Friday, May 2, 2008

Beyond Blue: J.K. Rowling's Suicidal Days

(I am so grateful to Therese Borchard for being the lone voice to say what I think. Knowing that I'm expected to live for my daughter and feeling, because it's not enough for me, she probably would be better off without me ...)

While I know that severe major depression and cycles of depression with bipolar disorder can be triggered by life events, they don't make the depression. Depression, as I have said 100 times on Beyond Blue, is a brain disease, just like cancer or diabetes or arthritis. It is not caused by a divorce, or a bad breakup, or a job failure, just like a person doesn't become diabetic when her husband is caught having an affair (unless she stuffs her face with Ben and Jerry's to cope, that is). Even if those things precede a severe episode.

"The thing that made me go for help was probably my daughter," said Rowling, referring to the then-infant, Jessica, reports the Telegraph. "She was something that earthed me, grounded me, and I thought, this isn't right, this can't be right, she cannot grow up with me in this state.”

While I appreciate her point here, it once again deceives the masses on the complicated and disabling bio-chemistry, on the neurological shut down, that happens inside the brain of a person with a serious mood disorder.

Despite Rowling's suicidal thoughts, it's possible that her depression wasn't that severe. Because when a person wants to die as much as I wanted to die, no one thing is enough to save her. While I knew that I had to hang on for my kids, I also wanted to disappear for my kids. My self-esteem was so low that I wanted to get out of the picture so that they had a shot at a normal life without the baggage of a whackjob mom.

My God, think if everyone just had to think of their kids to save their lives! There would be so many less suicides. I truly wish that was all you needed to think about. But I know that this disease is so powerful and manipulative, that it finds a way to persuade you to end it FOR THE GOOD of your kids.

I applaud Rowling for speaking publicly about her darker days, for saying this: "I have never been remotely ashamed of having been depressed. Never. I think I'm abnormally shameless on that account because what's to be ashamed of?"

I congratulate her on telling anyone who suffers from depression to "go and get help." But I warn people of the shallowness in this one profile: that falling down with a breakup and picking yourself up for the kids can itself send a superficial impression of what, exactly, this brain disease is capable of.


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