101 Ways to Climb out of the Slough of Despondency – a literary guide (part memoir, part companion) to coming through depression.
'Depression is internal snow. Black snow. The flakes whirl around like motes in the water around your personal shipwreck. The quicker you dive down to see your sorry state, the better for you in life. For above you, if only you can reach it without getting the bends, are sunshine, laughter on a yacht, the clink of plates as a lunch of steaming fish is handed round.'
Whilst the overall structure of ‘Sunbathing in the Rain’ moves from dark to light, telling the story of Lewis's recovery, its different strands allow a variety of tones and subjects to be explored, from the profound to the frivolous. Alongside a paragraph about the proper relationship between the ego, the mind and the emotions nestles a passage on the therapeutic value of nail varnish. Practical hints on how to get better (diet, read Hello!, helpful pieces of music) are alongside striking quotations, ranging from sentences on crisp packets, to prayers, from Russian orthodox writings on silence to collections of slang. Part memoir – drawing on her own experiences, both adverse and encouraging, as a depressive and an alcoholic – and part guide or companion, this book brings Burton's ‘Anatomy of Melancholy’ into the twenty-first century. For it will have two voices, one calling from the valley of despair, the other from a safer, calmer new place. The suffering depressive needs help from outside his or her own consciousness, a radical new perspective that makes life possible again. This unique book offers it.