Depression is a disease that attacks indiscriminately, no one is safe from its claws – regardless of your age, gender, education, position and so on – it will catch you in its grasp and keep you there until you find the strength to get out – and most of the time, in order to be free from it, you need both therapy and medication prescribed by a psychiatrist. It is understandable to think that people that are familiar with the disease on an academical level would see the signs early and be able to manage it, or that they have found a way in which to be immune to it. But this book proves the exact opposite, you read about the struggles of a psychiatrist suffering from depression.
In a mixture of patient stories and her own battle with depression, doctor Linda Gask gives a multilayered account of what it feels like to be surrounded by mental illness and how society, both the public and the specialists, behave around it. With a sort of detachment, she retells her life’s story and, based on it, the people she meets who are traumatized themselves or have given her some comfort, or not, from her own troubles.
There is a gap between how depression is perceived and how she tells it, her account is much more personal and reflects, even in her writing, how the cycle of negative thoughts and dramatization of certain events that are so common with depression take over your rational thinking process and makes you unaware of all the details that make life worth living – being stuck in your own thought process and not being able to get out of it and enjoy the things that are worth living for is the greatest chasm one has to face when suffering from depression. However, there is hope – and although there is no great breakthrough, things do get better with time and with proper attention to your symptoms; some diseases are manageable and curable if we just keep working on getting better – finding a good therapist that you can connect with and working closely with a psychiatrist can lead to finding the medication that will truly make a difference in your life.
By the end of the book we do see a different person, much more calmer and focused – stable in her opinions, decisions and ideas. Although she goes through years of uncertainty and has the trademark highs and lows of her affliction, with proper support she manages to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Her achievement in finding inner peace is a statement that, although the fight with your inner self is crippling, there are ways in which you can cope and eventually be free.