DALLAS -- Susan Hawk is finally breaking her silence about what she was going through when she went AWOL from her job as Dallas' first female D.A.
"My plan was to resign and be done with it and kill myself at that point," she said. "My main focus was on getting healthy. My job didn't matter. It was a matter of life or death when I left."
Hawk sat down with NewsFix to talk about her battle with depression.
"This went untreated for my entire life. I really didn't know what it was," she said. "I didn't realize what was happening until I hit the bottom. It came to a point for me where it was unmanageable, where I didn't want to live anymore."
She spent nine weeks in a treatment center in Houston. Now she says she's ready to get back to work as she faces critics who want her to resign, accusing her of wrongdoing and being paranoid.
"A symptom is paranoia. It's not just a constant state," Hawk said. "You have moments of paranoia, but this takes years to get there. And that's why I treated it."
Hawk says all of that is behind her.
"Oh, I'm a changed person. I'm healthy. I care about this job. It's been a huge part of my life. And if I wasn't capable of doing it, I wasn't well enough to do it, I would step down. It's that important."
She wants to help break the stigma of mental illness.
"I hope that there's one person out there that thinks there alone that they're not going to be able to make it, and want them to reach out to someone because there's help out there that's available for them," Hawk said.
"It's a disease that you have to treat, just like cancer, diabetes or anything. And that's what I'm doing. And to say that I can't be successful just because I have major depressive disorder, it's just not right."
If you or someone you know is facing mental issues, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline online or call 800-273-8255. The website includes a live chat service for anyone in crisis.