Good Samaritans & a Book Review: Behind The Veil of Depression

I mentioned in a post a few days ago a book that has helped me snap out of my excessive, even suicidal, depression.  I am not trying to sell some magic pill and I’m not making any money from the publisher or author for mentioning this book.  I just want to recommend somthing to anyone who might also be struggling to find hope.  Maybe this book can help you like it’s helped me.

I was actually blessed to meet the author at a book signing I happened to walk into at Hastings.  He was packing up as I entered the store, with the help of another woman who I later learned helped set up the book signing.  After seeing the book title on a sign on his table, “Behind The Veil Of Depression: Finding The Power Within,” I hurried over pulling my daughter with one arm and holding my toddler in the other.  I quickly asked for a business card, saying I was interested in purchasing his book sometime.

He told me it was a book that discussed his family’s multi-generational battle with mental illness and his climb out of it.  He was now off meds and living depression-free.  I told him depression ran in my family too and that it sounded like great book.  Again I asked for a business card or other flier with information.

He explained he had copies for sale right there.  With eyes lowered, I responded that I couldn’t afford to purchase the book that day.  I didn’t say this, but the only reason I was in the store was because I was hoping I could trade in my only Wii game so we could rent a movie to watch as a family and pick up a book on ADHD a Dr. had recommended for my daughter.  I did not have enough money in my account to purchase the book.

He looked at me and a moment later was grabbing a book.

“Here, just take one.”  My eyes started to fill with tears and I made myself busy, trying to distract from my overwhelming emotions.  It had been a long, empty day, one of the worst in my life.  A day I had told my husband I didn’t have any desire to see our kids’ graduations or weddings.  A day I had told him I didn’t have anything but hollowness inside me, even as I stood outside in the warm sun.  I was tired of seeing things to be happy about but still feeling blackness inside.  I wanted it to change but didn’t know how it could.

“No, no it’s ok,” I said.  My daughter had wandered over to look at the candy and asked me if we could buy some.  “No honey.  Not now.  Please come back over here.”

I turned back towards him and he was handing me a book.  I shifted my toddler to my other arm as I wiped my eyes quickly, trying not to make a scene.

“Please, please take it.  Then you can email me and tell me what you thought.  Here, I’ll write down my personal email.”

I took the book.

He jotted an address onto a card.  He asked if I could read his handwriting so through my blurry tears and with a quivering voice I read it back.  Then he said to the woman assisting him, referring to me, “She is why we were supposed to do this today.  I really hope this book helps you.”

We talked a little more about our experiences with depression and writing and the courage it takes to talk about this illness.  Then I thanked him and assured him I would email him.  I had to hurry off to find my Sophia who had wandered off again, to another part of the store.

With the craziness of errands and life, this book sat on my desk for a few weeks.  Even though I felt inside like it would help me.  Even though I felt like being able to get it was a miracle.  I could not have purchased this book on my own.  My almost new Wii game, which I had purchased with birthday money and had cost $40 (and I had only played once,) had given us a grand total of $4 store credit.  The store didn’t have the movie we were wanting to rent and I didn’t even bother wandering to the book section with how my kids were behaving.  So we had headed home that evening.  But not entirely empty handed.

Although I will spend a few posts explaining what this book has taught me, perhaps the biggest reason it has helped me is because I can relate to the author.  I met him.  I looked at him and saw the weariness in his face  when he talked about his experiences with this dreadful disease.  But I also saw where he is now, practicing dentistry successfully, doing humanitarian service around the world with his family, and teaching others there was a way to fight off even severe mental illness.  I knew he had been suicidal, unlike my previous counselors and Drs., and so he understood those intense, degrading, emptying emotions.  But he was over the shame, sharing his story and trying to share hope, just like I want to do too.

In that busy Hastings store I had looked into the eyes of someone else who had hit and lived in rock-bottom for years, just like me, but was now out of it.  I wanted to know his story and what had helped him.  And thankfully, Heavenly Father asked him to give me his book and he listened to that prompting.

A few weeks later, when I was sick and in bed, burned out emotionally and physically, I opened the book.  On the title page was this simple but profound dedication:

“Turn Your Trials Into Triumphs” -Dr. CW Roskelley

This is why I share my story.  This is why sometimes I am blatantly honest and run the risk of sounding crazy.  No one can know there are other people enduring and getting through each day with this illness if we don’t open up about it.  If everyone with cancer or addictions or other challenges kept quiet about it, there would be no empathy, research, support or solutions for those issues.  Depression is an entirely different kind of beast, but it is still deadly.  It still deserves real consideration and study.  And it is still curable.

Most of all, it is an illness where if you beat it, YOU ARE STRONGER and a REAL source of support for others still in its grasp.  If you are still in its grasp, keep going!  Fight the fight!  It WILL get BETTER!!!

More hope later…Luv, Eva