I’m surprised that none of our superheroes suffer from depression. No, no, hear me out: melancholia is a common finding – consider the Byronic hero, the angst-driven, self-loathing man we all can’t help but admire — but what about fictional characters with REAL clinical depression? Don’t worthwhile protagonists embrace frightening, almost impossible challenges? Don’t our favorite heroes take battle against their own mortality? What of the hero who yearns to live, even when he knows the universe is against him?
The depressed mind is a scary landscape. It’s fraught with monsters few of us could ever imagine, never mind weather. The odds of overcoming severe depression alone, without help, is near impossible, yet most choose to fight that battle alone. Make no mistake: people who suffer depression are not weak. It takes tremendous potency to face this affliction day after day, to force breath to tired lips, to keep living. You don’t have to look far to see the devastation: Sylvia Plath, Ernest Hemingway, Kurt Cobain, Robin Williams… The truth is, even as they fell in battle, these brave souls fought the fight of their lives until that very last minute.
This blog is devoted to all heroes who go down fighting, including my patients.
Alex Natalian is a penname for psychiatrist KRR.