The Tyee has published my article Depression: Gazing Into the Abyss with Robin Williams. Excerpt:
The suicide of Robin Williams exploded silently in the twittersphere, instantly going to the top of the trending lists around the world. A billion tweets did nothing to rescue a much-loved actor and comedian, but his loss may help us deal with a pandemic disease we prefer to ignore: depression.
It is a fundamental of most cultures that individuals are responsible for their actions, deserving praise for some acts and shame for others. That is why General George S. Patton, in World War II, slapped a GI for cracking up in combat. Patton had no patience with what we now know as post-traumatic stress disorder.
In that war, psychologists learned that no one could endure more than about 30 days of continuous combat without showing signs of mental disease -- except the psychopaths. They were fine. Patton himself was likely a high-functioning psychopath. Healthy people like the young GI were just healthy people, plunged into a psychopath's paradise.
Depression is to us something like Ebola in West Africa, a disease we prefer to deny rather than confront -- even if it kills us.