A Quotation from William Styron


William Styron, Pulizer Prize winning journalist and author, died yesterday. You may find out more about him at Wiki HERE.

As I was perusing some of these items (pointed out to me by a read), I came across an intriguing post from him on depression. Here it is:

The madness of depression is the antithesis of violence. It is a storm indeed, but a storm of murk. Soon evident are the slowed-down responses, near paralysis, psychic energy throttled back close to zero. Ultimately, the body is affected and feels sapped, drained. -William Styron

I don’t know if Styron was a Christian. From the bio it looks like he was raised Episcopalian. So who knows. But I find his definition of “the madness of depression” to be dead on target. It is the craziest kind of madness. A madness of mush. Like slogging through a swamp, you can’t see the end, and it feels like your energy is running out of your toes into nothingness.

Now what I find the most interesting is his connection between the mental and the physical. Most people consider depression to be mental illness, and that means it’s all in your head, and your body isn’t affected. SNAP OUT OF IT is a common gut reaction. Depression can be confused with laziness, lack of motivation, apathy, etc. But it is not so.

If you do a quick body-check, you’ll find that you head is connected to the rest of your body. In fact, your brain runs your entire body and how everything work, just as your heart pumps blood through to get oxygen to all of your cells (some smark aleck biologist can correct me here if I’m wrong).

The neurotransmitters in your brain run everything in your body basically. So when those neurotransmitters get messed up (that’s pastor language for some medical term), then your whole body is out of whack. It often shows up as a complete draining of energy. It may come out in other illnesses, headaches, muscle problems, back problems, you name it. You body will do whatever it can to tell you THIS IS NOT RIGHT.

Now as Christians this should come as no surprise to us. After all, we believe in the resurrection of the body, as we confess in the Creed. Body and soul are bound together. Jesus didn’t come to save our minds, he came to save all of us. Mind, body, soul, the whole thing. This is part of why you see so many healings and resurrection accounts in the Gospels. This is what we celebrated on All Saints Day yesterday (or in some fashion All Souls Day today for you Romanists). Jesus comes into our lives to heal us, body and soul together.

This healing which Jesus brings comes through His Word and Spirit (Word and Sacraments if you prefer). The final healing and perfection of our bodies and souls will not be realized until the Last Day. Until that Last Day our Lord uses many instruments to do His holy work of taking care of us. Doctors, nurses, therapists, husbands and wives, and the like. But he also may use all kinds of things from His creation. Yes even drugs, natural or homeopathic remedies, all kinds of things. Even sunlight (truly a balm for the depressed).

So we say thank you to Mr. Styron for his insight into this suffering of depression, and hope that we will see him again at the Last Day.

-DMR

6 thoughts on “A Quotation from William Styron”

  1. This is a helpful analysis. The television and magazine ads which begin “Depression hurts” get it right. It not only hurts, but it also leaves the depressed individual exhausted. It is simply not possible to keep on when depression saps the body of every last smidge of energy. The sad thing is that this is often misinterpreted as sloth or laziness, but that’s far from true. If only you knew how hard I’m actually trying.

  2. This is a helpful analysis. The television and magazine ads which begin “Depression hurts” get it right. It not only hurts, but it also leaves the depressed individual exhausted. It is simply not possible to keep on when depression saps the body of every last smidge of energy. The sad thing is that this is often misinterpreted as sloth or laziness, but that’s far from true. If only you knew how hard I’m actually trying.

  3. It is a good description of depression. Unfortunately, I have probably been clinically depressed for 2 years now. I used to serve as an LCMS pastor and am now a customer service representative for a telecommunications company.

    The madness of depression, before medication, is that there was absolutely no motivation. I am also an introvert and I can’t seem to express my thoughts well. It just seemed as though I was trying to reach out but there were only shadows and no real people around.

  4. It is a good description of depression. Unfortunately, I have probably been clinically depressed for 2 years now. I used to serve as an LCMS pastor and am now a customer service representative for a telecommunications company.

    The madness of depression, before medication, is that there was absolutely no motivation. I am also an introvert and I can’t seem to express my thoughts well. It just seemed as though I was trying to reach out but there were only shadows and no real people around.

Leave a Reply