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Oh, no.

Oh what?

I already know where this is going.

How do you—

You’re going to ask that asinine question about a tree falling in the woods, aren’t you?

It’s not an asinine question.

If a tree falls in the forest, does it make a sound?

Not such an easy question to answer.

The answer is YES.

Are you sure?

The tree falls and slams to the ground. This causes vibrations in the air. Regardless if anyone is standing in the forest or not, those vibrations are still traveling through the atmosphere.

You are not wrong.

There. I answered your silly question. The article is over. Turn the page.

That would be a short article.

Not my problem. Maybe you can slap down a few words about self care or something.

Well, I think there’s a really cool correlation between depression and the question about a tree falling in the woods. Plus, your answer isn’t entirely accurate.

Fine. I’m all ears!

Let’s start with the word “sound.” Webster does indeed define sound as a “vibratory disturbance.”

Told you so!

However, the second part of that definition reads: “… capable of being detected by the organs of hearing.”

Organs of what?

According to that definition, in order for sound to exist at all, there must be an ear drum for those vibrations to interact with to generate sound. And if there’s no one around—no ear drums—then no matter how many trees fall in the forest, no sound is ever made.

Because the “vibratory disturbance” isn’t interacting with any “organs of hearing.”


Well fine. It’s still an asinine question. Wordplay with no practical application to everyday life.

But don’t you find it fascinating to regard sound as a relationship?

Relationships are overrated.

Not only must there be something generating the vibrations in the air, such as a tree falling to the forest floor, but you have to be in the forest for sound to exist!
So what do falling trees have to do with depression?

I could argue that I have a relationship with my depression similar to that of sound, in that depression is not a separate, isolated entity terrorizing my life. It can only exist if I’m here to experience it.

So, you’re saying we should not exist so that depression doesn’t exist?

No. What I am saying is that the intensity of that depression depends on how I interact with it. I may have no control over a tree that falls, but I do have control on how I react. I can cover my ears. I can move away from the falling tree. I can yell back at the top of my lungs!

Which would do nothing to the sound, or to the depression.

But it changes the experience itself. I’m not just a helpless victim to sound or to depression, you see?

Because I play a part in how sound, or depression, manifests itself.

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

You did! I’m a voice in your head!

And if you view depression as a relationship, rather than something existing as separate from your mind, doesn’t that perspective change how you engage with mental illness? I’m not as powerless in depression’s shadow as I once perceived.

It’s an interaction.

Exactly! Which means I do have a say in the outcome.


But still a say, nonetheless!

Well, what about a recorder?


If you record a tree falling in the forest, with no one around, does the tree make a sound?
Well, if a microphone is a mechanical organ of hearing, than yes, the tree made a sound.
But if no one ever listens to the recording, did the falling tree make a sound?

Now that’s a good question!