Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue


Morning Has Broken for Phil

posted by Beyond Blue

On Wednesday’s show Oprah also interviewed Phil Aronson, husband of Emme Aronson, formerly the world’s leading plus-size super model and Revlon cover girl.

I think his story is important to tell too because our society often thinks of depression as a women’s disease when six million American men are diagnosed with depression each year. (And I apologize if I leave the guys out sometimes on my blog.)

The summary of Oprah’s interview, found on her website, gave me chills because I’ve been exactly where Phil was…unable to think of anything but suicide for days on end, and hating myself for what that was doing to my family.

Here’s his story, (and their story as a couple):

In 2001, shortly after the birth of their first child, Emme began to notice changes in her husband Phil’s personality. “Right after Toby was born, strange things started to happen,” she says. “Phil was retreating, not vivacious and bubbly. And [he had] outbursts of anger.”

Phil spiraled into a severe depression after developing a debilitating pain that he says tortured him. He discovered later that the pain was caused by prostatitis, the inflammation of the prostate gland located at the end of a male’s urethra.

During this time, Phil says he wouldn’t get out of bed for days on end. “I wouldn’t comb my hair. I wouldn’t shave. I hated myself,” he says. “It’s just the deepest, darkest abyss that anyone could ever imagine.” Phil was prescribed antidepressants, but he says they had little effect.

Afraid for Phil’s well-being, Emme put her career on hold so that she could be there for her husband. “For two and a half years, she stepped out of her life and into my life and it affected everything,” he says. “She was the housekeeper, the breadwinner, the mother and the father during my illness.”

As months turned into years, Phil sank deeper into depression. His thoughts soon turned to suicide. “He started talking about how he was going to kill himself,” Emme says. “It started to happen every week, and then it started happening every hour, practically. Then he would get into descriptive details as to what exactly he was going to do…. I was a woman on the brink of her own disaster–of her own emotional breakdown.”

Phil remembers telling his wife, “I’m going to kill myself,” almost every 15 minutes when he was at his lowest point. “Our family would gather together and they would say to Phil, ‘You can’t say this to Emme every single hour. You’re making her crazy,’” Emme says.

Finally, Phil says he couldn’t take it any longer. One night, he went into his sleeping daughter’s bedroom to say goodbye. Then, he locked himself in the bathroom and tried to kill himself by overdosing on prescription drugs.

Emme found him the next morning, in bed and not moving. “I looked to my side and I saw the note, and I’m like, ‘Oh, my God,’” she says. “I was very angry at Phil for trying to leave us.”

After Phil’s suicide attempt, he was committed to a psychiatric unit for two and half months. While under lockdown, Phil’s safety was the number-one priority. Doctors didn’t let him have access to medication, sharp objects or sheets.

“It was the darkest, deepest, most horrific time I could ever imagine in my life,” Phil says.

Psychotherapy and medication didn’t seem to be helping, so doctors recommended that Phil undergo electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). This procedure isn’t like the shock treatments from the ’30s and ’40s, Phil says.

In the book, “Morning Has Broken,” Phil talks about the day he broke free from his crippling depression. Shortly after his ECT treatments, Phil’s younger brother lost his long battle with brain cancer.

“[My brother] came to visit me at the psych ward, he said, ‘Phil, life is for the living and I love you and I promise you’re going to get better,’” he says. “And in fact, I did. When he died, that next morning I woke up and it was the first time in two and a half years that I got out of bed and actually wanted to live.”

Emme says she immediately knew that the man she married was back. “I could see in his eyes,” she says. “When someone is depressed, they go away…. And that next morning, he was back.”

Phil and Emme credit his recovery to a loving family and access to the best treatments. As one of millions who have suffered from depression, Phil says he felt that it was important to tell his story. “Everyone has their own story,” he says. “But if we can talk about it, we can help to initiate change.”



Advertisement
Comments read comments(1)
post a comment
Albernecia Davis

posted August 20, 2007 at 4:03 pm


I am happy for Phil and Emme Aronson. I know the dark abyss of depression. The medications I have to take EVERY DAY, morning and night are what’s helping me to breath. Many people think depression is just a mind thing or a whim that controllable by will,not so. It would be wonderful if this was the case. I am glad men and women of the cloth are being educated about this disease. Even the police officers are taking classes to know how to handle people with depression, but they have a long way to go. We can’t just ‘GET OVER IT’ without the proper medical and mental treatments, our pyschiatrist, psychotherapist, depression support groups, family and friends. THERE MUST BE A HEDGE of PROTECTION for us. The saying ” Let go and let God” is suppose to be a magic pill to erase all of our horrific thoughts, not so. But hearing of others struggles and successes makes that thorn in our sides NOT so insurmontable. Thanks.



report abuse
 

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the beliefnet.com terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to beliefnet.com and may be used by beliefnet.com in accordance with the agreements.



Previous Posts

Seven Ways to Get Over an Infatuation
“Bewitched, bothered, and bewildered am I” wrote US songwriter Lorenz Hart about the feeling of infatuation. It’s blissful and euphoric, as we all know. But it’s also addicting, messy and blinding. Without careful monitoring, its wild wind can rage through your life leaving you much like the

posted 12:46:43pm Feb. 19, 2014 | read full post »

When Faith Turns Neurotic
When does reciting scripture become a symptom of neurosis? Or praying the rosary an unhealthy compulsion? Not until I had the Book of Psalms practically memorized as a young girl did I learn that words and acts of faith can morph into desperate measures to control a mood disorder, that faithfulness

posted 10:37:13am Jan. 14, 2014 | read full post »

How to Handle Negative People
One of my mom’s best pieces of advice: “Hang with the winners.” This holds true in support groups (stick with the people who have the most sobriety), in college (find the peeps with good study habits), and in your workplace (stay away from the drama queen at the water cooler). Why? Because we

posted 10:32:10am Jan. 14, 2014 | read full post »

8 Coping Strategies for the Holidays
For people prone to depression and anxiety – i.e. human beings – the holidays invite countless possibility to get sucked into negative and catastrophic thinking. You take the basic stressed-out individual and you increase her to-do list by a third, stuff her full of refined sugar and processed f

posted 9:30:12am Nov. 21, 2013 | read full post »

Can I Say I’m a Son or Daughter of Christ and Suffer From Depression?
In 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, we read: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” What if we aren’t glad, we aren’t capable of rejoicing, and even prayer is difficult? What if, instead, everything looks dark,

posted 10:56:04am Oct. 29, 2013 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.