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Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 7, page 173, November 20-30, 1855

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Identifier: DX03970343

Title: Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 7, page 173, November 20-30, 1855

Description: Describes experiencing anxiety and depression.


From the twentieth to the end of the Month. I must attempt to lump together the details of these, perhaps the most wretched days I have ever experienced, all confusedly horrible as they are in my memory. I’ve touched the verge of lunacy, — looked within and beheld its unspeakable horrors, — almost been dragged within. How, day by dy, it grew upon me, — the dread of coming madness, I can scarcely put down. I was very, very much alone, despondent and devoured by a burning anxiety to get on with my book — which very anxiety defeated itself. I’d sit for a whole morning, with a burning, throbbing headache, trying painfully to write, feeling as though life, salvation depended on my progress. Each night, as I lay down on my floor bed, ‘t’would be with an impatient, wearying wish for the morrow, that I might be up and do an immense day’s work. And when the morning sunlight came slowly flushing the [word crossed out] brickwork of Stewarts — (with which I am so horribly familiar,) — just as it had yesterday, and for so many yesterdays — ‘twould seem so real, remorseless, cruel, that it frightened me. Then came the sordid drudgery of cleaning up, fire lighting, coal fetching from the lower depths of this detestable building, then out to my breakfast, generally at Sweeney’s, where I’d fancy the very waiters marked my scared and anxious face, and were gentler towards me than usual. Sometimes, I when a steamer was in I’d go to the Post Office for papers, and the sight of my mother [Naomi Butler Gunn]’s handwriting would affect me most distressingly, even to tears. I’d seem as if destined never to see her more. [A.F.] Banks came up sometimes, and his visits were half a kindness, half a nuisance.

Rights: NoC-US


Dates: 1855-11-30

Type(s): Diary

Maker/Creator: Gunn, Thomas Butler, 1826-1903

Subjects: Diaries
Mental illness


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