Magazine article Psychology Today

The Captain of My Soul

Magazine article Psychology Today

The Captain of My Soul

Article excerpt

THE WRITER DAVID Foster Wallace had a mind whose exquisite powers of observation turned relentlessly inward, zeroing in on his every motivational eddy and grandiose byway. No matter his success, the author of InfiniteJest found a trapdoor that collapsed into fraudulence and self-loathing. In "Captives of the Mind," David Kessler argues that selective attention to one thing, coupled with an inability to override such focus, characterizes disorders such as depression and substance abuse. He describes how this might have played out for Wallace, who took his own life in 2008.

One need not struggle with diagnosable conditions to feel ensnared in a ruinous narrative. The ability to define and direct one's own story, to create a sense of agency even in difficult circumstances, is at the heart of the articles in this issue. In "Rewrite Your Life," experts offer techniques for reframing painful experiences, such as schoolyard bullying or unrealized dreams. The consensus is that one GAINING can indeed achieve a sense of mastery over events that are random,unwelcome,even catastrophic. …

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