Saturday, September 4, 2010

Depression is wicked ugly; blame is wicked beside the point.

This is about Kevin Morissey, former managing editor of Virginia Quarterly Review, who took his life last month. Ted Genoways, the Quarterly's bullying editor was blamed. You can read about it in Steve Almond's "meditation" in The Rumpus.

Except for Almond's essay, everyone blames both/either Genoways who bullied and/or the University's human resources department which didn't respond to Morissey's complaints. I don't doubt Genoways was a difficult boss and h.r. failed to act (gasp, a human resources department that is anything but pawn to its employer!); I don't understand why either is being blamed.

Morissey suffered from depression. Yes "suffered from depression"--cliched and to the point.

It's coming up to two years for me--when I finally believed a psychiatrist who advised I would be best served by not stopping medication again (which I'd only agreed to take in my fifties).

I have depression and have had it most of my life. I was depressed when I was four years old. There's a photo of pudgy cute me angry and bitter. (I had my reasons.) I was wildly depressed as a teen and in my twenties. I can be peppy and am very funny so even I or especially I missed diagnosing the disease. Not to mention I was trained to ignore the body by my Christian Science mother and my Jewish father with his Russian father's old-world macho.

I attempted suicide once in my early twenties, though angels interceded. It's a fact. I will post the short story describing the winged event later.

My point is that while no one expected me to make it this far, I have. Not because I am fabulous (though I am), but because I did. I was lucky. Maybe the same parents who hindered also helped. They liked art and nature (as long as there was no interaction with the latter). Maybe that's enough but my life continues to mystifies people (I'm one of them) who assess my intelligence against my financial, romantic, career status.

Yet despite depression and bullying bosses I'm here. Bullying bosses? I've been harassed (it doesn't sometimes hurt to be a woman, it often does), yelled at, screamed at, sneered at, mocked, and--far worse--had really good ideas overlooked either because I suggested them or the idiots didn't have my sophistication and insight.

It's been about seven years since a warm acquaintance, Dan, jumped off the George Washington Bridge. I observed his continued frustration with his mother and childhood. (He was in his late forties or early fifties.) I was shocked, stricken, but after a little thought, not too surprised.

Dan could never move beyond anger. And that's me talking, me of great anger; but I am remarkably fortunate to have niece and nephew, great-niece and great-nephews in my life and back in my life. That alone could be the difference.

I never met or heard of Morissey until his death and of course comparisons are odious and miss specific truths. Morissey, like my friend Dan, couldn't find his way around whatever wanted to destroy him. Depression is wicked ugly. I'd say I'm wicked lucky. Blame is wicked beside the point.

No comments:

Post a Comment