Depression, Melancholy, and the Historical Ontology of Wretchedness

Justin E. H. Smith in his Substack Newsletter, Hinternet:

At many points over the past decades I have managed to convince even myself that I am cured. In fact I had managed to do this for almost twenty years, until the beginning of the pandemic, when the repressed returned with a vengeance. I do not believe that I “came down with depression” at that moment, and I especially hate the French habit of speaking of “une dépression”, as if the condition were as individuable and as temporally bounded as a cold. Just as inadequate is the oft-repeated Churchillian metaphor of depression as “the black dog”. If only it were a black dog, I could just kick the fucking thing away. I do not “have” “a” depression, let alone a depression hounding me in the form of an external malevolent agent. Rather, I am depressed, and certain circumstances make this fact less easy to ignore than others. In the event, the circumstances surely had something to do with the first lockdown of March, 2020, which we endured in Brooklyn, right next to the hospital in Fort Greene where they stored the corpses outside in refrigerated trucks. My own experience of covid was mild in its symptoms, but I emerged from lockdown transformed, physically and psychologically.

I will try to describe in a few words what it has been like since then.

More here.