By Peter C. Whybrow
"A compassionate exploration of melancholy and manic-depression."
"The so much thorough and wide-ranging dialogue for lay readers concerning the interaction of the actual and emotional components of melancholy and manic-depression... His presentation is illuminating, and the case histories exhibit his sensitivity and ability as a clinician.... Whybrow's presentation bargains a deeper figuring out of, besides a humane and clever method of those very troubling illnesses."
-- Kirkus experiences
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Extra info for A Mood Apart: The Thinker's Guide to Emotion and Its Disorders
G rief alone does not breed hopelessness; melancholia does. For the overwhelming majority, grief runs its course. After a month or so, as the regulators o f the emotional brain re set themselves, flashes o f the old resilience begin to illuminate the sad ness: a meal tastes good, curiosity develops about a piece o f news, the wish to be alone lessens and we are pleased to see an old friend. A sense of meaning returns. In most individuals, the shadows of normal human sorrow do not lengthen into the anger, self-hatred, and urge for self destruction that are the hallmarks of melancholia.
Similarly, iso lated childhood experiences are rarely capable o f scaring us so deeply that we hover forever on the edge o f despair. Rather, what makes us vulnerable over time is the subtle interplay o f both these elements: what we inherit, and what we experience. And particularly, in what we experience, it is the meaning of individual events and the control we have over them that appears to be most important. To be trapped in uncertainty, alone, and without purpose or con trol, is the nightmare of our species.
Many bipolar sufferers also develop a compulsive ap petite and gain weight, in contrast to those with unipolar depression, where interest in food is strikingly reduced. However, in both forms of severe depression— aptly described by the ancient name o f melancho lia, meaning “ black bile”— distortion of thinking and an urge to com mit suicide are a common development. Many plan secretly to kill themselves and, sadly, some succeed. These are the classical patterns of depressive and manic-depressive illness.