Death Of Depression Big Sky Montana Winter

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I recently visited friends in Montana. My friend told me that the suicide rate in Montana is the highest of all 50states. Death of depression was all around us. Montana is so beautiful that I had a hard time believing this statement.

Looking out the window

Death Of Depression Big Sky Montana Winter

One morning I woke early, I sat in her living room. It has glass all around, and the beauty beyond those windows is extraordinary. The grass was green. The hills and mountains extended forever. And the sky never ended.

It was peaceful, and the closest neighbor was a mile or more away. It was the dream of every person on earth.

As I sat in that window, I wondered what it must be like in Montana in the winter. I bet the snow is a wonder to behold. But I also believe the rate of depression in Montana increases in the winter time.

The summers are short and the winter days are dark and long. The average annual snowfall is 62 inches which could be the dream of everyone who loves to snow ski.

I do not ski, and I do not enjoy the cold and snow. So, to live in a state with this much snow is not a dream of mine.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

One of the reasons I do not like cold and snow is because I have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) or better known as winter depression. When the winter days shorten, and the sun is farther from the earth, I get depressed. I need long days, lots of vitamin D and the sun close to the planet to produce serotonin in my brain.
In the winter months in the state, I live in I take an antidepressant.

In this year of 2018 antidepressants are more acceptable. It was not that long ago I could not comfortably tell anyone that I get depressed in the winter. Depression has carried a stigma, and people thought you were weak if you talked about how you felt. Many people are not as bold as I and not comfortable telling anyone about their depression.

Suicide

According to an article by the Nate Chute Foundation:

Suicide deaths and attempts are epidemic in Montana. Youth Suicide rates are nearly double the national average. Montana has ranked in the top five for suicide rates in the nation for the past forty years.

Access to lethal means (firearms), alcohol, a sense of being a burden, social isolation, underlying mental illness and a societal stigma against depression, all contribute to the high rate of youth suicide in Montana.

I have never had suicide ideation. I have a very supportive husband and take my medication during the winter months.

But many people are not as fortunate as I am. They have nowhere to turn. They have very little knowledge about depression or the medications that can help them. And they may not have the finances to afford the help they need.

Sadness creeps in

Depression creeps up on a person. It first starts as anger where something is wrong with everything. If a person is not aware of this, they may attempt to self-medicate. In a state like Montana, there is very little to do in the winter.  A lot of people will spend time with friends drinking. They may be self-medicating with alcohol.

Alcohol perpetuates the depression, and it deepens. You can not stop depression without help.shadow of a man on railroad tracks

It is a severe heartfelt pain deep inside of you that wrenches your soul. It convinces you that you are not worthy and the world would be better off without you around.

The pain becomes so intense that all you can think about is to end it all and stop your pain and worthless exitance.

It is stated so well by Kay Redfield Jamison, Ph.D.

“Suicide is a particularly awful way to die: the mental suffering leading up to it is usually prolonged, intense, and unpalliated. There is no morphine equivalent to ease the acute pain, and death not uncommonly is violent and grisly. The suffering of the suicidal is private and inexpressible, leaving family members, friends, and colleagues to deal with an almost unfathomable kind of loss, as well as guilt. Suicide carries in its aftermath a level of confusion and devastation that is, for the most part, beyond description.

Kay Redfield Jamison, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychiatry
Johns Hopkins University
“Night Falls Fast:
understanding suicide”, pg. 24

Suicide is a problem for all of us

Suicide is not just a problem for the mental health world. It is a problem for all of us. I am writing to help at least one of you see that talking about depression is acceptable. Asking for help is necessary.

Your family will be devastated and lost without you. The thoughts of unworthiness and believing the world is better without you are false. Make a call. Don’t let the darkness of loneliness surround you.

Don’t sit in that glass tower looking out over the world feeling isolated. Reach out to someone, anyone. Your life is important. You are worthy and capable of such amazing accomplishments. Set your mind to live and seek help. If you don’t do it for you, do it for those of us who care about your life.

If you have questions or I can be of assistance to you, please leave a comment. Reach out.

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12 thoughts on “Death Of Depression Big Sky Montana Winter”

  1. Laura,

    Suicide is a difficult topic to write about.  When I was in Minneapolis, some of my employees were in a study that looked at using light for treating Seasonal Affective Disorder.  Minnesota is at about the same latitude as Montana so the lack of daylight in the winter is also about the same.  I couldn’t wait for spring to arrive.  When it finally did arrive, we would notice everyone moping about so we gave everyone an afternoon off to enjoy the sunshine.

    I think that there is a growing realization that it is up to each one of us to pull ourselves away from our screens and notice others around us who may be hurting.

    Thanks, Ellen

    • Yes Ellen, suicide affects all of us. It is up to everyone to take a look around and see who may need our help. And it looks like Montana needs to take a look at it also.

  2. Great post. I think that depression can really be considered the lowest point of mental stability of a person. I have had family members that suffered severe depression and they cannot seem to accept that they are lucky enough to walk, see the world, and have a family that loves them. Nothing will be perfect but we must learn to overcome obstacles. 

    I believe that the key is “motivation” and “expectation”. We must have these two in life but nothing can come from a single resource, otherwise once that resource is closed, then we feel trapped. For example, I’m a soccer coach and I cannot put all my “happiness” in winning games/tournaments because if I don’t win, I will feel like I’m the worst coach ever. I also find happiness in seeing my players improves, seeing my son walk, or my students get good grades.

    Anyone that needs help, contact me, email me, I will do everything that I can to wake up the “BEST YOU” that lives inside of you. Like the writer said: “your family will be devastated”. And if you don’t think so,  family is not just by blood, family is also people that care about you; just like the author that took the time to save at least one life. CHEER UP MY FRIEND!!

    • Victor, 

      Thank you for offering to help those in need. It is important to understand that depression is a chemical imbalance of the brain and to cheer up sometimes requires help. I am in hopes that those reading this that are depressed will seek the help they need. 

      Again thank you for your kindness. 

  3. Suicide is not something I would want to have to go through if someone close ending up taking their life. I can only imagine the pain loved ones would endure.

    I am bi-polar so I understand the struggle of feeling lonely, useless and feeling like suicide is the only option. It takes a lot courage and strength to ask for help because of feeling like no one really understands what goes on and, in reality, they don’t. It isn’t a fun issue to go through alone and no one should ever feel alone. 

    • Brandon, Thank you for stepping out and sharing this with us. Depression can overtake a person so quickly and they feel hopeless. Lives are so important and I would like to see everyone have the courage to step out and ask for help. It takes a special strength to know when to get help. 

  4. I did not realize that Montana had the highest suicide rate, I always thought Alaska was up there. The article by Nate Chute Foundation is sad, as our youth should never be included in a discussion about death or suicide :(. One of your comments stands out in particular- “Suicide is not just a problem for the mental health world. It is a problem for all of us. ” This is so true, as when a loved one dies, it affects not only that person’s family/significant other, but the friends, the community, all of us. I hope that after reading this article, more awareness is brought about on a global scale. I am going to post this to social media for others to see the great insight you have provided.

    • Thank you so much for sharing this. Sharing is one of the real ways to reach so many more. I appreciate your intuitiveness into this article. So many do not see what I am trying to say. You have and you rock for wanting to help just as I do. 

  5. Great article on depression and suicide. I by the way love Montana, but I have not been there in the winter and would not want to live there in the winter. Too much cold, snow and darkness for me there in the winter.

    I also take anti-depressants. I got really down when I was laid off from my job of about thirty years, because our small company was purchased by our competition and they shut us down. It was very sad. I never became suicidal, but I was very depressed and would sometime cry for no reason. I didn’t want to anything. I did my new job but that was it.

    This disease is far too prevalent now days but thankfully there are some great remedies available.

    Thank you for a great article packed with useful information.

    • Montana is beautiful. Our friends want us to come back in the winter. I don’t think we can go with all of that snow. 

      Isn’t it strange how any change in our lives can trigger an imbalance. Our brains are so sensitive. I am so happy you chose to take antidepressants before you became depressed to the point of no return. So many people do not want to take meds and suffer with the horrible feelings depression produces. 

  6. What a powerful and inspiration article. This should be shared with everyone we know. Sometimes we don’t even have a clue what’s going on inside someone’s head and its hard to help them if they don’t even know what’s going on. The fact that vitamin D is so important and that it plays a big role in the depression in many people in Montana is incredible. If more people know this the more we can help and prevent this horrible thing called depression! Thanks so much for sharing. 

    • Thank You Andrea, I also wish more physicians would use Vitamin D and other homeopathic items as well as antidepressants. I think it would change a lot of things with depression. But Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin and can accumulate in the body. It requires a blood test which can be expensive. So many do not have insurance to cover this type of testing. 

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