The pain of depression is one of those things Carroll meant that cannot
be imagined.  It is far worse than physical pain--no doubt short of

>>> Kate Troy <[log in to unmask]> 4/2/2009 8:08 PM >>>

By continuous pain, I meant physical pain.

In a message dated 4/1/2009 4:18:13 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
[log in to unmask] writes:

Diana wrote:
"I do think suicide is not always the result of mental illness; it can
be a rational act."
Kate wrote:
"First in response to Diana, I do not know that suicide can ever be a
rational act, except in cases where the person is terminally ill or in
continuous pain."
My point exactly. What's yours?

Date: Tue, 31 Mar 2009 19:50:59 -0400
From: [log in to unmask] 
Subject: Re: To change the subject
To: [log in to unmask] 

First in response to Diana, I do not know that suicide can ever be a
rational act, except in cases where the person is terminally ill or in
continuous pain.  However, there are people who have committed suicide
impulsively, and if they had only had a good dinner and a few hours
sleep . . . . . these are not the people with deep mental illness.  They
may have been reacting to an event, a young person whose boyfriend
texted her his desire to break up with her, etc.  But, still, for a
person in this situation to go through with it, there was definitely a
problem with the person's self-defense mechanisms.
Now, Carrol, I would not think any person with depression to be crazy. 
Crazy is college kids engaging in a drinking contest and one of them
ends up in the hospital or dead.  Crazy is Colbert.  But, depression is
not crazy.  Mental illness is not crazy. And I certainly know there is a
difference between clinical depression and a period of depression
someone may experience after losing a job . . .or a father.  
I told you about my sister, who was worried since the day her daughter
was born over 20 years ago that she would inherit mental illness from
her grandmother, my sister's ex-husband's mother, diagnosed with
schizophrenia.  I'll always remember this one day when my sister called
me, several years ago now.  My niece would have been 14/15 or so.  My
sister sounded upset and I asked what was wrong and she said that she
and my niece had a fight the evening before.  I was not very concerned,
of course, a mother and teenage daughter at odds.  Then, she told me
what she said to her.  She said that "You are going to end up just like
your crazy grandmother."  I was so angry at my sister that I had to hang
up the phone and call her back later when I had calmed down.   My sister
was taking her pent up fears and hitting her daughter over the head with
them, and setting up a self-prophesy type of scenario for my niece.   My
niece, fortunately, does not have her grandmother's condition, but she
does experience anxiety.    Since that day, Aunt Kate has kept in close
contact with her niece, although a million miles separates us, her in CA
and me in FL.  When she was floundering after high school, I encouraged
her to go to college, even though she didn't know what she wanted to do
and the world scared her. I tried to find out what would be good for
her, and she mentioned the Peace Corps and she mentioned doing something
important and I suggested nursing.  She's now almost through with the
pre-requisites and will be able to enter nursing school in the fall. 
She's a good artist, but she wants to be independent financially, and so
we talked about career.  She thought doctor, too, but wishes to pursue
her art still, and decided upon becoming a nurse, maybe traveling after.
  She talks to me about her anxiety. I tell her that many young women
her age have like feelings, about being scared of the future, not
fitting in, her looks, her looks (and she's very pretty), being afraid
to venture from the house sometimes, finding the right man, etc, etc.
etc and I tell her to try to strengthen her self-defense mechanisms.  I
tell her to enjoy life.  I tell her it's good to think, but not about
herself, not to analyze her every move, her every conversation.  She's
been on and off meds for the anxiety. She's doing good in school.  She
has a part time job.  She has a boyfriend. I just hope that she can
overcome the anxiety.  Aunt Kate has done her best, Carrol and she's
never once thought her or anybody like her crazy.
In a message dated 3/31/2009 12:27:14 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
[log in to unmask] writes:

Diana Manister wrote:
> Dear Kate,
> Your statement "then she was certainly mentally ill, going beyond
> depression" is apparently based on the assumption that depression is
> not mental illness. Major depressive episodes, whether part of the
> bipolar cycle or not, are certainly mental illness. An agitated
> depression includes a nearly unbearable level of anxiety as well as
> depression. What would you label mental illness if not that?
> I do think suicide is not always the result of mental illness; it
> be a rational act.

I think Kate really wants to say "crazy," but knowing that that is no
longer socially acceptable tries to make the respectable term "mental
illness" do the work for her. Kate, you are obviously intelligent and
know how to think, but mere intelligence simply cannot by itself make
for profound ignorance.

Kate probably also confuses clinical depression with "depression" as
used by those who say to a sufferer from depression, "I know just how
you feel. I really went into a funk after I lost my job or after my
died." Those who so speak probably never know how close they have come
to losing a few teeth. And as Diana notes, there are many features of
depressiosive illness other than what I call "plain vanilla
intense anxiety being only one of them. One can be deprived of sleep
on the contrary, be unable to do anything but sleep.. . . Or suppose
that in Eliot's case there had been a trivial error of phrasing which
memory might seem portentious in his last letter to Verdenal --
ever larger and more oppressively in his memory as a profound wrong
could never be set right! And so forth. I could go on for some length.
Or profound self-depreciation: in 1958 it came back to me through the
grapevine that Austen Wrren had been praising me highly behnd my back,
resulting not in pleasure but in some loss of respect for Warren's
judgment (as in Groucho Marx's "I would not belong to a club that
have me as a member").


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