The Noonday Demon

transferirMay is mental health awareness month, and I thought I’d post something about this book I read a while back, because I think that pointing people to resources is also a way to raise awareness. This is a book about depression, and it covers pretty much everything on the topic you might want to know, find out, debate or are simply curious about.

We’re in 2015 and I still read online people saying you don’t need to take anything for depression because you can manage it naturally. I witnessed my mother going into an almost catatonic state due to depression and I can guarantee there was no herbal tea, meditation or yoga that could have taken her out of it. Continue reading

Depression is a disease of loneliness

I already shared this article on Twitter but I thought I’d share it here too.

It’s by Andrew Solomon, whose TED Talk swept me away some months ago, and I must confess I feel a little guilty because I haven’t yet started reading his book on depression, The Noonday Demon. I was delighted to find his new article on The Guardian though. As with his TED Talk, the words are vivid, fluid and meaningful, and he addresses many of my feelings, concerns and thoughts about depression.

Here are few:

“In an era in which Facebook has made “friend” into a verb, we often confuse the ambient intimacy of websites with the authentic intimacy that comes with sharing your life’s challenges with someone who cares – who will be sad because you are sad, happy because you feel joy, worried if you are unwell, reassuring if you are hopeless.”

“[…] but not treating the depressed is ultimately more expensive than treating them. People who cannot function end up on the dole; parents may not be able to take care of their children; men and women too depressed to sustain their physical health could develop serious conditions that cost the NHS a great deal.”

“Depression is a disease of loneliness. Many untreated depressives lack friends because it saps the vitality that friendship requires and immures its victims in an impenetrable sheath, making it hard for them to speak or hear words of comfort. […] Love – both expressed and received – is helpful, not because it ameliorates the symptoms of depression (it does not), but because it gives people evidence that life may be worth living if they can only get better. It gives them a place to admit to their illness, and admitting it is the first step toward resolving it.”

“Many people, however, are desperate for love, but don’t know how to go about finding it, disabled by depression’s tidal pull toward seclusion. Loneliness will not be fixed by medication, though pills may instigate the stability to open up to friendship’s liabilities: potential rejection, exhausting demands, the need for self-sacrifice.”

Full article here:
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/aug/16/depression-disease-loneliness-friends?CMP=twt_gu

Aggression turned inward

As someone who comes from a family with a history of mental illnesses and who has suffered from depression as well, I have read a lot of books, articles, and testimonies, not only in the first person but also from doctors and therapists. However, none had me nodding from beginning to end as this TED Talk by Andrew Solomon. The first ten minutes are particularly so accurate in giving us a panoramic view of all the different aspects of depression. I resonated with what he said about finding there were people who seemed on the surface to have what sounded like relatively mild depression who were nonetheless utterly disabled by it.” And he echoed as well many interrogations I’ve been struggling with: “if I have to take medication, is that medication making me more fully myself, or is it making me someone else? And how do I feel about it if it’s making me someone else?”

I didn’t know who Andrew Solomon was before watching this TED Talk by chance, but I did a little research and found out that the book he wrote on depression, called The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression, won several awards, including the Books for a Better Life Award from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. I haven’t read it yet but I already have it here with me. I hope it’s as poetic and insightful as this talk.