I've finished The Noonday Demon. I found the chapter on evolution fascinating. The author, Andrew Solomon, explained that depression is seen as a leftover from our tribal days. If a member of the group challenged the social order and was unsuccessful, they would get depressed and unable to try to move up the ranks again. This would be good for their genes because the strife would end. I found it amusing that in an aside he added that society no longer works like this. He's obviously never been a housewife.
Another thought I got from the book was that depression can stop people trying to hard to reach a goal they are never going to reach. Depression makes you unable to continue, thus providing a lull in which you can reassess your life and go in a more productive direction. It knocks those uppity thoughts right out of your silly little overambitious brain.
Like if you entertained the ridiculous notion that you wanted to be a novelist when you couldn't even manage as an academic.
Rather comforting was the assertion that anxiety and sluggishness can be helpful in a mother. If you stay in your hut because you can't face the spiders and the snakes and the neighbouring tribe, then your kids are more likely to pass on their genes. Again, he thought this only applied to the past. Again - not a housewife.
A very useful concept I take away from the book: seeing moods as weather. Sure, you might be stuck in a month of drizzle, but sunshine is still possible. Drizzle doesn't make future summer not exist. The illusion of permanence, of eternity, is unhelpful. I find it quite a stubborn illusion.
I have to keep going outside. Start going outside. Jack has come to the age where he can go to the shops. He's out right now getting us our lunch. Where is the person who was tidying all the drawers into vertical bliss? I started Jack's room yesterday and had to stop half way. His school work and books are tidy, the rest I meant to do today. I must must must after lunch. I also have to stop scratching my face to pieces. It's getting to the stage makeup can't hide any more. Maybe I should stop writing this as well and definitely not send it out into the world. Maybe I should stop reading about depression. After a while, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. I've just finished a large tome, am in the middle of two more and I have two waiting to be read. I have to go outside. Outside my mind, outside my little world, outside what I know, outside what I consider safe. I'm the same person who travelled to New York City on her own, staying in a hostel, in the post-9/11 world. It's fine. It's okay to go out there. To do things. The worst that can happen is I die.