"We can go to science fiction for its sense of wonder, its power to take us to far-off places and future times. We can go to political fiction to understand injustice in our own time, to see what should change. We may go to poetry — epic or lyric, old or new — for what cannot change, for a sense of human limits, as well as for the music in its words. And if we want all those things at once — a sense of escape, a sense of injustice, a sense of mortality and an ear for language — we can read the stories of James Tiptree, Jr.
," the reclusive, award-winning author whose vague biography started out in the Congo, routed through a period as a painter, then service as a photo intelligence officer in WWII, and finally a researcher and teacher of "soft" sciences before getting to writing science fiction
. There was another facet that was only guessed at by some, dismissed by others: the fact that "Uncle Tip," and his reclusive friend, the former school teacher Racoona Sheldon, were the same person. And they were Alice Bradley Sheldon
. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief
on Dec 20, 2013 -
The Jumper Squad.
"Each year, the New York City Police Department receives hundreds of 911 calls for so-called jumper jobs, or reports of people on bridges and rooftops threatening to jump. The department’s Emergency Service Unit responds to those calls. Roughly 300 officers in the unit are specially trained in suicide rescue, the delicate art of saving people from themselves; they know just what to say and, perhaps more important, what not to say."
posted by zarq
on Oct 9, 2012 -
"Always remember that beautiful experiences and massive amounts of love are on their way. If you are able to feel pain and sadness this profoundly, more than most people can ever imagine, remind yourself that you can feel happiness and joy and love this profoundly as well, and that’s our little reward as depressed people. We feel things harder than other people do, and when those things are negative they are complete and total torture. But while we feel pain harder than other people have to, we feel beauty and joy and love harder than anyone else gets to, and that’s the victory that’s waiting on the other side of this pain for you. Hang on. Be tough. Better times are coming. Beautiful things and loving people are already out there, and when this cloud passes you get to experience them all so, so deeply."
-Comedian Chris Gethard
addresses an anonymous fan contemplating suicide
(Trigger warning: discussion of suicide) [more inside]
posted by inturnaround
on Sep 13, 2012 -
The Suicide’s Soliloquy
August 25, 1838, the Sangamo Journal, a Whig newspaper in Springfield, Illinois, carried an unsigned poem, thirty-six lines long. It stands out for two reasons: first, its subject is suicide; second, its author was most likely a twenty-nine-year-old politician and lawyer named Abraham Lincoln
. Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin
relates how historians regard a broken off engagement to Mary Todd
as the trigger to his famous depression
, but it was his perceived failure as politician, she maintains, that fed Lincoln's "black dog".
(For his depression, Lincoln probably took "blue mass"
, a drug prescribed to treat "hypochondriasis," a vague term that included melancholia
). Lincoln's medical history file is here
posted by matteo
on Jun 7, 2004 -
When drug companies hide data. "The attorney general's civil suit accuses the drug giant GlaxoSmithKline of committing fraud by concealing negative information about Paxil, a drug used to treat depression. The suit says that the company conducted five clinical trials of Paxil in adolescents and children, yet published only one study whose mixed results it deemed positive. The company sat on two major studies for up to four years, although the results of one were divulged by a whistle-blower at a medical conference in 1999 and all of the studies were submitted to the Food and Drug Administration in 2002 when the company sought approval for new uses of Paxil. At that time it became apparent that Paxil was no more effective than a placebo in treating adolescent depression and might even provoke suicidal thoughts.
My Dad was on Paxil until 26 days ago..... that's when he shot himself.
posted by Lusy P Hur
on Jun 6, 2004 -
Hmm. Why am I not surprised?
Muddling with your serotonin in such a drastic way has always struck me as an overreaction to depression. Let's be honest. In a world jam-packed with aggressive apes who deny that they are
apes, a little depression is a healthy response. Taking a serotonin re-uptake inhibitor just because you feel blue is like taking 10000 micrograms of Acid because you like the Harry Potter books.
posted by Ezrael
on Jun 6, 2000 -