The Black Dog of Depression & Alzheimer’s
Another commntary of interest from Psychology Today, this time from reporter and storyteller Greg O’Brien whose memoir ON PLUTO: Inside the Mind of Alzheimer’s is out this September from Codfish Press. O’Brien uses the Black Dog from literature – engaging refrences to Robert Bly, Homer, Apollonius of Tyana, Robert Lewis Stevenson, Winston Churchill – as a means of exploring the “demons of depression.” O’Brien writes about the misunderstandings of what depression means: “It is not a mood swing, a lack of coping skills, character flaws, or simply a sucky day, a month or a year; it’s a horrific, often deadly, disease. . . In depression, there is no off button.”
O’Brien’s book is also the subject of the short film, A Place Called Pluto, directed by award-winning filmmaker Steve James. In 2009, he was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s. His maternal grandfather and his mother died of the disease. O’Brien also carries a marker gene for Alzheimer’s.