The New Black: Mourning, melancholia and depression, By Darian Leader
Sunday 25 January 2009
By returning to outmoded expressions such as "melancholia", and challenging the kind of five-step recovery programmes for dealing with loss favoured by popular psychologists such as Elizabeth Kubler Ross, Darian Leader hopes to re-route society's current vogue for chemically dominated responses to what is seen overall as "depression" into something more specific and more psychoanalytically based.
There's a "well he would say that, wouldn't he?" aspect to one's response to some of his arguments (Leader is a member of the Centre for Freudian Analysis and Research), especially because he prefers to extract narratives from people's pain (a woman can't get over her boyfriend's rejection of her because she lost her father as a child, that kind of interpretation), and play on the link between pain and creativity.
It is a timely and important study, though, and he argues powerfully that today we're simply too quick to prescribe pills for diagnosed depression when what someone is actually doing is grieving, and perhaps needs to talk, not swallow a chemical concoction.
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