Dear Sean

CYNTHIA—I’m depressed because I’m stuck indoors because I have a compromised immune system. I miss my husband. He died two years ago from a stroke and I’m still learning to be an old widow.

You mentioned once you play online Scrabble, I love that game and wanted to know will you play me sometime? I’ll warn you though, I’m pretty darn good and I don’t ever lose.

DAN—Dear Sean, I have been depressed for the past fifteen years off and on. It doesn’t matter why because I now realize that it’s a chemical thing and it’s just the way I’m made and I’ve gotta deal with it.

In May I tried to do the ‘stupid thing’ [suicide] you mentioned in your earlier column but I called my mom and she saved me. She found me in a bad place and never judged me even though I was in a really bad place. I’ve been on and off meds for a year and I go to therapy but it’s a never ending war. This ‘rona has really been hard for me. Thanks for listening. I’m not going to give up and I don’t think anyone else should give up. My mom is awesome.

GAIL—I’m 79 and I have never been this depressed in my life. My kids threw me a birthday party when I turned 79 in June but I was only pretending to have a good time, inside I was wondering what the point is to being alive. I live in Ohio. Visit me.

HELEN—Can’t you see that your just part of the fear mongering shawn? Quit scaring everone into a early grave. OK, Depression is a thing OK we get it OK? But people like you are focusing on the virus and it’s making it only worse.

JOHN—I lost a brother to suicide. I also work in the mental health field, I want to share the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK. They also accommodate members of the Deaf community online. Thank you.

MELODY—Yeah, I’m depressed. I feel like a real weakling for saying it, because I have a really good life and a great family… I never had problems before, and I always believed people with depression were just looking for attention until now. I made an appointment with a counselor in my church because I know there’s a light at the end of this tunnel. I hope I find it.

CHELSEA—So I started drinking a lot, Sean. Before this quarantine the problems were already there but not that bad, but then it just went all to [deleted]. I didn’t want to admit I’m an alcoholic but that glass of wine wouldn’t let me go… I’ve been going to meetings online now and I have accountability and I just wanted to say that I’m sober now for a whole four months and other people can do it, too. Trust me, if I can do it…

LORIE—I’m going to get help for me my kids and for my grandkids… I’m 62 and so depressed that I can’t see what the point to everything is anymore, I’m gonna do the help thing and let someone in. I thought about ending it all one time and it scared me that I would even go there.

MARK—Been staying home every day from the virus. Don’t talk to my friends anymore, quit going to town because I get delivery on my groceries. Then I wash them down on the porch with sanitizer then I wash my hands with rubbing alcohol, but food doesn’t even taste good to me these days. I have been thinking that I’m sinking lower, Sean, into maybe OCD. I’m afraid to even leave my house because I might catch the virus and die. You’re the first person I’ve told.

HARRIET— I’m a doctor, Sean… Any light brought to the realm of mental wellness is welcome because it really is an anxious time right now. We have to educate people, the same way we do with COVID-19, about depression and its triggers.

SAM—I wish my brother would have gotten help. He never talked to me, and we lost him. But now I talk to him every day. He loved Auburn football.

ERICA—My teenage daughter has been getting help and it’s made all the difference. I want parents to know that teenagers are affected by this stuff right now, too, and they don’t know how to tell you about it because their little brains don’t understand.

ME—I am overcome. I have been reading letters since this morning in response to yesterday’s column. I have shed my share of tears. And I have felt my share of warmth. People are stronger than I ever imagined. Stronger than me, that’s for sure.

My words seem so feeble, but I truly mean them: Thank you. To anyone who took the time to send me a story, an email, a private message, a text, or anonymous comments about your experience with depression, suicide, or mental illness. Once more, thank you. I sincerely believe anyone who is struggling right now needs to hear the following words:

May God bless you and keep you.

And Miss Cynthia, if it’s a Scrabble war you want, you’ve got one.


  1. Mary Bales - August 10, 2020 10:05 am

    The strength of everyone you quoted in your article is inspiring. It takes courage to admit depression and fear. Stay faithful, friends….times will get better!

  2. topdock - August 10, 2020 10:57 am

    God bless you Sean!

  3. Sue Rhodus - August 10, 2020 11:58 am

    It has been said that the killer of many is not disease but loneliness , therefore the predecessor to depression. Lord knows, many are alone and isolated during this pandemic. “Back in the day,” depression carried such a stigma with it making many afraid to express their true feelings. You, my friend, inspire people to share. Putting thoughts on paper is a great step forward. Be blessed this day and thank you.❤

  4. Jo Ann - August 10, 2020 12:10 pm

    Thanks, Sean, for your writings. You show people they’re not alone & allow them to talk about their feelings without judgement. Sending love & blessings to all. I hope you find peace & comfort, & please, please, seek help-it’s out there for all.

  5. Ann - August 10, 2020 12:14 pm

    You do more for people than you can ever imagine….. keep the serious… light.. the real… and live and smiles coming… you have/are a gift!❤️

  6. katherine thomson - August 10, 2020 12:18 pm

    I love your posts!

  7. Kathy - August 10, 2020 12:21 pm

    We are here to help one another hobble along. Even when we are struggling ourselves. I hold out my hand.

  8. Joyce - August 10, 2020 12:42 pm

    I started to write a comment on depression, but then I erased it because it seemed so trivial compared to what everyone else is going through. But it isn’t trivial. My depression is about MY losses, and they are real. I’m 83 years old and building a new life during isolation with my faithful cat. Thank you for being in our lives and for sharing with all of us.

  9. Melanie - August 10, 2020 12:49 pm

    “If you build it, they will come…” ❤️

  10. hbryan21Harriet - August 10, 2020 1:03 pm

    Hi Sean My response to depression has been “Rejoice in the Lord and trust Him to act” and please vote for Trump!
    Im an 86 year old widow from Ala. chillin in the mountains of N.C. earthquake and all.

  11. walter buehler - August 10, 2020 1:22 pm

    Thank you for these valuable comments.

  12. Carroll Uithoven - August 10, 2020 1:47 pm

    A few years ago I was going through a bad time. Lots of small physical infirmities, no energy, loss of interest in usual activities. I had a good check up, got some medical advice, and told the doctor about my situation. He said,”You might be depressed. Have you thought about that?” I responded, “In my family we don’t get depressed. You just get up & get busy!” Then I agreed that he was probably correct. I started on a low dose of antidepressants. After a couple of weeks, I felt as if a great weight had been lifted. It was amazing! I continued the meds for a few years, but now I am off them & feel great. Do not be afraid to get help. No stigma, turns out, lots of my friends have done the same thing.

  13. Betty F. - August 10, 2020 2:15 pm

    Sent yesterday’s column to a friend who is getting heavy help for her depression. She has had the courage to share her struggle with a small group then a larger group- quite a feat for someone who is very concerned with her public face. She said she hoped it would help others who might be struggling. Don’t stop being honest.

  14. Connie - August 10, 2020 2:23 pm

    I shared the column on depression on my Facebook page. It’s hard to know what to say to people but you do a great job of saying the things I can’t. Sending love and hugs and light to all the people who need it today.

  15. Sue Murphy - August 10, 2020 2:27 pm

    Dear Sean, Thank you for your posts….even when they are hard to read. I am not depressed, but I deal with anxiety…..daily. More so now. It is hard. But I get past it. I take meds as needed, thank God for each day, go out to my garden gone rogue and eat a tomato. Life is good.

  16. Andrea Peebles - August 10, 2020 2:31 pm

    Amen! And go help someone else. It blesses you more than it ever blesses them.

  17. Arelene Mack - August 10, 2020 2:55 pm

    Thank you for taking us to a simpler, kinder time in your writings and musings. I enjoy what you have to say whether I agree with you or not. Please keep on pointing out the good in people, and the good things in our world. None of us are getting out of here alive, so we all need to be as good to each other as we can in order to make all our days, hours, minutes and seconds as memorable as possible. Keep watching, listening and writing as you share our burdens and lighten our load.

  18. Bobbie - August 10, 2020 3:36 pm

    Bless your heart!! And the hearts of fellow depressed ones. It’s been the bane of my life for many years. God is our only TRUE help in time of need but He sends people to help Him help us😊. I have my moments but with a little help from friends and meds, am doing quite well.
    Re Scrabble…I used to play online with my grandsons till they got too busy. I love it!! Could I join you and Cynthia? I’m pretty good too, or used to be.
    Thank you and God bless❤️🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

  19. Patricia Gibson - August 10, 2020 3:56 pm

    You are so right Sean. We need to reach out to each other! Especially those living alone. God bless you

  20. David P B Feder - August 10, 2020 4:09 pm

    Hey, Sean,
    Maybe you could consider getting some of these letter writers together (by mail/email, and with their permission, of course) so that they can all help each other out? Just a thought. I work two jobs and have a young family but I’ll try to help out if you need it. LMK.
    Thanks for all your wonderful work and inspiring writing. No doubt even before COVID you’ve saved a few lives. And I mean that literally.

  21. Linda Moon - August 10, 2020 4:56 pm

    Today I looked forward to reading another of your 2,345,404 words. You see, I am adding one word each day. That means you didn’t stop writing, and I am still living. Your words, Sean, are not feeble. I add them daily to my bucketful of people, memories, and two furry cats that keep me going in spite of COVID-19 and other challenges that seem to be ad infinitum. You probably never signed up to be the next “Dear Abby”. But here you are. And we all thank you, my dear Sean.

  22. Paula Beard - August 10, 2020 5:09 pm

    The Lord bless you and keep you…and give you peace. My prayer for all.

  23. Maggie Lord - August 10, 2020 5:18 pm

    You’re a good man Sean Dietrich. God Bless You!

  24. Patricia Schwindt - August 10, 2020 5:56 pm

    That was an amazing, wonderful, sad, even tragic yet inspiring column. I have been on anti-depressants since I was 25. I will be 77 next month. More than 50 years. It runs in my family. Everyone in my family of origin is on meds or should be. This thing is a killer, literally. I watched the funeral yesterday of a colleague’s 43-year-old son, a gay man who was much loved by his family and friends. I know of other people who have taken that ultimate step. I myself have actually considered it, to the point that three days before my last child was born, I was so unhappy in my disastrous marriage that I almost opened the door to leap out as we were driving. That was in the days before seat belts, and I think it was only an angel that stopped me. In 1980-something, I had to quit a job because I was a writer but had to work from home and didn’t get to actually see people but had to talk to them on the phone. Didn’t work. Then this weekend, after days of sitting on the sofa playing a word game on my phone, it hit me what was wrong with me. I’m getting better now. Please don’t use my real name. My children don’t really know about all this, especially my last child.

  25. kathleenivy - August 10, 2020 6:00 pm

    Thank you Sean. God bless you and the work you do here. May God bless all of this to our understanding and keep us from despair.

  26. Jenny Young - August 10, 2020 6:12 pm

    Thank you so much for writing. When you write….you share everyone’s struggle. That means you don’t have to carry it all alone….we all carry it together.

    I’ve come to love you & your family. I hope that’s not too weird…..I’m just a mom, a grammy, a wife living a fairy tale life with my one true love. (Just remember that fairy tales have villains, curses & evil witches but they also have happy endings.) I love reading your fairy tale as well.

  27. Helen De Prima - August 10, 2020 8:05 pm

    Thank you for being a voice crying in the wilderness. If you save one life, you will have lived successfully.

  28. Brenda - August 10, 2020 8:52 pm

    Dear kind heart, you open a door of intimate trust to your readers. Thank you for sharing love on the wings of a dove 🕊️. Many blessings.

  29. Karen Callis - August 11, 2020 3:02 pm

    You are a beautiful person.

  30. MyPlace - August 12, 2020 4:49 am

    I am astounded by these comments, Reading them tells me that people are still good, struggling every day to get through the day, have hope even in the dark times, and they are proof that it doesn’t take a whole lot of anything to cheer others up, just one person being real and honest can bring a light in that you have been waiting for. Keep on keeping on, all you folks who thought you were alone out there. You are not alone, you have millions of friends, other people just like you. Take heart, find each other, online if need be, Everyone is worth getting to know. Thanks, Sean, for everything you write…

  31. Chasity Davis Ritter - August 14, 2020 5:42 pm

    Dear Sean, I wanted to comment on your depression post so much. I did share it and comment there. We’ve all been going through so much lately. I never got around to commenting on that post. And today (it’s been a few days even since this one was emailed to me) I decided I better write quickly before I change my mind here. I was going home from work..I’ve been Essential this whole year…and I stopped because I saw flashing lights coming my way. Turns out it was a procession leading a home town boy to the funeral home. He had been serving his country in Iraq when the depression hit him harder than he could stand anymore. I don’t know if he could see it all from Heaven I pray that’s where he is but he was being led by police officers and followed by a motorcycle motorcade of veterans. I imagine his funeral service procession tomorrow will be even bigger. I pray for the family and his children he left behind and all those suffering from depression this year. His name was: Sergeant First Class Aaron James Weaver who came into the world on October 7, 1983. After a courageous and long battle with depression, Aaron James left this world on August 2, 2020.

    Aaron enlisted in the military after September 11, 2001. Directly after high school graduation, he joined the Army full time and has continued his career there. AJ was a member of the 82nd Airborne Division. His deployments include Iraq from November 2005-November 2006, Iraq from April 2008-May 2009, Korea July 2014-July 2015, and he returned back to Iraq from April 2017-December 2017. Aaron served at the following bases: Ft. Sill, Camp Atterbury, Camp Casey South Korea, Joint Base Lewis McCord, and Ft. Bragg. AJ’s military awards are many and they include: The Combat Action Badge, 3 Meritory Service Medals, 3 Army Commendation Medals, and completed Air Assault School. His fellow unit members would tell you that he was one of the kindest men you would meet. He would speak his mind but judging of people, he did not. He enjoyed playing jokes on his unit, and he was a good recipient of gentle jabs from them. He is remembered by his big smile and greater than life hug. His sisters would tell you that he always made them feel protected. He may not have let his sisters know it, but he always had their backs and would protect them. He often went along with his sisters’ requests, even if that meant that they got to dress him up and put makeup on him (he never would admit this). He was a sweet soul. Aaron was a member of the United States Military Veterans Bike Club. The members of this club meant the world to Aaron. He enjoyed his times with them and he was very thankful of the support they provided to him during his times of need. They are a brotherhood and are his extended family. Aaron James will be missed by so many.


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