Monday, October 01, 2012

Masked Mom's Media Monday: Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness

A couple of weeks ago, Margi over at The M Half of the M-n-J Show posted about her struggles with depression in "Depression is a Lying Sack." If you've ever dealth with depression, you should definitely read it--and if you've never dealt with depression, maybe it's even more important that you read it. It's full of links to other posts on the topic as well as a glimpse into Margi's personal struggles with the illness.

Margi's discussion of the lies depression tells her reminded me of a quote from Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness by William Styron about what might be called depression's most dangerous lie:

"In depression this faith in deliverance, in ultimate restoration, is absent. The pain is unrelenting, and what makes the condition intolerable is the foreknowledge that no remedy will come--not in a day, an hour, a month or a minute. If there is mild relief, one knows that it is only temporary; more pain will follow. It is hopelessness even more than pain that crushes the soul."

While I have struggled with depression (a.k.a. capital-F Funks) off and on since my teenage years,  the depression Styron suffered--and recorded in this slim volume--was of an entirely different magnitude than my own. Nevertheless, Styron's work resonated because he was able to eloquently articulate so many feelings that I'd had but had never been able to put into words before. The book is an unflinching journey alongside a man trudging through a debilitating illness. The writing is spare and evocative, deeply felt but simply written. 

Years ago, a friend of Daughter-Only's said, "Misery loves company, but company only likes misery as a friend." It struck me at the time as kind of sneakily profound. I'm not sure how I feel about it now, but I do know that there is tremendous comfort to be found in knowing we're not alone.

Masked Mom's One-Word Review: True.


  1. This is one of my favorite books. One that I recommend that anyone and everyone read, whether they suffer from depression or not. The quote you have plucked out is masterful and hits right at the heart of all of it.

  2. Okay, I'm in. I've read about this book for years and kept postponing it, thinking it would only make me feel foolish. But now I want to read it NOW.

    1. SH*T - I read it on Sunday. Now what? He says there is hope. Really?

  3. I remember that reading Darkness Visible once gave voice to an experience that had stolen the words from me. It is a beautifully, harrowingly accurate book. Thanks for your thoughts and the reminder of it.