Writer Andrew Solomon explores depression in Noon Day Demon: An Atlas of Depression. Recounting his own experience, he weaves a personal and cultural analysis of the illness. His is a sophisticated and deeply human discussion of our vulnerabilities. Solomon rejects distance, embracing personal stories and the wonderful intimate complexities of sufferers and their lives. Solomon also looks at how factors such as poverty and culture enter into diagnoses, something that has been largely unrecognised, even by sufferers themselves. Poverty, too, is a dark place.
Solomon’s insight is profound and has the power of an inside view. When Eric Wilson talks about the need for unease, he is doing so from a position of privilege, one that does not recognise that, for many people, what he could call melancholia or depression (depending on the person), leads to deprivation and loss – not to an ability to challenge injustice. Sometimes it is only treatment enables a sufferer to survive. When Peter Kramer talks about depression it is from a comfortable clinician’s point of view. Solomon, however, brings his light touch and careful nuance to the language and experiences of depression. [Read more…]