Depression presents itself as a realism regarding the rottenness of the world in general and the rottenness of your life in particular. But the realism is merely a mask for depression’s actual essence, which is an overwhelming estrangement from humanity. The more persuaded you are of your unique access to the rottenness, the more afraid you become of engaging with the world; and the less you engage with the world, the more perfidiously happy-faced the rest of humanity seems for continuing to engage with it.

As soon as she hit the Send button, she had a spasm of remorse; her interval between action and remorse was diminishing so rapidly that soon she might be all remorse, unable to act at all; which might not be such a bad thing.

The problem with making a virtual world of oneself is akin to the problem with projecting ourselves onto a cyberworld: there’s no end of virtual spaces in which to seek stimulation, but their very endlessness, the perpetual stimulation without satisfaction, becomes imprisoning.

Life, in her experience, had a kind of velvet luster. You looked at yourself from one perspective and all you saw was weirdness. Move your head a little bit, though, and everything looked reasonably normal.

It was so easy to blame the mother. Life a miserable contradiction, endless desire but limited supplies, your birth just a ticket to your death: why not blame the person who’d stuck you with a life? OK, maybe it was unfair. But your mother could always blame her own mother, who herself could blame the mother, and so on back to the Garden. People had been blaming the mother forever, and most of them, Andreas was pretty sure, had mothers less blameworthy than his.

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