The “Sin” Of Depression

Andrew Sullivan —  Aug 19 2012 @ 12:34pm


by Zoë Pollock

Katherine Sharpe looks for the origin of the depression stigma:

Modern conversations about depression often return to the idea that the illness carried a terrible stigma in ages past. It is likely that this sense of depression’s stigmatization comes to us from the Middle Ages, when a religious tradition, familiar then but only a muscle memory to us now, identified depression as a type of sin. Called "acedia" or "wanhope" (literally, "faint hope"), it was considered a subset of the deadly sin of sloth. Its major feature was a loss of faith in one’s own worthiness of salvation and mercy in the eyes of God. 

Previous coverage of Sharpe's new book, Coming of Age on Zoloft, here. Recent Dish on anti-depressants here

(Image via Ryan Bateman. Update from a reader: "That guerrilla piece is from the artist behind webcomic "Pictures For Sad Children".)