An interesting post by Diane Shipley, co-editor of Trashionista, on the Guardian bookblog today.
Diane bravely explains how suffering from depression has affected her choice of reading matter over the years. This was something I can relate to, as I too have suffered from depression at various times of my life and indeed am on medication for it now. I am perhaps 'lucky' in that my depression is of the reactive variety, which affects me at serious stresspoints of my life, rather than being the full-blown black hole of clinical depression. However, that is of little comfort when those stresses arise from situations in your life which simply can't be avoided and I can clearly see a tendency to depression on one side of my family.
I recently attended an interesting tutorial on the use of complimentary therapies in mental health, particularly depression, which provided much food for thought. I know from my own past experience how much a gentle yoga session or an aromatherapy hand massage can help lift the spirits. However, not everyone has the time or money to access complimentary therapies. Books can provide cheaper relaxation. Unlike Diane, I do not find that my mood affects my reading choices. In fact I often gain as much of a lift from reading more depressing work as from lightweight books, as they remind me how many people have serious crises in life and come through. They help to move me away from self pity and self absorption.
On the other hand I have had periods in my life when I could not bear to listen to any music at all and I am still far too prone to listening to ancient cheesy pop songs which remind me of long lost loves and the freedom I used to have. So I can understand how Diane is similarly affected by books...