Here is the link to Andrew Solomon’s website, which is chock filled with various writings and videos. Briefly, Andrew is described as “a writer and lecturer on psychology, politics, and the arts; winner of the National Book Award; and an activist in LGBT rights, mental health, and the arts” (you can read more of his bio here).
Recently Andrew Solomon has been featured in media a lot – and I’m glad. I created this page to share some favorite Andrew Solomon writings, as well as video and audio recordings. I give a bit of context before focusing on depression.
Far from the Tree
A New York Time review (November 12, 2012) described Andrew Solomon as “A writer who embraces difference.”
“Andrew Solomon’s enormous new book, “Far From the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity,” is about children who are born or who grow up in ways their parents never expected. It’s a subject Mr. Solomon knows from experience. He was dyslexic as a child and struggled to learn to read. As he described in “The Noonday Demon,” which won a National Book Award in 2001, he once suffered from crippling, suicidal depressions. And Mr. Solomon is gay, which made his parents so uncomfortable that as a teenager he visited sexual surrogates in the hopes of “curing” himself.”
If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend his new book, Far From the Tree. If you don’t have time to read – or listen to- the book, at least check out his “Far from the tree” website. I think this might be the most inventive website I have ever experienced. Also you can read a December 19, 2012 article in Salon, “Andrew Solomon: There’s no meaning to be found in Sandy Hook .”
You can read a NYT article, Andrew Solomon and John Habich, about his 2007 wedding in Northampton England. Also, check out his “Andrew Solomon website,” and the Newsweek article, “Meet my real modern family.”
I first came across Andrew Solomon when I read his book, “Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression.” I would not necessarily give this thorough account to someone in the midst of depression.It’s quite a brutally honest look at Andrew and others’ journeys through depression. As the website describes,
The Noonday Demon’s contribution to our understanding not only of mental illness but also of the human condition in general is stunning. The book examines depression in personal, cultural, and scientific terms. Drawing on his own struggles with the illness and interviews with fellow sufferers, doctors and scientists, policymakers and politicians, drug designers and philosophers, Solomon reveals the subtleties, the complexities, and the agony of the disease.
Solomon, whose 1998 New Yorker article on depression garnered vast attention, confronts the challenge of defining the illness and the wide range of available drug treatments, the efficacy of alternative treatments, and the impact depression has on various demographic populations. He also explores the thorny moral and ethical questions posed by emerging biological explanations for mental illness.
“Losing your mind, like losing your car keys, is a real hassle,” Andrew Solomon observes in this sometimes humorous and always horror-filled account of depression.
– Christian Science Monitor – October 18, 2001
In “Noonday demon” you become acquainted with the extraordinary relationship between Andrew and his father. His father devoted himself to taking care of Andrew in ways that extend beyond the usual.The father is also a psychopharmaceutical executive, and the article, A CEO and His Son, in Bloomberg Businessweek (May 27, 2002) provides a provocative glimpse at the father’s work for a drug company, antidepressants and bringing Celexa to the USA.
As the author of “The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression,” I am writing to express my shock and dismay about the comments made by MIT admissions Dean Marilee Jones in your article on depression. She says that she wants to enroll “emotionally resilient” students at MIT. “So many kids are coming in, feeling the need to be perfect, and so many kids are medicated now,” she says. “If you need a lot of pharmaceutical support to get through the day, you’re not a good match for a place like MIT.” Many people require interventions of various kinds to function well in the world, and those who have found those means are to be praised for their courage in seeking and using them, not disparaged for their imperfections. “Emotional resilience” is a quality that some people have on their own and some people achieve; it is not of lower value because it is the fruit of labor or medication. The function of a university is to foster learning and growth, and it is the charter responsibility of MIT to admit those students who will be great scientists and scholars, and to help them realize their potential……..(click above to read entire letter). Andrew Solomon
New York, N.Y.
“To an Aesthete Dying Young,” is an incredible tribute (In Memoriam T. R. K.)that Andrew Solomon wrote in response to hearing about his friend’s death (suicide). Be prepared…it is a stunning piece published in Yale Alumni magazine.
Andrew Solomon is frequently on the radio show, “Speaking of Faith.” He is featured on “The Soul of Depression” (with transcript ) and in a public conversation in New York with Krista Tippett and Paul Hodengraber called “Einstein’s God: Conversations about Science.” The transcript AND 88 min long video are available.
“Depression, too, is a thing with feathers“ is a 5 minute clip from The 8th International Neuropsychoanalysis Congress, Neuropsychoanalytic Perspectives on Depression:
In just these few minutes, Andrew gives an insider view of his experience of depression to an audience of psychoanalysts. Click to watch.
“Ennobling Affliction” (what a great way to describe depression) is a brief article ….:
The Moth offers several excellent audio and video recordings by Andrew: