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Because I’m open about my depression, I get a lot of emails from people who are worried about a loved one who is struggling. How can I help them? they ask.
Well, that’s a really tough question to answer, because most of the time I don’t really know how to help myself. The nature of depression is to drain energy and hope from the body, leaving us feeling helpless and alone.
That being said, that feeling can be overcome by the empathy and compassion of others.
About six months into my marriage, I started to go through a really intense episode of depression. It felt like a thick cloud of sadness had settled on me and I began to withdraw from others—including my wife, Kim.
Obviously, Kim noticed the difference and tried everything she could to help me. But I insisted that I didn’t want to talk about it, that I…
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One afternoon, the head of my department caught me in the staff room and posed a musing question.
(He later confessed that he was just curious if he could play puppet-master with this blog. The answer is a resounding yes: I dance like the puppet I am.)
So, do we have ceilings?
The traditional orthodoxy says, “Absolutely yes.” There’s high IQ and low IQ. There are “math people” and “not math people.” Some kids just “get it”; others don’t.
Try asking adults about their math education: They refer to it like some sort of NCAA tournament. Everybody gets eliminated, and it’s only a question of how long you can stay in the game. “I couldn’t handle algebra” signifies a first-round knockout. “I stopped at multivariable calculus” means “Hey, I didn’t win, but I’m proud of making it to the final four.”
But there’s a new orthodoxy among teachers, an accepted wisdom which…
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“Perhaps it was freedom itself that choked her.”
—Patricia Highsmith, The Price of Sale
“I would always rather be happy than dignified.”
—Charlotte Brontë , Jane Eyre
“It does not do well to dwell on dreams and forget to live, remember that.”
—J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
“I’m done with those; regrets are an excuse for people who have failed.”
—Ned Vizzini, It’s Kind of a Funny Story
“That’s the thing about pain. It demands to be felt.”
—John Green, The Fault in Our Stars
“I assign myself no rank or any limit, and such an attitude is very much against the trend of the times. But my world has become one of infinite possibilities.”
—Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man
“Forgiving isn’t something you do for someone else. It’s something you do for yourself. It’s saying, ‘You’re not important enough to have a stranglehold on me.’ It’s saying, ‘You don’t get to trap me in the past. I am worthy of a future.’”
—Jodi Picoult, The Storyteller
The loneliest moment in someone’s life is when they are watching their whole world fall apart, and all they can do is stare blankly.”
—F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
1. “I didn’t want to wake up. I was having a much better time asleep. And that’s really sad. It was almost like a reverse nightmare, like when you wake up from a nightmare you’re so relieved. I woke up into a nightmare.” – Ned Vizzini, It’s Kind Of A Funny Story
2. “The so-called ‘psychotically depressed’ person who tries to kill herself doesn’t do so out of quote ‘hopelessness’ or any abstract conviction that life’s assets and debits do not square. And surely not because death seems suddenly appealing. The person in whom Its invisible agony reaches a certain unendurable level will kill herself the same way a trapped person will eventually jump from the window of a burning high-rise. Make no mistake about people who leap from burning windows. Their terror of falling from a great height is still just as great as it would be…
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