A lifelong journey concluded

This is the third of a three-part series. It is a true story about Mark, who agreed to meet with me and be interviewed with the goal of helping others.
Mark has spent the majority of his adult life living with depression and, for many years, denying its existence.
Mark is a 59-year-old man. He is a husband, father, brother, and successful businessman. He has been the owner/operator of his own business for many years and is highly-respected in his career.
Mark has depression and recently spent several days in hospital for a suicide attempt:
“In retrospect, we all were seeing the signs of my depression deepening. I was having a hard time concentrating and making decisions, I was angry over little things that normally wouldn’t bother me, and I wasn’t sleeping well.
“These were side effects of the new medication.
“Although going to the hospital was one of the most difficult things I had to do, not knowing what to expect, it was one of the best things that I have done, for myself and those who love me.
“I went to a phenomenal facility and throughout this time learned that I am a very fortunate man. I have a wonderful large and loving support system, and I have tools and resources to my advantage.
“Because I have such a good support system, my wife and family, I didn’t have to stay in more than three days.
“If any of you have been to a psychiatric ward, you would have noticed that there a few, if any, visitors. People don’t get visitors or phone calls or flowers or cards when they are in a psychiatric hospital.
“There is shame surrounding mental illness and it is multiplied by the fact that when people go to hospitals for help, they don’t get the same support and condolences that they would if they had a purely physical illness.
“My experience was very different. My family was there and if they couldn’t be there in person, they phoned. My wife was a part of my meetings with the staff and treatment team.
“In all respects it was very positive. It also reminded me of how many people would be hurt if I had completed my suicide attempt. When you are depressed, you don’t think you are of value to anyone.
“I have learned that situations, both pleasant and hurtful, will happen to all of us. Some people will rise up to them and fight through. Some, like me, may need some help.
“I take medication now, and I think I will probably have to for the rest of my life. There is a difference between situational depression and clinical depression, and it is not a character defect nor is it shameful to have to take medication to have a full life.
“I don’t know what came first, the depression or the situations. I think some of the things that have happened in my life caused the depression to deepen at times.
“I also know that it is a chemical imbalance, a medical condition. It is just that it is invisible—and we tend to be afraid of what we cannot see.
“It is a part of me and who I am.
“Even though I struggled for many years with depression on and off, I was able to accomplish a great deal in my life. My business is solid. I have great children and step-children, and those relationships are better than they have ever been.
“I have siblings and friends who love and support me, and a wife who loves me deeply.
“Although depression can be devastating and life-threatening, with help and support, it doesn’t have to stop you from living a full and enriching life.
“I wrote this, although painful at times, because I want to leave a message of hope for people. For those of you who are struggling, those who are worried about family members or friends, I hope that by sharing my experiences it will help you to seek help.
“If, at the end of the day, I can reach even one person and make a positive difference in their life, then perhaps my struggles and pain will have had purpose.”