There's probably a better source but that's the first one I found on google.
This whole "my disorder is better than your disorder" doesn't impress me, neither does the universal adoration of DFW.
Wurtzel wrote Prozac Nation, which was nominally an account of her own depression and a broader reflection what personal struggles with depression look like in America. It was widely seen as revealing but unpleasantly self-indulgent and unreflective of common experiences with depression.
That might clarify why DFW, struggling with depression himself, was rather less than kind to Wurtzel and her book. Narcissism is something to sympathize with, certainly, but seeing a popular book portray narcissism and a rather entitled life as representative of depression put a lot of people's hackles up. The context, and the move from "disorder" to "book about having a different disorder", are vital.
None of which is a simple endorsement of DFW, but it's at least worthwhile context for the piece.
And to make it all a bit meta, I can't help but wonder how much good it does me to read too much of this type of hyper-aware stuff.
Any particular Dostoevski you liked?
> I don't think it's unhealthy as long as you don't believe it's going to provide you with a solution.
While I'm not sure if that's true, I think the main danger is that, at least based on experience and observation, there's something strangely addictive to rumination. It feels useful.
Plus, as you point out, doing non-thinking things is very important. Thinking too much, especially when alone, gets in the way of that non-thinking.
In the context of this here conversation I'd say 'Notes From Underground' is appropriate. It's basically a spot-light on one particular character that makes an appearance in his other books too. It was really confronting to read the thoughts of such a 'loathsome' and sad character, and to then realize that my thoughts (and to some degree behavior) often mirrors that of the 'underground man'.
> While I'm not sure if that's true, I think the main danger is that, at least based on experience and observation, there's something strangely addictive to rumination. It feels useful.
I think the main issue with reading these kinds of things with aims towards a solution is they support the idea that there's some problem with yourself that you need to solve in the first place, whereas—in many cases—the only problem is that one keeps trying to solve this 'problem,' and if they stopped for sufficiently long, things would eventually return to normal. Although another requirement may be that you have to consider it not a problem when negative mental states arise (otherwise you just keep trying to problem solve your mental state), and reading can definitely help to acquire that. But anyway that's just my thinking on this atm—can't say I put it into practice super well ;)
Send me an e-mail if you'd like to discuss further (westoncb at google's email service).