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Depression BPD Borderline Personality DIsorder BipolarThe 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 for you or me standing speculatively at the same window just checking out the view; i.e. the fear of falling remains a constant. The variable here is the other terror, the fire’s flames: when the flames get close enough, falling to death becomes the slightly less terrible of two terrors. It’s not desiring the fall; it’s terror of the flames. And yet nobody down on the sidewalk, looking up and yelling ‘Don’t!’ and ‘Hang on!’, can understand the jump. Not really. You’d have to have personally been trapped and felt flames to really understand a terror way beyond falling.

David Foster Wallace

2 Comments

  1. Comment by My Black Fog:

    Funny, I just wrote about why I OD on my blog a few days ago. I still don't think I captured the answer so that a non-mentally ill person would understand, but I tried,…

  2. Comment by Walkingborder (Karen):

    Really, it's nearly impossible for a non-mentally ill person to understand most of what we go through and what we're willing to do.

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