Fighting for Sanity ~ Diary entry made by John Ruskin (1819–1900) after his 1878 breakdown. Bequest of Helen Gill Viljoen, 1974.
After recovering from a psychotic break, English critic John Ruskin was determined to remain stable and continue to work. He tracked his health in his diary.
Ruskin found himself “crushed under business,” often languid and depressed, but open to the beauty of nature—from an “exquisite broad rainbow” to a bright sunset or a new moon that shone like limelight. With the local ironworks spewing waste into the air around his home, Ruskin felt oppressed by the industrial darkness: “Black — black — black — soot and rain mixed—and my own mind in some ways like it.”