Dear Barb – On the Darker Side

Dear Barb:

I have just finished my B.A from Athabasca. It was great having six months to complete my courses instead of four, as I suffer from depression and some days I can’t even get out of bed. Now that It’s done I want to get out and find work; however this depression is really affecting my life. I haven’t discussed this with anyone, my parents don’t even know. I really don’t want to go on anti-depressants, as I have heard the side effects are pretty brutal, including suicidal thoughts. I don’t want to make myself any worse. Not sure where to turn.
Sad in Calgary!

Hey there Sad:

Congratulations on finishing your degree, especially while battling depression. Depression can be caused by a variety of things, including physical illness. If you haven’t had a complete physical recently, including blood work, this would be the place to start. Physical illness such as hypothyroidism, an illness of the thyroid gland, could mimic the symptoms of depression. Once you have addressed your physical health, your doctor may prescribe antidepressants or refer you to a psychologist. Often depression is the result of a chemical imbalance in the brain. don’t be fearful of treatment, your symptoms will not improve without help. Many people who suffer from depression are successfully helped through the use of antidepressant drugs.

Dear Barb:

My father recently passed away from a long battle with cancer. When my sister and I were quite young my mother passed away, so dad was our only parent. My sister did not get along with dad and once she left home she rarely visited him, even when he became ill. My wife and I were the main caregivers for dad throughout his long illness. In his final days Dad often expressed his desire to see Lisa. I tried to get her to visit Dad, but she ignored my request and did not visit during the last weeks of dad’s life. Following dad’s passing we discovered he had a huge sum of money in a bank account and I was left as the sole beneficiary. I don’t know whether I should tell my sister about this money or keep it a secret. My sister was left a small insurance policy. Not sure what do to, Daniel.

Hey Daniel:

First I would like to say sorry for your loss. The loss of a parent, especially the last parent, can be very difficult. I really don’t think you have an obligation to tell your sister of your inheritance; however you may want to share this information with her for fear it will come out at some point and cause problems between the two of you. Ultimately the final decision is up to you.

Email your questions to Some submissions may be edited for length or to protect confidentiality; your real name and location will never be printed. This column is for entertainment only. The author is not a professional counsellor and this column is not intended to take the place of professional advice.

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