previous posts.
    I am so sorry for your loss. I will pray for Dan’s family, as well as your family. I know what it’s like to be in Dan’s shoes.
    I was raped over 14 years ago and have had PTSD ever since. I was a freshman in college at the time, and many of my “friends” from high school could not handle my depression/social anxiety/etc. and decided to abandon me. This led me to attempt to take my own life (nearly successfully) multiple times. I have had difficulties making friends, and several family members still do not understand that although it has been 14 years, I cannot simply “snap out of it.” Part of my trauma will always haunt me.
    I just want people to understand that PTSD is horrible. It never goes away. People with PTSD may seem “fine” in many situations, and may feel fine for extended periods of time. And then Bam! Something will trigger anger/depression/anxiety/fear/incessant crying. And we don’t always know what that trigger is.
    Please try to be patient with us. We know it’s hard on you too (and that knowledge alone is what can sometimes lead us to take our own lives, or try to, because we feel guilty for being a burden).
    I know how Dan must have felt, because I have been there. It’s a scary place. And I’m so so sorry that he felt that helpless.
    And I think you are amazing and wonderful for being there for him, and for his family, and for how you explained to your daughter what happened.

  133. Beautiful. I’m so sorry for your loss. I send you and yours loads of love and I will pray.

    And I thank you for the role you’re taking in promoting awareness. And love. And strength.

  134. That is so incredibly sad. For everyone involved. And what’s worse is that Dan tried to get help.

    If the events of last week have done anything, I hope that they’ve made people realize that seeing mental health treatment is a GOOD thing, especially when you know you need it, and that mental health treatment shouldn’t cost more than flu shots.

    Dan’s family, and friends, and yours, too, are in my thoughts!

  135. To Amanda, looking for help but unable to leave the house –

    More and more therapists are using Skype. According to one psychiatrist I spoke with, it’s cutting edge, but expanding. Six months ago today, the love of my life died suddenly in his sleep. I’m posted overseas and my Skype grief counselor has been a godsend. Good luck, and please don’t give up on finding help.

  136. Healthcare is so incredibly important. Mental health being just as important, if not more so then physical health sometimes. It greives me that we don’t put more of a priority on treating the sick so that things like this don’t happen.

    I don’t pray, but I will hug my family, and remind them that they can come to me in times of trouble. And I will go one step farther and write letters to congress, and everyone else I can think of to put mental health services back on the agenda. Tighter gun laws won’t help anyone if we can’t treat those who need it.

  137. I’m so sorry for your loss for you, your daughter, your friends and community. It grieves me so painfully to know of the gap in mental health care that precipitates this sadness. No one should have to feel that helpless every.

    Thank you for sharing it with us and know Dan is in my thoughts. Community and connectedness is the only thing that matters (well and love and compassion too). We love you too, Jenny!

  138. I am so sorry for your loss. What a terrible thing that he asked for help and was denied! The state of mental healthcare in this country is really appalling and I will be looking for ways to help and bring awareness in days to come.

  139. I lost my dad a number of years ago to suicide. It’s not something that you get over easily, but it is something that will hurt less with time. Best wishes to you and your family at this time, and to the family of Dan.

    Here’s to improving mental health care for those battling with suicide and also their relatives.

  140. Between you and MODG, and our local shelter, the Jimmie Hale Mission, I have had a wonderful holiday season trying to give back (whether by PayPal, credit card, gift cards, or checks) in some small way for the good things that have come my way in the last 69 years. I got such a sweet note from Nighty-Night; I’m thrilled at the response you alone generated! Whenever you post the need for Ally, I’ll respond. You do good stuff…

  141. I am so sorry for the loss of your friend. The family must be devastated. I cannot imagine how they will get through this. Know they and your family are in my prayers.

    I too have depression and anxiety. I also used to work for a major insurance company. I know what is covered under our current coverage, and sometimes still have to fight. One thing that may help you all, especially Chris at well in this house, if there is a limit to the number of mental health visits, a “family therapy” session is separate from “individual therapy” as is “group therapy”. Make sure to check with the insurance carriers, but I did have this issue years ago, and my therapist billed it this way, knowing I didn’t have the ability to pay his full cost.

    Also, Catholic Social Services does have counseling available to all on a sliding basis. You do NOT have to be Catholic to get their help, they help everyone. Many therapists have sliding scale billing, call around.

    One other thing, everyone, please, know you are important and someone special needs you here in this world. I know this season is really hard, (especially for me) and seasonal affective disorder is rampant now, make sure to connect with others. Make a call, go for a walk, skype with someone, go see a school Christmas concert, do something just for fun. Connect with people you know and love. It helps.

  142. My prayers, comfort, and many many hugs to you, Hailey, and Dan’s family. I will especially pray for Hailey and Dan’s children to have peace and comfort. Please know how much you do for so many and I hope you get back as much as you give.

  143. Actually, when I had my first ever panic attack only 7 months ago (full-blown, go to the hospital, scared shitless attack) YOU were the one who made me feel it was ok to ask for help. I’ve always been a strong woman and it was terrifying to lose control and feel so weak and confused….
    Thank YOU for writing this blog and your book (which went to the clinic with me) 🙂
    I’ll be adding Dan’s family to my nightly meditation – sending peace and release.

  144. Jenny, I am so sorry about Dan’s passing. How hard it must be for everybody who knew him. I will do what I can if you post some information about donating money for the family. In the meantime, the greatest thing you can do is to tell the story. The story of him, who he was, what his life was. Just like you do with your own story, because you doing that has helped me realize that my story is also important.

  145. Damn. Damn Damn Damn. I promised myself I wouldn’t cry today and now I’ve been taken down twice. Luckily the million things I have to be happy about crop up and it’s OK.

    Thank you for reminding us all that it takes just one helping hand to save someone in need…for whatever that need is. And for reminding me I can be that helping hand.

  146. Jenny, this post has brought tears to my eyes. I wish you all the strength you need, now and always.

  147. Thank you. Thank you for writing this. Thank you for caring. As someone who also suffers from depression and anxiety it is a tricky and difficult road to recieve help. I am so very sorry for the loss to your family and your friend. I am not a person who prays but I will do as you have requested by sending love and healing to this family during their loss. Even here in Canada, mental health has so many holes in the system it is horrible and desperatley needs work (as it does everywhere). My condolences to you, Victor and the innocent Hailey during this loss. Love, peace and healing to the family of Dan.

  148. “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”
    ? Dr. Seuss

    Suicide is such a horrible thing. Depression is even worse. I hope anyone who reads this and is experiencing depression can find it in themselves, somehow, to get the help they need and deserve. You are not weak.

    Love, and positive wishes to you, your family, and your friend’s family and friends.

  149. Dear Jenny,

    I’m a Desert Storm veteran, but only technically: I was sent directly from training, I was on the second-to-last plane to deliver troops to Saudi Arabia, I was there less than 48 hours before the ground offensive started, and then I spent the next 100 hours stuck at a halfway station on the Iraqi border – one week in country and the war was over for me. I spent the next month trying to get home and doing what I was told. All told, my wartime experience was less than six weeks, with me being scudded four times the first four days as the highlights of my tour.

    Even with my experience being amazingly drama-free, I still had some emotional problems later down the line: guilt over not having gone through an horrific experience, guilt I was relieved I hadn’t gone through an horrific experience, the nagging feeling I hadn’t done my job, that I wasn’t a real soldier because while I’d been prepared to go through hell, I’d gotten off light. Even though I hadn’t had a traumatic experience, preparing for months to survive a traumatic experience had itself been a traumatic experience… for all intents and purposes, what I was experiencing was post-traumatic stress.

    The Iraqi Invasion was my trigger – when I saw troops landing in the place I’d been, I started sniffling and couldn’t stop. My wife and I already had a counselor, so I took my three-day crying jag to her – even though she was quick to say she was in over her head with this particular event, just talking about what I was feeling was enough to make me feel better. So in the days, weeks, months, and eventual years that followed, when someone asked how I was feeling, I told them – if they asked for more information, I gave it to them. I did it because it made me feel better not keeping it to myself, but it rendered some unexpected benefits.

    A good friend of mine is a New York transplant, and one of the highlights of our friendship is when her amazing mother and de facto stepfather come down to visit – lovely, delightful people I adore. Her stepfather is a volunteer EMT, and was at Ground Zero on 9-11, waiting in an ambulance to rush gravely injured people to nearby hospitals. He ended up waiting for days, as there was nobody to try and save… either folks got out of the towers or they died there in the towers, there was no middle ground.

    On one of their visits to town, I told my friend’s parents about the still-embarrassing three day crying jag; I also told them about the feelings that helped lead up to the still-embarrassing three day crying jag: the guilt over not doing my job, the guilt over feeling relieved I hadn’t had to do my job, the preparing to deal with a horrific event that never happened and then having to deal with all that unvented preparation years later. We later changed the subject and discussed politics and religion (our favorite topics), drank some wine and had a lovely-as-always visit. Mom and stepdad went back to New York a few days later.

    Months later, they returned for another visit, and my wife and I swiftly made plans to join our friends and welcome them back. My wife and I had been through the door for only a few minutes when stepdad cleared his throat. “Keith, I need to tell you something.”

    “When I got back home after our last visit, I thought a lot about what you said; about feeling guilty you hadn’t done your job, about feeling glad you hadn’t had to do your job and then feeling guilty about that. The more I thought about what you said, the more I realized that’s exactly how I was feeling about my experience at Ground Zero. I was so ready to do a job I never got to do, and I feel guilty I didn’t do the job, and happy I didn’t have to do the job, and then guilty I’m happy. I’m feeling all those things for all the same reasons. And when I realized I was feeling all those things, I went to my other EMT’s who’d been there and told them what I was feeling, and I asked them if they were feeling the same way – every one of them said ‘Yes.’ So now we’re all going to counseling.”

    He then hugged me, and with tears in both of our eyes, he said, “If you hadn’t have shared your story with me, I’d have never known I wasn’t alone; because of you and your willingness to speak up, my friends and coworkers and I are getting the help we need.”

    You are so right when you say we have to come together. When we share our stories, we share our burdens, and those burdens become lighter. I am so sorry for your loss, and I am so, so sorry your friend never got a chance to share his story – hopefully, with you sharing his story for him, another person like him, like my friend’s stepfather, will know they’re not alone, and will find a way to share their story.

  150. God bless you. God bless Dan. God bless all those who will struggle in darkness tonight.

    Tell me how I can help — where and when. I’m ready to go.

  151. Depression lies. Thanks to you I keep telling myself that. People can talk about gun control all they want, but it is at it’s core a mental health issue. The poor mom from Idaho that wrote the post entitled “I am Adam Lanza’s mom” broke my heart, because she is so worried her own son will do something horrific some day. I’ve been adjusting my meds (along with hormones because menopause got added to the crazy mix) for almost a year and a half now. If we don’t take care of ourselves no one else likely will. I’m so glad that it is humor that draws people to you, and they stay because they know you are a real human being, thanks to the things you reveal about yourself. Thank you. I can’t donate right now, but prayers will absolutely be in the offering.

  152. I’m going to share the shit out of this post.

    We lost my cousin this past August. Actually lost her. Her car was found parked in the waterfront park her mum is buried in and she hasn’t been seen since. We clung to the hope that we’d find her, but she had a history of depression serious enough that she was admitted to care at one point for her own safety and as the days turned to weeks and then months, it became harder and harder to believe she’d come walking through the door.

    Thank you for always being willing to talk about depression, even the hard parts.

  153. I’ll be keeping Dan and the family and community he left behind in my heart, too.

    Thanks, Jenny, for everything you do. I lost someone dear, a light in my life, to suicide more than six years ago, and I still think of him (mostly irreverently now, he really had the foulest sense of humor) all the time. Depression and suicide are such vicious thieves. I brings tears to my eyes to know someone like you is advocating.

  154. My brother-in-law has been suicidal for over a year.

    We live in a country where not only is mental health care available, but he is on state-paid mental-health leave from his job until he gets his depression under control, and he STILL needs everyone around him. I am thankful for our system and so desperately sad that my home country of the US does not have it.

    I am so sorry for Dan and his family.

  155. I’m so sorry for the loss of your friend. I can’t imagine the things he experienced in the Coast Guard. Blessings to the family and your community.

  156. Thank you for this. I lost my cousin to suicide and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of him. I’ll be keeping Ally and her family in my thoughts.

  157. Excellent post. So important that people get the help they need. I’m a cyclothymic who’s very lucky to have a decent support system, adequate medical insurance, and I feel very blessed that I’ve never been one to wrestle with the ultimate demon, meaning I’ve never had the issue of wishing to end my life. But so many people do, and don’t get the help they need; and it’s only through communities like the blogosphere that we can maybe make headway and save lives, because the mainstream medical community simply can’t do enough. Sending hugs and strength to you!

  158. Hi Jenny, two hours before the news about CT came out, I pushed Send on an email to my husband letting him know that I might need him to check me in to the hospital, because the only option I could see in front of me was “going to sleep”. That’s how I spin it to myself, to try to take the sting of violence out of the act of suicide. I would “go to sleep”, and my children would be orphans.
    But this time I was brave enough to tell someone, and for that I thank you, because you explained better than anyone else ever has to me about how depression lies.
    And you just explained in this post another depression lie that I’ve felt so strongly but never had the words for, about not being worthy of help.
    After all, if I am so broken, so much a failure, why should anyone spend the money or time or emotional investment to help, when one goddamn fucking week later they might have to do it over and over and over again, and dear god it’s never ever going to stop…
    And I still start to believe this even after being one of the survivors of my little sister-in-law’s suicide two years ago, how fucked up is that?!
    It is right now a moment by moment battle for me. Last night I finally confronted the truth that it’s worse than that time when I was 14, and 25. The worst time of my life is now. And I’ll ask for help, and even though it’s a kind of specific torture all by itself, I’ll take the help and try to believe that I’ll be glad of it later. I was glad after I was 14 and 25 after all… Even though, this time it’s “different, and so much worse” somehow.

    Thank you so much for sharing about Dan’s life, and the goodness and the bravery. I will remember him that way, the way he would want it, the truth.

  159. I am so sorry for the loss of this wonderful person. One suicide is one too many, and sadly the number of suicides each year is much greater than that. It makes me so mad to hear that he had been denied help because of not having served during wartime. The least we can do to help all people who have served in the armed forces is provide them with the physical and mental health care they deserve.
    Also, anyone reading this, if possible please donate to NAMI (the National Alliance for Mental Health) or a suicide hotline if you possibly can to help prevent more tragedies like this.

  160. I am so damn sorry for your loss, Haileys loss, Alys loss and her
    family and the worlds loss. Right now I am in a psych unit after the 7th attempt on my life this year. I have several diagnosis, however once a psychatrist has diagnosed me they look interest and walk away from me like a broken toy. Right now I struggle daily, my psychologist tells me I need to find a reason to want to live, my depression tells me there are no reasons. My brain tells me to be home for Christmas for my mum, who adores Christmas and has spent this year going through the emotional ringer of having a daughter air lifted to hospital and put on life support on seven different occasions this year. I’ve written to you via email before and you responded, it was only a line or two but I read it all the time. I read it because it’s not just the power of your words and your voice, but the power of the thousands of people sharing thier stories here. When I read it, I think sometimes I’m not alone down here in the darkness and I hear the voices of those who have made it through and your voice that continues to fight against depression and call it out on being such a liar. I still haven’t found my reason to live but reading this post has given me a reason not to die and maybe that’s enough to get me home for Christmas. So I thank you for sharing such a painful experience in your life and the lives surrounding your dear friend, perhaps some positive change can be brought about in his name. I’m not allowed to have candles in here, but I will light one in my heart for him.

  161. Thank you for this post. Condolences to you, your family and Ally and her family. Dan sounds like an amazing person to have had in your life. One of my athletes took his life last year. I try to remember the good things that happened for him. His teammates and friends started a foundation in his memory and were able to help raise the funds to start a suicide hotline for Idaho. I think remembering the good memories and doing things to help others has helped make it easier to keep going after the loss.

  162. thank you so much for this beautiful post, and I’m sorry for your loss. I love that you used the phrase “lost the battle to depression”. So many people don’t understand that depression is, in fact, a real disease, and it sucks. It can kill you or put you near death just like cancer, and it’s just as hard (if not harder) to cure. You can take the tumor out of a cancer patient and hopefully they will heal, but you can’t take the depression out of a person.

    I didn’t read all of your post, but I had to comment on that before I read further. There will likely be another long comment.

  163. Almost exactly 12 years ago, at the age of 23, my college friend Jay lost his fight with mental illness. He was my (then) boyfriend’s best friend and college roommate, but he was also like a brother to me. To this day, I think of Jay on an almost daily basis. I try not to think about the lonely and tragic way that he died, but rather of the good things… His goofy smile, the way he would pick me up and swing me around when we hugged, and the way he loved anything and everything having to do with the band Weezer. I think about how smart and funny he was, how loyal he was, and how – even after I broke up with my boyfriend/his best friend, he was still there for both my ex and I. I will often play Weezer on my iPod when I need a pick-me-up because it instantly sends my mind back to the days of hearing their music all the way down the hall from his dorm room, and walking in to see him dancing goofily.

    I have had my own battles with depression since then, and when it’s at its worst, I remember how devastated everyone who loved Jay was, and that actually helps me to hold on and say “just get through today.”

    My thoughts and prayers are with Dan’s friends and family, as with the entire community in Newtown CT.

  164. How long ago did he get out? The coastie community is a small place that really does its best to rally for its own when needed, and especially if people he served with are still in, then there’s an additional community of support and resources to tap in to. I’m proud to say I’m a part of that community and if you want to reach out to me through email, I’d be happy to see if this is an appropriate avenue of help and support for his family.

    (I believe it was in the late 70’s in New York. ~ Jenny)

  165. I very much needed to read this today.

    Our business is failing. It may come to bankruptcy for the business.

    Because of it, we’re three months behind on our mortgage, and one month on each car payment. That, too, may lead to bankruptcy for us personally.

    But neither of us is on the brink of self-harm. And because of that, I feel grateful.

  166. I am so very sorry for your and Hailey’s loss. I am sure you brought Dan many hours of laughter, as you have the rest of us.

  167. I am so sorry for your loss. He sounds like a wonderful man. I have seen personally the devastation that depression can wreak on a family. My own mother was institutionalized for a time when I was a child. My hope is that incidents like these will spark a movement towards better and more available mental health resources. Thank you for sharing Dan’s story.

  168. My heart and soul both are crying for Mr Dan and Ms Ally—-and all of us who fight the devil of depression. And, for all of us who have lost loved ones to suicide. Thank you Jenny for always being here for us in spirit or in person. You are my Hero, dear girl.

  169. Okay, here comes comment number two.

    Our health/medical system is so fucked I don’t even know where to start. Consider the fact that American medicine treats the symptom and not the cause, it’s no surprise that we have a hard time finding legitimate mental health care because a lot of the time what needs to be treated is the cause. You can walk into any doctor’s office and get a scrip for prozac, xanax, or any of those “happy” pills, but it costs an arm and a leg and takes a lot of work to get into a mental health facility to help you get through your problems. Hint: pills DO NOT work on their own. They are helpful, but at the end of the day, if you don’t work through your shit, you will just have more shit, and the prescription will need to be increased to keep you as a somewhat functioning member of society.

    And the ridiculous stigma that surrounds mental health is often a major factor in getting help. Those who have easy access to affordable care are often scared of getting the help they need for fear of being labeled or ridiculed. I had a cousin who lost her battle almost two years ago, and I have a sinking suspicion that though she was given the opportunity to be in counseling, that she didn’t like going because of the stigma attached to it. But I wasn’t that close to her, so I don’t know. I know that it took me until I was near-death to finally get to somebody and get some help. I had two friends actually drag me to a counselor. It was the best thing that ever happened to me.

    Anyway, thanks again for this post. I hope that Ally can get affordable help to get her through this hard time. And I hope your daughter is dealing with this okay.

  170. PTSD is awful. I, too, could find no help from the mental health community. I have had to fight every step of the way to climb out over the last 2 years. I have come to the realization that it is more of a spiritual issue than any thing physical. Laughter in my case really was the best medicine. Your blog in particular has helped me so much. For the first year after my diagnoses, I kept a gratitude journal which helped a lot. The second year, I decided to keep a laughter journal and it has helped even more. Find something to laugh about everyday. It is the greatest thing we can all do for Dan and all the children and teachers lost at Newtown. Let’s all find our laughs again and pull each other up. Thanks for being so great!

  171. I’m so sorry for your loss, Jenny. He sounds like a wonderful man, and that’s what needs to be remembered because that was the Truth. What took him away was a vicious, cruel lie.
    And I ask you to please read this:

    It wasn’t ling ago that I was buying into that lie myself. The last few years have been like a nightmare, watching those I love suffering so much and feeling so helpless. It definitely took it’s toll. Still, I’ve had depression & anxiety issues most of my life; think I was 8 when I had my first panic attack. So my system was already wired a certain way. Add all that’s happened during the last few years, compounded by the fact that my insurance left me unable to access the kind of help I really needed, and it got dark. And then…

    A friend of mine was/is a fan of your blog and book and told me to google you (no matter how mainstream that word becomes, it still sounds dirty ;)), and I happened upon a video of you on YouTube, talking about your own depression/anxiety. I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe, after reading such brilliant and fearless writing – something I’ve always wanted to do but couldn’t – that we could have something so fundamental in common. In the video you spoke so openly, and you said the thing about depression and how it’s a lie, how you wanted ‘me’ (all of us) here, well…I decided the next day to reach out to my grandmother to help fund my search for meaningful help. And I found it. After my first appointment with my new, fantastic! doctor, I walked outside and began to cry. I called my grandmother and thanked her, and cried tears of relief. And after several years of living hell, I find myself making my way back into the world. And it’s because of you. So, THANK YOU. Those words really don’t do how I feel justice, but I hope that in knowing that – how sharing your pain helped relieve mine – gives you some comfort through this difficult time. And I plan to do the same: Buck up and be honest about myself- something I was terrified to do before – and maybe help someone the way you helped me.

    Best to you, your family and, of course, your friends. ~Xoxo

  172. i can’t imagine how hard it is to deal with the personal challenges you face and be so strong and prominent on this issue. my husband was bi-polar. we’d been best friends for several years before we were married and a traumatic event brought the bi-polar behavior to the fore (his father and sister have both been diagnosed for decades). i never talked to anyone. i withdrew. i didn’t know how to deal. i didn’t want to victimize him. i felt lost. he felt more lost. eventually i couldn’t handle the fear and apprehension of wondering if i would find him dead when i came home from work. i also have a very good friend who’s grown son is bi-polar. she doesn’t have that option. i watch her roller coaster with love.

    thank you for being out front on this, and i’m very sorry for you loss.

  173. Hi Jenny:

    A friend of mine sent me here quite awhile ago, and told me I needed to write you. I read your blog, but never did write. She nudged me again today after reading Dan’s story. She did that because I’m working on a suicide awareness project called Live Through This (http://livethroughthis.org), and I’m trying to get the word out about it.

    In short, I talk to survivors of suicide attempts and, just after they’ve told me their story, I make a portrait. The idea is that talking about it is helping to buck stigma (it’s also cathartic), and it seems like it’s working. Based on the emails I’ve been getting, seeing the faces of people who have come out the other side and reading bits of their stories is helping both people who are struggling with mental illness AND people who lost loved ones to it. I want people to SEE it so they’ll talk about it, and I also want to meet with more people who want to tell their stories.

    If you’d take a look and maybe share the link, I’d be incredibly grateful. I’m so sorry about Dan, mostly because he tried to find the help he needed and it didn’t work. Thinking good thoughts and doing my part to keep the conversation going.

  174. My heart has felt heavy lately, and Dan and his family are in my thoughts.
    I think we’re all capable of such wonderful things – more wonderful than we’ve even dreamed. I like to hold on to that thought.

  175. Amanda #204: That’s how I did it. That’s how I got through my dark times. I’d wake up and say “Not today”. That’s all I could manage. And little by little, it got better. Just take one day at a time. Don’t get overwhelmed with the idea of finding a Reason to Live. Just take small bites – “not today”.

  176. This made me cry. What a lovely tribute to Dan. I’m so sorry that he believed his illness instead of those around him. I have a friend that I worry about a lot. She’s essentially alone and when she gets really down, I can’t help but worry about her. I just wish she didn’t live so far away (I’m in Mississippi, she’s in Ohio). Bless you, Jenny. I’ll keep your family and Dan’s in my thoughts.

  177. I just wrote a post today about the “whys” of the CT tragedy. If only there were easy answers. I’m sorry for the loss of your friend – no one should ever feel that ending their life is the only answer.

  178. I will be keeping you, your daughter, and Dan’s family in my thoughts.

    After Friday’s tragedy, it was so hard to wrap my head around what happened. I wish that we had a better system in place to help. I wish depression/mental illness/etc. was more.. understandable. But it’s not. It’s erratic. I wish the shooter had been able to find the help he needed to prevent the whole thing. I wish, for all of the survivors, that there will be the necessary help to recover. And I wish the same for Ms. Ally, her children, all of “her” children, and everyone who knew Dan.

    You are amazing. You are, and have been, doing an amazing thing by being a voice for something that is so easily shuttered.

    I had a minor bout of depression in college, and it’s coming back. You have helped me. You have helped me understand and be aware that this shadow exists, but there is light. There is always light

  179. I am so sorry to hear about your friend. It’s been almost a year since my cousin’s husband ended his life. My son, who also suffers from OCD and depression, had thoughts of suicide a few years ago when he was a teenager. It’s heartbreaking as a mother to watch your child go through something like this and not be able to make him “well”. We were fortunate enough to get him therapy and medication, and he has been doing so much better and is much happier in general. He still has his bad days, as this is an ongoing struggle, but at least he has the skills to help himself through it. I wish everyone was able to get the help they need.

  180. You work tirelessly to add the spoonful of sugar to our lives, and I applaud you for that. Please remember there is strength in crisis, but when the smoke clears and there are no more tears and nothing left to work for it can be the most dangerous of times. I only mean to please put yourself on your list of things to care for. It is dangerous to be the hero, because the expectations are as high as the fall is long. I don’t need you to be strong, just be ok? Ok?

  181. Love and light to you and Dan’s family. My spouse lost a friend to suicide last month and her family is being so brave–not hiding it, not being ashamed, remembering all the good stuff. Bless them. As someone whose brain tries to kill her on a regular basis–not by exploding but by saying that death is always an option and that I lack courage for not being able to die successfully–I appreciate your humor, your honesty, your highs and lows, and your damned funny and profane way of looking at the world. And I can testify to the difficulty of finding really good mental health care. The best doc I ever had died earlier this year and all the others pale in comparison. So I’ll settle for decent and competent rather than brilliant. But I’m glad you posted the suicide hotline and to hear that they can help you find help when your area’s medical resources are limited.

  182. My “almost” son, took his life, 4 years ago. I call him my “almost” son, because I watched him grow up for 11 years. I dated his father for 2 years, and I am still dear friends with his mother, to this day. I have watched his mother slide downward since his death. She was not stable to begin with, and he inherited her mental diseases. I ache every day, to see how his death still hurts her. But I am there for her, too. I like to think it helps her. I could be wrong, but I’ll still be there, anyway.
    Love, light, comfort and healing to all those touched by Mr Dan’s death.
    *HUGS*

  183. I am very, very sorry for your loss. Thank you for the wonderful and thoughtful post. Mental Health services are vital and so necessary and access to them is just not there. I hope together we can all change this!

  184. it is sad that so many of us run into roadblocks searching for help when we are least able to deal with frustration and delay. it is also sad that when help *is* available we are expected to take what is offered with no input on what is actually needed. i have had some wonderful therapists. i have also had to wade through many that were no help at all simply because they listed on my insurance plan. some of these almost pushed me over the edge themselves. biggest misconception in mental health: any therapist can help anyone. PSA: if you know someone ready to give up on seeking help because they aren’t getting what they need, encourage them to seek elsewhere until they find what they need.

  185. This was beautiful Jenny. You are an amazing woman. Dan sounds like an amazing man. His family is in my thoughts and prayers.

  186. Jenny – I currently run a pharmacy specializing in the mental health community. We work closely with NAMI, and they can be a great resource to anyone looking for help. Thank you for being an incredibly brave voice for this community and sharing Dan’s story. We unfortunatly see it all too often in this line of work. There are those of us out there who do not suffer from depression or mental illness, but we DO understand, or at least try to the best of our ability. We are here to help.

    I encourage anyone struggling to find a competant mental health practitioner to contact NAMI at
    http://www.nami.org/

  187. Depression/anxiety: one of the meanest beasts on the planet. Thank you for your words, and sending prayers to all the Dans and Dan-ettes out there. You are worthy, you do matter, you can and deserve to feel better!

  188. “Dan did ask for help. ”
    Of course he did, and of course he didn’t get help. He’s a man. We don’t fund men’s physical or mental heath because men are expected to Man Up and deal with it.

  189. Thank you so much for your touching blog. My husband committed suicide 7 1/2 years ago, so I can relate to what Dan’s friends and family are experiencing. The minister, who also happens to be a close family friend, said this at his funeral, “We cannot judge Steve’s life by the last 15 minutes.” That statement brought me a measure of peace and I think it is true. Dan and his family will be in my thoughts and prayers.

  190. Feeling with you at this time Have been in that dark place many a times and ws rescued by people like you, random strangers apwho posted thoughtful things online, by my wonderful psychiatrist Dr H (she wrote you a while back to get you to USC campus), and by the suicide helpline. There for gou in spirit and prayer. Hugs for Haley and the Dan’s family!
    Pax

  191. P.S. Okay. I just read my post & am completely mortified. No spell check, etc., leaves me sounding/reading like a moron. And I’m not. Most of the time, anyway. Wish I could blame it on being drunk. Or high. Or my cat jumping all over me. But no booze or drugs here. (Wait. Does Advil count? ;)) And my cat is in the other room playing with a stray hair band, so… I have no choice: I will take responsibility and blame…the phone. The phone from which I’m typing all of this. (That’s right: When all else fails, blame the phone!) Anyhow… I’m hoping substance/my heartfelt words will outweigh all things grammatcal/technical. But I will understand if they don’t. ;-/ Again, Best ~

  192. Praying. I was getting my BSN when the state mental hospitals closed and patients were “mainstreamed.” For most, that meant that they moved to the just-opened homeless shelters. The timing isn’t coincidental. I watched the nation’s mental health system close. We’re all paying the price.

  193. I think all of us with PTSD were rattled by the Newtown massacre a bit more than our healthy peers. So sorry for your loss and your child’s exposure to the difficulty this life sends us. I know first-hand the grief of suicide and pray for the family. There is so much guilt and anger to deal with and it takes a toll.

    I lost my father, an uncle and two brothers to suicide. You would think there’s a genetic link but they were all war Veterans except one so I blame PTSD. It’s a mean disease.

  194. Thanks. Tough week.

    The news. Xmas and I work in retail, my birthday.

    I felt myself slipping earlier this year and tried to get some help and somehow it just didn’t happen, and unfortunately my regular doctor is one of the ones who once they know you have depression doesn’t take anything you say seriously again.

    Trying to make it through the holiday and have the energy to try again.
    Thanks again for posting. Sometimes I forget it’s not just me. 🙂

  195. As someone who has walked that road for many years, have stood with the knife at the wrist and wondered why I was ever cursed to walk this earth, I know there is nothing that can be said, nothing that can be done because, as you so often remind us, Depression Lies. It is such a bastard that tells, so well the lies that get us the most, because it is in us, and it knows our thoughts sometimes even better then we do, but it still lies. My prayers go out to the familly, and to yours as well, dear Jenny. Give Hailey a hug, not for me, but because she, and you both deserve one.

  196. Bless you for being this voice. I’ve lost a couple of dear friends to depression, and the loss felt crushing. I still cry when I think of them… if I’m not laughing about the good times. I’ve also had to help my own sister find help. I worried she’d never forgive me for having her committed. I didn’t want to lose her love and I didn’t. She’s happy and healthy now and completely understands what I did and loves me for it. I hope that others will remember that part too. Sometimes you have to help someone else when they can’t help themselves, even if you worry they won’t forgive you. Helping them is more important than that.

  197. Thanks for talking about a difficult topic in such a terrific way, my prayers are with you and Hailey.

  198. Gloria who wrote this

    “Gloria December 18, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    Amanda #204: That’s how I did it. That’s how I got through my dark times. I’d wake up and say “Not today”. That’s all I could manage. And little by little, it got better. Just take one day at a time. Don’t get overwhelmed with the idea of finding a Reason to Live. Just take small bites – “not today”.”

    Thank you, truly thank you. I always feel invisible, thank you for seeing me and thank you for that advice. Something so simply, yet perhaps achievable on an hour by hour basis. NOT TODAY.

  199. I’m so sorry for your loss and of course the family’s terrible loss, my father killed himself by gunshot five years age in October and that was certainly tied to depression. Suicide leaves a different kind of heart scar on the ones left behind with so many questions. There is no chance for goodbye. Thank you for sharing this.

  200. “He loved his own kids. He loved his wife and the community, and he was the first person to show up at my door if I needed any sort of help.”

    Dan sounds like a wonderful man, but I can’t get past those two lines: I’m at a stage in my life where I sometimes feel completely and utterly alone. I can’t make my dreams come true, no matter how hard I fight. NO ONE will take a chance and see the value in my work. To everyone I’ve reached out to – and I mean EVERYONE – I’m not worth investing in.

    That having been said, I refuse to slip any further into my personal hell and lose sight of my lovely wife and child. I would never judge your dear friend, Jenny, God only knows how far gone he must have been to commit such an incredibly selfish act. It sounds like your friend gave all he had, and he simply couldn’t live with a pain that aches so bad you feel it in your bones.

    I’ve felt that pain reticently and i hope I never feel it again. I can’t imagine living with it for months or years.

    Dan was a father and so his life wasn’t in vain, but I hope his wife has a strong support system around her. Someone is going to have to explain to Dan’s children that their father loved them very much and that his death wasn’t their fault in any way. They have a hard road ahead of them, some children can be so traumatized by a parent’s suicide that they become lost, never to return.

    Love your friends as yo would your own family, Jenny, they’re gong to need you now more than ever.

  201. I’m so sorry Jenny, for Dan’s family and yours. I’ll be praying for peace for you all, and hope that the good memories of Dan will eventually shine through the grief. He sounds like a man who wouldn’t want grief to overshadow all the excellent times. My thoughts are with you and Hailey.

    Jess

  202. If tomorrow starts without me
    Author-Unknown

    If tomorrow starts without me,
    And I’m not there to see;
    If the sun should rise and find your eyes
    All filled with tears for me;
    I wish so much you wouldn’t cry
    The way you did today,
    While thinking of the many things,
    We didn’t get to say.

    I know how much you love me,
    As much as I love you,
    And each time you think of me,
    I know you’ll miss me too;
    But when tomorrow starts without me,
    Please try to understand,
    That an angel came and called my name,
    And took me by the hand,
    And said my place was ready,
    In heaven far above,
    And that I’d have to leave behind
    All those I dearly love.

    But as I turned to walk away,
    A tear fell from my eye,
    For all my life, I’d always thought,
    I didn’t want to die.
    I had so much to live for,
    So much yet to do,
    It seemed almost impossible,
    That I was leaving you.

    I thought of all the yesterdays,
    The good ones and the bad,
    I thought of all the love we shared,
    And all the fun we had.
    If I could relive yesterday,
    Just even for a while,
    I’d say good-bye and kiss you
    And maybe see you smile.

    But then I fully realized,
    That this could never be,
    For emptiness and memories,
    Would take the place of me.
    And when I thought of worldly things,
    I might miss come tomorrow,
    I thought of you and when I did,
    My heart was filled with sorrow.
    But when I walked through heaven’s gates,
    I felt so much at home.

    When GOD looked down and smiled at me,
    From His great golden throne,
    He said “This is eternity,
    And all I’ve promised you.”
    Today for life on earth is past,
    But here it starts anew.
    I promise no tomorrow,
    But today will always last,
    And since each day’s the same way
    There is no longing for the past.

    But you have been so faithful,
    So trusting and so true.
    Though there were times you did some things,
    You knew you shouldn’t do.
    But you have been forgiven,
    And now at last you are free.
    So won’t you take my hand.
    And share my life with me?

    So when tomorrow starts without me,
    Don’t think we are far apart,
    For every time you think of me,
    I’m right here, in your heart.

  203. I was suicidal when my husband left me back in 2005. We had just moved to a new city and I had 4 little children with 2 still in diapers. If not for medication, I would have killed myself. It helped me get through a point where I literally could not think straight. No matter how hard I tried, the voices in my head continued to bully and harass me. So I am thankful you bring depression to the forefront and speak on it. It can be fatal to many and I am so sorry that it took such a wonderful person’s life. It is so upsetting that people try to get help and then get turned away. I am so so sorry that this happened to your friend and his family. I will be looking forward to the post about donating funds. It is bad enough that people have to suffer with the death of a loved one but then to be worrying about finances too just makes it triple worse. I hope we can help them in some way

  204. I wish I had more words, better words, but at times like these, there just aren’t any that are right. I’m sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing Mr Dan’s beauty with us. I don’t pray, but I do believe in the power of positive energy/thoughts, and you all will be in mine.

    I too have walked both sides of suicide, having lost several friends to it – including one who was particularly dear to my heart, and being hospitalised both after attempts and in order to prevent attempts (sometimes willingly, sometimes not). Neither side is a pleasant place to be.

    I needed this reminder, today, of depression’s lies. Of the lies of mental illness in general, because depression isn’t always the one lying to me – sometimes it’s PTSD or BPD. Sometimes it’s anxiety. Sometimes it’s one of the others. Doesn’t make it any less of a lie, and that’s something I need to remember. Thank you.

  205. I’m in tears because what’s even worse than not asking for help is asking and not getting it. We cannot claim to be the greatest country on the planet when so many of our people are left to battle their demons without assistance.

    Thank you for letting people know that they are not alone, that others share their feelings and their terrors.

  206. I want to say thank you so much for writing all this out. I know it’s hard. I have nowhere else to put this, because all my stuff is public. I’m grappling with how to be public and deal with all this in my own family. Writing about other people’s stuff is 100% trigger. Writing about my own involvement is 100% trigger. Sometimes the people helping those in depression have depression themselves, sometimes it’s a group of people holding hands in the dark praying we can get through holidays without a suicide run or a hospital stay. Today was one of those days where I gave up my own very much needed appt to bring in a guest in last minute crisis, and after a very long day, I’m home alone with my own tears. I know I can get through anything, but I know she can’t, and it’s only a matter of time. If I could add anything to everything you said, it’s please take someone seriously when they say something random like ‘blogging is saving my life’, or seem a little too emotionally scattered over little things that don’t ‘mean’ anything. Take that extra 5 minutes to really hear someone, and take another 5 minutes to make sure they aren’t trying to hide what they just said, and then maybe take even 5 minutes more to see if they need some actual contact and not just a quick, “Have a nice day.” Some of the greatest actors in the world are the ones right besides us pretending nothing is wrong when everything inside them is black and scary. I love you for taking the time to write this post.

  207. Thank you Jenny for this post. In wake of the tragedy that happened Friday, and of all the other ones before, it truely is a time to evaluate ourselves, check on our loved ones and friends, and make a difference and get the ball rolling. I myself have suffered with depression since I was 13 years old. Now I am 31 years old, and a wife and mother. I can’t afford to feel hopeless, worthless, and sad. I have 3 children who I love (who love me in return), and they need me and depend on me to ALWAYS be there for them. That is a promise to them I intend to keep. Depression and any sort of mental illness is almost taboo to talk about. When I open up about my own struggles, my grandma’s first reaction is to “hush” me so that I don’t talk about it. But, this issue needs to be addressed. You are right, we need each other and we need not be afraid to help one another. I know that if my family had not been persistant, if my doctor had overlooked me, or my therapist let me out of his office without a concerned call to my family, I know I would not be here today. Thank you Jenny for your bravery and words as well as your own story, you have made me want to be stronger. You have put in me a desire to do whatever I can to help those around me. Sending Love and prayers your way!

  208. I’m so very sorry for the loss for all of you. I couldn’t read past the 3rd paragraph, it’s a little too close to my own demons. Over the years I have developed protective habits and mechanisms to limit my exposure to certain news and events. Sometimes, the dreams come back anyways. My deepest sympathies to you, Hailey and Ms. Ally.

  209. God Bless Dan and his family, i’m so sorry for the pain he felt and the pain that his family is going through right now.
    I struggle with depression every day and when its at its worst, and I feel like theres nothing worthwhile that I have to offer the world. When its that bad, and the psychiatrist is asking “are you going to harm yourself?” the only thing that keeps me from destroying myself is what it would do to my son and husband.
    They dont know that they’re truly my only lifeline sometimes.
    Your openness has helped me not be ashamed to ask for help when I need it. Bless you too, Jenny.

  210. My son suffers from depression and we’ve dealt with rages to deep depression that has made us question hospitalizing him. There were a couple times over the summer I questioned what I would wake up to. In the morning. I sent a link to your blog because I want him to read what you wrote. As any parent knows, kids don’t always listen to their parents so I hope he reads it and “gets” it from your POV. He is in a good place now but it is something we will battle the rest of his life.

  211. Well this is weird parallel. Our family experienced a suicide this weekend as well. My husband’s elderly uncle had been in declining health for several years now, plus he had lost his wife of over 30 years in October of 2011. On Saturday morning he decided he just couldn’t deal with all of it any more, took his handgun out of the cigar box where he stored it, wrote a quick two-sentence note, and ended his life. My mother-in-law and my husband are shattered. I’m empathetically shattered for them. The whole experience has been completely surreal. As much as we think we “understand” why people do it, when it happens to you personally, you just can’t wrap your brain around it. How could he do this to his sister? How could he do this to his nieces and nephews who loved him so much, and how could he do this to MY son, who loved visiting his great-uncle and would ask for a cookie from his counter at every visit. How could he not love them (us) enough to stay? How could he not love himself enough to want to live? I think suicide remains a mystery to those of us left behind, even when the reason for it is as clear as day.

    On Monday, while cleaning out his cabinets I packed an unopened box of those cookies my son loved into a bag for the food bank, and it absolutely gutted me thinking about what I was going to say when my preschooler eventually asks about visiting his great-uncle. The worst part is that he was my son’s ONLY uncle (the rest of his great-uncles/aunts are dead and my husband and I are only children), and now my son won’t even remember him. My uncle-in-law was from a time where you didn’t admit you were depressed, and you certainly didn’t seek help for it. He was obviously suffering and nobody could see it. Mental illness is a bitch. Do they sell that on a bumper sticker? Cause I need one.

  212. I was diagnosed with PTSD after my daughter’s death. It is an illness most people don’t understand at all. I am lucky. I had friends who forced me to seek treatment at first when I was too depressed to even shower. Then, as I recovered, I sought more help more often when I felt myself slipping. I hate for his family that he didn’t make it out. I am always grateful that you make talking about depression ok.

  213. I’m so sorry for your loss; I can’t imagine how devastating this whole situation is for everyone involved. I’ll keep you guys in my thoughts.

  214. Thank you for sharing Dan’s story. He and his family will receive good thoughts from me and mine. I too know the pain of this type of loss, and hope that his family will find comfort, though I know it will be difficult. You are absolutely right about the impossibility of obtaining mental health care that is affordable, and available. We did everything we could for our sweet boy, but he could not live in this world. Maybe together we can all change the system that is in place. A system that is so badly in need of revamping. You are loved. <3

  215. I’d like to add another resource. To Write Love on Her Arms. From their website “To Write Love on Her Arms is a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide. TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire and also to invest directly into treatment and recovery.” This is their resource page http://www.twloha.com/find-help/ I found this site while in a thrift store. I bought a tshirt from the movement without knowing what it was. On the inside was a story that was a bit washed out and I looked it up. It was a serundipitous find. I was there comforting a friend who’s friend had just committed suicide and my best friend had committed suicide two months before. This is also a really good survivor resource.

  216. Thank you for this post. That’s why making healthcare available to everyone is so important. We shouldn’t be having the conversation on how to cut Medicare and Medicaid, but how to improve and expand it. It’s easy to say “cut” when you don’t have a loved one who is going through what you and Dan went through to get care.

  217. My initial reaction to someone who kills themselves is anger-

    Dammit, don’t you know you have people who love you?!

    But I also have this reaction: I know exactly how you felt. I all too often feel that way too.

    The internal struggle is not unlike Sisyphus and his predicament. You get up each morning and do your best while pushing this enormous boulder of pain and darkness and you do not want to burden those around you with that thing- its fucking ugly shit. Finding help you can afford? Well, that is a laugh- of the blackest variety.
    And depression does indeed lie, lie and lie some more.

    I am fortunate to be married to someone who for whatever reason always seem to be able to cut through the haze and reach me when I am in the pit. I thank my lucky stars every day. I also come here to laugh and cry- and to remember that life is a good thing.

    Publish what we can do for Dan’s family asap please.

    And Jenny, for many, YOU are the light at the end of a long tunnel- you are a gift.

  218. I am so upset for everyone involved that he took the incredibly difficult step of trying to get help, and couldn’t find it. Maybe we need a volunteer organization that can be called on to do the legwork of finding help, when the person who needs it is too ill to navigate those waters themselves. It is tragic beyond words that the system in place to help people with mental illnesses is often too broken or too challenging to be reached by the people who need it most.

  219. I am sorry for your loss. I am at the same time glad to hear that this hasn’t set you too far back, the tragedy at Sandy Hook or the loss of your friend. As I’ve gone through the last few days, trying to stay on my feet and not go down into the well of darkness, I’ve thought of you often and wondered and worried about how you are doing.
    I’m getting through this and am starting to do better. I know you will, too.
    You stay strong, too. We love you and we need people like you in our lives.

  220. Praying for Dan’s family and friends. Thank you for the beautiful post it feels like this week has brought the evils of the world out.

  221. I dont like to talk about this, but part of why im not “in treatment” for my depressive issues is the all encompassing feeling of worthlessness that makes it hard to ask for help. Once upon a time, when I still lived in NYC, and was working full time, with good benefits for a world renowned law firm, I tried to get help. Most of you will never understand how much courage that took. The Bloggess knows though.

    I was refused by everyone I called, until I was literally unable to call any more.

    I was destroyed, I was sobbing. I was refused because no one was willing to help me because I would be paying through an HMO.

    Yeah. It should not be this hard to get help. And doors should certainly not be slammed in the faces of the walking wounded because you dont want to deal with paperwork.

    End result? The people who could help me wont help me because im not worth the trouble of dealing with my insurance company. Great message for depressives with ongoing suicide-ideation.

    These are not isolated incidents folks, this is everywhere. Please PLEASE talk about this. Dont let this discussion die, because this inability to get help, kills people just as surely as ignoring a gunshot wound.

  222. Thank you for posting this <3 my husband who is also dearly loved tried to take his own life this past October but thankfully heard the prayers we were sending for him and drove himself to the hospital. There was nothing we could see in him before he overdosed to tell he was thinking of suicide – if anything he seemed more present in life than he has been for a long time. I am so sorry your friend Dan died. Thank you for using this tragedy to inform people.

  223. Jenny, I’m so sorry for Ally & her family; as well as you and Hailey. (((hug)))

    Our small town has been affected by suicide so much this year. Four high school students, classmates of my son, have committed suicide; out of what seems like the blue. They all seemed happy, cheerful, had everything going for them…great grades, sports/extracurricular activities, scholarships, great colleges to go to, lots of friends & family who loved them. Not one of them let on that they weren’t ok, or were considering suicide. Then one of the high school teachers killed himself. Left school at the end of the day, drove out to a nature preserve & killed himself.

    The kids at the high school have been through hell this year. There have been extra counselors on duty for anyone who feels like they need extra help. So many of the kids are paranoid about “who will be next?” It’s so sad.

  224. I have never, ever commented but I am an avid follower. I absolutely love your sense of humor but now I love your heart even more. I’ve never seen you write anything like this and I am so very moved by your words. I am so sorry for the loss of this beautiful man. I totally agree that good help is hard to find & now, more than ever it seems, is time to make big changes. Sending love & hugs. I never comment but I am here & I am with you.

  225. In may 2010, I hit the lowest point of depression in many years. Sober and clean for 26 years I realized I was in a crisis of choosing to live and not kill myself. I called my daughter and she came over immediately. The mental hospital said I would have to give up my freedom and connection to the outside world, which to me, was what death would be. None of my actions had been self-destructive until that moment and I just needed to be put on medication. Had a good living program, just physiologically out of whack. So I slept through sunday and waited until Monday to go to a free clinic that opened at 9am, but even though I was on time they said they had all really met their suicidal quota. ? ALREADY MET THEIR SUICIDE QUOTA. They wanted to make an appointment for another clinic at a later time. They did not want me to walk out, but I KNEW I needed help immediately.
    I drove five blocks to a family physician that I used to visit when I could afford preventive care. I hardly made it. Less than $100 dollars spent, by noon I had flueoxetine and could already feel the correction. it’s still working.
    I’m praying.

  226. What a terrific post! Depression is something that seems to touch all of us either directly or indirectly and it is really disappointing how hard it is to get mental health care in this country. So sorry about your friend. We really do need to bring this issue to the top of the newstands.

    Congratulations on helping Project Night Night reach their goals…that is amazing!!

  227. I’m so sorry for everyone’s loss. Depression sits on my shoulder, and my son’s, and everyone I love is affected. I’ll keep posting notes and numbers, probably for the rest of my life.

  228. Jenny, keep influencing…get the word out! It works. WE have to do it. NO ONE else will. This community DOES stand behind Ally. I applaud your work and your love of community and mankind. I hope we are able to meet someday soon. Your neighbor, Nancy Evans Hanley

  229. Wow!!! Thank you for posting. We can all be a light to each other. Depression lies and continue to lie in wait for that ONE moment when we can no longer take all the noise. Light a candle, say a prayer, and stay strong peeps!!!

  230. Did you ever wonder why something came across your desk, and then the Universe pops its head around the corner and says “here, this is why I needed you to know that”.

    This week I watched a TED talk about how to live longer and the speaker Jane McGonigal talked about a game called “Super Better” (www.superbetter.com). She invented it to fight her own battle with mental illness, and to ask for help when she wasn’t brave enough to say ask any other way. When I saw it I thought “hey I’ll give that a try the next time I’m down”, but now I think the Universe gave it to me now so I can share it. I hope it helps someone.

    Love, and words that aren’t enough. Love is always what is behind the words that aren’t enough.

  231. Oh sweet one. Prayers and prayers and prayers. And anything we can do to help. And YES to best mental health practices.

  232. I read this post, then went and did this:

    “As of January 1 2013, if you are an active or retired first-responder or Canadian Armed Forces personnel with proof of ID, the rate for individual sessions is $10/session for the first six sessions, $15/session for the next six, subject to review beyond the 12th session. Please don’t let money be a thing that stops you from seeking help if you need it.”

    http://www.kgrierson.com/specifics/

    Thank you for giving me an option to stop feeling helpless and actually do something useful for the folks who need, but don’t always get, the help they deserve.

  233. I am sad for your loss, and I couldn’t agree with you more about EVERYTHING you said. I do want to throw in another resource for you: http://www.askabipolar.com
    My sister is the founder of this amazing site, and it’s a wonderful place to go should you have questions. Keep your chin up, smile, remember the kindness. Sending you love from me, a stranger. 🙂

  234. My glass is raised to a life well lived. My heart is sore for everyone that loved him. The rest of me wants to fight depression with samarai swords and nuclear weapons so this never, ever happens to anyone ever again.

  235. My 16-year-old daughter has battled severe depression for 2 years. She manages to go to school and interact with people nearly every day only because she is the strongest person I know. She is the light of my life and my hero. I thank her therapist, doctor and psychologist every minute of the day because it is with their support and our strong family bond that she is still with us. Don’t ignore mental illness and hope it goes away – it won’t!

  236. Beautifully written. Thank you, blogess, for introducing us to that amazing man. I wish I had known him.

  237. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences with mental illness. Earlier this year, I lapsed into the worst bout of depression I’ve ever had. Because of you, I finally reached out for help. Thank you for helping me get my life back!

  238. I spent the past 2 years working in the suicide prevention field. It always made me sad to see that the mental health field is seriously underfunded. More resources are needed than many places are able to provide.

  239. I’m so sorry to hear about Dan. He and his family will be in my prayers.

    I don’t know if I’ve said this before, but thank you for being such a voice for people suffering from depression. I have friends that have gone through really dark places, and I love to send them your blog – to show them the voice of a funny, brilliant woman who struggles with the same things they do. You’re not alone, my friends aren’t alone, and you won’t be alone in the fight to get more funding and easily available resources for mental health.

  240. I am so, so sorry. I’ve written to you before about my loss of a family member to suicide. Thank you for sharing some of the wonderful things about Dan. One thing my grief counselor helped me understand, that it’s OK, imperative, even to remember that their life/who they are isn’t defined by how they died. Sending you and his family my love. And thank you again for sharing, for doing so much to help this problem become smaller.

  241. Thank you so much for your candid posts about your depression. It is a mental illness, but not one to be ashamed of. I suffer from it myself and do my best to remember that I have people in my life who love and support me. Unfortunately not everyone is as blessed as I am. I think your blog is helpful to those who may not have a support system at home. It helps them to see that this ‘disease’ can affect anyone at anytime. I know that finances have often kept me from being able to seek counseling or other help with my depression, but have been able to work through the serious bouts with either medication or the support of my family. I wish that everyone could have access to mental health professionals without any concern for the cost. I think that the incidents of suicide would drop significantly in this country. Enough of my rant, just know that I admire you and always get a good laugh out of your posts. Thank you!

  242. I have no words to say how thankful I am for your post, and the replies. But, God knows what I’m trying to say in my heart and I wanted you all to know that another soul is praying for you tonight.

  243. I’ve had many struggles with my mental illness so far in life, and I know I will continue to have those struggles for the rest of my life. I’m 25 years old, have been unable to work for over a year due to depression (and now can’t find a job), and in 11 days I will be kicked off my parent’s health insurance. Even when I did have health insurance, and it took all my courage to drive to the ER last January and tell them I wanted to kill myself, my insurance barely paid for the visit. They have denied me from getting certain medications filled. I FINALLY met my deductible for therapy/psychiatric visits a week ago. If it hadn’t been for my parents willingness to pay for my bills and meds, support me financially during this time, and provide emotional support for me when I couldn’t get an appointment to talk to someone, I would not be here today. I am extremely lucky they were able to afford this as I know so many people cannot.

    There have been so many times where I have been brought to tears by the frustration of TRYING to get better but being denied what is needed by my insurance company. While I hope many positive things come from the CT tragedy, I hope one of them is holding insurance companies accountable for their role in limiting access to affordable help. I still have so much anger over how I’ve had to fight for my treatment which should have been covered. Mental illness is already such a tough battle – people shouldn’t have to fight even harder for care when they are already using every ounce of energy just to keep going.

  244. Praying that the wonderful memories you all have of Mr. Dan will warm your hearts and soothe your souls. I am so very sorry for your loss. Thank you for being so brave and speaking up about a subject which has been hidden in the darkness for far too long.

  245. My thoughts and prayers are with Dan’s family as well as all the families he touched.
    Asking for help is one of the hardest things in the world to do, but it’s the best-ever gift we can give oursleves. Thank you again for sharing this with us.

  246. Jenny, thank you. Thank you for saying what needs to be said. Thank you for honouring a man who needed honouring. Our health care system is “better” in Canada..but it is still not easy to get mental health care as many types of therapists are not covered and we don’t have enough to go around. Mental illness is not a thing to be embarrassed about and I applaud the movement to uncover it from it’s dark blanket and bring it into the light. I too suffer from depression and thoughts of suicide are not unfamiliar to me, but I forced myself to get help. I have since tried to lead others to help as well. It is all we can do. Let them know that they are worth caring for..that ALL of us are worthy of care and love and aid. The more we speak our truth, the less lonely the depressed solitude can be….
    PTSD is a horrible, insidious and often surprising MI issue…the first responders are likely the most traumatized, maybe even more so than victims of tragedy, for they have to subvert the horror in order to do their jobs. So very sad that Dave was unable to receive help through the VA. So very wrong….
    I will be sending light and love to Ally and Dave’s family, friends and loved ones. I am thankful that your community is one that will stand and support those who’s stability and home have crumbled.

    I love you too.

  247. I’ve been married ten years. I’ve been through ten suicide attempts by my husband – first within 6 months of being married. I was 21. I’m now 31. Each time, just luck that it wasn’t successful. Has it gone away? Never. The thoughts are always there for him, he tries to keep them at bay. But not all the time. It is a miracle he is still here. Does he laugh? Yes. Does he love me? Yes. Did he ever stop being the loving, wonderful man that he is? No. But sometimes that man is covered in a heavy, black, engulfing, darkness that I can’t reach through. He now steers clear of alcohol/medications things that ‘soften’ his strength to resist the thoughts. We have moved far from the city. He has found God. Some days that is the only thing keeping him alive. Mental illness is persuasive, and heavy, and lies to you. It lies. It tells you that no-one matters, that nothing matters, that oblivion is bliss. It tries so hard to drive away the people who love you, or to convince you that they will be ‘better off’ without you. That is a lie. During those times I feel like that fairytale princess, the one who has to hold onto her prince as he turns into fire, ice, spines, wild animals etc. hanging on for dear life. His dear life. Depression doesn’t tell you that it will pass, or when it will lift. But it does. I’m so very sorry that your friend couldn’t hold on anymore, that the weight was too much. I pray that his wife knows it is not her fault, that she will ease off on the hypothetical ‘what if’s’ and allows herself to heal. I feel the pain. I’ve been through it over and over again, and still fear it will return and I’ll be the one left holding nothing. Please, for those with depression hold on you are not alone. Ever. It will pass. Those living with loved ones with depression – you are not alone either. A great book that summarises the experience of both having depression, and living with someone with depression can be found on Amazon, called ‘Living with a Black Dog’ by Matthew Johnstone. . A children’s illustrated book that similarly hits home is ‘the red tree’ by Shaun Tan (one of my favourite illustrators). Please check them out, if you are a visual person like me especially. I highly recommend – less words, but hits home and makes you feel people ‘get’ it. You are not alone.

  248. @DSAFURE’s post really hit me hard. It is true that insurance is such a big deal and the quality of health care if you don’t have it. Hmmm, this seems impossible to fix. Want to have a go at it Jenny? I’ll help. There must be something we can do. Doing nothing just seems wrong. Think about it? Pretty please with sprinkles on top? love, Laurie F.

  249. So sorry to hear about your friend. This world is a hard place to live in. It’s never a bad idea to be nice and give someone a break. You never know what demons are riding their back. And sometimes there are just no answers. It’s hard to imagine that one could think the world would be better without them, but we know what a lying m-effer depression is. My deepest sympathy to Miss Ally, her family and everyone who knew and loved Dan. Peace.

  250. Honestly, I’ve never been a fan of anything about suicide, but this was an amazing thing because the man did so much more than suffer in his own depression, he helped so many other people, and that’s a huge thing in my heart.

    Such a shame when someone refuses to help someone. I couldn’t stand back and refuse to help someone because of a stupid reason.

    Just bceause someone may not have served during war time, doesn’t mean they don’t see or go through certain things that could be detrimental to their health: physically or mentally.

    Please keep me, all of us, included on any way to help. xx

  251. I am a mental health counselor in Ohio. While I can’t offer my services across the internet due to legality issues, if anyone is in Ohio, I can help you find services. You don’t have to be afraid to seek services, whatever you are going through, there is someone trained to help. We are in this profession to help, not judge or make fun of.

  252. Not so much a comment as a request/question. I have a wonderfully beautiful 20 year old son. He is biopolar and suffers from severe manic depression, anxiety, panic attacks and ocd. Over the course of the last year he has been hospitalized three times and transferred into 7 different facilities. He has done intense out-patient therapy and has a psychiatrist that he sees regularly for meds. He’s had SEVERE depressive and suicidal thoughts which have also led him to a heroin addiction/ he hates himself, feels like a failure and cannot stand being in his own mind. Presently we are stable, drug-free, and trying so very hard but as a parent my heart aches and fears for him every moment of every day and life as we know it has changed forever. Is it possible for you to share with me what the feelings are? I know the desperation and sadness but just need to know more…. he’s such a good kid and I love him more than words can say. I sleep with one eye open.
    We do have good days but those dark times are immobilizing and I want to understand more. I understand if this is too personal…honestly I do but if possible I would appreciate any help you could give.

  253. Thank you, Jenny, for being a light in the dark for all of us.

    My sympathies for all who grieve over Dan’s death.

  254. it took almost dying for me and people in my life to believe bipolar depression is real very real in my life. I am so so sad for you and your friends and family. thank you for writing this. your in my prayers

  255. Oh, Jenny, I am so sorry.

    I, too, suffer from depression and know first hand that dark hell of hopelessness. Dan’s life will not be in vain because those who knew and love him carry his memory with them forever. Also, my thanks to you for sharing this with us so that we can be reminded how precious our families are and the fragility of our existence. Thank you for sharing so much of your life including the taxidermied family members on your shelf, your cat and Victor (God bless him). By the way, I have a giant metal chicken too that I got at a flea market in Charlotte. Mine doesnt have bees in it though. You got me there. Much love, L

  256. Thank you for this. I am a survivor of post-partum depression. It was unbelievably hard to ask for help even though I so desparately needed it. I’ll echo your request with the quote from the end of my blog post about my experience.
    “Without the people who love me to help, I fear I may have been lost. Don’t let those you love get lost, help them.”
    Strength to you and Ms. Ally

  257. I’m so sorry for the loss of your friend Dan. I wrote about a similar loss recently in my own blog. My nieces’ step-father took his own life. It is such a sad thing. I know about depression. I have recently, at age 62, acknowledged my depression and sought help. I also had a silver cuff bracelet made that is inscribed with the phrase “Depression Lies” to remind myself that the thoughts I have that say I am not worthy or good enough or smart enough or respected are LIES. It has helped me put those thoughts in perspective to have that visible reminder, and it has garnered so many supportive comments.
    I donated to Project Night Night through your post! Then I told my grandgirls that I would love for them to donate whatever they were going to spend on my Christmas gifts to the project. They, at ages 6 and 9, were excited to do so. Bless their little hearts, their parents are very diligent about pointing out that some kids lives suck in ways it is hard for Riley and Miranda to understand.
    I will offer thoughts, prayers, wishes, and my heart to you and your friend who have suffered this terrible loss. And I offer my gratitude to you for your shear existence. You are a blessing.

  258. Amanda #204: I am also a survivor of multiple attempts, and multiple hospitalizations. When I was at my most sad and desperate I couldn’t imagine how I might *ever* feel better. I felt truly worthless, and that feeling was compounded by *failing* at suicide, more than once (such self-hatred….) But slowly and surely I am getting well. It wasn’t any one thing… I tried all different kinds of med combos, meditation, DBT therapy, trauma therapy, calling the suicide hotline at 4 AM, joining what is called a “clubhouse” for people living with mental illness (and being so valued and appreciated there, even though some days I was so depressed I just showed up and sat in a corner), showing my art at an exhibit for people with mood disorders… I took little bits from everything and it all added up. Your story matters. Your voice matters. You have so much to give the world. I’m not saying depression is a gift (I’d throttle the first person to say that to me), but sharing your experiences, whether in words, on a blog, in poetry, art, or music, your voice will go on to help someone else. And hopefully this year you will feel more comfortable going to the hospital before you make an attempt, this was something I learned to do… I was always so scared I wouldn’t be believed and that I would be turned away, but I have always been helped.

    And for the people who reached out and whose doctors told them “it wasn’t serious enough” … do NOT accept this. I know it’s hard, believe me, when you are in so much pain, but you must insist. Call your distress centre and talk through other options (free counseling? drop in clinic? psychologist where a dr. referral isn’t needed?)… and if you can, let a close friend or family member know you are having a hard time getting help and enlist their support in advocating on your behalf. Bring them with you to your appointments. Fight. Don’t stop fighting until you get the help you deserve.

    Jenny — I’m so sorry, and big hugs.

    I keep a page on my blog of quotes, articles, music videos and other things that I look at when I am feeling down. This does not replace meds, of course, or therapy, and if you or a friend is suicidal go to the hospital immediately. But these are things that soothe me when the pain is too much:
    http://onebraveduck.blogspot.ca/p/blog-page_4972.html

    xox

  259. So so sorry for your loss of what sounds like an amazing soul. It’s just crushing. Death, evil, sadness, loss, suffering…and the list goes on and on. All we can do is pray and shine the light that we have into the endless darkness and illuminate what we can…

  260. Thanks Jenny- just texted my bro-in-law who has depression and PTSD. So sad for you and Dan’s family. I will pray for him.

  261. I am so genuinely sorry for the loss of your dear friend. I know first hand through family experience the ripple effect of pain and trauma that comes from caring about someone who who lives with mental issues, especially when they are left un- or under- treated. It’s a travesty that mental illness is often not taken very seriously in this country and that stigma causes people to try in vain to cope until it’s too late. My prayers go out to you guys and everyone personally touched by the loss of Dan.
    It is very courageous for you to stand up and speak out, and I hope you never stop. You never know when you could be saving a life.

  262. Depression is terrible. . . and lonely and awful. Especially this time of year when you’re “supposed to be happy and joyous.” I recently moved to a new city – a larger city than where I came from – and have had a hell of a time finding a doctor to treat me that my insurance would take. It sometimes seems like you should be homeless or incredibly wealthy to get the care you need. I’m neither and it took months of haggling with insurance to finally allow me to see the incredible doctor I see now. I’ve been in months of medication weaning and starting and still haven’t found the right combination – but even though it seems hopeless – I won’t give up! I always wondered how people could take their own lives – but when you cry everyday and feel like you are failing in life – it sucks! I’m sorry for your loss and for the loss your precious child will feel – but I know as long as she has you as a mother – she’ll always be golden!! You are awesome Jenny Lawson!

  263. So sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. I agree with you that it should not be so hard to get help, particularly for those who’ve given so much of themselves in the service of others.

  264. Thank you for posting this. Dan’s family will now be part of my prayer list. Two years ago, a dear friend of mine took her life, and a year ago, my cousin did the same. It’s heartbreaking to know these dear souls are no longer here with us, but I’ll forever hope others will be through awareness that can be raised because they were. Again, thank you.

  265. Jenny,
    For nearly two years now I have been a faithful reader of yours. I have laughed hysterically and cried my eyes out along side you. I have grown to love you and your precious family as if you were my own. I feel like your friends are my friends and for this to happen to someone as wonderful as you, it’s just not fair. I’m so sincerely sorry for your loss. I too have lost friends who have taken their own life. It’s never easy and you never forget them. Please know that I’m not really one who prays a whole lot but, I am keeping Ally and Dan in mind the next time I do. If it’s not too much trouble, please give that sweet little girl of yours a hug for me. Children should not have to suffer the loss of a loved one. Again, I’m so sorry. I hope you’re doing all right. I love you dearly. May Dan rest in peace.

  266. Jenny, I am so sorry for your family’s loss. The VA failed a man and sadly this is a horrific result.
    I’ve had my sister attempt suicide and watched my dad battle depression my whole life.

    I’ll be thinking of Dan and his family during this sad time.

  267. I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your friend. I personally know how hard it is to get mental health as well, I have been fighting my PPD after having my little. I have also seen how hard it is to get help through the VA. My husband is a Veteran. Its a battle in and of itself.

    Thank you for this post. <3

  268. It’s bullshit that it’s so goddamn difficult to get any sort of mental health services in this country. -.- I’ve seen my psychiatrist three times in the past year, despite needing to see him so much more often. Instead of risking spiraling down into a suicidal/self-harm/manic sinkhole, my Mom took out a payday advance she couldn’t afford to pay for my medication. It cost nine. Fucking. Dollars. I didn’t have nine. Fucking. Dollars. I still don’t. I don’t make enough on my own to pay for the pills that keep me alive, yet I’m told that I do by every low-income insurance provider that I do. I haven’t seen my GP in years because of it. Also, I haven’t even been 21 for a whole month yet.

    Things have to change. Holding on until they do is the bitch of it all.

  269. Can I just say that my Dad went to the VA for some help (physical, not mental) and they told him the same thing as they told Dan. That he waas not in the army during “wartime” therefore his benefits were different and more limited. Well, my Dad jumped up and down and screamed and yelled. He told them that that wasn’t his fault. His draft number just happened to come up in between two of the useless wars America fought. But he served honorably, and how dare they!! And then he jumped up and down and screamed and yelled some more. And then they gave him his VA card.

    So to you veterans out there. Do not give up. Do. Not. Give. Up.

  270. Jenny,

    My deepest condolences to you, Hailey, Ms. Ally, and her children. I know from personal experience just traumatic this can be for the surviving family members. You see, just over 3 years and 8 months ago, my brother killed himself. One of the hardest things ahead for this family is making sure that the children understand that they had absolutely nothing to do with their father’s death and that it’s ok to love him and be mad at him at the same time. Just as I love my brother still, but if he were to stand before me, I’d kick him so hard in the shin. Also, grief works at its own pace; you can’t hurry it; you can only ride out the hard times. And don’t be surprised if in 3 years and 8 months, you read a blog post that brings all the sorrow back. The first major family holiday, the first birthday, the anniversary of his death – all of these ‘milestones’ are really going to suck. There are no words for how much they’ll suck.

    I hope that they are able to get through this difficult time and those to come surrounded by loving friends and family. I hope she is able to get whatever help she needs for her family.

    Karen

  271. Hello Jenny and all of you amazing followers,

    I have been an avid reader of this blog, but never a contributor to the comments. But, your post warranted a second. I am a teacher at a building that has had two students take their own lives in two years. Our culture makes it so difficult for people to protect themselves and their loved one from mental illness and it is about time we start to do something. In the wake of a terrible tragedy, both at Sandy Hook and Jenny’s hometown, I hope that people will start taking a stand.

    Lisa Long wrote an emotional and poignant article about mental health in the U.S. culture – one that we should all read (here is the link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/16/i-am-adam-lanzas-mother-mental-illness-conversation_n_2311009.html?utm_hp_ref=parents&ir=Parents).

    There are so many types of mental illness, some that are violent, destructive, self-destructive and others that create anxiety, social issues, and internalized struggles. They all have something in common: they are hard to diagnose and treat. With research and a movement toward supporting those with mental illness, we would have a happier and safer place to call our home.

  272. Jenny,
    Sincere & heartfelt condolences to Dan’s family and friends. As the daughter of a man who committed suicide when I was twelve, I can understand exactly where they are right now. It will be a hard road, but with the love and support of loved ones and friends, they will make it through. It’s absolutely the WORST club to be in, and I can only say that there will come a time when the can remember Dan with love, regret, and hopefully a little peace.
    Carrying you ALL in my heart today.
    Brandee

  273. I’m very, very sorry for you loss and so appreciate your compassion & bravery in telling this important story. Our family has been affected by suicide and the ache is deep and wide. Blessings & prayers to you all.

  274. This really struck a chord with me, and I cried when I read it. I’ve been there… not to the point of actively trying to take my own life, but laying there thinking that if I didn’t wake up the next day that wouldn’t be a bad thing. The person who was supposed to be closest to me then brushed off my words when I told him, and I felt so very alone and completely lost. I wish I had known to call a hotline then, or had people who could be there for me.

    I made it through that very tough time and I am with someone amazing now, but I still have my bouts with this ugly beast that crushes my spirit and my hope. Even now, I am not sure that anyone truly understands what I struggle with. Even my significant other just… doesn’t get it. I will remember to reach out, to make that call if things get tough for me again. I shouldn’t have to deal with my depression alone. I love your blog, both for all the humor you bring to my life and for these very serious posts that call attention to something that so many people fight a silent battle with.

  275. As a mother, as a mental health provider,as someone with demons of her own know that there are those of us who are there to help. We do what we can and keep looking until you find that person, professional or not, who is willing to know your soul and hold the light when you cannot. Be safe, be strong, be well.

  276. I lost my cousin almost 2 years ago to suicide. You’re right that you have to focus on it being a disease that took your loved one, not that they took themselves away. It’s the only way my family’s managed to cope. I will pray for your friend and his family.

  277. I share the same cause. My father took his own life in August 2011 so I extend my deepest and most heart felt sympathies. Perhaps, if more of us start telling our stories, the stigma will melt away and we will see a real change in the mental healthcare system. Praying for yours and their family.
    -Jennifer

  278. Jenny,

    Thank you for writing about your grief, and your hard times. That’s something that people can relate to, and talk about.

    Moreover, thank you for asking people to DO something. No more “someone must do something.” Let it be us. Whether a cuddle, or an “I love you”, or a donation to a charity, or whatever else people can think of to do to help people with fewer resources (whether that be mental or physical). Ideas change our culture, but the rate of change is slow. We need to act, now.

    Ana

  279. Thank you for this post, Jenny. You give me strength and hope, even if you don’t know it. You do.
    Sometimes, I wish I had the power to write down all the sadness and horribleness and awful things in this world in my journal, and then when I close the book, it would all go away. I’m so sorry for your loss, for the world’s loss; Dan sounded like a wonderful person. Depression is a dick. It boggles my mind that people seem more concerned with their ability to own an assault rifle than their ability to go to the doctor.

  280. I am so sorry for your loss. Please don’t ever stop talking about this issue, it is too important. Every time you do, lives are saved. Thank you.

  281. The very fact that there are more than 300 comments in less than 24 hours speaks to the need for open, honest and up-front discussions surrounding mental health, access to help and the very real fact that silence only serves to exacerbate the systematic stigmatization of and “sweeping-under-the-rug” polices around mental illness.

    Shine a light, be a light…crawl towards the light…just don’t stay in the darkness.

    One tiny flame can eradicate darkness, one small voice can break the silence.

  282. Just a few hours ago I gulped and asked on twitter if anyone in my area could recommend a mental health counselor. I have three names so far. And just now I read this story. I am not suicidal but for several months now have been in the bowels of darkness. I have been on Prozac for years but I think it has run it’s course. May need something else.
    I lost my best, most trusted friend to suicide in 2003 and I wish to this day that he had found the help he so desperately needed. He was the kindest funniest man I have ever know and I miss him still. My heart breaks for your friend Dan and his family and friends. I will be saying a prayer for all of you.
    Jenny I hope you know what a bright light you are.

  283. I know exactly what this family is going through. My sister lost her husband to suicide 5 years ago on Dec 9th. He did not give clues or ask for help.. and he was the most fun loving and would be there in a heart beat of needed. I wish he would have needed one of us. I will pray for this family..

  284. Thank you once again for a beautiful post. Dan’s family and yours will be in my prayers.

    Despression is such a hard thing to overcome. The important thing to remember is that somewhere, there is someone whose world would be empty without you in it. I certainly don’t judge anyone who can no longer take the pain. It can be really hard to see through the darkness of depression. My entire family suffers from some sort of mental illness and has watched it wreak havock on their lives.

    The best thing that you can do is talk about what you are feeling and ask for help. Together we can and will get through this.

  285. I am so sorry for the loss of Dan. My heart breaks especially for Ally, his children, and your Hallie.
    Depression is a terrible thief.
    I’m praying for all of you.
    This is especially such a difficult time of year for those suffering from depression.
    It is beyond wrong that we do not have adequate care available for those suffering from mental illness. We must work to change this.

  286. I lost a dear friend in the same way on Dec. 5. This post ripped me to shreds. I will do what I can for Dan’s family. Stay strong. You are one of best people ever.

  287. regarding PTSD, the VA, and our heroes who live with demons on a daily basis:
    THE SOLDIERS PROJECT can help. i know some of the people involved personally and they are skilled psychotherapists dedicated to helping [often for free]. i will let the website speak for itself but know that they are professionals who care and want to help… http://www.thesoldiersproject.org/

  288. Well written. I am a minister and will add his family to my prayer list. I will also pray for you and your family who are left in the aftermath. I will pray for your community and network.

    There will never be an answer to the “Whys.” As someone who survived a suicide attempt (20+ yrs ago) and am now living on the other side of mental illness and clinical depression, I will say that our person demons sometimes win. It’s not cool and it sucks for the people around us. I love my mom harder each day, because she lived through it and visited me each day in the hospital, and managed to love me in the darkest time of my life. I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to tell her exactly why I did it because I am finally learning the reasons myself. I was living with an unbearable amount of pain and I didn’t know what to do with it. I wanted it to end and the easiest way was to take myself out of the situation as I was the common denominator in everything.

    My parents had awesome insurance and I was in counseling during the time of my suicide attempt. I just didn’t know HOW to ask for help. How does a person have the courage and strength to articulate such pain? I don’t know. The people who do have that strength are ironically turned away. Tragic on all accounts.

    I work with youth and LGBT community and do my darndest to be a ray of hope. My hope is that I can be a light to others now that I’ve lived through dark nights, pain and murky times. That is my hope. I’ll let you know how it pans out in 30 years or so (assuming my health holds out).

    Love, light and healing thoughts to you and yours,
    Jenn