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, 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. Continue reading