Family Stories

Chris, 45, dysthymia, and wife, Jill

Chris, 45, dysthymia, and wife, Jill A rough start in life Growing up, Chris saw substance abuse and mood disorders on both sides of his family. “I remember my mother and father fighting a lot when we were kids,” Chris says. Both he and his little brother were smart,... read more

Lyn

Lyn’s first experience with major depression came when she was a single mother of three in her twenties struggling to keep her head above water. “I wasn’t really functioning,” Lyn remembers. “I was sleeping all the time. I couldn’t tell you if my kids were bathing... read more

David Guterson and wife, Robin

Novelist David Guterson has had many successes in life. His bestselling 1994 book, “Snow Falling on Cedars,” was made into an Academy Award-nominated movie. He was happily married and his life was very fulfilling. That’s why David was astonished when a... read more

Jenny

I’m a 32-year-old teacher and I live with my partner and two young children. I discovered I had depression when I moved jobs and realized doing so had been a big mistake. I had been teaching at a school for 8 years and then decided to move to another school last... read more

Vivian

Depression has been part of my family for most of my life. I lost both my brother and a dear friend to suicide. I also have clinical depression. Luckily, I am able to live a normal and productive life and I feel that my story can inspire others with my message of... read more

Greg Stiemsma

Greg Stiemsma grew up in Wisconsin where his skill and commanding 6’11’’ stature made him a natural on the basketball court.  But his talent could not mask the depression that initially appeared while he was in high school.  “The first time I dealt with depression was... read more

Alexandra, daughter of William Styron

Looking back, Alexandra Styron can see that her father, novelist William Styron, likely suffered depression much of his life. But as the youngest of four children, all she knew was the need to tip-toe around the man she remembers as both a looming figure whose stories... read more

Ashley with mom, Lucy

In 8th grade, Ashley appeared to have it all: she was a popular, a straight-A student, co-president of her class, and captain of the volleyball team. On the inside, though, she’d begun to struggle with feelings of unhappiness. She went to boarding school the... read more

Doris

People may assume a famous name and wealth guarantee a ticket to Easy Street. But Doris Buffett, sister of Warren Buffett, knows otherwise. Today, she uses her wealth to help people, which brings her great joy. But her life wasn’t always so happy. In her new... read more

Shonda, Curt, and Family

Shonda Schilling, wife of former Major League Baseball championship pitcher and six-time All Star Curt Schilling, seemed to have it all: four beautiful children and a comfortable lifestyle that enables her to be a full-time mother and wife. Publicly, Shonda appeared... read more

Terri with Family

Terri, an enterprising business woman, wife, and mother of two, was diagnosed with clinical depression in 2007, although her symptoms of sadness and hopelessness had begun decades earlier. “Depression runs in my family and my initial symptoms go way back to my teen... read more

Cassandra with her mother

Cassandra was in the seventh grade when she first experienced major depression. “I was in a really low mood all the time,” she recalls. “I liked school. I had a nice group of friends. My home life was good. But, I was depressed. Nothing had happened... read more

Julie

Julie, a wife and mother to two-year-old Piper and nine-month-old Cate, works for Ernst & Young. Her ongoing battle with depression began back in 1990, when she was a freshman at the University of Texas at Austin. “It was my first time away from home and I... read more

Michael, Julie, and Steven

The year was 1986. Michael and Julie, then married for six years, had a baby on the way. Michael was a professional fundraiser, a job that required constant energy and enthusiasm and a lot of social interaction. But, he was feeling burned out, always working from... read more

Terry and Peter

It was just weeks before Terry and Peter’s wedding that Peter was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease. When the disease progressed and robbed Peter of his speech, Terry abandoned her career to help him sustain his financial planning business. “We... read more

Trina and Family

It took three years — and a very persistent mother — before Trina realized that the stress and sadness she had been feeling for so long was in fact depression. “I never knew I was depressed,” says Trina. “I didn’t realize how bad I felt until I... read more

Terrie

Terrie grew up in Mount Vernon, NY, with her parents and her younger sister. “Growing up, mental health was simply not discussed,” Terrie says. “I don’t think it was discussed in many families, especially African-American families in the 1950s.... read more

William and Rose Styron

William Styron (1925-2006), well-known author of Sophie’s Choice, first experienced major depression at age 60. His depression worsened over a six-month period, culminating into suicidal impulses. His wife, Rose Styron, was initially unaware of depression and... read more

Susan and Gary

When Susan’s son was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at age nine, she wasn’t panicked or fearful. She was relieved. The now fifteen-year-old had first been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD),... read more

Renee with husband, Gary

Renee’s family was the first to recognize she wasn’t acting like herself. “I was isolating myself. My husband Gary and my kids told me they were losing me. It was extremely hard because I didn’t want to admit I had a problem,” says Renee.... read more

Gene and Patrice

Gene’s depression began when he was a child and suffered severe panic attacks. He experienced cycles of feeling worthless and hopeless until age 35, when his doctor identified his depression at his annual physical exam. Shortly thereafter, he was diagnosed with... read more

Nell Casey

Nell Casey, editor of Unholy Ghost, was only 16 years old when her sister Maud was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Eleven years later, Maud stopped taking her medication and, after a brief hospitalization for mania, fell into a four-month depressive episode. For this... read more

Zack and Nancy

Less than a year ago, while away at college, Zack had his first major manic episode. After experimenting with drugs with his friends, he felt a sudden change come over him that persisted even after the effects of the drugs wore off. “The next day, I thought that... read more

Missy, Bill, and Katherine

Although Missy struggled with bouts of depression since childhood, she resisted taking medication. She finally sought treatment in order to be well for her infant daughter, Katherine. At first the antidepressant helped, but then Missy became manic and was... read more

Michael and Family

By the middle of his junior year Michael was finding it nearly impossible to get through a day at school. He felt claustrophobic and out of control. He became physically ill in school and lost any motivation to do homework or see friends. Although theater and being... read more

Mary Margaret and friend, Gary

In 1994, Mary Margaret was working long hours for an international consulting firm. She also bought a house that year, and her father, who had been fighting cancer, passed away. “By April 1995,” she says, “I could no longer get out of bed or stop... read more

Lynn with Bob and son, Jack

Lynne’s depression hit out of nowhere the night after her son Jack, was born. She was still in the hospital, after a 32-hour labor without three days of sleep. “Even though I am in a happy marriage, have a successful career, and understand my... read more

John

Looking back Rebecca, 41, thinks that the “personality quirks” she saw in her husband when they first met in college actually were signs of mental illness. In their early years together she noticed that John, now 42, had trouble sticking with a career path... read more

Joan and Dennis

Depression can place a huge strain on close relationships. Yet, Dennis and Joan’s struggles with depression have brought them closer together. Their story also shows that the fight against depression is an ongoing battle that requires incredible determination. ... read more

Dan

I’ve struggled with depression at greater or lesser intensity since my teens. The word “depression” suggests sadness, and this is certainly one aspect of the disorder. There are days when I’ll feel slow, tired, old, and brittle, as if the... read more

Candice

It was about five years ago that Candice experienced her first bout of depression. With treatment, she found herself symptom-free for a year; until a diagnosis of a neurological condition known as Arnold Chiari Malformation triggered a second episode of depression.... read more

Barbara with son, Michael

Barbara is on a mission of hope. After losing her eighteen year old son Michael to suicide in 2005, she’s spreading the word on teenage depression and spare other families the heartache she has experienced.  “It’s so important to emphasize that... read more

Art with wife, Debbie

When Art was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in the summer of 2000, it didn’t take the energetic entrepreneur and software engineer long to swing into action. Frustrated by the slow progress toward a cure, Art founded the Accelerated Cure Project to identify... read more

Allyson

An artistic and outgoing child, Allyson recalls that she was about 13 years old when her mom noticed she was showing signs of depression. “I secluded myself,” Allyson recalls. “I wasn’t doing things I enjoyed.” Allyson’s mom Roslyn was a single... read more

Bill, Nancy, and Ally

From the time Ally was nine months old, her parents Bill and Nancy knew that something was wrong. Ally couldn’t sleep, had temper tantrums up to 20 times a day, and increasingly became more aggressive.  Medical professionals told Bill and Nancy not to worry, but they... read more

Aimee and Christine

When Aimee was a junior in college, just a couple of years ago, she started having difficulties she wasn’t familiar with: crying a lot, feeling moody, not eating and not exercising. The young lady who would soon become Miss Rhode Island and compete for the Miss... read more