I am posting some of Mike's writings in the hopes that they can help someone out there. My interjections are in blue.
"I have suffered from clinical depression probably since my high school years. Until 1983, I didn't understand the mood changes that I was experiencing; I didn't know that I was suffering the ravages of depression. The episodes of clinical depression have become even more debilitating as I have gotten older and have confused me as to who I really am. Looking back on the last 8 years, I have tried to deny to myself that the problems I have had with lack of energy, with sleeping too long or not able to sleep enough, and with the resulting inability to keep commitments were recurring symptoms of depression. I tried to blame these problems on my diabetes out of hope and desperation, but I always knew, but would not admit, that their ultimate cause was depression. My hope for a better life in the future and my confidence are now shattered." (They were shattered due to a doctor's appointment that didn't go very well for him)
"There is no cure for recurring clinical depression. All a doctor can do is make educated guesses about drug treatments that might help in managing it. I have experienced the beginnings of relief and some hope for the future, only to have both ripped away from me for no identifiable reason! I have lost all hope that I can ever have a normal, decent, reasonable healthy life and not inflict pain and suffering on those closest to me... It has destroyed my personal life, in many ways my marriage, my family life, my professional life, and my spiritual life. I am too weak to continue on. Surely others have suffered much more in this life than I have. But the 'cards' that God has dealt me in this life are more than I have strength to bear." (On a rare occasion Mike would express some of these feelings to me. We would talk and I would try and give him reasons to hope. I guess it was difficult for me to fully understand how he felt. I am sure at times I even played a part in causing him to lose hope. The month prior to his death, he never talked about these things. Maybe that is why his death was such a shock; I felt he was doing alright.)
"Over recent years, I have often wondered what life would have been like for me if I would have had fewer thorns in my side, especially this huge stake called depression. I like to think that I could have created a happier marriage for me and Grace, that I could have created a home that truly was a refuge from the world where we loved one another and served one another and the Gospel of Jesus Christ was taught... and that I could have done more good in building up God's Kingdom and done more good in the communities I have lived in. (This is where you can see the depression really talking. Mike did so much good for the people around him. Our children are strong wonderful religious kids and I didn't do that alone. He was a great example of integrity, honest, hard work and service. I hope he realizes now the positive impact he had on the lives around him.)
Mike closes these remarks by saying, "By taking my own life, my soul is probably damned. But I have some hope that God may show some mercy because I believe He knows the anguish and pain I have had to live with these past many years."
If you made it though this post, I am sure it was a hard read. You can see how his mind was misguided and confused. He had a hard time seeing the good he brought to this world. Thinking that the world is better off without you is not the answer. There is so much more pain caused now to his family and friends then there was by the disease itself. I do believe with all my heart that God will show mercy on him due to his confusion. If any of you out there ever feel this low, talk to your loved ones. Taking your own life does not solve problems, it creates them.