Monday, February 16, 2004


Thanks, I am about to go online again just to check that article. It
sounds like an interesting definition of depression which appears to
define it ultimately as affective zero or a catatonic line which would
have connections with aspects of Gothic and Baroque poetics. Silvan
Tomkins theory is somewhat different, perhaps, since I haven't yet read
the article, in that depression is a complex of interest,
shame-humiliation and anguish so it is not the absence of emotion but a
complex of affects which he defines as the depressive posture. In
Tomkins there is no essential distinction between affect psychology and
philosophy and I am assuming art or poetry, or at least I have yet to
find one which could be considered essential. Having said that, it is
still extremely important not to confuse the differences between art and
writing as therapy and what professional artists and writers do. (Using
that word professional with the required skepticism.) I know this from
my own professional background, more so. When I am employed to do
therapy in the broad sense of health care and use certain aspects of
creative writing in group situations or even individually that this is
very different and far more limited then what I would do as writer.
There are writing techniques that would be irresponsible to use or teach
in therapy situations. The emphasis and expected outcomes are different,
also. A complex discussion but I am sure Tom would be familiar with the

A little story from the other side of psychology which I find amusing. I
was interstate doing some research and became very ill with fatigue and
disassociation and as a result ended up being diagnosed with clinical
depression in the public health system by a junior doctor. I was then
stuffed so full of drugs that I became even more disorientated and
confused but I must have had enough survival instinct left to know that
if I refused the medication and refused to see the psychologist I would
be locked up. When I saw this psychologist, being right out the door on
powerful anti-depressant drugs and enough prescribed narcotic to kill a
normal human I admitted to being a poet and got asked if I had ever been
published to which I said yes and then got asked where was the last time
I was published to which I replied New York and gave a major publishers
name. As a result possible delusional psychosis got added to my case and
I was sent to a psychiatrist for further assessment. He gave me a script
for even more powerful anti-depressants which were something like taking
a tab of Ecstasy each morning for breakfast. On my second visit to the
psychologist I took my book and cv with me and that resolved that little
problem, somewhat, but I still had the clinical depression diagnosis
hanging over my head which meant that I could still be locked up for
non-compliance under the mental health act. Anyway, after about four
weeks the illness began to abate and I managed to get a bus ticket out
of town, packed up what possessions I could carry and fled back to New
South Wales where I was then diagnosed by doctors who knew me with
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. The moral of the story, never admit to a
strange doctor that you are an internationally published poet.

best wishes

Chris Jones.

On Sun, 2004-02-15 at 14:54, tom bell wrote:
> Chris (and all),
> It might be of interest here that I am developing a dialog between ela
> kotakowska and Alsion Croggan on depression [the absence of emotion] for a
> future column in MAG
> tom bell
Chris Jones
posted by Thomas 2:01 PM

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?