Olemuksellisesti kivulias kokemus: eksistentiaalinen tunne ja psyykkinen kärsimys masennuksessa

Intrinsically painful experience: existential feeling and mental anguish in depression

In his memoirs of depression, the author William Styron compares suffering from depression to physical pain. In this article, I argue that Styron’s comparison must be taken literally: experience of depression essentially resembles suffering from physical pain. To this aim I will phenomenologically compare two autobiographical illness narratives, those of Jean-Luc Nancy and Piet Cornelius Kuiper. The first describes physical pain and discomfort, the latter severe depression. With the help of this comparison I will criticize an influential present account of the phenomenology of depression, Matthew Ratcliffe’s theory of so-called existential feelings. By criticizing Ratcliffe’s account and showing how, exactly, depression is like suffering from physical pain, a new perspective to the inner dynamics of depression experiences can be gained.

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