ROBERT MCFARLANE ON DESPAIR AND THE PUBLIC GOOD

Nine years ago, in the aftermath of my own failed suicide, the most astonishing yet reassuring revelation was the number of Senators, Representatives and other high-level officials who came to the hospital and confided to me their own failed efforts to do the same thing at moments when the burdens of their office or the severity of public criticism became too great to bear. We will never really know what drove Admiral Mike Boorda to suicide; I believe it was the convergence of two factors: the medical disorder of depression and an extraordinary sense of honor. Severe clinical depression is a...

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