Academic journal article The Science Teacher

My Depression: The Up and Down of It

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

My Depression: The Up and Down of It

Article excerpt

By Roz Lichter and Josh Hetzler. $79. The Video Project. San Francisco, CA. 2015.

Depression is a difficult topic to discuss, even though, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, major depressive disorder is one of the most common mental disorders in the United States. Each year, about 6.7% of U.S. adults experience a major depressive disorder.


About 3% of teens ages 13-18 have experienced a seriously debilitating depressive disorder. It may have genetic, environmental, or a combination of factors, including biological or psychological. Clearly, it is not a one-size-fits-all condition. It may last days, weeks, or years. Treatment at the earliest signs is the most effective way to address depression.

In this 30-minute animated documentary that alternates between monologue and song, Elizabeth Swados chronicles her experience with depression. She describes her life under the cloud of despair. As an adolescent, Swados struggled with her self-image and would become depressed. Throughout her life, people would tell her to be positive but were often clueless about her depression or how to respond to it.

Sometimes, Swados would become defensive and burst out negative statements or just isolate herself. She felt hopeless and wanted to apologize and tried to solve her depression on her own. She researched, read, ate healthier foods, practiced yoga, and even consulted a psychic. Eventually, she sought professional help. Swados's depression didn't go away. Doctors took about three years to find the combination of drugs to address the chemical imbalance she was experiencing. With a good therapist, Swados continues to deal with her depression. …

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