Depression Kills by Silence

He would be 34 today. But my little brother, Hillton, died of suicide eight years ago. I keep a note from him in my office along with this silly little coconut pirate that he loved. Growing up, he felt like he didn’t belong because he was the only blonde-hair in a family of dark-hairs. Today he would feel at home with these three little blonde-haired people as nieces and nephew. He never met my son David or my daughter Susan. But he had a picture of Lorna on his refrigerator in the apartment where he died at age 26. Kids brought out the best in him. I miss him.

Hamilton Lindley Blog Suicide Depression

Depressed people live dual lives. Hillton had a 4.0 GPA at the University of Texas business school. But in silence, he saw himself as a burden. He thought there was only one way out of the pain. Society treats depressed people as modern-day lepers. Once they speak out about their disease, they are dismissed as irredeemably crazy. They want to fit in and be normal. So they remain silent instead of being cast out. And silence is how they die.

Talk of depression provokes odd reactions. Otherwise kind people are cruel. Smart people are ignorant. Most people turn their heads. And some people use depression to manipulate and humiliate that depressed person. It is dehumanizing. And it’s got to stop.

Depression kills by silence. So the antidote is talking about it. I’ll go first. For example, I did not understand that I was depressed because I could not remember feeling any other way. I had no contrast. Imagine waking up, walking into your bathroom, and a starving tiger is sitting by your toilet. That’s the fight or flight level panic that an anxious person feels. My heart raced. My head was flush with fear. But I couldn’t remember a time when I didn’t feel that way. After all, I could otherwise live a successful life. I tell jokes! Superficially, I looked happy and confident. But I was not. I believed my family was better off without me. It is a terrible existence. And depression made me think that I deserved that pain.

Depression makes us feel like we aren’t worth fixing. So we won’t seek out medication or therapy. We also desperately want to avoid becoming that leper. We realize that for trying to heal, we will forever be cast out. Our society accepts many types of people. But not the depressed. It remains thought of as an incurable disease that no one can escape. That is just not true. But yet the stigma remains. And the number of suicides and depression is only increasing. Whatever we are doing now is only making it worse. So let’s stop it.

Hamilton Lindley Depression Suicide

Friends, family, and coworkers are essential in curing depression. We MUST talk about it. A depressed person may:
• Share feelings of guilt, shame, or worthlessness.
• Express a negative or hopeless outlook.
• Lose interest in things that they used to enjoy.

Listen to these symptoms. When a depressed person says these things, they may as well be naked. Because they feel like they shared way too much. Express how hard it sounds to endure that. Tell them that taking medication and talking to a therapist is important work for us all. Schedule an appointment with a counselor or a doctor for that depressed person. Drive them to the office. Please realize that we all struggle differently. That friend may have just heard that unmistakable click from loading a weapon and felt the cold gunmetal tube in his mouth. But he didn’t pull that trigger because he had a spark of hope. Your words could ignite his path to a normal life. Use it.

Depression can be managed through a support network, medication, and therapy. There is a cure that can remove your worst thoughts—just like the sun burns off the fog. It takes doing the next right thing. Life without depression is better, even after the bottom drops out.

People are like soil. The richest soil comes from a compost pile with trash heaped all over it. That rich soil will produce better plants than any other. So please help me plant a seed in that rich soil. First, be good to each other. Second, donate to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention on my brother’s birthday.

Hillton Lindley, Hamilton Lindley's brother.

51 Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing your story about your brother. I can’t imagine how difficult it is to lose a loved one to suicide. Depression is the silent killer that no one wants to talk about. Thankfully there are a lot of avenues for people with depression to get help, but the stigma that society has about depression keeps a lot of people from seeking help. Talking about it openly is the only way to change the attitude about it and that’s what you’re doing here. Thanks.

  2. HiteshKumar Vaghasiya

    Life is beautiful. Sometimes it’s messy, and it’s always unpredictable. But it will all be OK when you have your support system to help you through it. I hope that if your burden gets too heavy, you’ll ask for a hand, too.

      • Gerri corrigan

        My friend just sent me your article. My 11 year old daughter expresses suicide drawings and journal entries. She is socially awkward and doesn’t make friends easily. She is biracial and feels like she is a weirdo, a freak. As a mom, I encourage her daily but depression is bigger than me. Thank you for writing your experience and for people like me at least we know we are not alone

  3. Liz

    This was a really moving piece, and you are completely right about the stigma of depression: it’s a problem that our society fails to address appropriately. I’m so sorry about the loss of your brother, it sounds like he was a kind and smart person, and it’s awful that he felt that there was no end to the pain aside from death. Thanks for sharing your own experience with depression and anxiety; the more people share, the more the stigma will be lifted.

  4. Brent Henderson

    Hamilton Lindley, thank you for being such an advocate of depression awareness. It is critical that we talk about this epidemic that is spreading across our culture. I encourage you to write all that you can about it. Depression does kill when we are silent.

  5. Sean Culpepper

    Thank you for doing such a beautiful job of describing this difficult battle. You are right that without discussing depression that it will inevitably kill. Continue to speak out about it, Hamilton Lindley!

  6. Henry Shell

    I hope that you continue to make this known, Hamilton Lindley. The things that you are speaking out about are things that so many people deal with day-to-day without really dealing with them. It’s because we are too afraid to risk our reputations for it.

  7. Alexius Griffith

    There are many times where it is so hard to see outside the fog of depression. It’s not just something that you can snap out of all of a sudden. So I think that it’s very important to talk about it. Thanks for doing that, Hamilton Lindley.

  8. Jeffrey D. Hood

    This was a tender, vulnerable blog post that we should all see more often. Too many people talk only about sunshine and happiness. Life isn’t that. It is hard. But life is good too. And there are ways out of that depression that doesn’t end in death. Thanks for shining some sunlight on this topic, Hamilton Lindley.

  9. Maria Hernandez

    What a tremendously impactful post. My heart goes out to you. Way to take your experience & talents to paint a picture of true strength and heartache. May this post be the inspiration needed to make the difference in someone’s life.

  10. Olivia Tremblay

    Thank you for sharing and spreading a new light of understanding on depression, Hamilton Lindley. Praying for you and all those that suffer from this disease.

  11. Liam Macdonald

    Thank you for sharing, Hamilton Lindley, and I’m so sorry for your loss. My dad also died by suicide 5.5 years ago, and it’s still so sad to think that he might really not have known how terribly he would be missed.

  12. Aiden Gagnon

    So sorry for your loss Hamilton. We lose far too many bright young lives to this horrible disease because there is not enough information and coping mechanisms available to help them. Thanks for helping to bring attention to this important issue.

  13. Jackson Roy

    Too many suffer from this soul-stealing disease, Hamilton Lindley. Thank you for bringing some insight to those that don’t understand and some light into the dark. Your brother would be proud of you for sharing this.

  14. Caden Brown

    Powerful post. Thank you for your bravery for sharing your personal story. I am so terribly sorry for your loss. Thinking about you and your family today. And always hopeful that I can be a friend to someone in need- even without realizing how desperately they needed a friend.

  15. Drake Murphy

    Being a mental health doctor, I feel like I should say something more profound than “I couldn’t have said it better myself.” But you said it best, my friend. I treat clinical depression regularly, and have it myself. I don’t hide and pretend it’s not there like I used to…but that took a lot of time and help, medical help, and support from others to get to this place I am today, and it’s something some depressed and anxious persons deal with everyday. Hamilton, I am so sorry for your loss. However, I am so proud and happy you publicly voiced about removing the stigma of mental illness and what to do when someone needs help and what signs to look for as well. I thank you, and more people than you’ll ever know thank you for your powerful words.

  16. Ella Green

    Thank you for sharing! A very dear friend of mind has been experiencing severe depression over the past year & has been very open with me about it. I’ve learned a lot & have a new understanding/sympathy for those suffering from it.

  17. Josiah Lee

    Thank you for telling your brother’s story. I know it’s not easy, but this is the only way to end the stigma and let people struggling know there are ways to get help. I admire your bravery and your willingness to be the voice.

  18. One of my colleagues talked about your article and asked me to read. Sometimes I got depressed too much, and I can’t do the things I want to. Your words are compelling and encourage me. When you are depressed, you can’t find anything positive, and it affects your work, relationship, health. I have gone through this phase. But now, I always try to remain happy and makes others happier.
    Thanks for sharing this article.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *