December 25, 2019:

That was what there was. Well — my mother owned a copy of The Three Faces of Eve — probably a college textbook she'd kept. But in the gifted program milieu in San Diego in the middle 1970s, Salinger's and Plath's were the only descriptions of depression spoken of, and I did not recognize my experience in either.

I saw in them differences not similarities. Caulfield was avoidant while I was confrontational. He called the authorities "sir", I called them "fat cunt". He got beat up by pimps, I knocked a football player on his ass. Greenwood tried to murder herself and had her asylum experience paid for by a wealthy patron. I was not remotely interested in academe and rode my bike 'cos couldn't afford a car. The Glass family's Park Avenue sophistication contrasted radically with my relatives' hillbilly origins. I did not recognize my world in either of theirs.

More broadly, I was unable to find models for my experience. I didn't know what terms to search for. Thanks largely to Jimi Hendrix I'd heard of "manic depression". Descriptively that term seemed close. I did experience crazyass fluctuations of affect. I knew I was depressed but I was simultaneously angry, and frequently overwhelmed by cascades of jittery electrical energy that left me wanting to run ten miles or ride my bike fifty. Today I think the right diagnosis would probably be Agitated Depression, or Mixed Affective State, or in DSM-V terminology "depressive with mixed features". None of those terms were available then and I was extremely disoriented.

It was moot anyway as the depression worsened. As symptoms became more classic I was barely leaving my room, so that research was profoundly preempted. I sank hard into lethargy, isolation, lack of interest in food or sex or companionship, inability to use language including difficulty reading or writing, major sleep disruption, weight loss, repulsion from the light of day, desire for darkness, social anxiety, agoraphobia, self-loathing, guilt, self-blame. Despair, inability to make decisions, passivity, resignation. In my little room on Cowley Way, with my books and my surreptitious alcohol or amphetamine or LSD.