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Scott Lynch on depression

Scott Lynch is writing a fantasy series called Gentleman Bastard, which I like a lot.

In his LJ, he writes very well about how a particular kind of depression affects him. (He writes as if it's the only kind, and I know of others, but I do struggle with this kind so I can relate to a lot of what he says.)
http://scott-lynch.livejournal.com/261555.html

Excerpts:
It's a mental cloud in which one remains perfectly capable of taking action, but primarily obsessive action, self-centered action. Not caring, conscientious, or constructive action. A depressive is supremely skilled at entertaining themselves now because now is all depression ever lets you have. It sharply retracts your chronological horizon....

...The world loses emotional texture, and the height of your ambition is to fill all that now with something marginally diverting.
He also puts forth an interesting theory about why people insist on minimizing illness and disability:
we need this particular special stupidity, as a species, as families, as individuals. Hope lashes us harder and drives us farther than fear ever could.

The damnable side effect, of course, is that we sometimes insist that genuine physical and mental problems are "all in our heads" and can be wished away with a bigger smile.
I don't agree that human beings "need" to dismiss and minimize other people's illness as part of "hope." But I do think that it's a common, pervasive defense mechanism that's promoted by many cultures. I also think it can be unlearned, and I would like to think that it can be unlearned by whole cultures, but I don't know how to go about making that happen.

Scott also writes very clearly on why he wants people not to give him advice about medication!

This entry was originally posted at http://firecat.dreamwidth.org/726952.html, where there are comments.

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
e4q
Jun. 21st, 2011 05:31 am (UTC)
other people, especially health professionals and people i feel should know me better, having that 'hopeful' attitude hacks me off immensely.

what is probably more dangerous, for me, is when i get the bug, and start thinking i can do 'normal' things... with disastrous consequences.

denial - not just a river in egypt. fact.
firecat
Jun. 21st, 2011 08:27 pm (UTC)
I recently paid a price for doing too many things, yeah.
e4q
Jun. 21st, 2011 08:33 pm (UTC)
sucks, doesn't it?

one of the pitfalls for me is being invited to do something that does sound nice, wanting to do it, but not strategising properly, or indeed doing the thing at all when all the information says DON'T DO IT
gmdreia
Jun. 24th, 2011 11:38 pm (UTC)

With that said, there is one subject that I do not wish to ever hear about from anyone, and that is the subject of my medication. Whatever frankness I am willing to extend about the rest of my condition does not include my drug, its dosage, or the discussion of whether I should be on it at all. Please do not suggest homeopathic or non-scientific remedies, even with the very best of intentions. Please do not suggest that SSRI drugs will do terrible things to me. Undiagnosed, untreated, unmedicated depression did plenty of terrible things to me. Surely you can't have forgotten items 1 and 2 of this essay so quickly?


THIS

I take a med for depression and anxiety. It works very well and I resemble a human being when I take it. I'm sick of people - particularly in the New Age and alternative communities, of which I seem to reside tangentially on the outskirts for some unknown reason - telling me that if I just did enough yoga or took gooseberry extract or some crap, I'd be Just Like Them. As if my reliance upon science, known quantities and big pharma were somehow a threat to their little paradigm. Uh, no, I wouldn't feel better, and I've tried, so sod off, people.

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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