Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Noonday Demon

"I felt myself sagging under what was much stronger than I; first I could not use my ankles, and then I could not control my knees, and then my waist began to break under the strain, and then my shoulders turned in, and in the end I was compacted and fetal, depleted by this thing that was crushing me without holding me." (18)

"Every second of being alive hurt." (19)

"People around depressives expect them to get themselves together: our society has little room in it for moping." (29)

"I feel sometimes as though I am swallowing my own funeral twice a day, since without these pills, I'd be long gone." (30)

"Depression came slinking in on its little cat feet." (39)

"...the perennial existential crisis." (39)

"In their hugs, I felt safe for the first time in weeks...When we got back...I felt completely stupid." (43)

"...a loss of feeling, a numbness, had infected all my human relations. I didn't care about love; about my work; about family; about friends; My writing slowed, then stopped. I had always had a headstrong libido that had often led me into trouble; it seemed to have evaporated." (45)

"I began to complain that I was overwhelmed by the messages on my answering machine: I saw the calls, often from friends, as an impossible weight. I found myself burdened by social events, even by conversation. It all seemed like more effort than it was worth." (46)

"It occurred to me that my relationship with my girlfriend had ended because of an earlier stage of depression, though I knew it was also possible that the end of that relationship had helped to cause the depression." (46)

"I was angry...angry in an irrational, spoiled, foul way." (47)

"I was, most of the time, too upset by everything to be upset by anything in particular." (61)

"I spend more and more time on the phone with representatives of managed care companies [HMOs], trying to justify patients' staying here [at Johns Hopkins]. When patients are still very, very ill, if they're not acutely suicidal that day, I get told to let them out. I'll say they need to be here and they just say, 'I'm denying it.' I tell family members to get on the phone, to call lawyers, to struggle. The patients are obviously too sick to do it. We feel we have to keep people here until it's safe for them to go someplace else. So the family ends up getting the bill; if they can't pay it, we write it off. We can't sustain the policy, and besides, it makes the insurance companies take advantage. It also makes people more depressed; it's just terrible." --Sylvia Simpson, Johns Hopkins Medical Center

"If you have the gun to your head you can perhaps get your treatment covered. Put it down, and you're back out on your own." --Jeanne Miranda, UCLA Health Services Research Center

1 comment:

Michelle's Spell said...

I loved this book when I read it. Have to look at it again! Enjoying catching up with your beautiful writings as always (particularly loved the ice-cream section -- it's all rocky road for me, I'm afraid!)