To Say Sad End Doesn't Feel Good Enough
I've had some trouble deciding what to write about this week. I've definitely been feeling the need to actually write something but the only thing that I've had on my mind of late is a subject that I don't think I have the experience required to really understand it, or even know quite what my own thoughts and feelings about it are. Also, it's a subject that saying the wrong thing could be really hurtful to some people and I'd rather avoid that. (to clarify: if I offend people I'm pretty much fine with that, usually it's on purpose, but being intentionally hurtful is a dick move)
To my shame I've never actually bought or read any of Anthony Bourdain's books, (if you have any memories of me telling you otherwise, I probably did, I was lying to seem cooler than I am) but I've always enjoyed his comments about this, that or the other (particularly Glasgow), and so I was saddened to hear this week that he had taken his own life. The news has made me think about a couple of things, one is depression, the other is celebrity deaths. When it comes to famous people dying, I always find it odd. A lot of the time I'm not sure how I feel about it. There's always a part of me that is saddened by the fact that a living breathing human being is no longer living and breathing, and, generally speaking, I think that all of the social media posts about how it's a terrible tragedy are quite a good thing, but occasionally there's a phenomenon that I find intensely weird. When people (members of the general public) react (or at least act) like they have lost their best friend or the love of their life. It often makes me think of Eddie Izzard (stick with it, it'll make sense in a minute) talking about Princess Diana and remembering something his own father said to him:
My mum died when I was six and my brother was eight. "No one gave a shit." It was interesting because a lot of people die, people at the concentration camps and no one does give a shit.
I honestly can't get my head in a space any where near the people that literally lined the streets waving flags after Diana died, or the people (who didn't know him) crying after Michael Jackson died. I mean, I don't want to seem callous, but I think Eddie is right on this. I lost my mum a week before I turned 16 and, outside my family, nobody did really give a shit (at least compared to my own perspective on it). And why should they? It's not really anything to do with them. Similarly, the death of any celebrity doesn't really have anything to do with me and # ##### ###### #### # #### (I can't bring myself to put in text that I don't care about someone dying but I feel like I've typed myself into a corner, I'm hoping you get my point). And so, while I do feel saddened by the passing of people who created things that I love, in all honesty, I think I would be more affected by the loss of the things they created. If I discovered that neither me nor anyone else could ever listen to anything David Bowie recorded, I'm having trouble putting into words how bad I would feel, let's just say really shitty. I don't really know where I'm going with this, and I don't want to give the impression I think people should or shouldn't react in any particular way to death. As far as I see it, people are going to have all sorts of feelings about all sorts of things, and there's nothing to be done about that, but, in this instance, I just can't understand where they're coming from.
On the topic of depression, DISCLAIMER: I've never had it, I don't understand what it's like and I can't know what it feels like. In my life I have been close with two people who have suffered with depression and I have seen enough to know that saying it's shitty doesn't come close. I think anyone who hasn't had to deal with real depression still, to some extent, believes they can imagine what it must be like. I gave up caffeine at one point, after a stint of drinking a few coffees every day, and it was the most horrible experience of my entire life! I had a complete lack of motivation to do or be interested in anything, and a complete inability to see anything positive in anything (not to mention a total fucker of a headache). Rationally I know that depression is nothing like that but I too still kinda file like I get what it's like. That's probably a really crap explanation, and, once again, I don't know where I'm going with this. I think, as a society, we still don't understand depression, (like, at all) and that lack of understanding creates the stigma that many people feel (and probably judge themselves for, unless they're a right wanker) concerning mental illness (I am ashamed to say I would have to include myself in that group), and I feel like that stigma is one of the biggest barriers to effectively treating depression.
I feel like I should have some sort of of conclusion, and maybe I would if it wasn't just a bunch of random thoughts in my brains. But it is. So I don't.