Walking away from the ‘Darkness’

Walkers begin their journey at Saturday’s “Out of Darkness” walk in Currie.

People who have lost loved ones to suicide or know those who suffer from
depression gathered at the annual ‘Out of Darkness’ walk in Currie

IN HONOR OF DAD — Marissa Olson walked in Saturday’s “Out of Darkness” walk to remember her father, who took his own life when she was 3 years old.

By Per Peterson

Suicide and selfishness do not go hand-in-hand.
That was one of the messages sent to those who attended Saturday’s “Out of the Darkness” walk in Currie.
Sheri Solma was the person delivering that message. A Slayton resident, Solma — who overdosed on sleeping pills when she was 35 — shared her story Saturday before the walk began. Solma was diagnosed with severe depression when she was just 18. She became a mother during her senior year of high school and had to leave her baby at home while she went off to college. She said the combination of being separated from her baby boy and being away from home were too overwhelming for her. As a result, she withdrew herself from college life and would sleep a lot.
“My roommate talked to me one day and said, “You know we’re all really worried about you,’” Solma said. “We had actually set up an appointment for me to go see a counselor. That’s when I first became aware of depression.”
Solma is currently on medication.
“It’s a disease; it just doesn’t go away,” she said of depression.
Solma, who made a second attempt on her life about five years ago, has had to change her lifestyle to deal with her depression, and contrary to what she was told when she was younger, suicide, or the attempt of suicide, is not a selfish act.
“Kind of the stigma of suicide is that it’s selfish, that we’re not understanding that we’re leaving the people that we love behind,” she said. “Some people just need help, and to be hugged.”
Solma said she was driven to speak at this year’s “Out of the Darkness” walk when she learned of a 13-year-old girl in Luverne who took her own life.
“Anytime you hear of somebody that commits suicide, it’s really hard to hear,” she told the crowd. “I know a lot of you are here today because you have lost somebody. For me, I’ve seen the other side of the spectrum. I know what it feels like just to be so hopeless, so down and so alone. You just want the pain to go away.”

For more on this article, see this week’s Headlight-Herald.