Depression. Suicide. Courage.

The so-called ‘psychotically depressed’ person who tries to kill herself doesn’t do so out of quote ‘hopelessness’ or any abstract conviction that life’s assets and debits do not square. And surely not because death seems suddenly appealing. The person in whom Its invisible agony reaches a certain unendurable level will kill herself the same way a trapped person will eventually jump from the window of a burning high-rise. Make no mistake about people who leap from burning windows. Their terror of falling from a great height is still just as great as it would be for you or me standing speculatively at the same window just checking out the view; i.e. the fear of falling remains a constant. The variable here is the other terror, the fire’s flames: when the flames get close enough, falling to death becomes the slightly less terrible of two terrors. It’s not desiring the fall; it’s terror of the flames. And yet nobody down on the sidewalk, looking up and yelling ‘Don’t!’ and ‘Hang on!’, can understand the jump. Not really. You’d have to have personally been trapped and felt flames to really understand a terror way beyond falling. – David Foster Wallace

Written by someone who ended up hanging himself, I think he knew what he was talking about.

Deciding to end one’s life needs quite a lot of contemplating on the subject. And, the truth of the matter, we could debate the accuracy of such a description and all aspects of depression and suicide until the end of time, without arriving at a certain conclusion.

Maybe it’s got to do with emotional resilience. Maybe it’s got to do with neurological damage, with hormones and stuff.

Beyond Treatment: Things You Can Do

If you have depression, you may feel exhausted, helpless, and hopeless. It may be extremely difficult to take any action to help yourself. But as you begin to recognize your depression and begin treatment, you will start to feel better. Here are other tips that may help you or a loved one during treatment:

  • Try to be active and exercise. Go to a movie, a ballgame, or another event or activity that you once enjoyed.
  • Set realistic goals for yourself.
  • Break up large tasks into small ones, set some priorities, and do what you can as you can.
  • Try to spend time with other people and confide in a trusted friend or relative. Try not to isolate yourself and let others help you.
  • Expect your mood to improve gradually, not immediately. Do not expect to suddenly “snap out of” your depression. Often during treatment for depression, sleep and appetite will begin to improve before your depressed mood lifts.
  • Postpone important decisions, until you feel better. Discuss decisions with others who know you well and have a more objective view of your situation.
  • Remember that positive thinking will replace negative thoughts as your depression responds to treatment.
  • Continue to educate yourself about depression.

You are not alone. And, never feel ashamed of contacting medical assistance or joining a support group or taking medications, if you need any.

We have yet to understand the human mind, and it is a wonder we are the only bit of this world aware of itself, and we haven’t died out as a result of being unable to cope with such a thing.

But this post is not about these sort of things. This post is about those who actively try to belittle such things as depression or suicide. Truth be told, as much empathy as you have, you still can’t go inside someone’s brain and feel what they are feeling.

Many great minds in history have spoken of the courage required to stay alive. It may seem like a very different kind of courage than what war requires, but similarities exist. In some cases, courage on the battlefield is observed by many others and can lead to a medal, but even on the battlefield, the greatest courage is often witnessed by only a few other people. An act of heroism can nevertheless be deeply satisfying. The courage to live through suicidal feelings and stay alive will not earn a medal, but it will bring the respect of those close to you and may well bring tremendous satisfaction.

And beyond satisfaction, it can bring wisdom. Most people feel at times that they have dug themselves into a hole out of which they cannot climb. No one wants to be humbled in this way, but it is an essential ripening. From military heroes, leaders we admire, and deep thinkers of all kinds, we hear over and over that real knowledge comes from pain. Living through inner pain is how we lose our arrogance, our selfishness, and our ignorance. It is how we acquire gentleness and a sense of responsibility, maturity, and the capacity for leadership.

One man’s floor is another man’s ceiling.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions, adverbs, and people who denied the truth for far too long.

Mental health is important.

How important you ask?

Well, our success is never generated by our abilities, but rather by our beliefs of said abilities.

What you think, you become.

I know, I know. Such cliches.

But the sad part about cliches is that while you are rolling your eyes or dismissing them, they are ineffably true.

Let us reject this culture of death. Let us refuse to let it kill us and those around us. It is not that different from running into the withering fire to save a fellow soldier. Staying alive is inarguably a kind of heroism.

To train for this future heroic act, choose now that you will not let a moment’s misery murder you. Spend some time thinking about this oath of loyalty to life. If ever a thought of wanting to die flickers through your mind, do not suppress it in horror, but rather let yourself look right at it and know that it is not an option. Then if suicide is ever dangerously on your mind, you will be used to rejecting the idea. Remember that you owe it to the community to be strong, to wait it out. You also owe it to your future self.

The mind matters the most. Our way of thinking influences our behavior and actions.

Jumping off a bridge is the result of a pattern of thinking. A pattern that needs to be addressed. A person needs support and help, not a quick dismissal on the basis of “other people have it worse” or “toughen up” or “don’t be such a crybaby.”

It is important to be kind to others, not so they are kind to us in return, but because we know not what said people are going through.

I know, I know. I used a lot of cliches today. But they are more than true, and more than apt at describing a course of action that might address some of the harm we have inflicted upon ourselves and others.

Funny fact: we humans are the only ones who harm others for fun. For the enjoyment of it. For the ecstasy and the adrenaline rush.

We need to think these issues through and take a stand now so that when we are feeling anguish, we have a commitment to avoid taking our own lives. We need to know that suicide is wrong. We need to read it, and hear it, and speak it, one-on-one and in gatherings.

And you think depressed people are the ones who have issues?


Thank you for reading. Love you for that!

—–Have Hope.Keep Faith—–

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21 thoughts on “Depression. Suicide. Courage.

  1. I’m really glad to read this from you. It is something which isn’t talked about enough. I just had a couple of qualms which I feel I should share with you.

    There isn’t any humbleness or maturity that always accompanies mental illnesses. Everyone who has suffered isn’t mature and not everyone who is mature has faced suicidal thoughts. I am sure you didn’t have any intention of doing so but that part of the article might make depression look appealing or desirable which it is not. Also it has been proven that mental illnesses are due to chemical imbalance and have little to do with emotional resilience.

    Apart from that I agree with most of the arti le especially the opening lines.

    Hope to see more on this from you 🙂

  2. The only hope that is lost is when we are dead. Whenever anyone sees another going through struggles in life it is important to remember that we may be the only voice in the dark. So…turn to that person standing in line at the grocery store. You know…the one with her head down. Say something nice to her. Then tell her that she has a great smile. You just might have saved her life. That isn’t the answer to treating a serious mental illness but it can help a person to see that for just one moment someone paid attention. Thank you for your continued expressions of love for all of us! Kari

  3. Something that helped me at one point in my life was to write down everything I accomplish in a day. No task is too trivial for the list. Get out of bed, brush teeth, brush hair, eat…anything to keep me from feeling utterly useless.

  4. Mental health is definitely important and feel like creative outlets can have a wonderful and therapeutic impact.

  5. From someone who has lived with depression most of my life, I can testify that what you have written is from a heart of understanding. If you haven’t experienced it yourself, then you empathize with it very well. My favorite parts are that of it being an act of courage to survive those bad days, like a soldier in a battle. That is exactly what is like. There are days where everything is calm and peaceful. There are days that are minor skirmishes. And then there are days that are an all out battle. I must be very courageous, and enjoy thinking of it in this way, because I’ve been through some very intense battles within myself. These battles will happen again. Your offering of perspective shines a different light on them. In many ways, it is part of the creative process. Maybe not for everyone, but it is for me.

    I also like the part, “Living through inner pain is how we lose our arrogance, our selfishness, and our ignorance. It is how we acquire gentleness and a sense of responsibility, maturity, and the capacity for leadership.” It is also true that the cliches are all based on truth.

    Very well presented through a heart of compassion and understanding. This is a delicate subject that most people reduce to making a person feel like they are diseased or simply pity them. it is easy to offend a depressed person because they can be so sensitive to anything that causes them pain, even if with the best of intentions. You reveal the light and hope within it all, even within those darkest days. It can be survived and it is worth it because, from the darkness always comes a bright, beautiful sunrise and a new day.

  6. Good read where we understand the deep agony of our today’s generation and help others supporting to come and live with fulness. .

  7. Depression (and anxiety) are so prevalent in every age group and culture! I’m 65 and still deal with it some days–but I’ve learned to separate my feelings from my actions. I might feel like giving up, but it’s only because I’m feeling overwhelmed. And it’s true, that we can’t “help”/or fix others, only try to be supportive. Very good posts and enjoyable art–and I LOVE all the books you mention/share, gives me great ideas for gifts!! May God bless you abundantly 🙂

  8. Just a few lines from a Phil Ochs song, titled When I’m Gone (its on YouTube with a beautiful melody), he ended his life as young man

    There’s no place in this world where I’ll belong when I’m gone
    And I won’t know the right from the wrong when I’m gone
    And you won’t find me singin’ on this song when I’m gone
    So I guess I’ll have to do it while I’m here

    And I won’t feel the flowing of the time when I’m gone
    All the pleasures of love will not be mine when I’m gone
    My pen won’t pour out a lyric line when I’m gone
    So I guess I’ll have to do it while I’m here

    And I won’t breathe the bracing air when I’m gone
    And I can’t even worry ’bout my cares when I’m gone
    Won’t be asked to do my share when I’m gone
    So I guess I’ll have to do it while I’m here

    And I won’t be running from the rain when I’m gone
    And I can’t even suffer from the pain when I’m gone
    Can’t say who’s to praise and who’s to blame when I’m gone
    So I guess I’ll have to do it while I’m here

  9. Thank you for talking about this. Mental health needs to be something we talk about and not hide away. It helps to talk about what you’re going through and read what others are experiencing. To know we’re not alone.

  10. I thought about writing on this subject, but I have to be in the mood for it.
    Depression to the point of suicide often relates to lack of emotion; just generally not having energy to care.
    And then there’s otherness which is very lacking these days.

    What’s bizarre is that society/economy relies on this to generate wealth.

    Typically that’s the answer; being content with who/what you are now.

    This is actually the specific thing that showed up in the chart I keep mentioning. The subject, the sense of being born and dying every day.

    Extremely hard to explain. 😉

    Good post.

  11. David Foster Wallace couldn’t have explained it any better. I understand where he was. I hope for a better outcome for myself and all others like him.

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