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The Faces of Depression in Literature

Edited By Josefa Ros Velasco

The Faces of Depression in Literature brings together some of the best-known specialists and scholars on the topic of depression in literature worldwide to offer a multidisciplinary approach concerning the philosophical, theological, and literary narratives of depression over time and their approximations to the current, clinical understanding of Major Depressive Disorder. The authors clarify the background of depression by paying attention to its representation through these narratives and revalue them as a means of acquiring knowledge in an interdisciplinary way. This pioneering initiative fills the knowledge gap that still exists concerning the nature of depression from a multidisciplinary perspective that takes into account some cross-cutting narratives. The authors give voice to the forgotten manifestations of depression found in literature, philosophy, theology, and even early medical works. The Faces of Depression in Literature is for graduates and researchers on depression from a cultural and social point of view, including philosophers, historians, cultural theorists, literature and art experts and enthusiasts, as well as artists and writers themselves, specialists in mental health and cognitive psychology, and anyone interested in a better understanding of the human condition.
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Preface: From Boredom to Depression (From Philosophy to Psychology) (Josefa Ros Velasco (Harvard University, Cambridge))

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Preface: From Boredom to Depression (From Philosophy to Psychology)

Josefa Ros Velasco

Harvard University, Cambridge

“You get depressed because you know that you’re not what you should be.”

Brian Hugh Warner (Marilyn Manson)

The Long Hard Road Out of Hell (1998)

I had never been interested in depression academically speaking, or so I thought. Depression was, for me, a state of anguished sadness—whose roots or reasons were sometimes explicable and sometimes nonconceptualizable1—generally experienced as a constant whisper and, from time to time, more intensely and painfully. I know it because I suffered from such a state throughout my entire life: a permanent restlessness. I am convinced that this was what prompted me to study philosophy at the age of 17 to better understand myself. I never considered the option of enrolling in psychology and much less in psychiatry or something like that. I did not appreciate any connection between that state and the mental health sciences, even though I had seen a therapist, on two or three occasions—when the intensity curve reached unbearable peaks—who gave me tablets for combating depression that, I have to say, made me feel much better—I do not remember the name of that drug, it sounded like … I-don’t-know-nine. Philosophy did not help me at all. On the contrary, it increased my malaise to astronomical levels. When I hit rock bottom—I knew it because melancholy turned into...

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