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Depressed? If so, you're not alone

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October 7, 2004

Thomasville - Brigitte Mercer is sick. She says, "First you feel sorry for yourself, then you hide it because there's such a stigma thing."

She has a disease, one she's been struggling with for more than 20 years. "Maybe I thought I was strong enough, I thought I could handle it all by myself," says Brigitte. But finally she realized the depression she was trying to overcome, was taking over her life, and she decided to find help.

Renee Hansard says, "It makes it very hard for people to actually seek help, because they see it maybe as a character flaw, or a sign of weakness, when in reality, it is a definite medical illness that they need treatment for."

Hansard is President of The Southwest Georgia Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance. Thursday, they held free screenings for people who struggle with depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder, and they taught people like Brigitte how they can treat their illness.

Brigitte says, "Go anywhere and ask and talk and learn all about it, don't hide it." And she says to never give up hope. "Hopefully, one day everything will fall back into place and if not then, I'll keep coming to places like this and I'll get my strength for another day, another week, another month." Strength that maybe one day, she'll be able to pass on to others.

The screenings are Thursday from 2:30 PM until 7:30 PM at First Presbyterian Church in Thomasville.

posted at 5:14 PM by karen.collier@walb.com