The Story of Two Concho Valley Residents and their Battle with Depression.

Retired Tennis Pro and Retired Shannon ER Physician Share their Stories.

San Angelo, TX - There are a number of signs of depression which may signal an individual's need for help. Cliff Richey and Dr. Stephen Boster each recognized these signs at some point in their lives and battled depression their own ways.

Both--one attending med school and the other an athlete--studied their opponent.

"I studied depression more than I studied any other opponent in tennis," says Richey--who competed in 1500 matches, 500 tournaments around the world and was once ranked #1 in the United States in tennis.

His diagnosis came from a dermatologist who was also a family friend.

Richey agreed to not go through his battle with depression on his own and began the therapy and rehabilitation process at the age of 50.

"I was flat on my back for 3 years and at my worst I was non-functional," Richey explains. "My dad coached me all my life and he always told me you change a losing game and I was about as far down as I could get."

His friend--a San Angelo attorney by the name of Max Parker--says he only found out about Richey's battle with mental illness after reading Richey's book.

Parker recently won his battle with throat cancer and along the way had at least 5 or 6 friends commit suicide--some of whom were suffering from depression.

This launched Parker's mental health advocacy and studies on depression.

"Anybody can be diagnosed with it and it's treatable and life can go on. It's something we shouldn't be worried to discuss," says Parker.

Parker and Richey are bringing to light mental illnesses like depression, which can affect between 20 and 25 percent of people at any time.

One of these people is a retired ER physician at Shannon, Dr. Stephen Boster.

"I started having episodes of depression in Junior High, which continued through medical school," he explains.

Depression can take hold of any age at any point in a lifetime--with a small percentage of children being treated at the moment.

However most adults have expressed having feelings of depression as early as childhood.

Dr. Boster says the Concho Valley and much of the United States is underserved when it comes to treating any mental illness--including depression.

Texas, in particular, ranks 45th in terms of a resident's "Access to Care."

The following are some signs of depression to look out for:

The persistent feeling of sadness or loss of interest that characterizes major depression can lead to a range of behavioral and physical symptoms. These may include changes in sleep, appetite, energy level, concentration, daily behavior, or self-esteem.

Mood: anxiety, apathy, general discontent, guilt, hopelessness, loss of interest, loss of interest or pleasure in activities, mood swings, or sadness
Sleep: early awakening, excess sleepiness, insomnia, or restless sleep
Whole body: excessive hunger, fatigue, loss of appetite, or restlessness
Behavioral: agitation, excessive crying, irritability, or social isolation
Cognitive: lack of concentration, slowness in activity, or thoughts of suicide
Weight: weight gain or weight loss
Also common: poor appetite or repeatedly going over thoughts
 
If any of these signs/symptoms last over two weeks it is best to get yourself checked out by a physician. It is also urgent of ANYONE suffering these symptoms with thoughts of death or hurting themselves to get help immediately.
 
"It can affect your perception of every relationship in your life and it can affect the way you work and how you deal with other medical problems," Dr. Boster says--while also explaining those who suffer from depression have a higher issue rebounding from other medical issues.
 
Dr. Boster and Cliff Richey were willing to share their struggle with depression, which is often the hardest step.
 
Part 2: Depression and its link to Suicide COMING SOON

 


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