Richard Wynns was a social and outgoing teenager. He earned his black belt in karate, and achieved multiple honors all before the age of 16. But there was a darkness that overcame him just before he graduated from Cypress Lake Center of the Arts High School in Fort Myers in 1998.
Wynns’ struggle was later clinically diagnosed as depression.
Now Wynns is a resident of Naples. At 31 years old, he moved here, a few years ago, and he has not looked back. He recently published his first book documenting his journey and battle with major depression, to healing through his faith, and lessons he learned.
“I remember looking out of two lenses. Two opposite polls. I could not express myself to anybody. I felt that if I didn’t express my feelings, I would feel like an outcast. I believed that people would look down on me if I told them,” Wynns recalled of the initial wall he built around his friends and loved ones.
Like many who battle depression, Wynns immediately was prescribed psychotropic medication to reduce his symptoms. After seven years, of mostly sleeping, and trying to recover, Wynns pulled through and documented parts of his journey through his book, “Herein Lies the Key to the Pieces of a True Warrior.”
“I wrote the book with the pseudonym ‘Legends Lyric,’ because when I felt the symptoms of depression, I would sing to get through it,” Wynns said. “I didn’t know what I was dealing with at first, and from 16 to 24 years old, most of my memory is gone. I abandoned myself to survive.”
Wynns’ paperback possesses a key to the various entries at the conclusion of the book to provide insight to readers about each step Wynns experienced to ultimately recovering from his depression.
With depression and mental crisis situations like Wynns’, Trista Meister, the communications director with the David Lawrence Center, said the mental health care facility recently opened its doors to more residents in Collier County than the center ever has in its history of operation.
“We hope to see people well before they get too far with their symptoms. When people are dealing with depression, we have special groups, and we also have outpatient therapy, and psychiatric medical services to help people,” Meister said. “We run the only life community mental health center, and we run the crisis unit. So if you are in a depressive cycle, especially with suicidal thoughts, then you want to come into the crisis unit. We’re seeing over 25,000 people a year, whose lives we touched.”
Dr. Judy Gibbons, clinical director of counseling and psychological services at Florida Gulf Coast University, also provides mental health services to students who are working through depression on a daily basis.
“I am very hopeful, as depression and anxiety are very treatable disorders. The sooner you get the help, the better it will turn out for you,” she said.
Wynns agrees with getting assistance for depression quickly.
“It’s really about triumphing over it, and not dwelling on the depression itself,” he said. “The most important part is to know that I’ve gone through the steps, to regain options and vision in my life. When you’re depressed, you see all or nothing. I hope people will see more than just black and white.”
To learn more about treatment options for depression go to www.davidlawrencecenter.org