Enlightening Book On Depression

BOOK REVIEW:

How Hard It Really Is: A Short Honest Book About Depression
by J. S. Park

This book was written for folks who are seeking answers about this major problem. it’s for those wrestling with depression themselves and for those who want to understand what the sufferer is going through.

Pastor Park isn’t preachy; he offers no pat answers. No “Trust God, have more faith, count your blessings.” No “Think positive, just cheer up.”  No “This vitamin formula, yoga position, or new drug on the market will cure you in no time.” In fact, these pat answers make him angry because they tend to add yet more mental anguish to the sufferer. He knows. He’s been there.

“My hope here is to give a voice to those who have been depressed so they can share in their own words what they have found helpful and what they have definitely not.”

You’ll read about others — even doctors — who’ve been in, or are in, the same battle. Knowing you’re not alone can give you courage. Knowing that winning is possible is empowering. Seeing how others have climbed out of the darkness can give you courage to keep trying.

If you have a loved one who is dealing with this issue and you want a little better picture of the enemy, this book will definitely clarify some muddy waters.

The best thing we can offer each other is…our set of experiences, our voices, our ears, so that the tunnel is less intimidating and the light is not as distant as it was… It’s in sharing what we go through that we are empowered to make it through together.

The first few chapters contain a lot of basic facts; I found it rather heavy reading. This is where the writer discusses some theories behind depression, past and present, and different approaches that have been adopted in treating it.

I found the later chapters the most engaging, where he shares his own experience of being knocked for a loop, the treatments he tried, the help he found, the friends who stood beside him and made a difference, the way he finally managed to climb back out of the deep well he was in.

Sometimes there are obvious social and economic factors that trigger depression, but the writer also tells how suddenly it can hit a person:

“(It can be) …a simple punch in the face with no complex reasons, no social complexities, no biological build-up — just a sudden shock to the system. Depression can occur by a crisis event or situation and, like a face-punch, will spin you around and leave you surprised and reeling.”

He discusses the role culture plays in how we talk about and deal with this affliction. Is depression only “the white man’s disease” as some cultures say?

The section I’m Here gives some valuable tips on how we can reach out to a friend who’s struggling with depression. It’s a lot easier than you think. One thought that really impressed me: we don’t need to grab a microphone and make a rousing speech or say just the right thing to get this person through the darkness. Rather we need to give the depressed person the mike and listen. Let him share what he’s going through and how he feels. To be there is often the best gift a friend can give.

“Something powerful happens when we reach across the dark…
Fear starts to shrivel the moment it is exposed.”

The section, Who Am I Without You? deals with being so dependent on the approval of others that we crash at the smallest hint of rejection. The writer urges us to get to know ourselves, our own likes and wants. How necessary it is to stop being a people-pleaser — needing, clinging, then devastated when they feel suffocated and walk away. He tells how he learned to love others more and need them less.

In the last chapter, Elijah, By Bread and Water, he relates the account of the Biblical prophet Elijah, who had his greatest victory on Mount Carmel — followed by a vicious threat to his life that knocked him right into the cesspool of depression. Pastor Park shows us the gentle method God used to pick Elijah up and set him on his feet again, an inspiring story.

“(God) is bigger than your situation and closer than your deepest hurt. He’s not mad. He is cheering for you and rooting for you this very second. He’s okay about all the things before. He sent His Son for that very reason.”

The book’s Appendix lists different treatments for depression and hot-lines readers can call to get help or a listening ear when needed.

Amazon US Link

☆☆☆☆☆
5 stars from me.

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A Willing Heart

The six-year-old girl eyed the young man sitting next to her in the church pew; she’d never seen him in their church before. In fact, his few words of greeting to her father before the service started revealed a different accent than the little Scottish girl was used to hearing in their town.

She was eager to “show herself friendly” as the Good Book said, and make him feel at home. But how? In her mind she rehearsed the words “Welcome here. I’m glad you’ve come,” but she was too shy to actually say it. Still, might there would be some way?

Right then a hymn was announced, number 489. She saw the stranger pick up a hymn book. On impulse she slid over toward him and whispered, “I’ll help you find it. I know those big numbers can be hard to sort out.”

“Thank you so much,” he whispered back. “I can manage alright until 100, after that it gets tough.”

So she helped him locate hymn #489 and he offered to share the book with her. She smiled up at him and they sang the verses together, the Scottish lass in first grade and the Englishman with a Degree in engineering.

Quote of the Day:

If nobody ever said anything unless he knew what he was talking about, a ghastly hush would descend upon the earth.

– Sir Allen Herbert

(Anecdote retold from an account in and old Friendship Book of Francis Gay.)

He Who Has It All

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“The only gift for the man who has everything is sympathy.” — Mildred Murdoch

The Gift Givers

Six of us gathered together;
we were eager to honor a friend.
For something of gold or of silver
we were wiling our money to spend.
We were anxious to give him a token,
a watch or a pin or a ring,
as a permanent symbol of friendship,
but no one could think of a thing
which he needed or said that he wanted;
no gift which our love could supply,
which already his purse hadn’t purchased,
and better than what we might buy.

A dinner? He dines on the finest!
A watch? He now carries the best!
Already we knew him provided
with all that our minds could suggest.
So we gave up the thought of a token,
and sent him a feebly drawn scroll
as a mark of our lasting affection
which his children might someday unroll.
But I couldn’t help thinking that evening:
the happiest mortals who live
are those who have left to their friendships
just something or other to give.

The joy or surprise and the gladness
of owning a gift from a friend
are thrills that can never be purchased
though millions a rich man may spend.
And there is a rapture in giving
which friendship is eager to know,
for love and affection seek ever
some token of worth to bestow.
Though all men are toiling for riches,
may it never be said while I live
I furnished my life so completely
that friends could find nothing to give.

.
From his book, Collected Verse of Edgar A Guest
© 1934 by The Reilly & Lee Company

Wisdom of a Frog

This morning, searching for some inspiration, I looked on Pixabay.com and saw this wise-looking little frog. Which fit in quite well with what I’d already been contemplating.

I was thinking about all those old maxims grandmothers recited, like “a stitch in time saves nine.” So much story/wisdom in a few brief words!

So I’m posting this frog picture along a quote from William Feather and adding my brief thought on the subject. (According to Wikki, William Feather, 1889-1981, was an American author and publisher based in Cleveland.)

You’re welcome to leave your suggestions as to what wisdom this frog is pondering — or share a thought on the quote in the caption. If you feel really inspired, you can download the frog picture from Pixabay; it’s right on the front page. Share the link to your post along with your comment.

From thinking

“The only thrill worthwhile is the one that comes from making something of yourself.” — William Feather

The only fulfilling tasks in life,
the employments most worthwhile,
are making something of your self,
and making others smile.

— C. Goodnough

Have a great week, everyone!