Dear Annie: Six years ago, I tried to take my own life. I was a popular high school student, excelled at sports and had a girlfriend and a supportive family who were always there for me. People thought I had it all. What they didn’t realize was that I was struggling with debilitating depression.
One night, when things seemed hopeless and I felt my life was too much for me to handle, I decided to jump out of my ninth-story bedroom window. Luckily, I survived and am able to share my story in the hope that it will help others.
Why would I suffer from depression? As a male, statistics say I am far less likely to have depression than females. I also am African-American — a group that traditionally has low depression and suicide rates. But statistics don’t matter if you are the one who is suffering.
What I want everyone who reads this to know is that depression affects all walks of life. It doesn’t matter your age, gender, economic status, race, color or creed. Depression does not discriminate. The good news is that help is available.
October 10 is National Depression Screening Day. I encourage anyone who may be struggling to visit HelpYourselfHelpOthers.org and take an online depression screening. The screenings are free, easy and anonymous, and provide resources that allow people who may be depressed to take a first step toward healing.
While I still deal with depression, I am alive today because I got the help I needed. Sincerely
-- Jordan Burnham
Dear Jordan: Thank you for sharing your inspiring story and mentioning National Depression Screening Day. Depression can affect anyone, no matter their circumstance. A screening can be a helpful way for those struggling with depression to receive the help they need. We encourage our readers to visit HelpYouselfHelpOthers.org. If you or someone you know is in suicidal crisis or emotional distress, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255).
Dear Annie: My granddaughter is having a destination wedding in Hawaii, where she lives. I live on the East Coast, and so do all of the other family members. Going to Hawaii would mean a long, expensive trip, plus the cost of a hotel and meals. What is the protocol concerning gifts in lieu of attending this high-cost wedding?
-- Grandma’s Not Going
Dear Grandma: Etiquette says the wedding gift should be the same regardless of your personal expenses. But we understand that people often give more or less depending on what it costs them to attend. We only ask that you keep in mind the fact that as the grandmother, any gift from you will have special significance.
Dear Annie: This is for “Torn Grandma,” who babysits for her granddaughter who may be allergic to Grandma’s dog. Perhaps Grandma could watch her granddaughter in the child’s home or in a dog-free room that has an air filter running. The child should be tested to be sure it’s the dog that is truly the cause of her reaction.
-- Your Local Veterinarian
Dear Annie: I wanted to thank you for printing my letter years ago. I asked what to do about my sisters who were not speaking to each other, yet one secretly sent Christmas presents to me to give to the other. I signed it, “Tired of Being in the Middle.”
You told me to stop enabling them and instead offer to mediate. That was a relief. I was honest with both of them. They still don’t want to meet, but now I don’t have to lie about the presents. I am friendly with both and willing to keep each up to date on what the other is doing. I recently took a vacation with one sister and told the other about the adventures we had. I refuse to let this feud force me to choose sides. Thanks.
-- Not in the Middle Now
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