Like many of those who had the time to write about their mental state prior to modern times, William Cowper came from a privileged background. Early in the reign of George III he had a breakdown while faced with an examination for a job, becoming crippled by anxiety. Admitting his mental problems, as had George Trosse, he wrote in depth about his experience of treatment, and of the process of recovery under the care of a specialist ‘mad doctor’ or early psychiatrist. Cowper experienced several serious bouts of depression during his long life, but went on to be a famous literary figure.
You can find Cowper’s extract here or you can listen to a voice extract on our soundcloud stream using the link below.