This paper presents a case of serious depression in which the psychoanalytic therapy, accompanied at first by treatment with anti-depressants, led to a process of investigation, re- discovery and awareness of distant motives, reactivated in the transference, that underlay not only the serious depression and certain personality traits but also, specifically, some of the symptoms whose significance acquired communicative value as the process continued, and that could then be elaborated and partially overcome. The case lends itself to some general considerations about the difficulties, in an analytic setting, of clearly separating the depressive episodes from characterial aspects, and the periods of normality from those governed by the illness. This is more easily done in a psychiatric setting in which the psychiatrist focuses his attention and his investigation on certain symptoms and some of their characteristics that are already present in his mind. At the same time, however, it can be said that through psychoanalysis there is a greater possibility of coming into contact with the depression as the result of a life history and not as a mere episode that can often only be overcome by a maniacal change of direction on the part of the patient as well as the psychiatrist.
Keywords: Depression, mania, trauma, infantile catastrophies, anxiety, life events