Monday, April 15, 2013

The 97% Solution

It made me laugh when I recognized the room. Nothing had changed in the 20 years since I'd been there last, even the same paint was peeled in the same corners. Of course when my mother was in psychiatric lockup it was because of a breakdown having to do with a disease, something far easier to comprehend, even with the little green men and taking dogs. This was my father, the man with no fear, the great Scandinavian stoic who had suffered a lifetime of indignity with a raised head and focused eye.

They didn't even have a meeting room. There we were in the patient lounge, surrounded by cuckoo nesters, discussing what would become of daddy. It would be a come to Jesus meeting. We were to tell him everything we felt about his suicide attempt, explain to him that this was unacceptable.

“He needs someone to talk to besides his children,” I said; “he needs camaraderie with people who have lived through similar tragedy and survived.”

The shrink on duty explained that while there may be some therapy involved, 97% of depression was dealt with through chemistry. It was then I decided that if that’s what the world has come to, suicide wasn’t necessarily unacceptable after all.

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