In T.S. Elliot’s The Hollow Men (1925) he writes
“this is the way the world ends
not with a bang but a whimper”
I remember the first time I read this poem at the age of 19 I did not fully comprehend all which it represented, all which was intended by those final lines specifically. Yet I now understand the imagery, the slow fade of life, the end of the world, or the end of our worlds.
While we often imagine life closing in a grandiose manner, it is rare. Often people slowly wither over time, until their stories have come to a close, the event is unexpected, with a silent exit.
I’ve recently considered these two lines in relation to depression. Often when someone is vocalizing their grievances, threatening, causing a disruption, it is not the end of their story. It is merely spreading toxicity to those it touches, permeating as a contagion, as all negative speech does. It may be calling out for help, or companionship in a time which feels lonely.
However, when a victim falls silent, withdrawing from those they love, growing increasingly more reserved and separated from society, when the chaos of their minds grows silent with a numbing weight and the colors have drained from their souls, when they’ve slowly withered from the vivacity of life is when depression may win the battle of ones mind, or life. For I know personally, it is not my voice which shall sound for help, but the lack there of.