Talons Philosophy

An Open Online Highschool Philosophy Course


the logic behind depression

Logic is something that everyone is just born with. But when we break down arguments and identify premises and their truth and validity, it feels like logic is something that you have never encountered in your life.

For example,

Only dogs are pets,
Some cats are pets,
Some cats are dogs.

We all know that cats aren’t dogs and not only dogs are pets and this is a ridiculous argument to make but it is valid. This is why “studying” logic annoys me.

My personal argument I’d like to make is:

Some depression is terminal
Some cancer is terminal
Mental illness can be as severe as physical illness.

As I’m typing my first premise I can already see people going up in arms and saying that depression is not terminal, it can lead to suicide which is terminal but with that same logic, car accidents cannot be fatal because what kills you is not the car accident, it is the chest trauma or a broken neck that kills you. Depression is a silent killer. There are no tumors that can be detected. There is not enough chemotherapy in the world that could kill the demon inside someone who is depressed.

My second point is less of a debate. Almost everyone knows that some cancers are terminal and that everyone can be affected by cancer. That is the sad reality.

My conclusion is controversial. It is so easy to tell someone to get over their sadness or the voices in their head are just a really big imagination. It’s much harder to put yourself in the shoes of someone with cancer or any other terminal illness. To not know when your physical body will become detached from your conscious mind is an incredibly terrifying experience that many wouldn’t understand. I believe that the same can be applied to those who are mentally ill. With depression, you don’t know how much longer you can keep fighting your battles. The difference between the two is that, it’s much easier to accept those who have illnesses we can see the life being drained out of them than it is to see someone who is “perfectly able bodied” with a full head of hair and ability to stomach a meal.

A much easier way to understand my rambling is this analogy by David Foster Wallace.

“The so-called ‘psychotically depressed’ person who tries to kill herself doesn’t do so out of quote ‘hopelessness’ or any abstract conviction that life’s assets and debits do not square. And surely do not because death seems suddenly appealing. The person in whom its invisible agony reaches a certain unendurable level will kill herself the same way a trapped person will eventually jump from the roof of a burning high-rise. Make no mistake about people who leap from burning windows. Their terror from falling from a great height is still just as great as it would be for you or me standing speculatively at the same window just checking out the view; i.e. the fear of falling remains a constant. The variable here is the other terror, the fire’s flames: when the flames get close enough, falling to death becomes the slightly less terrible of two terrors. It’s not desiring the fall; it’s terror of the flames. And yet nobody down on the sidewalk, looking up and yelling ‘Don’t!’ and ‘Hang on!’ , can understand the jump. Not really. You’d have to have personally been trapped and felt flames to really understand a terror way beyond falling.”

I guess in my argument with cancer and depression, the flames would be the tumors, nausea and vomiting from chemo, the hair falling out and fatigue that makes “giving up” understandable. With depression, the flames cannot be seen, heard, or even felt by most. I believe that my argument is as valid as it can be since my conclusion is controversial. It’s factually correct based on who you ask and therefore sound. Through the years I’ve been in school, I’ve begun to see more de-stigmatizing events for mental illness which is a step in the right direction. I hope to see the day where both depression and cancer are no longer terminal illnesses.

The responsible thing for me to do is to leave a link or suicide hotline (1-800-273-8255) at the end just in case this piece of writing has triggered bad thoughts.

(If you disagree with my argument and leave a rating based on your personal views rather than the piece of writing itself being terrible, I genuinely would like to hear your input and what you personally believe in.)


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