I had an ex-girlfriend tell me in 2011 that I should just “stop feeling sorry for myself.” I marvel at willful ignorance of some people. Hopefully things are starting to change for the better.
The great paradox of the human brain is that it can’t feel pain. The organ that is the seat of all joy and worry and love and sorrow and whimsy and fear is itself insensible to injury. It’s the reason brain surgery can be conducted on conscious patients without their being any more physically aware of the cutting than if a garment they were wearing were being violated the same way.
But the pain the brain can cause—the bottomless well of grief, the psychic blackness of depression—is something else again. There is both presumption and a certain pointlessness in trying to explain the awful convergence of sorrow and circumstance that drove Robin Williams to end his life. Williams himself may not have known, and if he did, the secret died with him. That doesn’t stop others from trying to make sense of it, of course—and so we hear that he…
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