For me, [the retreat at Mount Baldy Zen Center] was one of the many attempts I’ve made in the past thirty or forty years to address a condition known as acute clinical depression. I tried all the conventional remedies – wine, women and song. Nothing worked, including religion. But fortunately, this condition dissolved. [Interviewer: With being on the mountain?] I don’t know. I don’t know how it began or how it ended, but, thankfully, it did end. Nothing worked for me. Not the recreational drugs, nor the obsessional drugs, nor the pharmaceutical medications. The only effect Prozac had on me, I confused with a spiritual achievement – I thought I’d transcended my interest in women. I later learned the destruction of the libido is one of the side effects. But it’s a mysterious conclusion, because I really don’t know what happened. I read somewhere that as you get older, the brain cells associated with anxiety begin to die. [Pauses] A lot of other brain cells die, too, so you’ve got to watch out.
From Leonard Cohen on Becoming a Monk, Why His Opinions Don’t Matter by Mark Binelli. Rolling Stone: Nov 8, 2001.
More about Leonard Cohen’s depression can be found at Depression & Leonard Cohen.. All Cohencentric posts on this issue are collected at