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Struggling with Depression


In the wake of Robin Williams' suicide a national conversation on depression and suicide has emerged.

The Oscar winning actor and comedian was found yesterday hanging from a belt according to law enforcement. Friends and family say he was battling severe depression.

It's a battle that many people face. There are nearly 40,000 reported suicides each year in the United States and an estimated 1 in 10 Americans suffers from depression.

One of them is Springfield resident Carrie Dinora.

"Everything just got to be too much, and I'm going to shock a lot of people saying this...I attempted suicide," Dinora said.

Having already battled depression without a diagnosis since childhood, Dinora faced death in the form of a handful of sleeping pills in 1963. Her mother had died of pancreatic cancer and she and her husband had a messy divorce.

"I just went in my bedroom, and swallowed the pills," she said. "I just wanted to go to sleep and forget everything."

Thankfully, her sister found her before it was too late. But the fight against depression continues to this day. She says people don't always understand.

"It's not crazy," Dinora said of depression. " It's a pain. It's a pain that you can't describe."

Dinora's one of the clients at St. John's senior renewal program, which helps elderly patients deal with some mental health and psychiatric issues. Though staff members stay away from those terms.

"They're from a generation that if they hear words like that then they think they're crazy," said program director, Mark Staff.

But according to the CDC, depression is very common affecting an estimated 9 percent of Americans.

The Mental Health Centers of Central Illinois's crisis center sees 200 to 300 people each year - many of them depressed. While outside stress may compound the problem, it doesn't mean it's the source.

"Usually, when people are depressed, they're just depressed out of nowhere," said the crisis center's lead clinician, Andrew Jolly.

So if you've noticed some of these symptoms, consider getting help: a depressed or sad mood with frequent tearfulness lasting two weeks or more, withdrawal from your normal activities and interests or thoughts of suicide or recurring thoughts of death.

Other more general symptoms include: loss of energy, weight change, difficulty sleeping, difficulty concentrating or feeling worthless or helpless.

Dinora is well on her road to recovery.

And she has many happy memories helping children, proving there's a good life after what you think might be the end.

"And there are people that do care," Dinora said. "You just have to find them."

If you're in crisis or having suicidal thoughts, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Struggling with Depression

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