Depression sucks: CDC doctor who vanished for months before being found in a river killed himself by drowning

I sometimes think of going for a walk into the river.

It’s close, it’s convenient, it has bull sharks, I wouldn’t last long.

Dr. Timothy Cunningham from his facebook photos

But then I get on with my day, in whatever fragmented version of myself that may be.

When you hear your psychiatrist phoning in a prescription and characterizes you (me) as suffering from severe depression, it sorta hits home.

It sucks for my family, and I’m sorry for that.

I’m going through a lot of death that happened almost 40 years ago, but trying to deal with it and move on.

It ain’t easy, and it ain’t easy on those around me.

A U.S. Center for Disease Control doctor who vanished in February drowned himself and was pulled from an Atlanta river about two months after going missing, authorities now believe.

The Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office classified Dr. Timothy Cunningham‘s death as “suicide by drowning,” though it remains unclear how exactly he first entered the water.

Cunningham, a Harvard-educated epidemiologist with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was last seen alive leaving work Feb. 12, after complaining that he felt ill.

On April 3 — after much fruitless searching and mystery, some of which spawned wild and since-debunked conspiracy theories — his body was pulled from the Chattahoochee River.

The chief medical examiner, Dr. Jan Gorniak, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that toxicology testing found marijuana in Cunningham’s system, but there were no other significant findings.

His body showed no other signs of trauma, according to authorities.

According to the autopsy report, Cunningham’s parents told police that he did have frequent mood swings but that he had never been officially diagnosed with depression or any other mental illness.

The scientist, 35, was a team leader in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. His career had been marked by accomplishments including co-authoring 28 publications, focusing on how health issues affect minorities. He also worked on numerous public health emergencies, including the Ebola outbreak and the Zika virus.

“Tim was always the golden boy,” a colleague at the CDC previously told PEOPLE.

In his position Cunningham prominently studied heath patterns related to race, gender and geography. For his work, the Atlanta Business Chronicle featured him last October as one of its “40-Under-40” rising stars in the region.

“He expressed a strong desire to improve the health of others,” journalist Tonya Layman, who interviewed Cunningham for his Chronicle profile, told PEOPLE. “I was really impressed with his intellect and his passion for the work he was doing.”

We’re all just people.