On Nervous Breakdowns
The strange upshot of all this is that I find myself—even now, standing in the waist-high waters of my forties—not quite at home in adulthood, as though something fundamental had been removed from it. A nervous breakdown is hardly what I would wish upon myself, or upon anyone else, but its absence from the human experience troubles me. It’s just one more reminder of the world’s plainness, and the general foiling of our expectations, and the fact that things are rarely as interesting as they might otherwise have been. To say it straightly: it’s one more way to be excluded from life’s goings-on. In the final accounting, the loss of the nervous breakdown is the loss of a birthright, albeit a peculiar one. As with all such losses, it deserves—with some measure of regret and longing, and perhaps even some form of reverence—to be remembered.