November 9, 1928
October 4, 1974
1928 | Anne Sexton was born in Newton, MA.
1953 | She gave birth to her first child. Sexton suffered from post-partum depression. She had her first breakdown and was admitted to a neuropsychiatric hospital.
1954 | She had her first manic episode.
1955 | She had her second child.
1956 | She attempted suicide. In treatment, her therapist encouraged her to write. By the end of the year she had created 37 poems.
1957 | She continued to struggle with depression. She joined writing groups in Boston that eventually led her to friendships and relationships with other Confessionalist poets.
1957 | She published All My Pretty Ones, which deals with loss, particularly the deaths of her parents.
1966 | She wrestlesd with Sylvia Plath's death and wrote Live or Die.
1971 | She published Transformations. Until her death, she constantly wrote and was preoccupied with death.
1974 | She made her final suicide attempt.
Is there a language to depression? By examining the writings of three poets who have killed themselves, we might be able to see a connection between someone’s mental state and their language. For example, psychologists and linguists have done studies that show how absolutist words such as “all”, “nothing”, “none” were used more frequently amongst those who were depressed than those who weren’t. They also found that the use of “I”, “me” or “my” is more commonly used in those who are depressed. Frequent use of auxiliary verbs such as “should” or “would” is also an indication of negative thought patterns. This site is intended to be a small test to see if there is a link between the subtle way we use words and emotional well being.