27 May 2012

Link of the day: "How to Live Unhappily Ever After"

A few weeks ago, I read this essay by Augusten Burroughs in the Wall Street Journal about how happiness is overrated.

In particular, I like this passage:
The truth about healing is that heal is a television word. Someone close to you dies? You will never heal. What will happen is, for the first few days, the people around you will touch your shoulder and this will startle you and remind you to breathe. You will feel as though you will soon be dead from natural causes; the weight of the grief will be physical and very nearly unbearable.

Eventually, you will shower and leave the house. Maybe in a year you will see a movie. And one day somebody will say something and it will cause you to laugh. And you will clamp your hand over your mouth because you laughed and that laugh will break your heart, it will feel like a betrayal. How can you laugh?

In time, to your friends, you will appear to have recovered from your loss. All that really happened, you'll think, is that the hole in the center of your life has narrowed just enough to be concealed by a laugh. And yet, you might feel a pressure for it to be true. You might feel that "enough" time has passed now, that the hole at the center of you should not be there at all.
I imagine that there are some depressed people out there who simply get better and better at lying, at covering up their darkness, for the sake of maintaining their social life and relationships. Even the closest, most understanding of friends will eventually tire of negativity.

Augusten Burroughs is the famed author of Running with Scissors -- which I have not read.

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