Unlimited Access. Try it Today! Your First 10 Days Always $0.99
News Opinion Readers Respond

Flanagan story a warning about the risks of depression

In reading Dan Rodricks' article, "Shadows of doubt — the life and death of Mike Flanagan" (Aug. 18), I was deeply touched not only by Mr. Rodricks' sensitivity and understanding of major depression but also of his love and caring for Mike Flanagan. I certainly was a fan of Mike Flanagan when he pitched at Memorial Stadium during the long hot summers in Baltimore and entertained his fans with his athleticism, ball control and professionalism. I later enjoyed his television baseball broadcasting. Like others, I did not know that he suffered from bouts of depression and "shadows," as he evidently masked this very well from others. I felt shocked and saddened when I heard of his suicide, as this was a major loss for baseball, Baltimore, and of course, for his wife, family and friends.

It is difficult to comprehend that major depression as a medical and psychiatric disorder can become so painful and unbearable that an individual's only solution is to attempt or commit suicide. Depression can cause an individual to suffer from self loathing, self defeating and irrational thinking, hopelessness and feelings of darkness. Depression, which is often accompanied by anxiety and mood agitation, can become debilitating and create severe impairment and loss of functioning. Suicidal thoughts and intent are symptoms of a severe and extreme depression which can be triggered by a sense of loss and failure and mounting and overwhelming stress in life. It is important and crucial that when an individual exhibits symptoms such as sadness, depressed mood, loss of energy and interest, irritability, anger, sleep and appetite impairment, and difficulties with thinking and concentration, lasting more than two weeks, that psychiatric and psychological treatment be quickly acquired. Depression in children and adolescents is manifested through defiant and rebellious behavior, poor school grades, irritability, and substance abuse. For individuals who express suicidal intent, immediate emergency room treatment is required. Psychiatric and psychological studies show that the most successful treatment for major depression is the combination of psychiatric and psychological treatment, e.g. medication and psychotherapy, which can lead to healing and positive mental health for the individual.

With respect to Alex Flanagan, she is absolutely right when she states, "It's OK to ask for help." I admire her work in promoting education and suicide prevention programs and assistance. Major and clinical depression can be medically treated when a person asks for help, directly or indirectly, and can learn to verbalize painful and tormenting thoughts and feelings in a supportive and therapeutic environment.

Lucille Romeo

The writer is a licensed psychologist.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
  • Fishing with Flanny

    Dan Rodricks on shock, heartbreak and the soul-wrenching loss of a friend who couldn't keep the shadows away

  • Baltimore must support summer learning opportunities
    Baltimore must support summer learning opportunities

    The Sun article "Baltimore school board debates summer school cuts" (March 25) elevates the critical issue of summer learning and the impact proposed cuts to programs like Read to Succeed will have on thousands of Baltimore youth and families. Eliminating summer programs will deeply affect...

  • Md. farmers are helping protect the bay
    Md. farmers are helping protect the bay

    The farmers in Baltimore County are more than agronomic professionals. Yes, we grow local fruits and vegetables, raise animals and tend to crops that provide the food, fuel and fiber to our community and the world. But did you know we also work every day to protect our waterways, soil and...

  • Baltimore embraces renewable energy
    Baltimore embraces renewable energy

    It was a particularly gloomy and rainy Thursday in Baltimore, but a certain solar press conference inside City Hall shone with the promise of renewable energy for the city. As reported by The Baltimore Sun ("Baltimore ranks 34th in nation for installation of solar panels," March 26),...

  • What millennials need from Baltimore
    What millennials need from Baltimore

    The willingness of millennials to move to urban areas will be the salvation of cities as long as the cities recognize what they have to do to keep them for more than a few years. To avoid future millennial flight ("City population shrinks slightly in new estimates," March 26), cities will...

  • Federal Hill 'stroll' was a drunken stumble
    Federal Hill 'stroll' was a drunken stumble

    Don't blame the Irish for this one. The "Irish Stroll" that brought approximately 8,000 folks to the Federal Hill area of Baltimore for the purpose of a pre-St. Patrick's Day bar crawl with 17 "establishments" participating on March 14 was an ill-conceived and poorly executed event sanctioned...

  • A new Baltimorean, mindful of the old
    A new Baltimorean, mindful of the old

    Professor D. Watkins' story hit a chord ("Native author D. Watkins: 'I don't know this new Baltimore,'" March 25). "Why must every black resident be displaced as soon as opportunity rides the gentrification train into town?" He opines for "Old Baltimore" and shuns this "New Baltimore" he does...

  • Income inequality can't be fixed
    Income inequality can't be fixed

    In Dan Rodricks' column, "Beyond race, call for economic fairness" (March 30), he talks about income inequality and the 1 percent not paying their fair share. What he does not talk about is why they are paying less than the poor or lower middle class.

Comments
Loading