Autodidact: self-taught


Darkness Visible by William Styron

by V. L. Craven

One of the books in the series on depression I’m reading is William Styron’s Darkness Visible , which is his account of his own battle with depression. This bit describes some of the phenomena caused by depression:

But my behaviour was really the result of the illness, which had progressed far enough to produce some of its most famous and sinister hallmarks: confusion, failure of mental focus and lapse of memory. At a later stage my entire mind would be dominated by anarchic disconnections; as I have said, there was now something that resembled bifurcation of mood: lucidity of sorts in the early hours of the day, gathering murk in the afternoon and evening.

Styron’s experience of the gathering murk is dissimilar to the typical horrible-morning-fine-evening experience of most depressives.

What I like about this excerpt are the bits and bobs that come along with depression–memory loss, loss of voice, general confusion. It’s not as though depression messes up your life by making you think: Iamdepressed, Iamdepressed, Iamdepressed ad infinitum, therefore rendering all other thought impossible–it’s more of a dense fog, where no matter which way you turn you can’t find your way out. Then, whilst trying to find your way home, someone asks you questions and expects you to engage. I’m sorry, but this fog–as amorphous as it is–requires all my attention.

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