When The Beast was originally published 20 years ago, one of the blurbs referred to me as a “survivor.” It’s a word that I didn’t like then and like even less now. Survivors are people who hang around waiting for the Coast Guard. I survived my encounters with the Beast the way Diana Nyad survived swimming from Cuba to Florida: one stroke, one breath at a time. It was work. And even at that, I can only take about half the credit; nobody survives severe depression without the love of family and friends. Nobody survives without a certain element of luck—things like whether you live in an area rich in health care resources (as I do) or in some small town where the nearest shrink is 50 miles away...
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