The trouble that Middlesex County Sheriff James DiPaola was in before he committed suicide seemed — well, if not trivial, then certainly manageable.

He considered, then walked away from, a sleazy but perfectly legal scheme that would have allowed him to collect his $98,500 pension and his $123,000 salary simultaneously. And he may have been playing it fast and loose with campaign funds.

There is a possibility that much worse was about to come out, and he couldn’t bear the thought of disgrace and prison. But it could well be that depression was responsible both for his misdeeds and for his suicide. Killing himself was such an extreme reaction that it doesn’t seem likely the thought had never occurred to him before last week.