Bittersweet Symphony


Though it’s clichéd and maladaptive to cast mental illness as the wellspring of great writing, to write about one’s life honestly often means writing about one’s mental illness. In an essay for Catapult, Colin Dickey writes lushly about his experiences with depression, musing on the historical conceptions of melancholy and how perhaps our highly clinical and problematized category of depression could afford to be complicated by it:

What I called my depression is the feeling one gets as the world shades away, as though a silent wall of water is holding everything else at a remove. It is dangerous only when I have work that can’t be avoided, or when I’m obligated to go to a job or interact with others. But when I can avoid those pitfalls—when I can be alone with this feeling—it can be luminous.

Theodora Messalas is a New York-based writer and editor who could easily be talked into going to grad school. More from this author →