Day 1: Darkness Visible- William Styron

(First Published 1990)

“…there are assembled on one floor…fourteen or fifteen males and females in the throes of melancholia of a suicidal complexion…one can assume a fairly laughterless environment.”

Styron’s memoir of major depression is a grim, yet refreshingly honest read. It follows the writer from receiving an award in Paris, to his time in a mental hospital. In the process he discusses the main issues of depression. From the symptoms and despondency it causes; to the reactions of those who are not afflicted; the limited effectiveness of medication and psychiatry; and his experiences of being admitted to hospital for seven weeks.

Books about mental illness always interest me (mostly because they reflect the issues I write about creatively); but I happened across ‘Darkness Visible’ because it was mentioned in the film ‘Side Effects’ (starring Jude Law and Rooney Mara).

It surprised me that although the book was written more than twenty years ago it is still very relevant. I am also now interested in reading some of Styron’s novels.


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