My Depression : A Picture Book by Elizabeth Swados

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My Depression : A Picture Book by Elizabeth Swados

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Category: Autobiography
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: If you need to understand how depression feels then this is the perfect book: the pictures fill in where words fail to convey what is happening.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 176 Date: May 2015
Publisher: Seven Stories Press
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1609806040

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If you have ever suffered from depression you'll find it very difficult to explain to other people how you're feeling. You're not feeling just a little bit down. A treat or a dollop of positive thinking will not miraculously cure you. You're definitely not swinging the lead, but suffering from a legitimate illness which deserves to be recognised. Elizabeth Swados is a long-term sufferer from severe depression: she's also a talented storyteller and has told her the story of how depression feels for her - complete with drawings, which fill in those gaps which words can never fill for any sufferer from depression.

If you need to know more about depression, you should have a look at the NHS website where you should be able to get the guidance you need, from the people who know. There's even a test to take if you feel that you might be depressed and it is better if you get help sooner rather than later. If - on the other hand - you want to understand what depression feels like from the inside, then this book is an excellent starting point for a family member, friend or carer. It's expressed in gloriously simple terms which anyone can understand.

Life can be good for Swados: she tells us - in words and pictures - what she enjoys. This is no sad woman looking for sympathy but a vibrant, exciting personality who's a musician and author. She's suffered from depression, on and off, for most of her life and she knows what can trigger a depression (and, yes, I recognised all of them) and how to spot when one's coming on. It's the sense of a little cloud at the very edge of her vision and then the other symptoms begin to crowd in. Here it's the pictures which speak louder than words, because you might be able to name the symptoms but it's almost impossible to describe them so that someone else understands. The pictures - the scribbles do it perfectly.

We're guided through exactly how it feel as you sink deeper and deeper into depression and then - hopefully - claw your way out of the other side. She's honest too about the strained relationships which can so often result, the side effects of antidepressants and how some people simply won't get out of bed. I've never experienced that one, but it's about the only symptom I didn't recognise. Are you beginning to think that this is taking your pleasures too sadly? Well don't - the story is told with humour and affection and it's an easy, engaging, but above all informative read.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

For another look at exactly how depression feels we can recommend Shoot the Damn Dog by Sally Brampton - only you don't get any pictures. You might also enjoy Gone by Min Kym. You could shelve this next to Living With Depression by Nick Weatherhogg.

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Buy My Depression : A Picture Book by Elizabeth Swados at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy My Depression : A Picture Book by Elizabeth Swados at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy My Depression : A Picture Book by Elizabeth Swados at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy My Depression : A Picture Book by Elizabeth Swados at


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