Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Invisible Illness

William Styron's essay on depression, published in Vanity Fair in 1989, is the best description of the disease that I have ever read. Its symptoms do not always yield to treatment, leaving the victim in so much pain that the thought of another day is unbearable, and there is nothing a spouse can do to alter that perception (believe me, I know). In the past 24 hours, people have said a lot of things meant to give sufferers hope, but much of it is bogus. Until we know more about this lethal disease, we will continue to lose its victims at an alarming rate, and until we take steps to erase the stigma of mental illness, we will remain in darkness. A good way to start is by listening to its victims. There is none more eloquent than Styron, whose essay can be read by clicking here. (The link takes you to the Vanity Fair website. Styron later published a longer version of the essay as the 81-page memoir Darkness Visible.)

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