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When Darkness Falls

by Dorothy Rabinowitz

… The seven individuals whose stories are told in “Depression: Out of the Shadows” were struck down at various ages — one as early as elementary school — by unfathomable mental torment. … “It was like that second, if you’ve slipped and are just about to fall flat on your face on the floor — that feeling all the time, 24 hours a day,” says Andrew Solomon (author of The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression) of the acute anxiety that came with the depression that beset him, without warning, at age 31, just at the beginning of a promising writing career. There had been a trigger, as is so often the case. As the film’s assorted experts on depression emphasize, biological factors aren’t the sole cause — the disorder, in those prone to it, can be set off by events. Something happens — some loss or stress. What happened to Mr. Solomon was the death, three years earlier, of his mother — a central presence in his life, as he makes clear in a brief, singularly moving characterization.

(To read the full article, please visit The Wall Street Journal.)