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A Quick Question for Anyone who has Suffered from Clinical Depression

I’m in the middle of writing a much longer piece about Andrew Solomon’s National Book Award Winning book The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression.

It has moved me and fascinated me like few other books I can think of. I have no firsthand experience with clinical depression that I am aware of, in myself or in others who I have been close with.

For this conversation, pretend that Noonday Demon is literally the most accurate portrayal of depression. It is as real as it gets and the best chance for someone without depression to understand what it is like to be clinically depressed.

So for those of you who have actually suffered, or do suffer, from depression, do you suspect that a book like this would make you feel less alone, or would the portrayal itself have the potential to become its own triggering event?

Would it comfort you or would it depress you? Can you even tell?

I know this can’t be easy to talk about, so don’t share anything you don’t want to. Or feel free to email me if that is easier.

I am also interested in having guest posts from anyone with depression, if that interests you in the slightest.





Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Robby December 7, 2011, 5:49 pm

    It would be helpful to someone who has suffered but overcame depression. I know that when I was depressed, though I sought out books on depression to find others who understood what I was going through, they usually were bad for me. They triggered depression and many times I wouldn’t finish reading them. It’s a nice thing to know that there are others feeling what you are nonetheless, but it can be overwhelming and should be read in balance and not at one time. At least that’s what I find to be helpful.

    • Chawntelle Oliver December 7, 2011, 8:46 pm

      I doublt I would have been able to read it, partially for the same reason Robby mentioned, but also because when I’ve been in the throes of it, I can’t concentrate for long on much of anything, especially something requiring critical thinking, careful consideration, introspection, etc….I’m assuming this book is erudite in nature. I simply don’t have the concentration skills to really study and think clearly. When I’m depressed, if I read at all, I want pure escapism. I have to delve into things light, humorous and far removed from my current state of mind or circumstances. Like Robbie, this particular book would have been overwhelming for me and probably a trigger – or a sustaining force at the very least.

  • SusanGarvey December 8, 2011, 9:23 am

    I suffer from clinical depression and I have read this book. I don’t believe I read it during the worst of the worst times, however, I found that it was extremely affirming. Reading someone recount the feelings that I have or have had served as validation for me. I’ve found, in general, that I can always spot someone who has truly suffered from depression when I read a book either about the subject, or that includes a reference to it, even if that’s not the subject matter or if it’s a fictional work. People who have really lived it have an especially articulate way of stating or describing the feelings in such a real, succinct way. I don’t believe anyone who hasn’t suffered from depression could write it so well. It always makes me feel good, sort of an interior yeah, you get it passes through my mind.

  • Shane VanOosterhout December 8, 2011, 11:06 am

    Hi, I’ve been reading your blog for a few months & greatly enjoy it. I’m searching for a publisher for a novel I’ve been polishing for about 8 years. Also working on a thematic short story collection & I write a blog about gardening called The Passionate Gardener.

    I consider myself a born depressive–it has shaped everything in my life. I found an effective treatment at the age 30 but there is no escape from the long-term formative effects of depression. Certainly I use it in writing, especially character development.

    Interestingly I read a lot of non-fiction yet I dismiss most books written about depression. One of the best I have read is Listening to Prozac, which was written in 1997. This book cuts through the bullshit (psychoanalysis for example) and provides meaningful scientific explanation to a deeply misunderstood ailment.

    I’d love to write a post on the subject for your site.

    Shane V.