Posted on | January 12, 2013 | 29 Comments
Thursday evening my wife came home and said, “Hey, I bought coffee!”
I just stared at her, in kind of a fog.
“No more drinking decaf,” my wife said.
“What? We’ve been drinking decaf? Since when?”
“All week. We ran out of regular coffee Monday, but I just made decaf and didn’t tell you, because I figured it would only depress you.”
Damn. So that’s it. Here I’d been feeling bummed out, listless and unmotivated for three days, and was worried I was slipping into depression. Instead, I was just suffering from caffeine withdrawal.
Depression is a mental illness, a mood disorder, which psychiatrists say is caused by an organic malfunction of neurochemistry. Depression isn’t just about feeling bad because something bad happened to you.
Kids don’t understand this. You made a “C” in algebra, your boyfriend broke up with you and you’ve got a pimple on your nose — no, sweetheart, that’s not “depression.” Your life just sucks.
Over the course of time, everybody goes through phases where their life sucks. And feeling bad about that is just normal. No pills are necessary to treat a normal reaction to the objective reality that your life sucks.
This is something that should cheer you up: Your life sucks? Good news! You’re not suffering from clinical depression!
On the other hand, if you’re actually suffering from clinical depression — good news! Your life doesn’t suck as bad as you think it does.
Computer activist Aaron H. Swartz committed suicide in New York City yesterday, Jan. 11, according to his uncle, Michael Wolf, in a comment to The Tech. Swartz was 26.
“The tragic and heartbreaking information you received is, regrettably, true,” confirmed Swartz’ attorney, Elliot R. Peters of Kecker and Van Nest, in an email to The Tech.
According to various sites, Swartz was a teenager when he wrote the software that basically made Reddit possible. He was a good-looking kid and a genius and probably would have been a gazillionaire, except he decided to kill himself. Via Mashable, a clue:
A blog post from 2007 on Swartz’s website reveals a possible cause for taking his own life: depression. In the post, Swartz describes his experiences with severe depression, as well as several other health issues, including migraines.
Also, Swartz was being hassled by the feds because he illegally downloaded some stuff that should have been free to begin with. Professor Jacobson at Legal Insurrection discusses that.
Did Swartz actually suffer from depression? I don’t know. Despite his legal hassles, it would be hard to say his life objectively sucked, and his future was one of great potential — until he decided to kill himself, that is. Killing yourself pretty much guarantees it won’t get better.
Try drinking more coffee. And not the decaf kind. Just sayin’ . . .