To Bedlam and Part Way Back

BBC Radio 4 has a fantastic documentary on one of then 20th century’s great poets, Anne Sexton, who struggled with mental illness throughout her adult life and eventually committed suicide at the age of 46.

Uniquely, tapes of Sexton’s psychotherapy sessions with psychiatrist Martin Orne were found after her death giving an alternative insight into her mental life.

The programme dramatises excerpts from the tapes and talks to members of her family about her life, writing and frequent hospitalisations.

Sexton is typically classified as one of the ‘confessional’ poets, although, regardless of the label, her work is certainly very personal and reveals an articulate if not fragile look at many key relationships in her life.

Because of the BBC’s archive of doom, you only have three days to listen to it before it disappears for good into the abyss, although it is well worth catching if you get the chance.

Link to BBC Radio 4 documentary ‘Consorting with Angels’.

3 thoughts on “To Bedlam and Part Way Back”

  1. I often wonder about chronic depression. I understand that extreme cases call for medication, but I honestly think in most cases a shift in perspective is all that is needed. I read a book recently that really helped me come to terms with this-it’s called ‘Wake Up! You’re Life is Calling.’ by Andy Feld-he explains all this is a very easy to swallow way that make a lot of sense. The truth is own thoughts are so powerful that if we shift our perceptions on a regular basis chemical changes occur… without those nasty side effects.
    Thanks for listening!
    Kim

  2. I often wonder about chronic depression. I understand that extreme cases call for medication, but I honestly think in most cases a shift in perspective is all that is needed. I read a book recently that really helped me come to terms with this-it’s called ‘Wake Up! You’re Life is Calling.’ by Andy Feld-he explains all this is a very easy to swallow way that make a lot of sense. The truth is own thoughts are so powerful that if we shift our perceptions on a regular basis chemical changes occur… without those nasty side effects.
    Thanks for listening!
    Kim

  3. Ah, Kim, ‘chronic’ would seem to imply ‘extreme’. Even low-grade chronic depression can be more damaging than acute short-term depression for the simple reason that one becomes accustomed to being depressed and is wired to remain in that state the longer it continues. Worse, the chronic sufferer may not notice that he or she is suffering or is aware of how the depression is affecting him or her due to one’s propensity to compensate in a given environment.
    More to the point, you are dealing with a.) a chronic condition, b.) a psychological condition, and c.) perception. I’m not saying that one cannot shift them self out of this type of situation, only that it is often difficult to do so without a multi-pronged approach (counseling, psychiatric medication, and behavior modification).

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