A few words on depression

Not mine, but Tim Carmody’s on the suicide and death of Aaron Swartz.

I was supposed to see Aaron the day before he hanged himself. Andy Baio had invited both of us to a small meetup at a bar on New York’s Lower East Side, and I was excited to catch up with Andy and other friends and to meet some new people. As it turned out, Aaron made it to the party and I didn’t; a late-breaking story kept me in for the night. Nobody thought that we wouldn’t have another chance to meet. Andy wrote that Aaron “was deep in conversation, smiling and chatting. I thought he looked happy. I was wrong.”

After major depressive disorder threatened my life in my twenties, I knew how easy it can be to cover your exhaustion and anger to those around you. All you need is to keep people at arm’s length, keep them from wanting to look too closely, and hide in plain sight, like filling a hole in a cracked plaster wall with toothpaste. I knew how depression, at a chemical level, robs you of the rewards of being happy; how it turns the people around you into two-dimensional cutouts exactly when you need them most; how the disease makes you believe your good days don’t really matter and your bad days are the way the world really is.

Seems to be a fitting theme for what I’ve been discussing recently.

Jye Smith is currently Senior Vice President, Head of Strategy & Operations, Asia Pacific at Weber Shandwick. Ranked in B&Ts 30 Under 30, Jye a regular keynote speaker and workshop facilitator who specialises in digital and social media strategist.