Culture, Depression, Happiness

The irony is that we all–secular or religious people alike–make our biggest life-changing decisions on faith. Like is too short to learn what you need to know to live well. So we make a leap of faith when it comes to what we should believe in, who we will marry, and our careers. Who we happen to meet, one conversation when you were eighteen, the college course you happened to sign up for, the teacher you liked, the elevator you missed and the girl you met in the next one, decide whole lives. You would have to live a lifetime to be qualified to make any big decisions. … Only the trivialities–say, buying cars, washing machines, or airline seats–are chosen on the basis of good information.

–Frank Schaeffer, Crazy for God

Why It Takes Lifetimes to Make a Good Decisions

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Depression, Meditation

Depression and Mindfulness: My ‘Rewire Me’ Essay

To beat back the Great Bleakness that is clinical depression takes a lot of falling sick. For the depressive, there is often no choice about sinking into despair—darkness so overpowering that it would shock the uninitiated. For us, it can be a daily occurrence. But to fall sick mindfully, to observe our experience of depression—that skulking trickster, part physical malady and part creative storyteller—allows us to learn its language. And in that is power.

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Depression, Mental Illness, News

Robin Williams’ Suicide: Blaming the Victim, Shaming the Ill

I know next to nothing of Mr. Williams’ health history and have followed news of his death only in passing. It’s not that I don’t care. It’s just, like the Williams we’re all suddenly becoming better acquainted with, I have my own struggles demanding my attention.

Truly, I’ve always felt the allure of Williams as a performer and human being. As a young comedian crashing into the nation’s psyche via the Mork and Mindy show, his high-energy antics communicated to my young mind the stimulating possibilities of life itself. In later performances, he exuded an almost palpable sense of compassion and tenderness betraying the perfect frailty of human existence.

While bad acting can so often feel like the clumsy fabrication of a life from dead matter (thinking Nick Cage here in his more Frankenstein monster moments), the good stuff springs from the deepest parts of a person and seems to tap into a shared emotive energy that binds all people. We recognize ourselves when gifted with such performances.

What came from Williams, I choose to believe, came from inside of him. It was earned (it would seem) in the forge of his own suffering, a suffering that concluded this week with his final decision: the decision to silence the pain by extinguishing his own life.

That decision has been kicked around in public for days now by a good number of commentators and supposed friends. And, in almost every case, these people just need to shut the fuck up.

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Depression, Meditation

Feeling Depression And Doing Love Anyway

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Converse for a cause? Love in the streets, courtesy of Sonny Annesley via Wikicommons.

Beyond the contorted histrionics frequently heralding mutilations and suicide attempts (or at least painfully colorful yogas of deep and violent death longing, limbs askewing)…

Below and beyond the despondency captured in long, dead faces marking off time in hours and weeks and months like a sentence served on the road to liberation by neglect (whereas happy lives are measured in moments, we’re told)…

Past all those shocking images that make such good illustrations as to what a major mental disorder is like (I’ve scratched the bottom of that barrel), there is the fundamental reality of ground-floor depression, the low-grade fever of mental illness, the true life-stealer. Continue reading

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