Depression is the aloneness within us made manifest, and it destroys not only connection to others but also the ability to be peacefully alone with oneself.
Depression cannot be wiped out so long as we are creatures conscious of our own selves. It can at best be contained – and containing it is all that current treatments for depression aim to do.
Depression is a condition that is almost unimaginable to anyone who has not known it.
We do not really know what causes depression. We do not really know what constitutes depression. We do not really know why certain treatments may be effective for depression. We do not know how depression made it through the evolutionary process. We do not know why one person gets a depression from circumstances that do not trouble another.
Andrew Solomon, The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression
Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying:
And this same flower that smiles
Tomorrow will be dying…
Just a few thoughts. The death of Robin Williams is painful on so many levels. But any pain any of us feels is not to imply that we should forget the pain that he felt. And, now, the deepened pain of his family.
Depression is tough. The best book I’ve read about it is the Andrew Solomon book, The Noonday Demon. It is brilliant, thorough, educational, emotionally engaging… And, as helpful as it was, it is almost confirmation that we don’t know much…
This much I know. Those who are in the midst of it, or have been through it, understand it in a way that those who have not been through it can ever grasp.
It is real… And can be utterly debilitating. And, sadly, as we are reminded, life-threatening.
So, if nothing else, be on the lookout for it. In yourself. And in those around you — at work, and in your community. If you see someone in the midst of it (and, you will, if you are on the lookout), you can’t fix it. Never, ever, ever, tell them to “snap out of it.” Don’t even think that. Believe me, if they could, they would… gladly.
Maybe the best we can do is to cut them some slack, hope for them, and pray for them.
So very sad…
Here’s the Carpe Diem scene from Dead Poets Society… Gather ye rosebuds while ye may…