Vail Valley: Depression doesn’t have to be hopeless |

Vail Valley: Depression doesn’t have to be hopeless

Elizabeth Myers
Executive director, Samaritan Counseling Center
Vail, CO Colorado

VAIL VALLEY, Colorado –National Depression Screening Day is Thursday in Colorado’s Vail Valley/ Given that we seem to have as many “national” days as Hallmark can dream up, I usually pay no attention to them.

But this year I am making note of Oct. 8 because this has been a year in which so many people have struggled.

Here in the Vail Valley, over the past year, there has been approximately one suicide a week. Not all of these are reported, but the fact remains, and this is something we need to all pay attention to. This is a small valley and the fact that people in this beautiful place find life so unbearable that they make the choice to end it is incomprehensible.

Dr. Randy Simmonds helped a woman at the Samaritan Counseling Center who grew up in a “proper family” – middle class with a father who was so busy at work that he did not play a role in the family.

Her mother was trying her best, but the children were difficult, money was tight and she was lonely and depressed. One child’s adjustment disorders led to rage and violence that he took out on his sister, our client.

This girl grew up in a very unsafe world, but she was bright and resourceful and did well in school and grew up to finish graduate school and have a successful career in the business world. Beneath her façade, she was horribly alone, experiencing depression and that constant feelings of “I’m not OK” and “nobody will ever love me.”

Throughout several years of counseling, she began to realize that she had been living in a cloud of clinical depression her entire life. She began taking antidepressants after she became convinced that she couldn’t get a grip on her own.

Suddenly, a world that had always been dark and gloomy became sunny. With the healing of her childhood trauma, she also found spiritual healing at the Samaritan Counseling Center. She never felt alone again. In her situation, medication and counseling were the answers that allowed her to experience life to its fullest.

Depression can also appear as anger and discouragement, rather than as feelings of hopelessness and helplessness. If depression is severe, there may also be psychotic symptoms, such as hallucinations and delusions. These symptoms may focus on themes of guilt, inadequacy or disease.

Clinical depression is treatable. It is a common medical illness affecting more than 19 million American adults each year. Internet depression screening is available on different Web sites, such as, and help is also available. Depression can be treated in a variety of ways, particularly with medication and counseling.

Most people benefit from a combination of the two treatments. Some studies have shown that antidepressant drug therapy combined with psychotherapy has better results than either therapy alone.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help:

• To avoid alcohol and drugs (which make depression worse and may interfere with medications)

• To eat well-balanced meals

• To get regular exercise and sleep

• To seek supportive relationships

Perhaps because many of us are able to maintain this lifestyle most of the time, we feel like we should be happy – we do live in one of the most beautiful places in the world.

If you or someone you love suffers from depression, get help.

Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or

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