09/19/2014 02:21 pm ET Updated Nov 19, 2014

Take Depression Out of the Closet

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Most eras have had illnesses that it was not polite to discuss. For example, back at the turn of the last century, no one had cancer. They refused to talk about it. Now we raise funds to eradicate it. People proudly display pink bumper stickers on their car for breast cancer. He-Man football players come forth to discuss testicular disease. In other words, cancer came out of the closet.

Mental disease, bipolar, depression, mania, crazy, whatever you choose to call it is often relegated to a place where people are afraid to discuss it. Often the person suffering from this disease is looked at not have the moral character to "just get over it" and get on with life. Well as one who suffers from depression from time to time, that just ain't necessarily so. Most of us have a 'blue' day now and then, but this is not the same animal. This is truly debilitating.

The good news is that with proper medical treatment, most people can be functioning and rational. What does it take? It takes talking about it.

If you have heart disease, liver disease, a sore throat. Lord have mercy! The church ladies come running with casseroles until you have to buy a new Frigidaire just to hold it all. But that doesn't happen with mental illness. It is discussed, if at all, in quiet whispers, as though it is something to be ashamed of... a failing on the part of the person.

My brother John took his life at an early age because of depression. Robin Williams took his at a later age. They both did it because they just couldn't stand it any more.

It's time to take mental disease out of the dark close in which it has been entombed, talk about it and realize that it is no different from any other disease which affects our bodies.

Start talking. You will be amazed at the people around you who suffer in silence.

And that is not good.

Have a story about depression that you'd like to share? Email, or give us a call at (860) 348-3376, and you can record your story in your own words. Please be sure to include your name and phone number.

Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.