Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness

Review From User :

This very small volume was not an easy read. Mr. Styron eases us into his own story by relating stories of other writers and artists who experienced deep depression. Some made it through but most did not. His stories are liberally laced with a depth of understanding that he acknowledged could only come to those who have experienced it.

We are not talking about a few days or even depression over a week or two, but rather months where the elevator keeps going down no matter how many times one thumps the Up button.

The rawness of Mr. Styron's descent into deep depression is what made it difficult to read. As he said, the wide variety of symptoms and idiosyncrasies of depression continue to make it difficult to treat. There is no simple 'cure' and no 'one remedy suits all' like there are for other diseases and illnesses.

The relentless descriptions of the reality he was being bombarded with every day for months were an education that I will not soon forget. I will also never forget that he did succeed in moving through it; just as his elevator skimmed the rock bottom of his life, it changed direction and began a slow and laborious climb upward again.

Not without a near-crisis, and not without a lot of help. He emphasizes that point and also has some solid advice and words of wisdom to pass on to anyone who lives with a sufferer of depression, be it family or friends.

Oh, and he also said he hoped that a better word would someday be found for this disease as he felt "depression" to be too dull and boring and not even close to describing the fierce and painful storms that occur in the mind and emotions of those suffering from debilitating depression.

I do recommend this book to anyone who may be confronting depression themselves or that of a family member or friend. It could help to save someone's life.


A work of great personal courage and a literary tour de force, this bestseller is Styron’s true account of his descent into a crippling and almost suicidal depression. Styron is perhaps the first writer to convey the full terror of depression’s psychic landscape, as well as the illuminating path to recovery.

Darkness Visible