05/01/2010 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Coping With A Loved One's Suicide

Well, lately it is in the news because famous people, and/or their family members, have chosen to end their own lives. In the last few weeks we have lost: Alexander (Lee) McQueen, Andrew Koenig and now Michael Blosil (Marie Osmond's son). It is so tragic and so painful for those who are left behind.

My brother took his own life a year and a half ago on Thanksgiving weekend. Shot himself with a gun that his best friend had tried to take away. My brother threatened to call the police and tell them that his friend had stolen the gun. Not wanting to get in legal trouble, my brother's friend returned the gun. That same friend is the one who found his body.

In the case of my brother, Lee McQueen, Michael Blosil and Andrew Koenig, we who loved them are not completely surprised by how they chose to end things. Sad, devastated, maybe even guilty, but not surprised. They were all dealing with depression. Many people dealing with depression are also self medicating so let's add substance use/abuse to the mix as well. My brother was an alcoholic. He had tried to get sober, and had limited success, but it ultimately took him down.

Depression is a horrible illness that we still, even with all our clinical advancements, don't really have a handle on. Yes we have new antidepressants that are better than the old ones, but they still aren't very good. While some may help some people, there are many for whom they do nothing. For the people that are helped by the antidepressants, they are not without side effects. The medications can take one's sex drive, ability to feel sexual pleasure, excitement and joy with them.

Depression doesn't just have one cause, which is why it is so difficult to treat. Most of us will feel depressed in our lives. It is normal under certain circumstances. When you lose someone you love, your job, your home, your health, is normal to feel depressed. We call this situational depression. For people like my brother, and others, they feel depressed most of the time just because. That is not "normal" and makes life extremely difficult to endure.

To the loved ones of Michael, Andrew, and Lee I want to say I am so sorry for your loss and I understand. Death is so final. We wish, for just a moment, we could turn back the clock and do something to make the ending different, but we can't. We are suicide survivors now. I think our loved ones were life survivors for the time they were here. We will never really know how much pain they were in but we all hope they are in a better and more peaceful place now.