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Evans’ Rag

Vol 1 Issue 19

Illustration: kbeis/Getty Images

Illustration: kbeis/Getty Images


“I have a son named Cal. He’s three months old and I don’t think it’s hyperbolic at all to say that he is the most perfect being to ever live on earth. He’s adorable and kind and he can already slap things with his hands, which I am pretty certain makes him very advanced.” from How Will I Explain My HBO Special to My Son? ‘Career Suicide is unapologetically honest about my struggles with depression—and the lessons I learned fighting it, by Chris Gethard on Medium.

This piece (linked above) on Medium brought it all back to me, universal truth that it is.

I might have been inside Chris Gethard’s mind writing it, except that it’s from the point of view of a depressed, on prescription medications, working-to-cope writer. You have to cheer for him. Beginning the piece I read mostly out of a duty to a close subject, until I was stopped by the part about his son’s birth:

I want him to know that I will kick down any barrier that stands in his way, that if anyone tries to harm him I will stand between him and the aggressor so I can absorb the blow.”

Sometime in the 80s I wrote a poem about that powerful bonding with one’s child. The poem asks a question of my long-dead father, did his feelings when I was born compare to mine with Sean, our first? Hand printed it in a small book, and gave it to my mother as a Christmas gift. I’ve written five and published four books of poetry about losing Ryan. We’re told that this is genetics, and I can accept that, but it’s the most powerful drive I’ve ever felt.

Though being sad as I sometimes am doesn’t compare to depression. My first marriage suffered from depression. I was mostly ignorant of the disease until I married into a family riddled with it. One cousin killed himself his brother was deep in depression and possibly their sister. My wife, my two sons struggled with it and we lost Ryan to it. It is an evil for how it tortures its victims, and I have cried about this, his absence and the loss to us all.

I argue that the defining element of depression isn’t sadness, but something more akin to loneliness,” Gethard says, and from what I saw that is true.

I wouldn’t have known how to help you… but I would have run through a wall to find the person who did.”

And the failure at that task I live with.

So I need to cheer for Chris Gethard, this writer, and hope that he wins. People love him, and more, his son needs him.