In a memoir released Wednesday titled, “West by West: My Charmed, Tormented Life,“ former NBA star and General Manager Jerry West comes forward about his lifelong battle with depression.West attributes his depression to a scarily abusive father, lack of love in his childhood, death of a very “kind” brother and a lifelong tendency to go “dark” after defeats or losses in his career.
As a psychiatrist I am on a constant quest to better understand (in hopes of better treating) those ailments of the mind that can cause what my late mentor, and suicide pioneer, Dr. Edwin Shneidman, referred to as “psychache” or “general psychological and emotional pain that reaches intolerable intensity.”
West’s admission brings to light how critical it is to our developing personalities that when we hit an obstacle, a setback, or defeat to be responded to over and over again by an “unconditional” comforting warmth (most often supplied by a non-narcissistic mother who would never be complicit with a husband’s abuse of a child) and a “confident” and informed reassurance (most often supplied by an optimistic, courageous, yet loving father).
Hopefully, West’s book will help many people feel less alone and more comfortable talking about the very serious condition of depression.
- Help for Depression
- WebMD Depression Health centre
- NIMH: Depression
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