Priest shares raw experiences with depression - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Priest shares raw experiences with depression

Posted: Updated:
HAMPTON (KWWL) - The death of well-known entertainer Robin Williams has many people trying to understand more about what led up to his apparent suicide.

Fr. Mike Tauke, a priest at St. Patrick's Church in Hampton, knows the reality of depression firsthand.

He's had it for nearly 30 years.

"As a priest it's part of my role to talk about suffering," he said.

Fr. Mike said it's more important for him to be honest than to appear perfect in front of his congregation.

When asked what it felt like having depression, he said it was like a game of "Chutes and Ladders" with no ladders to grab hold of.

"It's that inability to feel free. You always feel chained to the disease that's inside of you...you just want to be free -- just happy -- just totally happy," he said.

Fr. Mike admits sometimes the stigma of mental illness makes it difficult for people to share their experiences.

"I am a creative, energetic, happy person," he said, adding that many people are surprised to learn he's battled depression for almost three decades.

"For a lot of people with other diseases, you get pain medications and support and strength and you want to live. You fight to live. But for a depressed person, many times living is just the struggle itself," he said.

Fr. Mike recommends people support others with depression by simply asking how they're doing.

He said a good question to ask is, "Where are you at with your depression?"

Fr. Mike said a nurse who validated his experiences well.

"The best person who has ever done this for me was a nurse named Rose who, one time, took my hand and said, 'It must really suck to be depressed,' and I was able to say it does," he said.

Fr. Mike said it's important for anyone who thinks he or she might be depressed to seek help by talking to a doctor.

He encourages others with a diagnosis to find a strong support group.

He said it's a good idea for people to learn about depression, be attentive to people who have it, and invite those battling depression to social outings because often times hours spent alone can be the hardest. 

Powered by Frankly