GLADSTONE, Mo. -- Depression is one of our most common health problems. In any given year, about eight percent of Americans have it. Thursday is National Depression Screening Day. Joe Rembolt of Gladstone is sharing his story of hope as he celebrates his 69th birthday.
Rembolt says the music he creates on a keyboard may be one key to him making it to age 69.
"It's just a good therapy, it really is," said Rembolt.
It's one therapy for a disease that started 50 years ago when Rembolt was in college.
"I could not sleep or concentrate," he said.
He had extreme highs followed by the deepest depression.
"I couldn't even get out of bed, brush my teeth or anything," he said,
It was manic depression which is now called bipolar disorder. It took 10 years for doctors to figure it out.
"When I got the correct medication, it turned my life around. And that was lithium," Rembolt said.
He stayed on lithium for 30 years. He's on other medications now. A psychiatrist with Tri-County Mental Health Services says diagnosis and treatment have improved over the years, not only for bipolar disorder but also for the more common major depression.
"Treatments and not just medications, but other kinds of therapy can lead to life-changing and even life-saving improvements in people's lives," said Dr. Grant Piepergerdes.
He and Rembolt encourage people to take advantage of National Depression Screening Day on Thursday. Take a simple screening online: http://screening.mentalhealthscreening.org/hyho
It's anonymous and confidential. If it shows you may have depression, you'll see how you can get help here: http://findtreatment.samhsa.gov.
What if Rembolt hadn't gotten help?
"I'd be dead," he said.
Instead, he's here 50 years later for his kids. He's living what he calls a very rewarding life.
"Don't give up. Don't ever give up hope," he said.
That's a tune worth hearing over and over.
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