Monday, February 23, 2009

James on Depression

I seemed to recall that James mentioned depression in some interview - and here it is, in the all-around awesome AV Club article:

I think Gaius, like so many of us, like myself, wants to believe in something. You're stuck in a spaceship, and you've been there for four years, and you're just sitting here in a tin can, you would really hope that there was something else. And that sustained hope might actually keep you alive. Because depression is an illness. And if it gets too bad, then you're irrevocably damaged and there's nothing to live for, and there's nothing to hope for.

It's somehow very comforting to know that he considers depression an illness. It sounds like he understands the nature of it quite well. I feel strangely validated by this.

I have many things to live for. One of them is James.


Elina said...

I liked that part too. I'm glad he's not one of those idiots who just tell you to "cheer up", or "don't worry be happy".

I'm still on the lookout for flaws in James. :D

I've found only one annoying thing he said. He explained how religion originally meant to tie oneself with a rope. So when he hears someone say they're feeling religious, he thinks "well you're tying yourself with a rope aren't you", or something to that effect.

I was a little annoyed by this, because the very point of etymology is that word meanings change - to be religious does not mean being tied up by a rope anymore! It just felt like he wasn't completely respectful towards religious people, except if he was referring to the annoying kind. Which I'm sure he was! :D

Deniselle said...

Or even worse, "you're just lazy and stop wallowing in self-pity and medicating yourself". Well, I knew he wouldn't be THAT devoid of empathy, but sometimes even otherwise smart people are ignorant with mental health, so I am relieved James feels this way.

Yes, I'm still on the lookout too. :D It's unbelieveable that there's nothing.

About the religion quote - I didn't see it as disrespectful per se, because he did mention that he can see why religion exists, it just seems ludicrous to him. If he's atheist or agnostic (which seems more likely with the "if there is a god"), it's understandable that he sees religion that way. He could have said it's completely harmful and destroys lives and should be banned, like some atheists say. His viewpoint sounds more balanced to me.

I don't know how much I've written about this so far (probably nothing), but my own viewpoints on religion are ambivalent. I was raised in a Christian home, but I've given up Christianity and continued to believe in God in my own way. I know religion can be very helpful and positive in some people's lives, while for others it's brought discrimination and hate. It's problematic. At this point, I do kind of agree with James that it separates you from other people.

But it's a really complex issue, and I can't wrap my head around it right now. I'll write more about it later, probably in my diary blog.

Elina said...

Hehe. I think I was more insulted by his misunderstanding of etymology than religious people.

I can understand it too that religion can be helpful. Maybe it's just one of those things that can be good or bad or something in between, depending completely on the people themselves. I sometimes wish I had been raised in a more religious family.

For me it looks like a choice between science and religion, even though it doesn't have to be like that. I simply can't bring myself to believe in any specific god, i.e. any gods that the existing religions offer. I think you have to grow into it. I like the idea of a higher being who loves you no strings attached etc., but I don't like the canonical codes of conduct and ancient texts that no longer can be applied in today's world.

But it would definitely make an interesting read if you feel like pondering on religion.