Health Advice



Depression can get better. These four are living proof

Abraham Gutman, The Philadelphia Inquirer on

Published in Health & Fitness

PHILADELPHIA -- When U.S. Sen. John Fetterman checked into a hospital for clinical depression last month, critics questioned whether he would be able to serve his six-year term.

Mental illness is often portrayed as an inescapable condition.

Everyone's experience is different, and people who've had an episode of mental illness are at greater risk for experiencing mental health challenges in the future. But for most people, depression and other mental health disorders don't last forever, said David Mandell, the director of the Penn Center for Mental Health.

"With good treatment, people can then go for years and years without experiencing the major symptoms of depression," Mandell said.

The Inquirer spoke to four Philadelphians about their experience with depression, what treatments worked for them, and how they continue to take care of their mental health.

'A different lens'


The first person who broke Taj Murdock's heart was his absent father.

"You don't have that father figure telling you that he's proud of you," the 48-year-old from North Philly said. "You also start blaming yourself. Did I do something wrong?"

Murdock became a successful barber, with a bench of professional athlete clients. But without a male role model in his early years, he found that his goals were misguided, he said. He drank too much, used drugs, and was striving for "the pillars of false manhood," he says now. "Have a car, clothes, pocket full of money, and a handful of women."

By 2008, his self-destructive behavior caught up with him.


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