‘I just became so overwhelmed and so depressed,’ woman recalls battle with depression, suicidal ideation since childhood

If you have thoughts of self-harm, call or text the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988.
September is Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month.
Published: Sep. 21, 2023 at 4:24 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 21, 2023 at 6:45 PM CDT

SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - September is Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month. Suicide effects people of all ages and is a leading cause of death in the United States.

Many of the warning signs of possible suicidal feelings are also signs of depression. KSLA’s Priscilla Borrego spoke to a woman Thursday, Sept. 21, who battled depression since childhood and how she fought to save her own life. Now, she wants others, who are struggling, to know that there is hope.

Laughter and joy weren’t always easy to come by for Rebecca Bonnevier, a successful businesswoman, mother and grandma who has battled depression most of her life. She recalled the reoccurring feelings of sadness, emptiness and hopelessness that had continuously plagued her throughout the years and into adulthood.

“I had been back and forth, trying to deal with depression, and I remember being in college and having anxiety attacks and things like that,” Bonnevier said. “It was something that I just had to push through, but after I had my second child, I went into a very deep depression.”

Bonnevier admitted she would try to deal with it on her own and wasn’t consistently taking her medication. She even stopped taking it when she began to feel better.

Dr. James Patterson, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral medicine at LSU Health Shreveport, said he often observes patients forgo their medicine.

“Often times, one of the most common things we see is that patients will get better on the medication, in fact, they recover, and they think, ‘Great, I don’t need to take this medication anymore. I don’t need to see my doctor anymore. I am cured.’ And they stop taking it, and the depression comes right back,” he explained.

Bonnevier said she recalls times when she didn’t want to get out bed or want to be around people. She couldn’t handle any noise around her because any type of stimulation would cause her to feel overwhelmed.

“I just became so, so overwhelmed and so depressed, and I was afraid that I may do something stupid.”

Despair became relentless and the overpowering feeling of sadness soon turned to suicidal thoughts and ideations.

“I mean, if I was going over the bridge, I imagined going over the bridge. If I was driving on a highway, what would happen if I drove off the highway? Bonnevier said. “I remember unloading the dishwasher and being afraid to put away the knives because I was afraid to hold them.”

One day, she felt like there was no future and that her family would be better off without her. That’s when she went to her husband for help.

“It was a dark moment because of the depression and because where she was in her emotional state, at the time, was very clouded. And it was a very tough time.” Ernest Bonnevier said.

After being admitted to a hospital for an extensive in-patient stay, Bonnevie pleaded with Ernest to move on without her.

“I told him, ‘just divorce me. You deserve better. You deserve to have a wife that can love you and a mother that can take care of these kids, and I don’t feel like I am capable. You deserve so much more, and it’s okay. You can divorce me.’”

“I don’t even want to think about it. She is the love of my life. I mean, she really is,” Ernest admitted.

With professional help, medication, her family by her side and her faith in God, Bonnevier began to see a glimmer of hope and made a promise to herself.

“I had this extreme experience in the hospital. I started taking medicine, and I made a commitment to myself that I was going to keep taking it for the rest of my life because I don’t ever want to be down that I was then,” she said.

Bonnevier wants others to know that although mental health is a life-long journey, it’s worth talking about and seeking professional help. Most of all, it’s important to remember life is worth living.