"Can I stand to live the way I do? Well, can any of us stand to live with our own difficulties? In the end, most of us do. We march forward. The voices of past time come back like voices of the dead to sympathize about mutability and the passage of the years. When I am sad, I remember too much, too well… It is at night that these people and my own past selves come to visit me, and when I wake up and realize that they are not in the same world as I, I feel that strange despair, something beyond ordinary sadness and closely akin, for a moment, to the anguish of depression. And yet if I miss them and the past they made for and with me, the way to their absent love lies, I know, in living, in staying on. Is it depression when I think how I would prefer to go where they have gone, and to stop the maniacal struggle of staying alive? Or is it just a part of life, to keep living in all the ways we cannot stand?
"I find the fact of the past, the reality of time’s passage, incredibly difficult. My house is full of books I can’t read and records to which I can’t listen and photos at which I can’t look because they are too strongly associated with the past. When I see friends from college, I try not to talk about college too much because I was so happy then—not necessarily happier than I am now, but with a happiness that was particular and specific in its moods and that will never come again. Those days of young splendor eat at me. I hit walls of past pleasure all the time, and for me past pleasure is much harder to process than past pain. To think of a terrible time that has gone: well, I know that post–traumatic stress is an acute affliction, but for me the traumas of the past are mercifully far away. The pleasures of the past, however, are tough. The memory of the good times with people who are no longer alive, or who are no longer the people they were: that is where I find the worst current pain. Don’t make me remember, I say to the detritus of past pleasures. Depression can as easily be the consequence of too much that was joyful as of too much that was horrible. There is such a thing as post–joy stress too. The worst of depression lies in a present moment that cannot escape the past it idealizes or deplores."—Andrew Solomon, from The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression