Letter: No silver lining

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Once again the "silver lining" view of depression re-emerges ("The darkness that has brought humanity light", 20 March). Unfortunately the works of Dickens, Greene, Balzac and other creative artists who have suffered from depressive illness is a benefit to society in general and not to the sufferer. It is but a short step to arguing that while society may sympathise with these individuals for what they endure, it is a price worth paying for works of genius.

The vast majority of us who suffer from depression do not fall into the category of genius. We are ordinary people with average levels of ability. If offered the choice between being depressed and immensely talented or not depressed and untalented, I know no depressive who would opt for the alleged gift of genius. The agony is beyond compensation.

STEPHEN HARRISON

Stonehouse, Gloucestershire

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