A quick update

A partial explanation for the delay between posts is that I am devoting all my free time to translating Pierre Janet’s Les obsessions et la psychasth√©nie. It is a very lengthy work and the translation is a wildly time-consuming project.

In doing that, I came across a reference to distinguishing between depressive and anxiety disorders based, partially, upon the degree of certainty that one is damaged. This, you may recall, was the topic of a number of my posts about a year ago. Those posts began with a review of the book Joker One. And then continued on in an analysis of Romeo and Juliet.

In any event, Janet provides a hint that he thinks along the same lines on page 25 of Les obsessions et la psychasthénie. Here is a translation of what he says:

“It is not her only regret, because she is equally dissatisfied with the things for which she can consider herself responsible. It is unnecessary to emphasize each mental function: all the questions we pose to Claire have the same answer, how she speaks of her memory or her reasoning, imagination or even of the acuteness of her vision, it will always be the same thing. She is not good, she is not polished, she is not affectionate enough, she is not smart enough, not active enough, and not more capable of feeling; she is no longer good for anything. If we press too much to show her exaggerations, she always answers by this argument: “You did not know me in the past; I was hundred times better, softer, more patient, more intelligent, etc. I have not only lost the will and conscience, but I lost everything that made my intelligence.” Taken to this degree, these obsessions bring to mind the madness of melancholy and is, in fact, at least by its content, a melancholic delirium. Only when we study the form taken by these obsessions, shall we see what separates the Scrupulous [obsessives] from the melancholic [depressed]. This can be anticipated here in a word. This is because the melancholic is deeply convinced of its degradation, while Claire is very far from completely believing everything she says or thinks about this subject.”

When I get further along in the translation to where Janet becomes more specific on this topic, I will detail it in a future post.