A Story Of Suicide And Survival

Daphne Merkin at Bookforum:

One Friday begins on a Friday in April 2006, when the forty-seven-year-old Antrim, having just had a spat with his girlfriend, is clinging to the fire escape of his four-story apartment building in Brooklyn, considering jumping to his death. (Although one wonders if falling from this height might have resulted in serious injury rather than death.) “I didn’t know why I had to fall from the roof,” he writes, “why that was mine to do.” He goes on to tell us that depression is a “misleading term,” that he prefers to call his depression “suicide” because he sees it “as a long illness, an illness with origins in trauma and isolation” rather than “the death, the fall from a height or the trigger pulled.” Although Antrim offers this explanation as an original take on an enigmatic condition, I found it befuddling rather than clarifying: suicide is sudden and immediate while depression is a long and often recurrent illness. There is no getting around it: the former is a decision, however impulsive and catastrophic; the latter is a passively endured condition, the result of our chemistry and psychological vulnerabilities.

more here.