Rachel Kelly has written an account of two severe depressive episodes in her life, and what she found helpful in recovery. She writes descriptively of her despair, various treatments and in particular how one of the arts – poetry – accompanied her well on this journey (in addition to professional psychiatric and medical help and prescribed drugs).
As a trained journalist, Rachel writes not only in a way that gives us an inside view on her condition, but she goes on to try and come to terms with the cause of her illness. Speaking to her key physician, she learned
“Any major life change makes you vulnerable to depression, be it childbith, separation, redundancy or bereavement, he explained.
At first she is overwhelmed by constant anxiety and surprised by physical pain. Before her illness, she thought depression was “a case of lying around in a vaguely disconsolate mood and had absolutely no idea it could make you feel physically ill.” Her consultant, Dr Fischer went on to explain that, very roughly
“as someone suffering from acute anxiety and panic, my adrenaline levels were so high that they were stopping me sleeping and eating well: it went into the fight or flight response the body resorts to in order to cope with life-threatening challenges. All my priorities switched from long-term to short-term challenges. My systems were on a permanent emergency response; fuel reserves were mobilised and dispatched to my brain and muscles. Extra oxygen to burn the fuel was required so my heart had been pounding non-stop for months as my blood pressure and breathing increased.”
I imagine that this book would be truly useful to anyone accompanying a person through depression, or concerned for a friend – it provides a window into the life and experience of the sufferer. It also describes what is beneficial at different stages of recovery.
Can’t wait to read it?