He Died of Depression

I’ve been commenting on a Facebook thread in which the original poster wrote:

The quickest and easiest way for [me] to start a flame war in the comments section? By writing down [my] real opinion about the use of “medication” to treat psych disorders.

Anxiety medication with INCREASED RISK OF SUICIDE as a side effect. Unreal. And now a rock icon that I valued, respected and enjoyed — and a husband and father — is gone, almost certainly because of damned pills.

I can’t even put into words how much I loathe psychiatry. I’m basically Tom Cruise on this subject.

The person posting the above did indeed get dozens of comments, on both sides of the issue… with far too many people screaming that psychiatric medications kill people, are the worst things on the planet, etc etc.

As a social worker, I’ve seen people who haven’t been helped by medications and people with nasty side effects (drooling, weight gain, the “Thorazine shuffle”).  I’ve argued with a doctor in ICU, that a family member should NOT be given low dose Haldol for anxiety.  (It is my belief – from talking to psychiatric patients – that Haldol, one of the first antipsychotics – is nothing more than a chemical restraint.  The patient still has the symptoms, but can’t react to them, thus making the medical personnel’s life easier but not the patient’s.  It is still prescribed because it costs pennies to administer, unlike other, much more expensive medications.)

I’ve also seen far more people who have been given their lives back by the use of psychiatric medications, particularly the newer ones.

The medical world can see cancer cells and target them for treatment. Physicians can see heart disease and treat it.

Depression and anxiety, however… with those we have to depend on the person’s history, his or her self-report and our interpretation of physical signs.  However, too often there’s not much in the way of objective physical signs for us to go on.  For example, does the patient appear lethargic? Does she have dulled affect?  Does he appear “tense”?  It’s not like a more physical ailment where you can hear the rattling of pneumonia in one’s chest, or measure a blood sugar spike or hypertensive episode.

With depression and anxiety (and a whole host of other psychiatric conditions), the treating medical or clinical practitioner has to depend on that patient’s self-report to identify the symptoms and make a diagnosis, and those symptoms can seem unrelated to what’s really going on.

The patient may complain of headaches, digestive problems, sleep deprivation, aches & pains, lack of appetite (or increased appetite), chest pain, etc – none of which are typically easy for the clinician to see.

The distinction that anti-meds people don’t get is that when people die of cancer or heart attacks, it seems as though the body just gave up, even if there were things the person could have done to have prevented that heart attack or that cancer.  But if the person was on medications for that cancer or heart disease and dies anyway, there isn’t a huge outcry of “the medical community makes us take these horrible medications that don’t work”.

For some reason, when someone is on medications for an illness that is just as lethal as heart disease or cancer (and depression and anxiety are indeed lethal illnesses), and dies anyway (by suicide), there’s this persistent belief that it’s the medications that caused that death.

Let’s get this straight.

Suicide is nearly always caused by depression or anxiety. When a person dies of heart disease, she’s said to die of heart disease. When a person dies of cancer, he’s said to die of cancer.

When my husband died of depression & anxiety, the death certificate stated that he died of “an intraoral gunshot wound”.


My husband died of depression and anxiety.

In this instance, it doesn’t matter whether he was on medications or not (he was not).  My husband’s depression and his anxiety killed him.


For more information about The Warrior Project – soon to be a drop-in and counseling center for those affected by suicide and/or suicidal thoughts, please click on the picture or link, or go to https://warrior-project.org.

The Warrior Project will eventually become a warm, welcoming drop-in center for those living with extreme emotional and/or physical pain coupled with hopelessness, and a resource for families and friends fearing for the life of, or grieving the loss of, the person they love so much.

We are accepting blogs and articles written on topics relevant to suicide, hopelessness, grief, and similar topics.  Please contact Linda at LSnyder@regroupbiz.com or warriorprojectmaine@gmail.com.


In memory of my beloved husband John Kelly Snyder… 20 Sept 1956 – 21 Oct 2016.

My Johnny was a true warrior, fighting demons no one else could see.  I thought he was the strongest man in the world, and perhaps he was, but tragically, the demons got the better of him.

The name of this project is in no way intended to be reflective of, or piggy back off, Wounded Warriors which serves those military personnel wounded after September 11, 20o1.  Like too many others, John was a warrior long before then.

Fair winds and following seas, Husband.


We now have a group on Facebook to help find resources, support and ideas for getting The Warrior Project off the ground.  You can find us there at https://www.facebook.com/groups/thewarriorproject/

Follow us on Twitter!  @WarriorProjME.


The Warrior Project is NOT an emergency program or service.

In the event of a crisis, please call 911

In the United States, other numbers to call include:
Maine Crisis Hotline:
National Suicide Prevention Hotline:
Veterans Suicide Hotline:
Domestic Violence Hotline:


John and I owned both a small antiques shop and a used bookstore in Lewiston, Maine. After John died, I didn’t know what I wanted to do with the two shops – they take up a huge amount of time, and weren’t yet covering their own costs.  After John died in October of 2016, the shops were barely open during the critical holiday sales season; I couldn’t stand being in them because we had such dreams for the future.

But Johnny loved his little bookstore (Heritage Books, Maps & Ephemera) and the goal was that he would one day “retire” into running the two shops.  So I’ve committed to keeping them open, although Heritage Collectibles is now Heritage Collectibles, Books & Maps as I’ve combined those two businesses, and I’m opening Papa’s Thrift Shop for the inventory that doesn’t really work in the main store.  (Papa is what John’s grandchildren called him.)

All of the profits from those two businesses (after expenses, of course!) will go to support The Warrior Project.  If you are so inclined, please consider checking out our shops, knowing that your purchase will help fund this critically needed suicide prevention drop in center.

This entry was posted in Death & Dying, Grief, Loneliness, Suicide and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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