Recently I listened to a podcast from the wonderful American Public Media program Speaking of Faith on the question of clinical depression and its links to spirituality. One of Krista Tippett’s interviews was with Andrew Solomon, author of a frightening and moving memoir and study of depression called The Noonday Demon. Tippett asked Solomon whether writing Demon was any sort of cathartic experience. [my aside] After all, the common wisdom is that if you tell people, you will get the pain out of your system that much more quickly. [so much for my aside, pardon my interruption] Solomon replied that the experience was painful in and of itself, that it dragged him through the pain of depression all over again.
So much, too, for common wisdom.
The difficulty for me is that I’ve been there, done that, and now am trying to write about it too. I am trying to write the history of my own depression and mania, going back to the probable wellspring, and going forward to the pain I caused and the hope for healing that I must carry with me every day, else I am truly doomed.
It’s brutal writing. I doesn’t want to be short or a knock-off. I don’t know precisely what it would like to be, but it’s dragging me kicking and screaming (as they say) from one part of the germinal incident to the other.
I hate it and I cannot wait to get back to it.