“I had no doubt that Tiny thought he got depressed, but that was probably because he had nothing to compare it to. Still, what could I say? that I didn’t just feel depressed – instead, it was like the depression was the core of me, of every part of me, from my mind to my bones? That if he got blue, I got black? That I hated those pills so much because I knew how much I relied on them to live?
No, I couldn’t say any of this because when it all comes down to it, nobody wants to hear it. No matter how much they like you or love you, they don’t want to hear it.”
― John Green, Will Grayson, Will Grayson
photo by picturenarrative (creative commons)
This quote might be a little tortured to read. It also might fall under the category of thinking that romanticizes the depressive. Yet if you stick with it, there’s something very accurate about the train of thought. Perhaps “know” should be in quotes.
“This is the great lesson the depressive learns: Nothing in the world is inherently compelling. Whatever may be really “out there” cannot project itself as an affective experience. It is all a vacuous affair with only a chemical prestige. Nothing is either good or bad, desirable or undesirable, or anything else except that it is made so by laboratories inside us producing the emotions on which we live. And to live on our emotions is to live arbitrarily, inaccurately—imparting meaning to what has none of its own. Yet what other way is there to live? Without the ever-clanking machinery of emotion, everything would come to a standstill. There would be nothing to do, nowhere to go, nothing to be, and no one to know. The alternatives are clear: to live falsely as pawns of affect, or to live factually as depressives, or as individuals who know what is known to the depressive. How advantageous that we are not coerced into choosing one or the other, neither choice being excellent. One look at human existence is proof enough that our species will not be released from the stranglehold of emotionalism that anchors it to hallucinations. That may be no way to live, but to opt for depression would be to opt out of existence as we consciously know it.”
― Thomas Ligotti, The Conspiracy Against the Human Race
“This story [“The Depressed Person”] was the most painful thing I ever wrote. It’s about narcissism, which is a part of depression. The character has traits of myself. I really lost friends while writing on that story, I became ugly and unhappy and just yelled at people. The cruel thing with depression is that it’s such a self-centered illness – Dostoevsky shows that pretty good in his “Notes from Underground”. The depression is painful, you’re sapped/consumed by yourself; the worse the depression, the more you just think about yourself and the stranger and repellent you appear to others.”
― David Foster Wallace
A terrific visual chronicle (it’s a comic) of various celebrities. Apparently this was a novel style for the author, Darryl Cunningham, but it doesn’t show. The illustrations complement the material perfectly. Powerful stuff. Recommended.
Those covered include: Winston Churchill, Judy Garland, Nick Drake, Spike Milligan, and Brian Wilson. Here’s the link:
People with Mental Illness Enhance Our Lives.
You may well have seen stacks of Allie Brosh’s book, “Hyperbole and a Half” in bookstores. What you might not have known is that it contains a harrowingly accurate first-person account of major depression. I wrote it on my old blog here: “Understanding Depression, Visual Edition.”
It is literally one of the best (if not the best) first-person accounts of what it is like to be depressed, including the frustration of others’ well meaning reaction. Much, if not all, of the comic is also available on her blog.
Here are the links:
Adventures in Depression
Depression, Part 2 (this came two years later)