When we talk, we learn

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To the Editor:

I want to thank everyone who sent me letters, emails, or called on the phone after reading my article about depression in last week’s Martha’s Vineyard Times. I knew my friends would be supportive, but I was deeply touched by the number of people I have never met who reached out to me.

There were a couple of things I forgot to mention. When you approach Island Counseling/Community Services, NAMI, or are sent off-Island to a hospital, trust that the doctors and counselors are professionals and want to help you. Open yourself up and let them. It’s the only chance you have to begin learning about your depression and how to help yourself.

The other thing is that it’s common to feel better and think you can take less of your medication, or give it up altogether. Don’t. As I said, it’s common; no one wants to take pills. But once you are on a therapeutic dosage and the medication is helping you, stay with it.

The best thing we can do is to keep talking. Think of all the things people never talked about that now seem commonplace. One of my brothers commented that my writing this article was like “coming out” for a gay person. Because of every brave person who came out, we now have gay marriage and an acceptance that gays, lesbians, and transgender people are our parents, brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews, our neighbors and our friends. When Betty Ford announced she had breast cancer back in the 1970s, it was a huge admission. Now we all talk freely about cancer, mental illness, addiction, alcoholism, heart disease, whatever we deal with in our lives. Once we can talk, we can support and learn from one another.

Hermine Hull

West Tisbury