Nicholas Hughes’s mother, and mine, succumbed to the exhaustion of unrelenting depression. They self-destructed. And we grew up in the wreckage of their catastrophe. Their deaths took away from him and his sister, Frieda, and from me and my sister, Joyce, the solace of a mother’s love. And worse, all four of us, I imagine, had to live with the knowledge that our mothers had quite willfully abandoned us.Following the suicide of poet Sylvia Plath's son, Nicholas, Linda Grey Sexton shares her own experience of living with a tortured inheritance the The New York Times. Her mother, Anne Sexton (left) killed herself in 1974.
Staying, for the moment, on the depressing topic of depression (!), novelist Margaret Drabble writes very candidly in The Guardian about how she wards off her own bouts :
I write at least in part to investigate, to ward off, to understand these recurrent dark periods. Maybe depression fulfils a useful function, maybe it has an evolutionary benefit. In the year of Darwin, this is a question that I haven't yet seen posed. How early in pre-history, how many millennia before Hamlet, did man and woman begin to suffer in the mind as well as in the body, and what good did it do the human race?... Many other writers have prophylactic motivations similar to mine, and some admit to them, though others strongly deny any connection between writing and self-therapy, just as they tend to deny links between alcoholism and workaholism.Drabble reads from her new autobiography The Pattern in the Carpet here.