Quotes on Depression
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135. Depression; Diversion; Hobbies
Talking of constitutional melancholy, he observed, "A man so afflicted, Sir, must divert distressing thoughts, and not combat with them." Boswell: "May not he think them down, Sir?" Johnson: "No, Sir. To attempt to think them down is madness. He should have a lamp constantly burning in his bed chamber during the night, and if wakefully disturbed, take a book, and read, and compose himself to rest. To have the management of the mind is a great art, and it may be attained in a considerable degree by experience and habitual exercise.." Boswell: "Should not he provide amusements for himself? Would it not, for instance, be right for him to take a course of chymistry?" Johnson: "Let him take a course of chymistry, or a course of rope-dancing, or a course of any thing to which he is inclined at the time. Let him contrive to have as many retreats for his mind as he can, as many things to which it can fly from itself."
Boswell: Life

547. Depression; Drinking
I called on Dr. Johnson one morning, when Mrs. Williams, the blind lady, was conversing with him. She was telling him where she had dined the day before. "There were several gentlemen there," said she, "and when some of them came to the tea-table, I found that there had been a good deal of hard drinking." She closed this observation with a common and trite moral reflection; which, indeed, is very ill-founded, and does great injustice to animals -- "I wonder what pleasure men can take in making beasts of themselves." "I wonder, Madam," replied the Doctor, "that you have not penetration to see the strong inducement to this excess; for he who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man."
Anecdotes of the Revd. Percival Stockdale; collected in "Johnsonian Miscellanies," edited by G.B. Hill.

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