Here are a couple of things I think are worth sharing:
The Lost Years and Last Days of David Foster Wallace (Rolling Stone, October 30th, 2008)
Yesterday marks the 12th anniversary of David Foster Wallace passing away. I don’t know how I missed this piece when it came out in October 2008, about 6 weeks after his death. It’s a beautiful story of his life, his struggles, and very sadly, his final year. It’s heartbreaking to read this because I suspect—or at least want to believe—much more could have been done to medically manage his depression after the failure of his first therapy. I have spoken about this exact case with several psychopharmacologists since then and all felt there were many other options available, even at the time. Maybe that’s true, maybe it’s not. We’ll never know. But when we consider how many people suffer from depression, even if not as debilitating as DFW’s, I wish we could spend one-tenth of what we spend on cancer on this condition.1This is not an exaggeration. Look at the 2020 NIH budget, for example: an estimated $7.1 billion is provided for research on cancer vs $600 million for depression.
Shipping Out: On the (nearly lethal) comforts of a luxury cruise (Harper’s, January 1996)
Pure genius. I’ve never really felt the urge to go on a cruise, and recent pandemics aside, not much has tweaked that desire lately. David Foster Wallace’s 1994 classic on the topic seems even more timely today.