Sam Price's tragic ending to a sad life makes me afraid for all those who endure deep and persistent post-traumatic emotional pain ("Saving Sam," Dec. 25). It seems to me that Thor really got it. Sam needed "scream therapy," meaning deep emotional work in the presence of a therapist who cares.
What she got instead was a series of pharmaceuticals designed to prevent her from feeling, limiting any emotional work. On the one hand, Sam was trying to get in touch with her feelings with her therapist, meanwhile ingesting a cocktail of potent drugs designed to help a person not feel, leaving her hopelessly lost, confused and alone. I worry that we designate depression a biological disease whose superficial symptoms we suppress with pharmaceuticals, because we fear our own emotional burdens and don't know what to do with them. In this disease model, we surrender to "disease professionals" our power to help ourselves, exacerbating the feelings of helplessness.
I have to ask why her doctors allowed a suicidal patient to accumulate a lethal dose. Did Sam not have to return the failed medicines before trying the next concoction? A dear friend of mine committed suicide this way.
But the most important question remains: If we diagnose depression as a "biological brain disorder," which we treat by suppressing authentic feelings with meds, are we not closing the door to the very emotional experiences that can help us heal?
Good therapists know the answer. We need more of them.
— Meighan O'Brien, McKinleyville
Sweet Spot: Meighan O'Brien wins a Bon Boniere sundae for sending our favorite letter of the week.