Don’t Commit Suicide

How Silicon Valley is dealing with mental illness

He was on the brink of great success and grappling with the rocky road that it took to get there.

Austen had turned his radical idea, a scientific approach to laser-print DNA, into a company, Cambrian Genomics. It had all the makings of a Silicon Valley success story: a disruptive idea, a charismatic founder, a roster of impressive investors. And the media had begun to pick up on it — his outspoken and sometimes brash nature garnered both good and bad press.

Long before he became an entrepreneur, Austen battled depression. And on May 24, 2015, he ended his life. He was 31 years old.

Anyone who marches out of step with the Great Mass should expect their mind to issue “self-destruct orders” at some point. This is part of The Gift.

What’s tragic is the idiotic stigma the Great Mass — who lie about their own true mental illnesses, while they pop pills and smoke pot — assigns to this issue. It’s their way of tearing down others who dare to dream and who have ambitions. Successes by others in life remind them how they themselves have failed themselves.

Have artists as friends. Painters, sculptors, writers (god, all of us!), philosophers. They’ve all been through it. They can sympathize. They can lead you to help.

And go read:

The Outsider by Colin Wilson

The Price of Greatness: Resolving the Creativity and Madness Controversy by Arnold M. Ludwig

Touched With Fire: Manic-depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament by Kay Redfield Jamison

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