Seven Stories Press

Works of Radical Imagination


This intimate journey through long-term depression is by turns tender, funny, poignant, and uplifting. Swados' charming words and frenzied drawings bring home the experience of severe depression, from the black cloud forming on the horizon to feelings of self-loathing and loss of self-confidence; from contemplating suicide, which Swados describes as wandering off into the Sahara desert (discounting the buzzards and the scorpions), to actively seeking out methods for fighting depression—including psychics, diet, and repression therapy—to experimenting with antidepressants that make you snippy, sleepy, or judgmental. My Depression is an engaging and heartening memoir of an illness that has been stigmatized for too long and on how it is possible to survive, one little challenge at a time, with medication and the occasional tasty, messy slice of pizza; with dancing to a boombox on the street and thanking the mailman for the newest catalogue, then proceeding to read it cover to cover!


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“A startling, honest … surprisingly harming, funny, and poignant illustrated memoir.”

“You wouldn't think a memoir about clinical depression would be inspiring—but Swados, a musician and theater director, relates her battle against her demons with such candor and simplicity, and with such winsome illustrations, that it's empowering. Swados lifts the stigma to help the reader find solutions, and hope.”

“Elizabeth Swados is blessed with ferocious intelligence, artistic vision, and courage in this insightful book. She deploys these gifts to take us on a highly original journey of understanding.”


Musical artist ELIZABETH SWADOS is the author of twelve children’s books, four novels, two collections of poetry, a collection of short non-fiction, and two books on creating musical theater for young people. Perhaps best known for her Broadway and international hit Runaways, she has composed, written, and directed theater for over thirty years. Her works for theater include the Obie Award-winning Trilogy and Alice at the Palace. Swados also teaches full time in the drama department of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and has taught at The New School’s Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts as a visiting artist. Her articles have been published in the New York Times, New York Times Magazine, and Vogue. Her other accolades include three Obie Awards, a Guggenheim Fellowship, Ford Fellowship, Helen Hayes Award, Lila Acheson Wallace Award, and a Special International PEN Citation.