Cross Road Blues

The July issue of the British Journal of Psychiatry has another edition of its ‘psychiatry in 100 words’ series – this time on melancholia and the blues legend Robert Johnson.

‘I got stones in my pathway/And my road seems dark at night/I have pains in my heart/They have taken my appetite’. Robert Johnson, known as the King of the Delta blues singers, distilled into these lines the essence of severe depressive illness – somatic ills, fear and suspicion, emotional and physical pain, nocturnal troubles and struggle against obstacles. The words are one with the powerful, haunting music. ICD-10 and DSM-IV have their place, but poets have often been there before us, and done a better job. We can all learn from Robert Johnson, born just 100 years ago.


Link to BJP ‘Melancholia in 100 words’.


  1. Posted July 4, 2011 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

    Another case of someone retouching out the cigarette in the picture!

  2. Vera Lee
    Posted July 4, 2011 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

    Another case of Robert Johnson overshadowing his mentor, Son House:

  3. chris
    Posted July 5, 2011 at 5:48 am | Permalink

    I hate stuff like this. Get a hobby. Either that or use your enthusiasm for diagnosis on people who are suffering badly and are not dead.

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