Reading with Depression

A must-read post at Book Riot, on the experience of reading — and, I presume, life — while clinically depressed vs after effectively treating the depression.

Someone told me that there comes a grieving period when depression/anti-anxiety medication and/or therapy and/or other treatment starts to really work. It’s not grieving about losing who you are; it’s about how much you denied your past self. About how you didn’t give yourself the chance to function but listened to those painful messages your mind fed you.

I find that very believable. And very sad. If there is one thing I want in the (very) near future, it is to see a stake driven through the heart of the idea that clinical depression is a personal failing and that those affected should tough it out. I don’t think anything else could improve the quality of life for the coming century so much as a really effective treatment for clinical depression (and other emotional dysfunctions).

Thanks to Maureen for the link.

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3 thoughts on “Reading with Depression”

  1. Thank you Rachel and Maureen for that link.

    My boyfriend suffers from depression and I found the piece by Amanda Diehl especially enlightening. He’s been going through a particularly rough patch since his doctor reduced his medication last November, and I now understand a bit better why he no longer wants to do things he used to enjoy (including reading fiction).

  2. I hope your boyfriend finds a level of treatment that works for him long-term, Cheryl. The book that changed how I thought about depression was Against Depression by Peter Kramer. It left me with a permanent wish to see clinical depression treated more aggressively by psychiatrists and more seriously by society.

    I think it really is very difficult to truly believe that someone else’s experience of the world is so different from your own. The single post that I think captures the experience of depression best is from Hyperbole and a Half — everyone ought to read this post. The experience must be very different for different people, but it’s so difficult to capture in writing and this post does that. I would actually make this blog post required reading for psych classes everywhere if I were Czar.

    The extremely tight link between depression and heart disease ought to be sufficient to move depression to the top rank of problems-that-need-real-solutions in the medical community, even if there were no emotional component to depression at all. But the real health consequences mostly seem to get ignored, even among doctors, so far as I know.

  3. Yes Rachel – that’s a great post. I read it the last time you linked to it and I’ve just re-read it. It’s really helpful as a non-depressed person in a relationship with someone with depression to see some other perspectives, especially as my boyfriend doesn’t like to talk about his illness very much.

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