When I began reading Darkness Visible I was at first confused about what William Styron was trying to convey with his immense vocabulary. It was very confusing how the story shifted from place to place in his life. I could not understand what he was saying. Styron is an extremely intelligent man. You can see this by the way he associates many of his experiences described in the book. His analysis of what depression is, where it comes from, how it started, and various other topics show the reader how intelligent this man really is.
Depression is one of the most common psychological problems in the United States. According to our textbook 17% of Americans experience an acute episode of depression, and as in William Styron's case, 6% experience a more chronic depression. It seems as if rates of depression decrease the more people age. In Styron's case however, the onset of his depression came at a much later age. His father had a history of depression and depression is known to run in families. I believe Styron's depression began after the death of his mother when he was thirteen years old. This is evident when reading some of his other literary works. He was living with depression for many years but the alcohol abuse simply kept the feelings of depression distant and numb.
As I mentioned the alcohol abuse did nothing but worsen the situation he was in. Alcohol is a classic central nervous system depressant. Depressants slow the activity of the central nervous system, make people relaxed and somewhat sleepy, reduce concentration, and impair thinking. At higher doses alcohol induces many of the symptoms of depression, including fatigue and lethargy, decreased motivation, sleep disturbances, depressed mood, and confusion. If a person is depressed and they want to get better the last thing they need is a substance that induces the symptoms of the disease they are trying to get rid of. Styron was dependant on alcohol.