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Mad In America
For what it is worth, I must say something. My daughter Cassandra Dawn Calhoun (Cassie Calhoun) died by suicide on the 8th of April, 4 weeks ago. Her disposition all of her life was happy, she was gifted, loved arts, music, literature and many other cultural things. Her life became busy as she juggled school, a full time and stressful management position among other things. Her Dad and I would had rathered she stayed home and let us help her with her burdens but she was always too independent for that. By her 20th birthday, the 24th of September, she shared with me (MOM) that she had been feeling depressed. She had become thinner so I took her out to purchase a few new pair of jeans for her birthday.
I was concerned for her so when I got home after we both went our ways, I spoke to her dad about her condition. He felt as if he should talk to her so he called her the next day and tried to encourage her to seek counseling and how talking about things to professionals could help to find strategies for dealing with the stresses of life. He also reminded that (mom) takes an antidepressant, the Dr. may think you need something. So she followed the advice and the Dr. did in fact put her on Zoloft. In some ways Cassie seemed to be improved and in other ways it seemed a part of her was slipping away. Her ability to sketch or paint things which came so naturally and easy for her, started becoming a huge challenge.
She was having insomnia and by February we believe she was probably started to feel like a zombie. Somehow, she maintained her life and even became engaged to her boy friend Eric who worked with her managing the hospital cafeteria. She had gone to the Dr. again who had upped her dosage of Zoloft just 3 weeks before she hung herself. On the Monday, 4 weeks ago, Cassie had gone to work, all seemed fine. No one at all detected anything was wrong. She was bubbly, joked with a few coworkers, helped people, cheered people up that morning. Eric thought all was fine but he knew she had been sick on Sunday was the stomach flu and so when she said she was going to take the rest of the morning and afternoon off to go home and rest, he thought it reasonable. He knew that things weren’t going so well with her as far as rest went and that she was struggling with her thoughts from time to time. He had tabs on her for an hour after she left work through back and forth texting. After receiving the last text from her, his boss received one saying where Eric could find the car. The boss knew Cassie for a long time as she and his daughter were close friends for about 5 years or so. He did not think the text was normal so he told Eric and handed over his keys to Eric and saying Go find Cassie. Eric went straight to the apartment where he found her phone but she was not there. Then he remembered the text said that the car would be where they liked to spend time together… it was about 20-25 min. drive away.
Eric got there, walked down a trail to get to her but it was too late. He will live with the feeling that he failed and we will live without our precious daughter for the rest of our lives. I know she was depressed before she went on the drugs but I wish we had discouraged these drugs altogether. I know it’s hind sight, and I know that nobody forced her to take these drugs. But still, these kids are at the mercy of the Dr.s and they trust that the Dr. knows what they’re doing. Changes come on so gradually in at a time when the person hangs on to every shred of hope and then it does not come. Cassie was saying she felt numb over the week before she did this. The drugs I believe do that to a person. We are still in shock and we still are a loss as to how to get moving again but the first thing I’d tell a parent is to avoid the drugs and take your chances without them… find alternatives, no drug.