Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Please leave your "worse than 50 Shades of Grey" jokes at the door.

I'm not into depressive literature these days to the same extent that I was ten, maybe even five, years ago. Back then I had an idea that if I read enough books or short stories or essays there would be some kind of solution for How To Have a Good Life... which, not so much. So these days I read what I fancy: things that interest and entertain me, make me think or happy or blah blah blah.

Which is all a long way of saying this essay/article by Elizabeth Wurtzel (of Prozac Nation fame) is genuinely one of the most depressing things I've read in years.

I nodded along with this, thinking I knew what the next 3000 words were going to be like -
"Convention serves a purpose: It gives life meaning, and without it, one is in a constant existential crisis."
Started to weep internally by the time I got to this - 
"I have no husband, no children, no real estate, no stocks, no bonds, no investments, no 401(k), no CDs, no IRAs, no emergency fund—I don’t even have a savings account. It’s not that I have not planned for the future; I have not planned for the present. I do have a royalty account, some decent skills, and, apparently, a lot of human capital. But because of choices I have made, wisely and idiotically, because I had principles or because I was crazy, I have no assets and no family. I have had the same friends since college, although as time has gone on, the daily nature of those relationships has changed, such that it is not daily at all. But then how many lost connections make up a life? There is my best friend from law school, too busy with her toddler; the people with whom I spent New Year’s in a Negril bungalow not so long ago, all lost to me now; every man who was the love of my life, just for today; roommates, officemates, classmates: For everyone who is near, there are others who are far gone."
And was more or less ready to end it by the time I got to this -
"I have lost my life. I had a lot of friends, saw people, had full days. I don’t know where anyone is anymore, and I can’t even remember who it is that is gone. I am not sure exactly how that happened: I was hiding, although it was not safe in the place where I was hiding, and life became impossible to explain, and too strange to explain, and finally I stopped talking to anyone."
I've read some criticism of this piece saying it reads like a nonsensical bit of nothing from a woman who is still deeply, deeply depressed but... I don't know. In as much as it is possible to write about depression I still think she's got it, unfortunately I just think "it" is the ability to engender in her readers a desire to open a vein. Which is still, you know, something. It's just not a brilliant thing to enliven one's Tuesday night, is all I'm saying.

No comments: