Monday, March 29, 2010

Depression and Reading, Writing, etc.

When you are doing reading, writing and numbers (academic work), what happens when you encounter depression? Probably best known are the writings of Sylvia Plath. But since then, there is artwork, music, and a multiple of other media forms that express the depression of their creators.

Read some young adult books and you will find entire genres surrounding the issues of depression: teenage angst; coming of age; coming out; and, naturally, issues of sexuality. Regarding adolescence, we can find suicidal, homicidal, and family deaths related to depression. Is that not how we accounted for the shooting of parents and family, Columbine, and other school shootings?

There have been studies that point to the decline in health of graduate students as they go through their programs, whatever department they may be in. There is evidence of post-partum depression; numerous cases touted by the media when a mother does harm to her children, or a father thinks that death will save his children. And, of course, a look at most cases of domestic violence, we can see some evidence of depression. The fact that you are most likely to be killed by someone you know seems to make an argument for depression gone to the next level.

But that is not all there is. There are millions of people who try to function day to day, feeling serious, clinical depression. Yeah, yeah, we’ve all heard how many American women are on some kind of anti-depressant medication. So, you meet someone like that and think it is simply a matter of making them happy. But in true depression, it is not. Furthermore, it may not be something handled by Prozac, or Xanac, or any other “happy” pill.

Have you ever experienced being alone? Have you ever felt like you were unloved? Have you tried to find the solution in a bottle of alcohol, a bottle of pills, a snort of cocaine, some ecstasy, sex? Have you ever been 10 years of age and trying to fight those feelings? 15 years of age? 20 years of age? 50 years of age? 60 years of age?

The key I wonder about is no matter what age: have you been in the space where you cannot believe the people who claim to love you?

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