Being depressed is like living all alone in a world that’s disconnected from everything and everybody. All you can think about is how bad everything is and how there is really nothing ahead that holds any hope for improvement. It’s like nothing is good and every physical movement…every conversation with another person is a struggle. I recognize that because I’ve been there….so has my friend, Laura Benedict.

Not only are you miserable but you spread that misery around to everyone you come in contact with. Depression is like a cancer. Those who are closest to you are the most affected because they’re the ones who have known you through life’s ebbs and flows and it’s not difficult for them to realize that you aren’t the person they know and care about. You can disguise your problem to people who don’t know you intimately but, trust me, people you are close to notice. Mostly because you are no longer close. You’re distant to the point of partial or complete withdrawal and, often times, a negative force in peoples' lives and undesirable to be around. I’ve been there.

The good news is, with the right kind of help, it WILL pass. This is not something, at least in my experience, you can always get through alone. Self-help, professional counseling, friends and, in some cases, medication, can counteract what's going on in your head, for whatever reason. I endorse all of the aforementioned antidotes because I’ve called upon each of them at one time or another.

Depression is dangerous. Not only does it bring people around you down but, worse, it makes YOUR life a living Hell. You can endanger your job, your family and friends. You may even get to the point of wondering if you even want to live. Yep. I’ve been there too. I’ve bottomed out a couple of times. Even called and quit my job at 92 Moose one lonely, Sunday afternoon. But I never lost hope and you can't either, no matter what!

Laura, who I absolutely adore and respect, reveals more than I ever knew in a post that appeared on the Red Barn Facebook page yesterday. Knowing Laura, it was hard to believe. But knowing that a happy facade can mask what's underneath, it didn't surprise me. Here is that amazing post followed by an equally amazing ad that will run on the radio beginning tomorrow. While both of us and many of you still struggle, baring one's own heart can be an important part of the healing process.

On November 13th, 2002 I decided that I did not want to live one day more. A series of betrayals of the heart coupled with my putting my happiness into someone else's hands led me to want to end my life with carbon monoxide poisoning. Unconscious and minutes away from death..I was rushed to Augusta General, evaluated, and "blue-papered" for 7 days. These were not the best days of my life nor are they my most proud. I write this because I can empathize with the Glynn boys and how that may have been their only solution. After nearly 10 years of intense therapy, medication, and taking charge of my own happiness, I have come to a place where, I think, through empathy, compassion, and kindness, that I can help someone like me 10 years ago. This "Wonderful Life" was almost snuffed out too soon. My name is Laura Benedict...I own one of the most successful businesses in central Maine and I suffered from debilitating depression. Love, Laura

While it's good to be happy (and the Red Barn is one of the happiest places I know), sometimes you have to get real...get serious. Laura has never shied away from that and her brutal honesty is part of what makes her one of the most respectable people I know. This ad, which she paid for, is completely selfless and addresses a need she knows is important.

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