Thursday, June 14

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The Sad Story of David Foster Wallace and his Lesson on Depression and Suicide

by Staff writer



David Foster Wallace was an American writer and creative writing tutor whose novel Infinite Jest (published in 1996) was listed by Time magazine as one of the 100 best English-language novels published between 1923 and 2005!

A long-time sufferer of major depressive disorder, Wallace described suicide in a way nobody has ever done before!


He wrote:


“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 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 the 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!”


Wallace hanged himself in 2008.

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