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Pete Teo @PeteTeo
, 11 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
1. Lots of people suffer from depression. I used to suffer from it. Although it last descended on me decades ago, I still feel it in the back of my head, seeping out in the shadows of my work. It’s not an easy thing to understand, but I can try to tell you a little more...
2. The overriding mental condition of someone in a severe depressed state is one of utter futility. Nothing is worth it. Nothing has meaning. There is no point in anything. You may escape for a moment, but the dark mist is all around. Until it decides to lift, nothing matters.
3. It isn’t the same as sadness. It isn’t being fearful. It’s the darkest, loneliest nothing. When it’s especially bad, there is no hope. That’s when you think of ending it. Everyone who’s been in that place has thought of suicide. Everyone. Some take action. Most pull back.
4. I got it when I was a child. It came regularly till my late 20’s. It affected my studies, social life, and worldview. I studied nothing but religion for a few years thinking it might help. Not for me. Writing did help. So did reading, or watching films. But not always.
5. I soon learned how to use it in my art. I tried to make beauty from it. Later, I took it on stage as a performing singer songwriter. A seasoned pro saw me live and said “You go to that empty place when onstage. Let me save your life. Pls don’t. Learn to act when you play.”
6. He did save my life. Touring is a series of stage, audience, and hotel rooms - repeat. If you did what I did, which was to play personal songs and left nothing behind, it’s dangerous. The audience might find communion, but you returned to the hotel room alone. It’s dangerous.
6. You see, as an artist you feel duty-bound to give all. But having emptied out you are left with that same hole in your heart. Who will fill it? The audience? It’s not easy to admit this, but even the most adoring fans are just strangers in the crowd. That’s the truth.
7. So now you know why many artists kill themselves. It’s not about material success. When amplified by celebrity, that futility and loneliness at the core of all depressives becomes magnified. The mist descends. Even the best in you is futile. That’s when you kick it.
8. It’s human to feel the loss of an icon. #AnthonyBourdain stood for so much good in this world. Yet don’t forget that depression afflicts more people than you think. It’s literally all around you. Do listen to them too. Just listen. Ordinary stories are worth just as much.
9. I have a notion that people who suffer from depression recognise each other instinctively. I find them in a line of another’s tweet, a song being played, or a look in the eyes. The night people. They are some of the most interesting people I know. Certainly some of the best.
10. And should you be one of the night people, know that there are many like you. Just as I found solace in creativity, you can too, even if in just talking to a friend. There is help all around. The world is filled with good people too. It is not all meaningless. Keep walking.
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