Entries by Sheila Hamilton

How I Learned the Truth about “Magic Bullets”

In August of 2006, my former husband wasn’t sleeping well. He was stressed by the impending failure of his business, a marriage in shambles and his father’s worsening health. He needed help. He reached out to a friend of his, a doctor, who prescribed anti-depressants. Within 48 hours of taking his first pill, David announced, […]

Dealing with a mental illness? Here are your legal protections

One of the most beautiful and heart-wrenching experiences I’ve had since writing this blog is hearing your stories regarding mental health. A mother shared her hope after finally finding a medication that worked for her daughter’s depression and anxiety disorder. A daughter grieved the normalcy she had before her brother had his first schizophrenic break. And […]

A new stage of grief: forgiveness

Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross has described the five stages of grief as denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. When a loved one commits suicide, that list is incomplete. We are haunted by the questions, “Why would he?” or “What could I have done differently?” I’d propose one more stage of grief to Kubler-Ross’s list in the […]


My father’s parents both died before he turned ten years old. He essentially grew up as an orphan, and yet he was the happiest person I’ve ever known. At the age of seventy-nine, he simply refused to believe that the cancer eating away at his jaw would ever claim him. “A bump in the road” […]

Kevin Hines: Survivor

When 28-year-old Kevin Hines hurled himself from the Golden Gate Bridge, his first thought was, “What the hell did I just do? I don’t want to die.” According to the New England Journal of Medicine, one-third to 80% of all suicide attempts are impulsive acts. Ninety percent of people who survive a suicide attempt do […]

Recovery is possible.

The one thing I wish more families heard when their loved one gets sick from a brain illness is this: Recovery is possible. In the days after David’s suicide attempt, I learned about the stubborn reliance on psychotropic drugs as the main solution for people in mental health crisis and I witnessed the shocking limitations of […]


My friend’s eight-year-old son punched a hole through the sheetrock of his new classroom two months ago. His parents had moved him from the elementary school he’d attended since kindergarten because he was eating his lunch alone or not eating at all. He refused to go on the family’s spring vacation and requested a home […]