The above article begins to once again begins to show what we knew of Anthony Bourdain was just what we saw on the screen. “I just hope no one finds out anything further about this. I want to remember Tony the way I knew him,” said Andrew Zimmern on Don Lemon’s CNN show last night. That was also when it suddenly seemed inevitable that we’d find out about a tortured soul at best, or an action so distressing and terrifying that the only way out seemed to be to hang yourself in a hotel room in France at worst.
Pain for the Dead and the Living
There’s just so much pain in people who kill themselves, where death seems the only viable option — the only form of escape. Even in today’s apparent “progressive” society, people are usually shunned when they come out as being depressed or mentally ill. There is no “respect” for depression as an illness as there is for cancer, MS, heart disease, diabetes, etc…..
Thankfully, suicides now are reported as suicides, even if they are still seen as shameful. They are no longer hidden or masked as something else. But although the media has made that leap forward with celebrities, most cultures and ethnicities shun people feeling depressed and just call them lazy, spoiled, people who want to live off others or , worse, the state. So many times I’ve had to zip my mouth when otherwise good, intelligent, and educated people say ignorant and hurtful things. The most common thing you’ll hear is how “spoiled” and “lazy” mentally ill people are and how they need to just be “pushed in the right direction” because mental illness is what happens when you’re lazy. I usually stop being agreeable and they shut up.
When I saw Anderson Cooper’s chin trembling and heard him again speak of his brother who killed himself 30 years ago, and how not a day goes by without thinking of him, I realised how lucky I was not to have had anyone I knew personally having taken their life.
Like an alcoholic, once depressed always depressed. You’ll also find that the depressed have a lust for life. So many times we have heard of the unending need to create and be important. From Van Gogh to Bourdain and many others, when you let the creativity die, when you “laze”, there is no more life. In their case, this is often literal. Robin Williams was considered a genius by many and he would go to bed crying every night, needing a shoulder to lean on, non-metaphorically.
For most sufferers of mental illness, even after “overcoming”, there exists a plateau. Instead of hills, there is just an ice-covered desert that keeps on going forever. Unlike the mountainous landscape, this one needs to be filled. Luckily, most depressed people are very creative. They are the emblem of the suffering painter, the lonely writer, the misunderstood miser who writes and creates in places and at hours that others find inconvenient because the others need to sleep and eat and shit at a certain time. They need to hold their bladder till coffee break. In short, they hve succumbed to the unreal. They have succumbed to how society has been structured for them. Thsi is why they are not goid storytellers — they have no time to tell stories. Ironically, the people who see through this plastic existence either suffer each day smiling at the ignorant, or become mentally ill. This sounds simple, but it’s the gist of it. Whether we’re born with a depression gene or not, it is still the gist of it. Reality is how it is perceived.
For a short time in my teens, I experienced depression. Luckily, I have been in post-depression mode ever since and it wasn’t as severe as what I’ve been hearing people going through lately. I haven’t had a symptom in thirty years. I’m lucky. Somehow, I’ve learned to balance the real and the fictional. I have established a line that I do not cross. But I understand how one can snap. Who knows what happened in Anthony Bourdain’s hotel room before he hung himself? As well, it should be noted that a depressed person will magnify a bad situation many times over. The pain may run so deep that the simple actions needed to get rid of the bad situation can’t be performed because it just takes too much energy.
Frightening. Yet very real.
Cries for Help
Please be aware of the signs of people who may be suffering from depression. This might help.