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Various Black Dogs: On "Blessings"
CS died today. He was distracted and skidded off a road. Last time we talked I could tell he wasn’t doing well. I wonder how much was left for him. He was always open and frank about how he suffered with depression, anxiety, and PTSD. After a point you have to wonder how much a person could take.
A girl named Leah with an asterisk attached to let you know it wasn’t her real name hit her head and drowned in a bathtub. The article didn’t say if she slammed her head into the tile out of frustration, just that she was dead and the author felt relief, for all the pain she felt, that whatever comes next was better.
It was a blessing, she claimed.
People with mental illness aren’t allowed to live. They’re allowed to be cured or die. Either you get over depression, anxiety, and PTSD or you die from it. The real story of depression is the thing that lives with you, that you cannot own and that breathes in what smothers you, that you wake up and see at the foot of your bed when you cannot move.
I’m not Paris, Rushdie, a Hokie, a Dane, a Keynsian, a son of a bitch, a citizen of Berlin, a federalist, a republican, Tina Belcher, a cat with bedhead, a rat dragging a slice of pizza up an elevator, or Charlie Hedbo. If I die tomorrow and it’s related to what ails me, I will be someone’s Leah. The tragedy of my life snuffed out is a point off of somebody’s psychic ledger of worries corporeal and imagined.
I do not only want to be remembered as better than my illnesses, but I refuse for that to be how I am reminisced over. Because the encumbered’s expectations of death can only be met or exceeded and going early you might not be prepared for disappointment or being overwhelmed. There is no blessing in death.
Fuck the bestowment of blessings onto me from sources who thought I was a burden temporarily, fuck the editors, to hell with the writer. Leah deserved better, and so did I.
When I learned they laid him down I wondered which one went. Was it the funny and dry CS or the guy whose guts were a rubber band ball? The guy you could change plans on and if he was already out he was ready to go, or the guy who resented people enjoying themselves? Even if he was in pain, when he was hurting there was nothing. I just wished he could have learned to respect himself and the people around him.
During a bad point in his life he told me about something he kept from me for months: his feelings about somebody I used to have feelings for. As guilty as he was I wondered who was speaking: CS or the black dogs. I didn’t want to be around that anymore. I left the next day and didn’t say anything to him for the weekend.
A week later he blocked me. Or rather, some version of him did. I hope the real one is out there somewhere.
--A Goodbye to CS by Paul Cobbler
#Real #Essay #Response #xoJane #Controversy #MentalIllness #TalkAboutIt
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