In the Loop

News and views from across Mayo Clinic

June 18, 2015

Sharing a Personal Message of Hope in the Battle Against Depression

By In the Loop

Ruth Tibesar has a message. She wants people to understand that depression is nothing to be ashamed of. Ruth Tibesar has a message. And she’s on a mission to share it. She wants people to understand that depression is nothing to be ashamed of. And, that it can be beat.

Ruth should know, having recovered from her own personal battle with the disease. It wasn’t easy, and at times took her to some dark and scary places. But with the help of her family, colleagues and Mayo Clinic care team, she's got a firm grasp on her symptoms — and feels like she has her life back. Now, she's helping others who may be going through the same struggle by sharing her personal comeback story. "I am a Mayo Clinic success story,” Ruth tells us, adding that it feels “wonderful” to be able to share her success against a disease that some people still have difficulty talking about publically. She’s trying to change that by becoming an advocate for those living with depression and talking freely about her own experiences, sharing what helped her gain control of her symptoms so “I could be myself again and not just a patient with depression. "

Ruth began her patient advocacy work by sharing her story this past spring with members of a Mayo Employee Resource Group for staff who have a disability. "My disability was invisible,” she tells us, adding that “many people struggle with that." She decided it was time to make depression more visible by sharing “my own success and my own ability to recover from the disease."

She's taken that same message to senior and youth groups at local churches, and to those about to enter their retirement years. "Many people when they start their retirements may end up depressed because it's such a big life change," says Ruth, who tailors her message to the needs of each group. For youth groups, that means talking “about the suicide part of depression,” something Ruth says “was also an issue for me."

Regardless of who she's talking to, Ruth says the feedback she's received so far has been the same. "All the feedback has been so positive, and I do believe I am helping others," she says. And for someone who's endured the disease herself, helping others is what it's all about. "I tell everyone I talk to that while depression is not curable, it is treatable," Ruth says. "You will live with it for the rest of your life, but that's not a bad thing. It's just a different thing."

You can read more of Ruth's story here. Then, let us know what you think by sharing your comments below. Share this story with others using the social media tools atop this page.

Tags: Depression, Employee Stories, Patient Stories, Ruth Tibesar

Im glad she found life again, Deprrssion is hard to live with and through. My depression statted 7. To 8 years ago after a dentis blew out my left sinus and side with the compressed air from the drill. I was on top of the world when this happened. Just published in a book “this day in the life of working women” had a great fun job, top tier performer, great family, was a granma of a 3 yr olf. It all changed when i was 39 and a blink of an eye. Doctors au UPMC can’t see whats wrong and 1 was also very irrogant. I needed and still neef help. Not cut down by a doctor, who thought I was already going undet sidation but was still wide awake to hear her comments. I always helped people my whole life anf loved life, now i needed the help and nevrr found it. I cant help but cry as i type this. I live in cronic pain amd misfunction of my sinus, swelling that gors up and down, and a small hole in my palate from a nerve block that chemically burned me instead of helping. I knew it was more than a nerve but no one listens. To having a great job. Lots of fun. Terrific family and lie. To being disabled, depressed, and no where to turn to for help. EspeciLly since in Pittsburgh UOMC has its own insurance and they denied out of neywork for me. So im stuck loosing everythung i worked for living in a world i dont wamt to be in. I know there are may reasons for depression, no matter what the cause it’s horrible, dark, lonely, helpless, and feel like a burdan to your spouse, uet go on for your grandchildren. Maybe in another 50 years they will know more abouth the human body and be able to repai damage in a hard area. I would never wish this on anyone. I always said i”d rather lose an arm or foot and handicap in thay way. Having deep inside your face everyday is draining. I am under treatment and try to say OK today I’m going to think positive and go for a walk or complete household tasks, but the pain creeps in and you have to sleep to paralize your body to get the swelling and pain down, and repat. I hope like Ruth I’m the social butterfly i once was, I am happy Ruth has another chance at life. It is good to see her happy again. Sorry for any typos. As i am typing on a tablet and my eyes are a little teary right now. But dont feel bad for me, i just look at it like there has to be a reason for this, i hope,

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