I've been thinking about depression lately--maybe because Sylvia Plath's son committed suicide Monday. He was a marine biologist. Not a poet. Somehow suicide and art are so commonly linked, I wonder if he was artistic as well. So many of my artistic friends talk openly of their depressions. My less arty friends do not.
Some of my "not-arty" friends see depression as a weakness. Not a medical condition but rather a form of self-indulgence. Something you could cure by will alone.
My mom never really understood sadness. She thought it was something that should be easily fixed, and sad people angered her. She had a whole list of ifs she would say,
and each if was supposed to make you feel better when/if you were sad:
If you were in prison, you would envy everyone outside, everyone free, and so imagine you are in prison and then imagine what you would wish you were doing if . . .
If you were unable to see, you would want so much to see . . . Look at the world with the eyes of one who has never seen it . . .
If you were unable to hear, . . .
if you were unable to walk or run, you would be wishing you could race across the green grass or walk out into the sun . . .
If you were unable to eat, you would imagine all the cakes and cookies, all the potatoes and peas and meats, all the flavors you might wish to eat . . .
If you were told you only had 3 days to live, you would wish you had lived when you lived . . .
I liked all these games. I especially liked living my last three days.
The Tale of the College Essay
31 minutes ago