David Foster Wallace Suicide and Lessons: Letters

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John Ziegler
Camarillo, Calif.


My husband died by suicide in August 2019, following intensive drug treatment and counseling for a major depression disorder. Like most survivors of suicide, I (and our family) have regret and guilt that there was something else that could be done to protect and save from depression.

You had the right article to take the radio host to call self-action. But pause people who think they have a break. Until they see someone who is afraid of not being able to stop a negative spiral down, they don’t know what they are doing.

Articles such as me that try to explain depression and encourage people to talk about their prevalence, particularly in a culture that rewards prizes and high achievement, will help others. You were right to label depression “not adequately spent.” It is, and until we do better, all the hope in the world is false.

Susan Petrarca
Lemont, Ill.


Mr. T White excellent work to offer Wallace a smooth example of something that happens in a weak clinical mind. I am grateful for Wallace’s willingness to use his talents as a writer to explain what is struggling with millions of people but they are not able to convey to family and friends.

As well as a basic misconception of depression and its worst symptoms – death through suicide – a wider problem is that we feel free to add subjective labels to the difficulties of others with diseases in the first place. I am reminded that there was a recent Twitter discussion on whether “fighting” with cancer was “brave” labeling that a person who chose not to seek treatment was not bravely fighting and was in a position to give up. expensive.

These terms Heavily and brave which is subjective and suggests that they have a deeper understanding of the intentions behind, saying, attempting suicide or refusing chemotherapy. Suicide is not heavy or brave – it is the ugly, final unfortunate phase of depression. No one has the authority to label it otherwise.

In addition, a call for suicide is both harmful and unused. A person with depression cannot be embarrassed to enter well. It is highly personal and emotional to deal with a dangerous illness, and an audience would be more convenient by offering impartial support or not saying anything.

Laura Beth Jackson
Washington, D.C.

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