Sanders shows leadership in writing about depression

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 10, 2006

To the Editor:

The honesty of Sen. Hank Sanders’ recent column, “Sometimes the Spirit’s Not Even Willing,” impressed my wife so much that she read it aloud to our son and me.

Years ago, football legend Walter Peyton reported that he had anxiety attacks.

Email newsletter signup

Later, actor Michael J. Fox talked of his daily challenges with Parkinson’s.

Now, our state senator has the courage to come forward with the reality of his struggle: depression.

I really appreciate his approaching a subject that most every one knows, but fear to address because the stigma too many attach to it.

Some consider the condition as if it were a character flaw, and that others might think less of them if they were to talk about it.

Not so.

Just last week I read that a third of our U.S. Presidents suffered from bouts of depression, including more memorable and talented ones like James Madison, Abraham Lincoln and Dwight Eisenhower.

Depression strikes the best people I know, and also people I love.

Often those who struggle with this affliction feel alone and hopeless.

I had a friend who took her life because of it.

I commend Senator Sanders for his openness because his confession may give others the freedom to verbalize the same, perhaps, prayerfully, easing their despondency.

It may even save a life.

Such a confession is not a weakness at all, but strength of character.

I also call it “leadership.”

Rev. Dr. Ron Ston