Funny dad La Guardia Cross has been making viewers laugh on his YouTube channel for years now. I first discovered his hilarious videos with his then-newborn Amalah, three years ago when I was searching for content for this website. Cross documents his parenting journey in his silly and yet very real videos on his “New Father Chronicles” channel and his 233,000 subscribers tune in to see his interactions with his growing family. The videos now feature Amalah, 3, and Nayely, 1, as well as his wife Leah.
New Father Chronicles is nearly 100 percent lighthearted, but the fun and games came to a screeching halt recently when La Guardia Cross posted a video on June 19th entitled “Almost lost my wife.” He starts the video by saying “I’ve been trying to record this a few times…basically, I really came close to losing my wife last week.” The usually jocular dad was serious and muted as he began to relate his wife Leah’s battle for her life against depression. He told viewers that Leah had struggled with depression for years, but that she had not been herself since their youngest was born a year ago, and that their recent move a few months ago had complicated things.
Leah had been taking medication for depression and when they moved, they found her a new psychiatrist…but her medication had been discontinued. The new medication wasn’t quite working, Cross reports, even after her psychiatrist adjusted it a couple of times. Leah’s depression worsened, but La Guardia Cross had no idea HOW bad it was until a recent date night with his wife. His narrative of the situation in the video below made my breath catch in my throat.
On that date, Leah finally opened up to her husband about how she was REALLY feeling.
“We were talking and the truth just started to spill out — how she really was doing. She was losing hope. All hope was gone — from her face, in her words,” said Cross. “She was already starting to plan the end… all I knew was my wife was planning her end and telling me about it, and if I didn’t do anything I may not see her tomorrow.”
The couple tried to reach her psychiatrist but were not able to connect with the doctor. Cross then knew he HAD to take action, but he still hesitated.
“I debated on taking her to the hospital,” he says. Now he’s encouraging others to NOT wait or debate that important step, which he says he now knows SAVED his wife’s life.
“It seemed extreme, but she wouldn’t be here if I hadn’t. You don’t have to wait until it gets to that point to act… just do something. If the first thing doesn’t work, don’t give up — try another thing… help doesn’t always come packaged perfectly and at times, it can be really inconvenient, but life doesn’t give us do-overs after it’s gone.”
Thankfully, La Guardia Cross now reports that Leah is back home and feeling much better mentally. Leah herself even recorded a video that you can see on Cross’ channel, explaining the depth of her depression and negative, suicidal thoughts. and talking a little about the time she spent in the hospital. On TODAY.com, Cross said that it was important to both him and Leah to share their story with his online community.
“I usually keep things (on my YouTube channel) silly and lighthearted, but we’ve also shared the ups and downs of marriage, our near divorce, Leah’s struggle with depression and the lessons we’ve learned along the way,” he said. “The folks I’ve been chatting with in comment sections for nearly four years have become an extended family… for something of this magnitude to happen in our lives — I couldn’t and didn’t want to hide it or pretend like everything was OK.”
As we’ve seen in the news recently after the deaths by suicide of celebrities Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, depression an happen to any and all of us, as can suicide. Even people like Leah, who have a loving, supporting husband and two sweet children, are not immune from depressions lies. I encourage you to watch Leah’s video below as she recounts some of the lies depression told her about herself, and also talks about how when people complimented her or said good things about her, she found it impossible to believe. Depression is a good, good liar, and it’s voice can be both loud and constant.
I hope you will LISTEN to the Cross’ story and take La Guardia’s words about getting your loved one HELP to heart. He almost didn’t take Leah to the hospital, and he now says that if he hadn’t, he is sure he and his daughters would have lost her to suicide. Don’t be afriad to “go to extremes” when someone’s life is on the line!
Finally, if you don’t know WHAT to do if you or someone you know is at risk of suicide, please call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, text TALK to 741741 or go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources.
Thank you to the Cross family for sharing their story. If you are facing depression or suicidal thoughts, you are NOT alone, and I beg you to stay awhile longer with us.