IT'S NOT ALWAYS DEPRESSION. SOMETIMES IT'S RAGE
Hilary Jacobs Hendel published an exquisite opinion piece in the New York Times earlier this month entitled It's Not Always Depression. Sometimes it’s shame. She relays the story of a client who had suffered many unsuccessful treatments for depression only to discover that his suffering was rooted in shame. So when I read the account of Andreas Lubitz intentionally bringing down the Germanwings flight he co-piloted and killing 149 people the words that came to mind were “It’s Not Always Depression. Sometimes It’s Rage."
Of course I don’t know the details of what happened on that flight. Much of the case remains conjecture.
What is not conjecture is our cultural denial of rage and the resulting violence that so many suffer.
We love to feel comfortable. Put three people in the cockpit and then this won’t happen.
Take a pill and see a therapist and it will be better.
Raise awareness for mental health and it will be better.
Depression is not a concrete thing. It is a collection of symptoms that has been named. As no two snowflakes are alike, no two depressions are alike. The category is helpful but let’s not forget the person.
I think of when celebrities split up and they release a statement that says “we remain the best of friends.”
I think of client after client (and myself) who says “I’m not angry, but…."
I also think of Susan Sontag’s vilification after asking post 9-11, “Where is the acknowledgement that this was not a "cowardly" attack on "civilization" or "liberty" or "humanity" or "the free world" but an attack on the world's self-proclaimed super-power, undertaken as a consequence of specific American alliances and actions?"
We’re terrified of rage.
And this cover-up only feeds the fire.
I don’t know what happened on that flight.
But it wouldn’t surprise me if Andreas' rage had no home.
We can put three people in a cockpit. But we can also allow each other the expression of our anger. Which very few of us can do. But we’ve got to try.
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