Dan – the trauma of losing you has passed. But the grief of missing you, and my love for you, is just as strong as ever.
It’s been 13 years today since I lost my fiance, Dan Rieske, to Clinical Depression. He had a potentially fatal disease, yet he refused to seek medical treatment because our society told him it wasn’t a physical illness but a weakness of character. He was ashamed by his illness because the world around him told him he should be ashamed.
My daughter also has a mental illness, and the same society that drove Dan to suicide also tells her the same thing. “It’s all in your head” “You’re such a weirdo” “You just want attention” “You need to get off all that medication and find out what the real problem is” “Everyone gets depressed, you just need to learn better coping skills”
Hey society, we know what the problem is – a chemical imbalance in the brain. Dan and my daughter and everyone else with a mental illness have no more reason to be ashamed than a person with Alzheimer’s, or brain cancer, or Parkinson’s disease, or any other physical disability in their brain.
Our society is the one who should be ashamed. Every person who has ever questioned my parenting skills, or my daughter’s character, or pushed me for the “real” reason Dan committed suicide – should be ashamed.
End the stigma of mental illness.