Tuesday, April 26, 2011

David Foster Wallace on Depression

It is a level of psychic pain wholly incompatible with human life as we know it…a sense of radical and thoroughgoing evil not just as a feature but as the essence of conscious existence…a sense of poisoning that pervades the self at the self’s most elementary levels…an unnumb intuition in which the world is fully rich and animate and un-map-like and also thoroughly painful and malignant and antagonistic to the self.

It seems to me that this is one of the truest and best descriptions of depression I've ever read.

15 comments:

Denny Coates said...

A good friend of mine had chronic depression before she got the right meds. It was devastating. Most chronic depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, not by something happening in the person's life. There's nothing to "fix" in your life. My friend called it "sadness-for-no-reason." Naming it that way didn't help alleviate the sadness, but it helped her not to blame the people and situations around her, which would have made her sadness a lot worse.

Sarcastic Bastard said...

Denny,
I feel very lucky to have only medium-grade long-term depression and not the totally debilitating, soul-killing kind that Wallace had. I can't imagine.

My depression, too, is due to chemical imbalance. Too bad they didn't have such readily available antidepressants in my grandfather's day. It would have made both his and my grandmother's lives much easier.

Medusa said...

this is why I stay so frickin busy. If I keep moving, the depression stays away. but when it catches up with me, I feel like I'll never move again.

thank god for meds

Christina @ Fashion's Most Wanted said...

Dearest SB, that is a good description. I get mild depression now and again. I just go to bed but I feel for people who have it much worse. Love you xx

Marla the big tourist said...

I liken my depression to walking through mucky stagnant water. My feet keep getting stuck in the soggy earth so that I am pulling each leg up one at a time and the water is just above my knees enough to hold me back from walking out of it with ease.

Then when I do feel like I am out of the water I question if my contentedness will last, how long, or if its even real?

The only thing that gets me through it is my realistic view on life and knowing of other people just like me.

Sarcastic Bastard said...

Medusa,
I hear you. I just want to sleep mostly. It's probably best for EVERYBODY. Know what I mean?

Christina,
And I love YOU!

Marla,
Thanks for reading and commenting. I really appreciate it. Knowing other people who battle depression does help. Definitely.

Please come back and join us here often. I have the greatest blog family. You are always welcome.

Best,

SB

Marco Dante said...

Hey there old friend. I've been under-ground for awhile and I have missed your wonderful posts, your insights, your sense of humor and your random attacks. Love the DFW quote so much I had to Tweet about it + you. Hoope all is well. Love, Marco

Kathleen Scott said...

Oof. Fine description. There's nothing worse than losing yourself.

Syd said...

I cannot imagine what my mother must have felt like. But I know that she was in much pain. It was terrible to watch.

Ms. Moon said...

I agree. This is a pretty damn good description. Depression IS evil. I wish none of us had it.

Big Mark 243 said...

I have thought that depression was like Churchill's charaterization of his as 'the black dog' who comes and sits in front of your house for no appearant reason. No matter what you do, scream at it, throw rocks and sticks at it, chase it down the block, the respite is very momentary. You look out your window before you take to bed and there he is, on the corner of your lawn or better yet, in the back yard and you KNOW that you latched the gate when you locked up for the night.

Waking up in the morning haze that is leaving dew on the grass and leaves as the sun rises and brings warmth to the break the chill of the night, you don't need to look out of your window to know... the black dog is still out there and he is staring with his bleak, dark eyes at the window to your room. Unable to catch yourself you pull the shade and yes, the dog is still their lying near the fence and his head rises and he looks to the window, even though he could not have heard the rustling of your curtain.

But DFW's description is far more apt... take care of yourself SB..!

Sheria said...

SB,I agree, Wallace gets it exactly right.He translates feelings into a verbal description.

Boonie S said...

It’s quite depressing, uh. People who suffer like this have my absolute sympathy.
Take care.

All the best, Boonie

Sarcastic Bastard said...

MARCO!
So happy to hear from you. I wondered where you went and how you are doing. Please stay in touch.

Love,

SB

Sarcastic Bastard said...

Ms. Moon,
Me too. I wish it heartily.

Big Mark,
You have such a talent for writing. Really you do.

Sheria,
I thought so too. Glad to see you here. You are loved.

Boonie,
Love to you and the Mrs.! I hope all is well over there.