Director Tony Scott is dead. He climbed onto the railing of a Los Angeles bridge and without pausing for a moment jumped off into a fast, painful death.
I can’t say that I was an avid fan of Mr. Scott, although I certainly enjoyed many of his movies.
But this news just served to remind me of the brutal and chronically ignored fact that Depression kills.
Jonathan Brandis, Kurt Cobain, Tony Hancock, Ernest Hemingway, Sylvia Plath, Hunter S. Thompson, Virginia Woolf, and those are just the ones who were “lucky” enough to be famous, before they offed themselves.
The question of what role Depression played in the deaths of Amy Winehouse, River Phoenix, Brittany Murphy, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston and the dozen or so musical legends who’ve OD’d goes unanswered.
Fuck that; it’s goes unasked.
You are not Depressed.
Unless you’ve laid in a bed unable to answer the phone because you literally lacked the emotional energy to drag yourself out of it you are not Depressed.
Unless your nerves have been so fried that it felt like iron fingers crawling up your arms and into your gut you are not Depressed.
Unless you’ve tried to kill yourself but failed because you were unable to compose your thoughts long enough to find a fucking window to jump out of you are not Depressed.
Thank your lucky fucking stars.
Unfortunately, for those of us with Depression (and for society in general) Depression looks exactly the same as sadness, so we now live in a culture that thinks the two are the same.
Well, they’re not.
Sadness is normal and natural and healthy. Shit, some kinds of sadness can even be enjoyable (at least compared to Depression).
Depression actually feels quite different to sadness. Saying that Depression and sadness are the same is like saying that anger and hunger are the same. It’s just plain not true.
It is impossible to be alive without getting sad sometimes. This is normal.
But there is nothing normal about Depression.
Depression is a series of self-destructive behaviours, negative thought patterns and physiological symptoms.
Those physiological symptoms include imbalances in one’s brain chemistry. This is the part of the trinity that anti-depressants try to cope with, often successfully.
For the other shit you pretty much have to help yourself: medications will have absolutely no effect.
And the fact that Depression has this physiological aspect means that telling someone with Depression to “just get over it” is like telling someone with epilepsy to “just walk it off”.
In both cases it means that you are a huge asshole.
But the chronic nature of Depression is hard to understand because our culture has conflated “Depression” with “sadness” (something that the sell-outs at the APA are going to make even worse in the DSM 5).
The difference is even harder to understand because some people are just whiny assholes, who like to take their sadness and elevate it so that people will give them sympathy and attention.
It is to those people that this post is primarily directed.
So let me say this one more time for you people: if you think Depression just means “a type of sadness” then you do not have Depression.
[Standard Disclaimer: this post was entirely my own opinion and was not paid for in any way, directly or otherwise, by anyone or anything that stands to gain in any way from the ideas expressed herein.]