I want to express my appreciation for Margot Kidder's inspiring story. I suffer from a variant of Ms. Kidder's illness called unipolar depression. It is much the same, only without the manic highs. Depression is a disease that claims lives unless treated, but those who have it often suffer without treatment because of the public's perception of mental illness in general. Through mass-media outlets such as yours, the myths surrounding the disease can be dispelled and patients inspired to seek the help they most desperately need.
KENNETH L. HEAD Kernersville, N.C.
Margot Kidder is setting herself up for another "Back from Hell" cover story. Lithium works. I have taken the correct dosage for 20 years and have never had another bout with manic-depressive illness. Take the lithium, Ms. Kidder, and quit kidding yourself by getting help from Elena Crippen and trying Depakote. If Ms. Kidder wigs out or finds herself a street person again, it will be her own choice. She may not be as lucky next time.
RUTH ANN HARRELL Long Beach, Calif.
I'm 30 years old and was recently diagnosed as being bipolar. I can relate to what Margot Kidder went through. My problems nearly destroyed my nine-year marriage and my family. I am currently in therapy and take Depakote twice a day. After you hit rock bottom, the only way to go is up!
Depression is a very lonely disease. People get a cold, get the flu or any type of physical ailment, and they are bombarded with, "How are you? Do you feel better? I wish you well." What does anyone say to someone who has depression? Nothing. I'm no longer alone. Thanks.
SANDY GIPE, El Paso
In your article about the shooting of Tupac Shakur, I was dismayed to read that Tupac had received support while hospitalized from other black celebrities, his family and friends. As a young white female, I was also mourning this young and very talented musician. Why, even in death, must you separate the races? Do we not all feel the same pain at such a tragic end to a very bright future?
CAROLINE WILSON, Memphis
The death of Tupac Shakur was a tragic loss that I managed to get over in 10 or 15 seconds. I suspect the vast majority of the country agrees with me.
JACK BERKUS, El Segundo, Calif.
I can't believe Sly Stallone stayed in the waiting room while Jennifer Flavin was having their baby. I guess he only acts like a big man and a hero in films! What's the matter, Sly? Too gory for you to watch your child being born?
DEBORAH HRABINSKI New Brunswick, N.J.
JONATHAN SHESTACK AND PORTIA IVERSON
I will never forget the day—Nov. 2, 1993. On my son's third birthday we got the definite diagnosis of autism. This was after 18 months of indecision, testing and more testing. After losing faith in the medical establishment, we put our trust in an excellent school that has almost transformed our little boy. He is now speaking and seeking affection. We struggle every day to keep him out of the black hole called autism. I applaud the efforts of Jonathan Shestack and Portia Iverson. I also feel their pain.
PAULA BARRISH, Lockport, N.Y.
PRISON GUIDE DOGS
I thoroughly enjoyed your article about the Pilot Dog program in Ohio. Why not ship all the nation's discarded dogs from the pound right to prison? This way we can spare millions of healthy, adoptable mutts from euthanasia while teaching empathy and social skills to hardened criminals, many of whom will one day be paroled.
DEBRA WHITE, Gainesville, Fla.
PICKS & PANS
It's too bad your review of the movie The First Wives Club was done by a man. They just don't get it!
JEAN VON DOHRMANN, Anchorage
Actress Margot Kidder's account of her struggle with manic depression encouraged many readers to share their own experiences with mental illness and those afflicted with the disease (PEOPLE, Sept. 23). Most readers were grateful to Kidder for helping to remove the stigma often attached to such problems.