1. UrsaBear

    UrsaBear New Member

    Jan 9, 2014
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    Writing First Person POV and "Not all there" depression

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by UrsaBear, May 10, 2014.

    So, I'm currently working on something in the first person. At the very end, the character enters a severe depression after the death of her lover, and particularly after her son by him is born. There is a mix 0f post-partum depression (kept in check by friends who are helping with the baby), dream memories that keep her lover's memory fresh, and her body essentially wasting away except for successfully birthing a child (she's uncharacteristically thin and breasts are dry). She's eating the bare minimum, again with the help of friends, or else she just wouldn't eat. She also enters into violent episodes of mania, like after dreaming of her lover.

    She enters into that kind of depression where one can stare at a blank wall or ceiling for hours and the mind just stagnates and that's actually very soothing. A lot of the time she sits and watches a calm lake for hours on end. (The setting is archaic, so there are no doctors or psychiatrists.)

    I'm not even sure what to call her state of mine. I'm wondering if there's a good way to write such a state of mind in 1st POV. I suppose one way is simply, "I stared at the wall. My mind was blank." That sort of thing. Maybe I'm delusional in thinking there is another way! heh.

    I posted here with the hopes someone could give me a book or two whose character (in any voice style) goes into such a depression. I don't think I've ever read such a thing.

    The best I can do so far for mood (or lack of mood) inspiration is music and movies. Music can indeed throw me into a fit of manic depression (or close to it - I'm diagnosed only mildly depressed and not needing medication to function, just to sleep). Movies have some good examples of both mania and stagnant mind depression, such as "Numb".

    I think if there is no other way than to have the character describe her mood and surroundings, then perhaps short, choppy, cheap sentences could act as a kind of mechanism to relate a sort of mind flow (or lack of flow).

    Some of what I wrote so far.
    Not going to waste space with explanations of plot, but here's an example of her manic depression (or something like that):
    My eyes shot open. I was staring at wood. Not the stone of a cave, not our warm cave. I was staring at a damp wood-beam ceiling that covered a damp wood house in a damp, fish-smelling town. Instead of birdsong and a gentle stream, I was listening to loud fishmongers and barking dogs.

    A grotesque, echoing sob burst from my lips. I slammed my right fist down onto the side of my too-hard single-person bed. Again. Again. My wrist hurt. Obscenities flowed passed my taught lips and finally my lungs stopped working.

    The dam broke. Tears streamed down my cheeks unending, wetting the pillow. I screamed sounds and non-words. I screamed his name. I screamed for him. ​

    I guess I don't have any good examples of when she's in her purely stagnant mind phase. I haven't written that yet, which is part of the reason I'm looking for literary examples of such a thing.

    Anyway, thanks if you have any ideas of books (or, hell, even movies).
  2. Okon

    Okon Contributing Member Contributor

    Sep 26, 2013
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    Garden State comes to mind. I haven't read the book but he seemed pretty distant in the film.

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