Your Depressed Friends Are Both More Successful and Creative Than You

Also, chicks think being "dark" is "hot," or something. Truth is it just means I don't want to fucking talk to you and I'd rather just go home and listen to The National and WRITE and BE BRILLIANT and SUCCESSFUL.

Classic blogging trick 4081: Find small anecdote buried deep within sprawling article, extract anecdote, riff appropriately. Hence, this week's sprawling NYT article on depression's "upside." This is great! Here's another reason you shouldn't feel bad about not getting your MFA from Iowa:

In a survey led by the neuroscientist Nancy Andreasen, 30 writers from the Iowa Writers' Workshop were interviewed about their mental history. Eighty percent of the writers met the formal diagnostic criteria for some form of depression.

No shit. But "some form of depression" is (A) more likely than not a requirement for being at Iowa and (B) more likely than not akin to classifications of people who have three or more drinks a week being an "alcoholic," but most importantly (C) also, incidentally, the inverse percentage of Iowa MFA journals' readability.

Also, don't feel bad about not being successful. Because those people are miserable, too:

A similar theme emerged from biographical studies of British writers and artists by Kay Redfield Jamison, a professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins, who found that successful individuals were eight times as likely as people in the general population to suffer from major depressive illness.

And if you're miserable and not successful or creative, that really sucks. Though, actually, I believe the hierarchy goes like this:

Happy/Successful/Creative
Unhappy/Successful/Creative
Unhappy/Not Creative/Successful
Unhappy/Not Creative/Unsuccessful
Unhappy/Creative/Unsuccessful

Because if you're really creative and really depressed, you can just think of really awesome ways for the universe to suck at your will to live.

Then again, everyone in New York is either:

More successful than you
More creative than you
Happier than you.

So your only choice is to be more depressed than everyone else—which you'll probably fail at, too—or just stop thinking about indicators of what depression means and what success means and what happiness meansand just try to be less depressed, happier, and more successful.

For the record, there is nothing—nothing—more irritating in this world than a "left-brained" "creative" "intellectual"
trying to make a depressed person better about feeling depressed,
especially when you're telling them why their depression is good,
especially when it's in any number of New York-based publications who think they have answers or explanations for problems by intellectualizing them into the ground.

There's nothing good about depression. It sucks. Here's what to tell people who're depressed: get some fucking help. See a shrink. A good one. If you need them, get some fucking drugs. And that you love them, and that it's gonna get better, and it's gonna get better just by trying. And that you love them. And then love them.