Like so many things, the nature of mental illness and depression seems to be tendency and trigger. In other words: yes, there’s usually a predisposition, genetic or otherwise, a seed, but also: something happened, some germinating life thing that made a tightly wrapped potential go all kinetic.
For instance, me. Just having an inherited predisposition to the auto-immune condition psoriasis did not guarantee that it would ever express its patchwork of overactive cell work on skin (and lord knows what on the inside). Maybe something like an amalgam filling, some sustained exposure to environmental toxins, a vintage American diet, unrequited love, or factors we can never understand helped me realize my potential.
The age we are living in is starting to feel like an omni-trigger, a cosmic strategy to tease it all out right now. The great tabling of pathos and pathology may account for sharp spikes in suicide rates and opioid relapse, a marked uptick in Kingston gunplay, and in my general observations a soaring epidemic of ragged despair and public displays of end-of-rope rage against the air and sky!
What do you got? What strange destinies lurk within you? Let’s find out, as subsistence pressures elevate; pastimes, pleasures and modes of release continue to lie dormant and verboten; and the wrenched, divisive, antagonistic tenor of community life ratchets and ratchets and ratchets up.
As I bring this day’s Village Voices transmission to a close, I realize that three of my last four or so have been of nature dire and disconsolate, of auger dark, of syntax portentously inverted. I mean, as Liz will tell you, the Jedi catastrophizing impulse has always been strong in me, and there’s no secret about which parent I learned it from.
That said, I offer this in empathy today. There’s that meme that goes: Be kind, you never know what someone is going through. Except now you kinda do.
Read more installments of Village Voices by John Burdick.