Cruelty of Depression

Poking around in a book, I find the author of a preface asking if prozac, and effexor, and paxil, and so on and so forth “work,” do we really need a book like this one, called the Cruelty of Depression by, moreover, one of those unnecessarily incomprehensible French  Lacains?  Well, that’s a rhetorical question of course; is any editor going to publish a foreward that says this book is useless.


But it’s a good question though I think some clarification necessary.  What does it mean to say Prozac works?  Works does not in my experience mean cure. It just “works, is all, to mute the symptoms possibly otherwise overwhelming.  Still can a book do even that?  The answer has to be no, unless of course one uses a very heavy book to render someone unconscious.  That is, at least, a temporary, if some drastic cure, for depression.

I continue to poke around:

This mother, by the way, is not distracted. She is absent for her child and for the man who would occupy a position of father for that child. She is present only to herself. How, then, is one to introduce the Other into the treatment?

When Lacan said that human desire is the desire of the other, he let it be understood that the first object of desire is founded upon the desire to be recognized by the Other. Let us assume then that this Other refuses to recognize us, that at the moment, say, when the child turns to its mother to seek out in her gaze what will support the outlines of its mirror image with recognition, she turns away her head or offers the child an empty gaze. What can conic of this but a meeting with the impossible? Desire will now be more or less suspended. At a crucial point—the founding point of recognition, i.e., the point that also permits identification—the place of the Other is mute.

The Other’s muteness and blindness, its indifference to being addressed, cause a shattering in the subject that lands it this side of mourning. We can say of melancholics that something befell them, "fell their way," in the sense that their speech fell on deaf ears, was lost in limbo. Here the letter is no more lost than it is in suffering; it’s questing after a receiver, so that that it finally can be written. One step further arid the very notion of a letter fades: "I must do something, but what?" Then the dreary weight of "I’ve nothing to do, I’m good for nothing," increasingly sets in and invades the psychic landscape. This considerable distress results in that anxiety-less suffering that is the lot of the melancholic.

Well, that’s a mouthful, upon which I will expiate later in more detail. 

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