It’s been five years since my father committed suicide. I was 18 years old at the time and struggling with understanding my own depression and anxiety. It came as a surprise to me, that morning we found him, because my parents had been hiding it from the world. I’ve never been angry with him for doing it, just very sad. What does bother me, however, is the secrecy. My father was part of a generation that shamed you for having emotions. My mother even disguised how he died from people around us, because she didn’t want to ruin his image. I hate that so much! He was a wonderful, selfless man who worked tirelessly for the people in my town; he was a lineman. We would go off on vacation, hundreds of miles from home and people would recognize him. Not only did he go out of his way to help people, he would also just walk up to a stranger and ask them their life story; he loved listening and learning. So why is it bad for people to know that he suffered horribly from depression? We always portray heroes in books and movies with having a rough beginning or life, why can’t it be accepted in real life? I’m not looking for answers here, I already know them. People are uncomfortable talking about their feelings, especially if it pertains to listening to someone else’s. There is also a terrible prejudice about emotions: women are too emotional and men aren’t allowed to show emotions, especially fear and sadness. Society will change eventually, I know, but it’s too late for my father.

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