Thursday, March 31, 2011

Surviving Depression: A Catholic Approach

Surviving Depression is hands down one of the best books I’ve ever read on depression, especially as it relates to faith, spirituality, and God’s love. This book’s most valuable asset is that it is written by a God-centered woman who has lived with depression herself and ministered to countless others along the way.
This easy-to-read and absorb book includes stories about many women and men who have spent years caught in the downward spiral of depression, however, through the grace of God and love of others, they’ve kept going. Though usually not completely cured, these are individuals who have gone on to share what they’ve experienced and learned about healing with others dipping dangerously into the pit of despair.
A plethora of books address the clinical and medical aspects of the illness, but they don’t ever get into what it actually feels like to be in the depths of emotional darkness and spiritual suffering that are often associated with depression. This volume offers wisdom, compassion, and an empathetic approach for the person with the illness as well as gems of wisdom for those who love and care for and about him or her.      
For quite some time, my husband and I have both admired Scripture reflections and related modern-day stories we’ve read by author Kathryn J. Hermes, FSP. We’ve often come across her writing in the Living Faith Daily Catholic Devotions. For a while, I’ve had her name in mind as an author to research and find out what else she’s written.
My mom recommended this book to me months ago, but at the time, I wasn’t ready to read it. For some reason, God often leads me to select the right book to read at the right time. Fortunately for me, several months after the fact, my mom still had the copy of Surviving Depression in the trunk of her car.
The suggestions for those suffering from the illness as well as for the family and friends of the person with depression are practical, manageable, and very insightful. Any number of websites and books list the symptoms of depression and the basic suggestions for managing it, treating it, and working through it, but few are written with as much intimacy and compassion from the author and her experience in carrying this particular cross with the help of the Lord.
 I highly recommend this book for anyone who is suffering from depression or loves someone struggling with this very common illness. You can order your copy of this book from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Surviving Depression.
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