Yesterday, I went to watch a couple of documentaries on Nick Drake at MOTH Club. Hearing about his life and learning more details about his death, I came to feel that his loss is probably most tragic, for me, because it is almost all too generic, too familiar and common place.
His depression was not the result of acute trauma, but rather a side-effect of the deep sensitivity with which he approached the world, in a sense, by no choice of his own. There are certain people (perhaps myself included) who experience life with less layers of protection or defence against the intensity of the world, as if to open one's eyes fully would result in a certain blindness, a pain that derives from seeing too much. It is as if, without sufficient layers of skin, the world might pierce this person who feels the affects of being in the world so deeply, and for whom life is more painful.
Drake's story of depression felt to me to be a product of this raw exposure. His retreat into silence and his subsequent death reminded me of the feeling or confusion when the world appears to be other than what one hopes for or expects when a young person leaves home for the first time. His experience of his 20s reminded me of the disorientation of going to university and expecting to see and absorb the world as more beautiful than you've ever known it, and discovering that it is perhaps only more painful, more unjust, and more bewildering. Sometimes we just have to wait just a little bit longer, until we go outside feeling just slightly less porous, and ready enough to accept that the world, even on the best of days, is a mixed bag - and that will have to do.