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“This wasn’t any kind of therapy or purging or exorcism or anything like that,” explains Washington Post reporter Tracy Thompson regarding her book The Beast: A Reckoning With Depression (G.P. Putnam’s Sons). “It was just this desire to write down this story that had been in my head for a while. I had made some discoveries along the way that were interesting to me and I thought might be interesting to other people.” The Beast sprung from a 1992 piece Thompson wrote for the Post‘s Health section about her battle with depression; the author chronicles her lifetime of melancholy and her experiences with psychopharmaceuticals and counseling. Thompson acknowledges that this sort of survivor’s tale is popular among publishers of late, but, she says, “I think it’s more than just a trend. It’s a direct result of the fact we have drugs that keep people alive. That sounds dramatic, but it’s really true. People used to not live to tell the tale.” Also, she stresses, “This is not a self-help book. It’s about a journey.” The narrative ends with Thompson happily married, in strong recovery—and without further plans to write about depression. After spending many months working on The Beast, she notes with some relief that “I sort of feel the need now to go back to my day job.”