Family Stories


Doug, age 50, has been learning to live and cope with hard-to-treat depression (also known as Treatment-Resistant Depression) for as long as he can remember. The severity and chronic nature of his mental health condition has led him to try multiple therapy and... read more

Becky and Joe

If you’d like to hear Becky share her story, click this link to watch her video. Joe’s battle with depression impacted both his and his wife Becky’s lives immensely, but they held on fast to each other and came out better for it on the other side. Joe Joe has a... read more


Catava felt very different from others growing up with dark, negative thoughts and overreacting to simple situations. It wasn’t until she was in her late 30s that she was referred to a psychiatrist and began looking into her mental wellbeing. She was misdiagnosed... read more


Rose is a powerhouse of inspiration. She is the caregiver of a loved one who lives with depression. She has discovered first-hand how difficult it can be to navigate the mental healthcare system to access services, especially for an older person on Medicare. Rose is... read more


By Dawna Roberts Ronnie’s wife has been living with hard-to-treat depression, which Ronnie describes as “relentless,” for their entire 28-year marriage. Her depression has taken a toll on Ronnie, his wife, and their relationship. Loving someone who lives with... read more

Xavier and Cory — Depression in the Family

Xavier and Cory know the crippling pain of losing a child to suicide. Both have also confronted depression in themselves. Xavier and Cory share their story to encourage families to address signs of depression in their loved ones. Early signs of depression Xavier’s... read more

Chris, 45, dysthymia, and wife, Jill

Chris, 45, dysthymia, and wife, Jill A rough start in life Growing up, Chris saw substance abuse and mood disorders on both sides of his family. “I remember my mother and father fighting a lot when we were kids,” Chris says. Both he and his little brother were smart,... read more


Lyn’s first experience with major depression came when she was a single mother of three in her twenties struggling to keep her head above water. “I wasn’t really functioning,” Lyn remembers. “I was sleeping all the time. I couldn’t tell you if my kids were bathing... read more

David Guterson and wife, Robin

Novelist David Guterson has had many successes in life. His bestselling 1994 book, “Snow Falling on Cedars,” was made into an Academy Award-nominated movie. He was happily married and his life was very fulfilling. That’s why David was astonished when a... read more


I’m a 32-year-old teacher and I live with my partner and two young children. I discovered I had depression when I moved jobs and realized doing so had been a big mistake. I had been teaching at a school for 8 years and then decided to move to another school last... read more


Depression has been part of my family for most of my life. I lost both my brother and a dear friend to suicide. I also have clinical depression. Luckily, I am able to live a normal and productive life and I feel that my story can inspire others with my message of... read more

Greg Stiemsma

Greg Stiemsma grew up in Wisconsin where his skill and commanding 6’11’’ stature made him a natural on the basketball court.  But his talent could not mask the depression that initially appeared while he was in high school.  “The first time I dealt with depression was... read more

Alexandra, daughter of William Styron

Looking back, Alexandra Styron can see that her father, novelist William Styron, likely suffered depression much of his life. But as the youngest of four children, all she knew was the need to tip-toe around the man she remembers as both a looming figure whose stories... read more

Ashley with mom, Lucy

In 8th grade, Ashley appeared to have it all: she was a popular, a straight-A student, co-president of her class, and captain of the volleyball team. On the inside, though, she’d begun to struggle with feelings of unhappiness. She went to boarding school the... read more


People may assume a famous name and wealth guarantee a ticket to Easy Street. But Doris Buffett, sister of Warren Buffett, knows otherwise. Today, she uses her wealth to help people, which brings her great joy. But her life wasn’t always so happy. In her new... read more

Shonda, Curt, and Family

Shonda Schilling, wife of former Major League Baseball championship pitcher and six-time All Star Curt Schilling, seemed to have it all: four beautiful children and a comfortable lifestyle that enables her to be a full-time mother and wife. Publicly, Shonda appeared... read more

Terri with Family

Terri, an enterprising business woman, wife, and mother of two, was diagnosed with clinical depression in 2007, although her symptoms of sadness and hopelessness had begun decades earlier. “Depression runs in my family and my initial symptoms go way back to my teen... read more

Cassandra with her mother

Cassandra was in the seventh grade when she first experienced major depression. “I was in a really low mood all the time,” she recalls. “I liked school. I had a nice group of friends. My home life was good. But, I was depressed. Nothing had happened... read more


Julie, a wife and mother to two-year-old Piper and nine-month-old Cate, works for Ernst & Young. Her ongoing battle with depression began back in 1990, when she was a freshman at the University of Texas at Austin. “It was my first time away from home and I... read more

Michael, Julie, and Steven

The year was 1986. Michael and Julie, then married for six years, had a baby on the way. Michael was a professional fundraiser, a job that required constant energy and enthusiasm and a lot of social interaction. But, he was feeling burned out, always working from... read more

Terry and Peter

It was just weeks before Terry and Peter’s wedding that Peter was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease. When the disease progressed and robbed Peter of his speech, Terry abandoned her career to help him sustain his financial planning business. “We... read more

Trina and Family

It took three years — and a very persistent mother — before Trina realized that the stress and sadness she had been feeling for so long was in fact depression. “I never knew I was depressed,” says Trina. “I didn’t realize how bad I felt until I... read more


Terrie grew up in Mount Vernon, NY, with her parents and her younger sister. “Growing up, mental health was simply not discussed,” Terrie says. “I don’t think it was discussed in many families, especially African-American families in the 1950s.... read more

William and Rose Styron

William Styron (1925-2006), well-known author of Sophie’s Choice, first experienced major depression at age 60. His depression worsened over a six-month period, culminating into suicidal impulses. His wife, Rose Styron, was initially unaware of depression and... read more

Susan and Gary

When Susan’s son was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at age nine, she wasn’t panicked or fearful. She was relieved. The now fifteen-year-old had first been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD),... read more

Renee with husband, Gary

Renee’s family was the first to recognize she wasn’t acting like herself. “I was isolating myself. My husband Gary and my kids told me they were losing me. It was extremely hard because I didn’t want to admit I had a problem,” says Renee.... read more

Gene and Patrice

Gene’s depression began when he was a child and suffered severe panic attacks. He experienced cycles of feeling worthless and hopeless until age 35, when his doctor identified his depression at his annual physical exam. Shortly thereafter, he was diagnosed with... read more

Nell Casey

Nell Casey, editor of Unholy Ghost, was only 16 years old when her sister Maud was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Eleven years later, Maud stopped taking her medication and, after a brief hospitalization for mania, fell into a four-month depressive episode. For this... read more

Zack and Nancy

Less than a year ago, while away at college, Zack had his first major manic episode. After experimenting with drugs with his friends, he felt a sudden change come over him that persisted even after the effects of the drugs wore off. “The next day, I thought that... read more

Missy, Bill, and Katherine

Although Missy struggled with bouts of depression since childhood, she resisted taking medication. She finally sought treatment in order to be well for her infant daughter, Katherine. At first the antidepressant helped, but then Missy became manic and was... read more

Michael and Family

By the middle of his junior year Michael was finding it nearly impossible to get through a day at school. He felt claustrophobic and out of control. He became physically ill in school and lost any motivation to do homework or see friends. Although theater and being... read more

Mary Margaret and friend, Gary

In 1994, Mary Margaret was working long hours for an international consulting firm. She also bought a house that year, and her father, who had been fighting cancer, passed away. “By April 1995,” she says, “I could no longer get out of bed or stop... read more

Lynn with Bob and son, Jack

Lynne’s depression hit out of nowhere the night after her son Jack, was born. She was still in the hospital, after a 32-hour labor without three days of sleep. “Even though I am in a happy marriage, have a successful career, and understand my... read more


Looking back Rebecca, 41, thinks that the “personality quirks” she saw in her husband when they first met in college actually were signs of mental illness. In their early years together she noticed that John, now 42, had trouble sticking with a career path... read more

Joan and Dennis

Depression can place a huge strain on close relationships. Yet, Dennis and Joan’s struggles with depression have brought them closer together. Their story also shows that the fight against depression is an ongoing battle that requires incredible determination. ... read more