Sean O'malley's sister speaks about his passing

SirenSongWoman

Cathlete
Sean's sister, Colleen, posted this on his Facebook page late last night. She gave me permission to re-post it here today. I hope this helps everyone who had questions about our OTHER favorite trainer as it has helped me.

Colleen O'Malley Weber on Sunday, April 1, 2012 at 11:23pm ·


So it’s one week since I flew down to Florida after receiving a phone call I hoped and prayed I’d never receive at 7:30 that Sunday morning. Although I asked my Mom as she sobbed through the phone what was wrong, and immediately asked where Dad was, I knew deep down it was Sean.

For those of you who didn’t know, Sean struggled for many years with a disconnect between who he thought he was and who he truly was. Although Cardio Coach was his dream, for the past few years he couldn’t believe that voice on the earphones was actually his… He battled mental illness since his late 20’s (and perhaps before based on some information we learned this week). Despite the demons that plagued him, he managed to inspire so many people.

Those of us (family and friends) who knew of Sean’s suffering did everything we knew possible to help him – trust me – from finding the best doctors, to experimental and alternative treatments, to providing him with spiritual support, to giving a safe place to retreat whenever the depression would hit, to dropping him off on the Appalachian Trail almost two years ago on his birthday - April 12th - so he could try to find some glimmer of hope, some reason to live.

For the past two years, he spiraled into a deep depression and like so many others who have faced similar battles, could have won an Academy Award for his performance. Even my parents and I couldn’t read him the past few weeks, but it has become apparent from the conversations I’ve been having this week, the letters and emails I’ve read, that Sean had made his choice weeks ago, although not from a healthy state of mind.

Please know that Sean’s legacy will not end with his death. As we put more puzzle pieces together and share his and our story more, we know that we are not the only ones who have experienced similar situations. No matter how ‘taboo’ mental illness and suicide has been in the past, it is apparent that a transformation is taking place, an awareness growing for the importance of helping others find peace, comfort and love as they work through mental illness and suicide in their own lives or in the lives of those they love.
I would appreciate any insights and wisdom that any of you have to share that might help us better understand what we are experiencing and what next... I would also love to connect with those who have seen behavior changes following a concussion, as we have been exploring how repeated concussions from contact sports effect mental health.

Although Sean didn’t believe he had the right or even the ability to call himself the Cardio Coach or stand in front of anyone as a coach anymore, I have no doubt that the man you all knew was truly Sean O’Malley – the Cardio Coach – my baby brother. He was, and always will be a hero and inspiration to so many of us.

With love and thanks to you all,
Colleen & the Cardio Coach family

p.s. I apologize for the FB posting, however it is the best way to share these words and to continue to bring awareness to the legacy of Sean Michael O’Malley, our Cardio Coach. I also want to extend thanks to so many of you who were there for Sean throughout the years. Know that he loved you, and there is nothing… NOTHING any of us could have done different, said different.
 

janiejoey

Cathlete
Stacey thank you so much. Please pass this along to Colleen.

Colleen, I know what you are feeling. My brother committed suicide many years ago and it was so devastating. My brother had dyslexia and at the time no one knew much about it. He grew up in a world that didn't understand and he himself I think must have felt so disconnected.

I wish I could tell you later on down the road that things will be explained on "Why", I've never found that closure, but perhaps someone else did and can share it with us.

My heart goes out to Sean and to your family. Seams to me he wasn't finished yet on this earth and truly is still needed and very much missed.

I don't have the knowledge to write very well, but do know this; You will always feel him around you, at least I feel my brother around me whenever I think of him. And there is not a day that goes by that I don't.

Do take care and thank you so much for letting us know about Sean. It is so appreciated.

Janie
 
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DebbieH

Cathlete
All my thoughts & prayers to the O'Malley family! Sean was a true talent and I feel so blessed that he shared his talent with us! God bless his heart & soul!
 

DebbieH

Cathlete
Janie, I'm sorry for the loss of your brother. I lost a brother to cancer which is hard to understand but your loss is so tramatic! Bless your heart too!
 

ElaineP

Cathlete
Stacey, Thank you for sharing Colleen's post. You can never really know what a person feels about themselves. They may seem vibrant and out going but truly dieing on the inside. My heart goes out to the O'malley family and may they find closure. Depression is a terrible thing to live with. I had post partum depression after my 17 year old was born and I never want to travel that road again.
 

SirenSongWoman

Cathlete
Stacey, Thank you for sharing Colleen's post. You can never really know what a person feels about themselves. They may seem vibrant and out going but truly dieing on the inside. My heart goes out to the O'malley family and may they find closure. Depression is a terrible thing to live with. I had post partum depression after my 17 year old was born and I never want to travel that road again.
I always say my mother suffered from the world's longest post-partum depression ever. From the time I was born, up until we moved and I started the third grade she was completely out to lunch. Everything changed when she got wind some older girls at school were picking on me. Just like that, she woke up and, though she continued to have short bouts off and on throughout her life, those early years of my life would have been a mess if my dad hadn't been so hands-on. We became VERY close nonetheless. Some women just really aren't cut out for those early years. I knew I wasn't so I never tried. Like Mom, I can't handle babies but I love older kids.
 

nightowl81

Cathlete
It was speculated that he did take his own life... and if it was that I was hoping his family would come forward and share what happened.

Seems like so many people suffer with this type of stuff and are ashamed to come out and ask for help - maybe seeing someone like Sean will be a comfort to people suffering from mental illness to not be ashamed and to speak up and ask for help.
 

jcm

Cathlete
Mental illness is a horrible thing and unfortunately there is much shame attached to it. It is real - not a made up excuse. It ruins people and it ruins families - as I and so many others know first hand. I knew about Cardio Coach but never tried it. It's really just the cause of death that brought me to comment. Often - usually? - we are our own worst enemy. I hope his family is able to find some kind of peace. And I feel sorry - terribly sorry - for Sean.


Much praise to his family for being so open about his cause of death and the struggle behind it. This kind of bravery will only help take away the stigma that goes along with this illness.
 
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ReneePruitt

Cathlete
Oh that is so sad. I have a son who has mentioned alot of times that he wanted to do this. I cant even say the word. My son has had learning problems. So much to say but to much to type... and i dont want to take hmm i dont know how to say it but take it away from the original post. I just want to saay im so sorry for his family.. and sorry him or anyone feels this bad. I have seen so many young people with depression that that was the outcome. We need to do something but what? It seems like it is happening more now. More awareness? I dont know. Im so sad and i honestly did not even know of him til now. Just a tragic loss.
 

nkhansen1

Cathlete
Bless his heart. This is what I feared had happened since they were so quiet about it after Colleen said he passed away at home. It just breaks my heart. My husband's two brothers live with severe mental illness, one is entirely incapacitated. A friend of mine in high school took her own life, and it was a shock to everyone that she struggled so. I don't know what to say other than may God bless Sean's family and may they feel a measure of peace as they grieve and heal.
 

SirenSongWoman

Cathlete
Oh that is so sad. I have a son who has mentioned alot of times that he wanted to do this. I cant even say the word. My son has had learning problems. So much to say but to much to type... and i dont want to take hmm i dont know how to say it but take it away from the original post. I just want to saay im so sorry for his family.. and sorry him or anyone feels this bad. I have seen so many young people with depression that that was the outcome. We need to do something but what? It seems like it is happening more now. More awareness? I dont know. Im so sad and i honestly did not even know of him til now. Just a tragic loss.
Everyone already knew Sean had passed, and most of us started suspecting it was suicide as soon as remarks from loved one's to the effect that Sean was "sad" started showing up on his FB page. Colleen's letter, then, served two purposes: 1) Closure for those of us who just needed to know because we loved him and 2) She WANTED to start people dialoging about depression, to bring the disease out into the light. And sure enough, people immediately started telling their stories of how their lives have been effected by depression.

So please, hijack this thread. Sean would want people who never knew him to talk about this awful disease in all it's various forms. People NEED to let it all out and connect with others for support.
 

burritamcdoo

Active Member
I am so very sad about Sean's passing...I used his soothing voice on many a training run to pull me through a 'Level 4' interval...I also feel compelled to write something about dealing with depression. Before I had my third child, I never really understood why someone couldn't just 'snap out of it', let alone leave this world altogether. About four weeks after the birth of my third son, I soon found out...I spiraled into a deep sadness coupled with overwhelming anxiety, and I really had no reason to feel that way. I had three beautiful children, an incredibly supportive husband, friends, family, a lovely home, etc. etc., yet I felt completely detached from my own body. My husband would force me to go out without the baby for a run, or go to the store or just take care of myself, but none of it was working, and I was never so frightened in all my life. I couldn't eat, I couldn't sleep, I lost all interest in things I loved, and I didn't really care about anything. Long story short, I ended up at the psych ward at our local hospital (voluntarily) for a very long weekend, which didn't help much, except give me the opportunity to sleep a little bit more than I was able to at home. I was eventually put on medication, scheduled to see a therapist for regular sessions and sent home, but it took almost six months for me to 'snap out of it' (it makes me cringe just to be typing that phrase now). Like Sean, I put on a good front, smiled and laughed for everyone outside of my home, but unless you lived with me, you would never have known what I was going through. I am forever thankful that I was able to shake that demon, but it was not without a struggle and a fight every. single. day. I hated myself on many a day because I didn't recognize who this 'new' person was, and I didn't like her or welcome her at all. There were even brief moments when I thought I just couldn't face another morning.

Bottom line, I just wanted the O'Malley family to know that there are many, many, many people, friends, family, loved ones that have experienced and are going through this. They are certainly not alone. And most importantly, chances are there was nothing that they could have said or done to change the outcome. My heart goes out to them and I hope they eventually find some peace within the storm.

Karen
 

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