A pair of current news stories highlight the seriousness of longterm clinical depression. Kirk Jones survived a jump into Niagara Falls last week. He says he had reached a point in his life when he did not care whether he lived or died. That led him to play a form of Russian roulette. Singer Elliott Smith has been reported dead from apparently self-inflicted knife wounds.
Jones was first described as a daredevil in news stories. However, he says the thrill was not his motivation for risking his life in a feat he is the only person to have lived through.
NIAGARA FALLS, Ontario (AP) — A man who went over Niagara Falls head first said Wednesday that he was driven by depression, not a desire to become a daredevil.
Kirk Jones, 40, of Canton, Mich., is charged with illegally performing a stunt. He is the first person known to have plunged over the falls without safety devices and lived.
In a phone interview with ABC News, Jones said he had been depressed, but surviving the plunge made him want to live again.
"I honestly thought that it wasn't worth going on. But I can tell you now after hitting the falls I feel that life is worth living," he said.
Jones recently lost his job when his parents shut down the family business, which made tools for auto parts manufacturers. His father, Raymond Jones, told The Detroit News he had to lay off his son because of the economy.
Elliott Smith appears not to have ever acknowledged longterm depression, though observers, including fans, suspected it. The circumstances of his death confirm the problem.
He was once dubbed "the unhappiest man in the land." His most renown song was called "Miss Misery." But Elliott Smith sounded disappointed that he was often asked, "Why are you so sad?"
The singer-songwriter, whose fragile, Beatles-tinged melodies elevated to him mythic status on the indie scene and brought him unlikely, Oscar-nominated success , died Tuesday of an apparent suicide at his apartment in the Echo Park area of Los Angeles, officials said. He was 34.