He was calling in from a hotel room in San Francisco. I was sitting alone at the microphone 2,500 miles away at an office conference table in Ann Arbor, Michigan. His words of wisdom pierced the night, and I hoped people around the world were listening. We called him "Bob" because he still worried what he was about to share could limit his future job possibilities. His subject was anxiety and depression and having the courage to get help. Right at the outset Bob marveled that years ago, when depression first was debilitating at age 19, he never "in a million years" would have envisioned speaking about it on a worldwide Internet radio program. Bob plowed ahead with courage, not just describing the counseling and medication he has required many times to control his bouts of anxiety and depression, but also speaking openly about a situation usually kept behind closed doors. He has had a successful career, reaching a senior corporate marketing position for a global corporation. There too, depression crept in, for hours but accomplished little. And, at the same time the anxiety raged, layered onto of the depression. "With the door of my office closed I worried I was going to lose my job. I wasn't ‘absent' from my job, but I wasn't ‘present.' Yes, I was in my office, but I was paralyzed mentally and couldn't get anything done.

Courage. Courage to speak out about anxiety and depression as a medical condition just like one would speak about diabetes or cancer – and to seek help. Courage to be the star guest on our live webcast last week on "Stress, Anxiety and Depression" sponsored by UW Medicine. The two family medicine physicians on the program were grateful for Bob's guidance for other people who may be suffering in silence – ashamed their condition that was bringing life and relationships to a standstill was some kind of character flaw.

No it's not. That's what Bob said so forcefully. The doctors too. Me, of course. And, while traveling last week, I spotted airport terminal advertisements asserting the same thing: We go to the doctor when a chronic pain is keeping us from working or chaining us to our bed, why wouldn't we go if we were feeling inexplicably anxious or sad?

The doctors and Bob asserted there are now so many ways to help: counseling, a range of very effective medications, exercise, and sometimes making doable changes in one's daily life. Not, of course, heading for the liquor cabinet or reaching for a cigarette.

Our hour-long discussion was extremely memorable. Bob's courage to speak out on a tough subject – one that shouldn't be so rarely discussed – is certain to have value and inspiration for you or someone you know since most families are affected by anxiety and depression at one time or another.

Please listen to our program and tell others about this webcast. Like all our programs, there is no hidden agenda, no product for sale, no big business trying to advance: just a significant medical topic discussed in a very compelling way and from the patient's perspective.

I know we need to produce more programs about subjects like this. Please let us know if you know more "Bob's" who are ready to speak out. I know their voice can change lives.

Wishing you and your family the best of heath!

Andrew