140 days: Stories and Statistics

How do we talk about depression, and what are the different impacts of subjective and objective information?  My work often explores language, particularly ambiguous texts that can apply to several contexts and many individual interpretations. In this project, I compare broad, hard facts with highly personal emotional responses in order to make the condition as real as possible.

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In his opinion article, John Allen Paulos comments, "I’ll close with perhaps the most fundamental tension between stories and statistics. The focus of stories is on individual people rather than averages, on motives rather than movements, on point of view rather than the view from nowhere, context rather than raw data. Moreover, stories are open-ended and metaphorical rather than determinate and literal."

The passages I will use in this project will demonstrate the need for both empirical evidence and factual data when talking about Major Depressive Disorder. For those who have not experienced depression personally, clinical descriptions and statistics can begin to uncover and validate this silent disorder. For those who already know what it feels like, the literary texts describe what is so often hard to explain to others. Together, the words and the indigo-dyed handkerchiefs will hopefully make the pain and suffering that is experienced with MDD more visible and less stigmatized.