Man depression sucks. When I first realized I was too often too sad, it was 1989, the latter part of my freshman year of high school at St. Peter’s Prep. From time to time it would come out of nowhere — and would be so overwhelming, getting out of bed was nearly impossible.
On weekends, I would throw the cover over my head to block the sunlight and then just stay there for hours on end, only to go to the loo or to eat (eating often wasn’t an option, either — the desire to do absolutely nothing was that great.)
I would skip homework (though depression didn’t always lead to that — laziness did.) I would not watch Devils games or Mets games, two of the most important things in my life back then (and to a degree, still now.) I couldn’t care less if the phone rang, if mom called me out of my room, if we were supposed to go anywhere. I would just sit there, deal with it, suffer in the worst, most isolated silence I’ve ever experienced.
Remember, this was 1989. Depression? What the hell was that? I never told my mother, my grandmother, my aunts or uncles, cousins, teachers, administrators, the Jesuits at Prep. I especially never said a word to my friends, because I didn’t really understand what was happening at the time. If I couldn’t understand it, how would anyone else, especially a fellow teen?
Ultimately, I did a lot better starting in my senior year in 1992 — and it lasted, for the most part, until around Sept. 11, 2001, when the events of that day did a number on me. But those years in the late 80s and early 90s were absolutely brutal. And I just wondered if it would ever go away.
Truth is, though it did “disappear” for a while, it probably always was present, I just didn’t notice it as much. Because when I was finally diagnosed in 2005, it was biological depression, something in my makeup that caused me to feel so crappy so often.
It would be something that required medicine — Cymbalta was my saving grace, though it might not be for everyone — and to this day, it still works. Depression cannot disappear, as one uncle of mine once told me, by simply “sucking it up and being a man.” If only it were that easy.
So why bring any of this up on an ordinary weekday in the first week of September? Well, far too often of late, I’m seeing on TV, social media (especially) and elsewhere stories of people taking their own lives. Many times, it’s police officers who find their only way to escape mental trauma is to die.
I say no — it’s never an option to die, especially in 2022. There are people out there who not only can, but will help. There are medications designed to control even the thought of wanting to die. Maybe that wasn’t the case in 1989, or even 2005. But there is help out there — help I’d even be willing to offer if someone reading this right now was in need. Text me, call, email — whatever it takes. Also recall, 988 has been designated a 3-digit code to dial if you’re in immediate need.
But most of all, remember, you are not alone, you are not unique, but you can get out of this rut if you’re reading this and are thinking, “that’s me.” There are so many examples of rebounding from depression. And there’s no reason why, if you, too, are suffering, you can’t be the next example of beating it.
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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.