“In depression this faith in deliverance, in ultimate restoration, is absent. The pain is unrelenting, and what makes the condition intolerable is the foreknowledge that no remedy will come- not in a day, an hour, a month, or a minute. If there is mild relief, one knows that it is only temporary; more pain will follow. It is hopelessness even more than pain that crushes the soul. So the decision-making of daily life involves not, as in normal affairs, shifting from one annoying situation to another less annoying- or from discomfort to relative comfort, or from boredom to activity- but moving from pain to pain. One does not abandon, even briefly, one’s bed of nails, but is attached to it wherever one goes. And this results in a striking experience- one which I have called, borrowing military terminology, the situation of the walking wounded. For in virtually any other serious sickness, a patient who felt similar devistation would by lying flat in bed, possibly sedated and hooked up to the tubes and wires of life-support systems, but at the very least in a posture of repose and in an isolated setting. His invalidism would be necessary, unquestioned and honorably attained. However, the sufferer from depression has no such option and therefore finds himself, like a walking casualty of war, thrust into the most intolerable social and family situations. There he must, despite the anguish devouring his brain, present a face approximating the one that is associated with ordinary events and companionship. He must try to utter small talk, and be responsive to questions, and knowingly nod and frown and, God help him, even smile. But it is a fierce trial attempting to speak a few simple words.” — William Styron —
3 thoughts on “Darkness, Visible”
This remains accurate. I'm grateful not to suffer from depression in the way I did once, but as bipolar, I still have my tough days (they come regularly, though with out the degree of paralysis they once did.) I'm happy to see this quoted here because lately I've needed to remember that having a few 'slow' days is neither the end of the world nor an experience I'll never entirely get away from, though I talk little about it, any more, myself. Have you written about depression in your plays?
Not directly, though it's informed a couple of them. Thank you for your thoughtful, reflective comments. Not the end of the world, indeed.
Spot on. I'm with you, brother.