Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Folly - Depression and Suicide

It's pretty obvious from the first couple of chapters that Rae is suffering from some pretty severe mental illness.

Rae says that she's always been prone to Monopolar Depression. We're generally more familiar with Bipolar Disorder - the extreme highs and lows, sometimes know as manic-depression. Rae doesn't get the highs, only the lows.

Rae experiences several panic attacks during the book. And she suffered from post-partum depression after Tamara's birth, which led to their estrangement. She also experiences episodes of "situational psychosis", where she actually goes over the edge and starts hallucinating and exhibiting symptoms of schizophrenia.

Rae had attempted suicide on more than one occasion. After Alan and Bella's death, she made a serious attempt, but was discovered in time.

As we get further into the book, we learn that her great-uncle Desmond was also prone to depression. And depression can be genetic.

Yum. Doesn't this sound like someone you'd really like to get to know better?

Oddly enough, as the book progresses, you do want to get to know Rae better. She's not usually totally bonkers. And when she's not, she's intelligent, witty, imaginative, and writes a mean letter.

Rae has decided to work through her depression, with the emphasis on work. She's decided to re-build her Great-Uncle Desmond's house, which burned to the ground in 1928. She figures that she'll just work herself into the ground, and be too exhausted to do much of anything else. And that turns out to be a pretty good plan.

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