This Close to Happy by Daphne Merkin

“This Close to Happy: A Reckoning with Depression” is a poignant memoir that delves into the author’s personal struggles with depression. The book chronicles her journey through various treatments, therapies, and medications in her quest to find relief from the debilitating effects of mental illness. Through raw and honest reflections, the author explores the complexities of living with depression, the stigma surrounding mental health issues, and the arduous path towards self-acceptance and healing. Ultimately, the book serves as a powerful testament to resilience, courage, and the enduring hope for a brighter tomorrow despite the darkness of depression.

This book, Close to Happy, is a rare, vivid personal account of what it’s like to be clinically depressed, written from a woman’s perspective and informed by a deep understanding of the effects of depression. this disease throughout life.

Starting from the essays about depression she wrote for The New Yorker and The New York Times Magazine, Daphne Merkin goes back to her beginnings to try to find the root cause of her suffering. mine. She recounts the hardships of growing up in a large, wealthy family where there was little love and basics like food and clothing despite having a chauffeur and a chef. She goes on to recount in intimate detail her first hospitalization for depression as well as her complicated relationship with her volatile and repressive mother.

Along the way, Merkin also discusses her early love of reading and gradual emergence as a writer. She eventually married, had a child, and suffered severe postpartum depression, which landed her in the hospital again. Merkin also discusses her visits to various therapists and psychologists, which helped her learn about the causes of depression and different treatment methods. The book ends in the present, where the writer has learned to overcome her depression, if not “cured” it, after her third hospitalization following her mother’s death.

This book is a fascinating and sometimes surprising combination of profound self-awareness and insight, and the lack thereof. At first, I was stuck by the extent to which the author described a situation and considered it harsh or negative even though it could easily be seen as positive through another lens (e.g., having your own room). as a child versus having to share a room as a child). her older sister did). But then, it’s probably the disease itself that’s talking. Depression is essentially an unintentional semi-blank outlook. But if you hang in there, the author delivers profound honesty and insight, especially about depression itself and trying to navigate a life affected by it. Perhaps another way to put it is that the author may still (understandably) lack some ability to apply her own sometimes startling objectivity to her childhood, but she understands the disease depression. While this memoir can often be unsettling and scary, especially for anyone affected by depression in someone they love, I think it is ultimately optimistic. The author says that the word “brilliant” applies to very few people and I agree. But I think it applies to her.

  • This Close to Happy

  • A Reckoning with Depression
  • By: Daphne Merkin

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