On Depression, Heroes, & Suicide
I woke up this morning, kind of on the fence. There were so many things I wanted to do … like go for a bike ride. Seems chronic fatigue and depression always seem to have very loud voices, and at times can shout down my better intensions. I was hoping today my better intensions could overcome that deep dark noise.
Then I saw these things:
The first was an eMail notification from the Washington Post, the second a Facebook post of a friend. I could already see someone was typing a new comment and new comments popping up as I started to compose my own “feelings” on the matter. I had already typed 3 paragraphs or so and decided to stop. I selected my “feelings” and cut them from the field. I carried on my Facbook reading on my computer after leaving the bathroom. Isn’t that where most of our Facbook time is spent—on the porcelain throne?
The third thing I saw was another Facbook post a musician friend had written about Bourdain being a hero of his. I was moved to a degree for it’s adoration as a “model” for the pessimistic cynic that wants to be hopeful. But at the same time it angered me, because here again we glorified and romanticized the injured bird who’s only option was to fly headlong, at high velocity, into a brick wall and its death. What rubbish! Maybe because depression—for me—has been the life-long lodger that will not leave; no matter how many interventions were had.
Tony was one of those pessimistic idols of mine that made me feel like you could still enjoy life despite it; a glimmer of hope for a cynic like me.
Maybe due to his constant traveling, he drank all the wine he was supposed to, walked down every road he was supposed to, met every stranger he was supposed to, kissed every beautiful woman he was supposed to and made every decision he was supposed to. There was simply nothing left for him to do.
You’ve lived enough to encompass 3 life times of another man. You may have left right on time, but it was too early for the rest of us.
Back at my desk I wrote this response and posted to my friend’s post, as well as a separate post on my timeline. And now here for my own personal reasons.
Depression is depression, whether you’re famous or just a regular Joe. We talk about it publicly when someone famous decides they’ve had enough, and offs themselves, but there are many who continue to suffer in silence; it’s part of the disease. And there in lies the problem.
Depression is a debilitating disease; though we don’t treat it as such in the US. We’d rather sweep it under the carpet. Keep it in a black box hidden in a dark corner until we’re forced to look at it. Those who do suffer from depression and try to talk about it, are still seen as sniveling little weaklings, who should just shut the fuck up, “man up”, or take a pill & be happy. But it doesn’t always work like that—not for everyone.
There are those who try to disguise depression in humor, or cynicism; or keep it smothered in alcohol or their drug of choice. Some make a career out of it in the process & we all think it & them cool & edgy—because maybe we ourselves are equally as damaged. But we don’t want to think about that. We don’t want to talk about that.
Hero or not, famous or not, suicide is selfish. It ends their pain, but increases pain & misery for all those left behind, and still never helps address the issue: “depression = disease” & the toll it takes on everyone it touches.
Depression is a complicated, shame-filled, confusing, soul-sucking, land-mined path that we all need help navigating. Sometimes just talking to someone can be a ray of light in both lives. And sometimes not. It’s the nature of the beast. But please don’t give up. We all need to talk more to each other, VISIT FACE TO FACE, and more importantly LISTEN to what’s being said & what’s NOT being said & responding with compassion, understanding & support.
The people who do that … they are the real heroes.
:::::::::: Joe stepping off his soapbox in the deep dark corner :::::::::
And with that … fuck the voices of fatigue & depression … I am going to try to ride today!