Hope Contagium

A therapy journal of self-obsession, depression and meaning.

Tag: insanity

Virginia Woolf’s Depression

If left to herself, she would have eaten nothing at all and would have gradually starved to death. It was extraordinarily difficult ever to get her to eat enough to keep her strong and well. Pervading her insanity generally there was always a sense of some guilt, the origin and exact nature of which I could never discover; but it was attached in some peculiar way particularly to food and eating. In the early acute, suicidal stage of the depression, she would sit for hours overwhelmed with hopeless melancholia, silent, making no response to anything said to her. When the time for a meal came, she would pay no attention whatsoever to the plate of food put before her. I could usually induce her to eat a certain amount, but it was a terrible process. Every meal took an hour or two; I had to sit by her side, put a spoon or fork in her hand, and every now and again ask her very quietly to eat and at the same time touch her arm or hand. Every five minutes or so she might automatically eat a spoonful.

 – A description of Virginia Woolf’s depression, from Leonard Woolf’s diary (Virginia Woolf: 1882-1941)
With gratitude to The Noonday Demon by Andrew Solomon

Losing Yourself

Thoughts passing my mind would only seduce the self consciousness making it show me all my wrongs, all my imperfections. I will be convinced by my loneliness while it feeds desperation in my heart. A hatred toward my being will puncture all security in me, showing me horrible pictures of self destruction. Then fear will take over as it builds my insomnia. I lose myself. Insanity is all I feel and whatever is left is unknown.


Often I have a strange longing for misery. Not that drama-misery I usually yearn for; the one that makes sense, the one that people understand brings pain. No… But the one I’m used to, the one I’ve adapted to. It’s safe there in that low. A familiar comfort in the midst of life’s battles. Though on the brink of insanity. A dangerous balance in uncertainty. A fogged clarity.
And should I go on and on… Filling empty spaces. Putting words in the blanks. Searching meaning, loosing religions. Loving, hating, not feeling. Struggling, being high on life. The endless knowing – that’s what’s wrong. That is what’s keeping me here.

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