The Beast: A Reckoning with Depression
Thompson, Tracy. The Beast: A Reckoning with Depression. G. P. Putnam’s Sons, Pub., New York, 1995.
This is an older book that has been on my bookshelves for a long, long time. Yet, it is one of the books that I have repeatedly referred people to over the years. Both lay people struggling to understand their depression, and therapists struggling to understand their clients.
Tracy Thompson is a journalist who has struggled with major depression since childhood, at least since adolescence. She writes in an engaging and clear style that is easy to read and that keeps you turning the pages. She refers to her depression as the “beast”, a force that sometimes disappears for long periods of time, and then suddenly returns with shocking strength.
It was interesting to me, when I reread the book, how she becomes aware of the role her brain plays in her depression – both the pathways that are laid down through repeated behavior, and the chemistry that can be helped with medication. Although these ideas are taken for granted now, they were just beginning to be acknowledged in the 1990’s.
This is an excellent book that gives realistic hope to those struggling with depression, and to the therapists working with them.