I am currently reading “Infinite Jest” by David Foster Wallace. It’s brilliant, ironic, meandering, a behemoth of a novel written by one of the brightest and best contemporary writers. I highly recommend it. But we won’t get the pleasure of looking forward to his next work. He committed suicide by hanging himself in 2008.
It’s impossible to convey the waste of possibility that a suicide represents. Imagine traveling back in time and murdering Mozart as an infant. What would music be without his influence?
Contribution to humanity aside, the wreckage extends far beyond the individual. It includes family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, everyone who ever had dealings with the deceased who is then left to ask themselves, “What could I have done to stop this from occurring?”
There’s also a murderous component of suicide that is rarely spoken of: Statistically the children of suicide are two times more likely to suicide themselves.
With all this in mind I offer to you my top tips for dealing with depression:
Get help! If you or someone you know is suffering from depression, do not wait for it to pass. Depression is not a train that comes by and goes away. It is more like a pernicious infection that requires rapid identification and thorough treatment.
Don’t believe your own mind! The one circumstance in which it makes sense to reject your own thoughts, beliefs and intuition is when they are clouded by depression. If you know you are looking in a fun-house mirror you do not trust what you see. If you are depressed, you are looking at the world and yourself through a seriously deformed lens.
Identify your allies. Your allies are not the people who do what you want (i.e.: leave you the hell alone). Your allies are the ones who fuss and nag and do their best to get you to #1 in this list.
Sober up. Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant. If you are drinking while struggling with depression it’s kind of like trying to swing dance while holding a ten pound bag of flour under each arm. Hard.