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Letter: A person does not choose the illness

As a suicide loss survivor, I was stunned by some of the statements made by the Rev. Joseph Whiting in the March 17 On Faith column.

Our oldest son lived with bipolar disorder and he died by suicide in 2009 at the age of 33. Bipolar disorder is a mental illness as is depression. All mental illnesses are in reality illnesses of the brain.

Whiting indicated that "in abnormal cases of depression, the individual wants to feel this way." I totally disagree with this statement. A person living with a mental illness or a physical illness does not choose the illness, and they don't choose the way that they feel.

Later in the article, Whiting indicates causes for depression that imply willful intent to have depression. Again a person living with a mental illness does not choose the illness.

For further information regarding mental illness, I would encourage people to visit and