Suffering in Silence: Wade Belak Was Delightfully Gregarious

medicalLike many of you, I'm struggling with the fact that someone as likable and gregarious as Wade Belak would take his own life. As a die-hard Leafs fan, I knew him from interviews and appearances on television. Here's the Wade Belak I knew, appearing on Leafs TV with Jody Vance.

I see a young, happy, hilarious family man with every reason in the world to live. When Martin Streek took his own life, it was startling and puzzling, but Martin had battled demons. It still breaks my heart that Martin chose death, that he battled depression in silence, but Wade Belak's decision is even more baffling. Wade Belak was set to star on television, had a gig lined up with the Nashville Predators, and had two young children he adored. Wade Belak choosing death is beyond tragic, it's almost impossible to comprehend.

Over a year ago, I wrote about the stigma of mental illness and clinical depression. Wade chose to suffer in silence, smiling on the outside while hurting on the inside. Yesterday, Wade chose to end his suffering by taking his own life.

I can't help but wonder how things would have turned out differently had Wade chose to share his pain, talk about this disease and stop suffering in silence.

If you're suffering in silence, concerned about the stigma of mental illness and clinical depression, please talk about it in the comments. You don't have to use your real name, just share how you feel.

You're not alone.


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Comments (10 - click here to join in!)

Wandering Penguin

If you've convinced even one person to get help with this piece today, then nothing else you write on this blog again will be as important as this entry.

September 1, 2011 @ 3:51 PM

vlj

I struggle - its a fight everyday to keep from going over the edge - I hope I can make it...

September 1, 2011 @ 4:51 PM

Gump

Here is what you do (if you a guy) (not being glib) :
Select one guy in your life that you like *and* respect. One night go out with him and get stickin' drunk. When sufficiently wasted, get up the courage and tell him that you are depressed and having a hard time. Pour out your heart. Your friend may or may not vow to help you out after the alcohol subsides.
Repeat with another of your friends. Repeat the cycle with another. After awhile you will be finally comfortable explaining your situation and have the guts to share it while sober. At that point, share it with a woman you love (wife, girlfriend, siste, even mum). She will insist you get *real* help and she will force you. Solved!

September 1, 2011 @ 4:54 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@vlj

Have you told anyone?

Would those who know you be shocked by this?

How old are you and whereabouts do you live?

September 1, 2011 @ 4:58 PM

Lorraine

Clinical depression does not always have anything to do with your environment. I know many people whose lives looked charmed and behind closed doors felt an oppressive sadness. It’s a chemical imbalance. You don't get diabetes in a candy store. Athletes in particular live several years of their life with lots of endorphins this hides a lot of the symptoms of the chemical imbalance. But my point is that we can't see what someone does not want you to see. They become fakers for their own sake. Having someone constantly worry about them is also depressing. We have to stop thinking that every person who blows up a school or kills someone suffered from depression. There are various degrees. And the suicidal impulse is usually very impulsive and very strong. More so in men. Treat your mental health the same as your physical health sometimes it’s good and sometimes its not so good. Keep fit and remember this is lots of ways to be helped.

September 1, 2011 @ 5:56 PM

dale

Depression is a part of life for everybody. WE have ALL suffered some type of depression in the past & present.

If you are able to overcome with positives for the future that is the remedy. If not, be it substance abuse or medical issues you look at life differently & concentrate more on your own well being as apposed to your family, friends, co-workers, etc.

@ Lorraine - behind closed doors family life is different in many cases that what others don't see.

Wade Belak's death was a shock to all that knew him - but he is the only one that knew what was unable to find a solution.

HE did & Unfortunate for ALL.

RIP

September 1, 2011 @ 8:20 PM

Dude

I used to be the happiest guy I knew, the first to crack a joke and lived life to the fullest. Then I got sick and my world totally changed. At one point, I thought about killing myself. I got some help and over the past six months, I've started to get a lot better. Then Jack dies of cancer. Then my family dog dies and last night my favourite uncle died - I have to travel for the funeral. I hate leaving my wife and daughter - being by myself reminds me of the treatment I had to complete in isolation. I know life isn't supposed to be easy and everyone has shitty moments but the pressure is just really fucking building right now and it just fucking sucks. It really just sucks.

September 1, 2011 @ 10:36 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Dude

It'll get better.

You have a wife and daughter, that's pretty awesome. Think about them.

And you've got others who care, I'm sure. You'll be happy again.

I promise.

September 1, 2011 @ 10:43 PM

Anonymous

There are 10 kinds of lonely and it is different for everyone, just reach out to someone... a friend, a family member, a coworker, even this blog piece is way to reach out.

September 1, 2011 @ 11:20 PM


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