“The lowest of lows,” Jami Lavin said. The 35-year-old from Milan has struggled with clinical depression most of her life.  

“I don’t even know who I am anymore,” Lavin said. “I just feel like this dark, negative cloud is around me at all times.” The mental health disorder is characterized by persistently despondent moods significantly impairing daily life. 

“I’ve lost interest in… everything,” Lavin said.  Experts say depression can be caused by biological, psychological and social sources of distress. Research suggests these factors can change neural circuits in the brain. 

“I want to be happy. I want to be social and outgoing. I don’t know how anymore,” Lavin said.  For Lavin, recent tragedy only deepened her despair.

“One of my close friends committed suicide and I was devastated,” Lavin said. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve contemplated suicide myself.” However, she’s never let it get that far. 

“What will my nephew think if that happens? How devastated would he be? So, I stay for him and my family,” Lavin said.  She turns to talk therapy for help. 

“Everyone is like ‘oh my gosh, no. I’m crazy if I have to go to counseling.’ No, you’re not crazy. Everyone needs an outlet. Everyone needs to talk,” Lavin said.  Another method she uses to cope is medication.  

“I’m not ashamed to be on meds. I’m not wanting to be on them the rest of my life. one day I hope I can say, ‘bye depression, I’m done.’ But, for now I need them,” Lavin said. Despite her efforts, Lavin admits it’s a struggle every day. 

“There’s just no light. They always say there’s light at the end of the tunnel. I know it’s there somewhere, I just haven’t found it yet,” Lavin said.  Lavin said what brings her the most hope and healing is helping others. For the second year she is chairing one of the local Out of the Darkness walks. The national campaign raises funds for suicide prevention. There are several Out of the Darkness walks happening in the Quad Cities area. Click here to learn more.