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Last year we went to a community meeting that Extension and the Cattlemen were sponsoring. It was a dinner and my husband, our 12 year old daughter and I went together as a family. At the gathering, a mental health counselor talked to the group about farming and depression. She told us signs of depression and how it can lead to suicide. All of a sudden something clicked as she gave her presentation. This sounded like my husband. I knew I had seen all of these signs, but was just ignoring them. We had a couple of bad years with weather with our crops, and the financial situation at our household is terrible. We took on other jobs to compensate for the loss in our incomes. This made it hard on how much we were home and we lost all communication as a family.
As I listened to the presenter, a chill came over me. Was my spouse considering suicide? He had recently met with the insurance agent. What had he told him? I decided we had to have help.
On the way home, things were quiet between the three of us. My husband did not say anything. The next morning I made him sit down with me and talk about depression. Yes, he had been thinking about suicide as a “way out” for his family. He said he was always tired. And, no matter what he did, just could not get ahead. He agreed that he would go for mental health counseling. I got on the phone and made a call using the resources I had received at the meeting. I told them we were farmers, so we needed someone who understood farming. I also told them we were short on money and did not know how much our insurance would cover.
To make a long story short, my husband and I both received some mental health counseling from a great counselor who did know about farming. My husband is still on some medication for depression, and we still have some tough decisions to make about farming and finances. However, we are taking time to be a family again, communicating much better, and enjoying the little things in life.
Thank goodness I heard the presentation on depression and opened my eyes to save my husband and family. To all of you out there, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Things can get better.
By: Jolene, a much happier farm wife. (Name has been changed)
The day had finally come. The day I had been working for, struggling for, for the past four years. They had been a hard four years. I had raised a daughter on my own, worked full time, and I was graduating with honors, May 10th, 1990. What was even more exciting was I had a great job waiting for me. I was going to be a Drug Prevention Specialist speaking to communities on adding Drug Prevention to their program and working with children and even a little clowning. I loved my job, and thought my future was going to be perfect. Then one day a black cloud started rising over my horizon but I could not escape it. The black cloud was the black cloud of depression. Before I knew it I was emotionally emerged and all I was living for was a way to do away with myself. I finally ended up in the hospital; I was so despondent that my Minister couldn't stand to be around me. My Psychiatrist said my only hope is to have ECT, electrical current treatment. Because of these treatments I know little about my stay in the hospital. Little did I realize I had been in the hospital three months. When I was finally released I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder.
Everything I had worked for had been swallowed up in my break down. But, I have accomplished many things since then and every day is quite a challenge. I have seen the inside of the hospital more than I want to but realize that I am receiving the help I need. I am doing great and have a great husband that understands me.
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