Every which way you look at it, I have had an intimate and face to face relationship with depression. I’ve known the stuck-in-the-mud type that comes when life delivers a sucker punch to the gut. I’ve also experienced the depression that accompanies the gut wrenching grief we feel at the loss of loved ones. I’ve seen up close and nasty when a family member became stuck in one of the stages of grief and couldn’t move on for years. Everyone else around this person suffered too. I’ve personally experienced the type of depression that is the result of hormone changes after the arrival of a new family member, and the ravages of PTSD when life became overwhelmingly unbearable for awhile. I just shut down for a few months. I’ve experienced the biological kind of ups and downs associated with monthly mood swings. And finally, there have been the wild fluctuations of the bipolar nature whether there were triggers or not. Definitely depression and I are old school buddies.
I have examined depression from a clinical point of view. I have dealt with it from a teacher’s point of view. Regardless how one turns this many faceted prism, I’ve witnessed or experienced many of its surfaces. So you can believe me when I state that this is a book that offers practical and workable solutions for depression. The steps outlined within these pages work. What we find in this helpful workbook is an author who has been in the trenches of depression herself. Those of us who have been in the pit appreciate it when a fellow sufferer offers a guiding hand. And you will not find any psycho-babble in these pages.
“This is not a self-help book; it is more like a “Jesus-help” book, because it was written for people who are desperate to find a way out of depression and who know that the Lord is their hope for freedom.” Freedom from Depression is set up to serve as a small group study or as a handbook/workbook for an individual. Each chapter presents a Biblical principle and builds on the previous chapters. The participant is encouraged to read one chapter each week, working through the study questions and actively doing the given assignments.The author has drawn on her own experiences as illustrations for some of the points. She also employs Scripture verses, word pictures, tables or graphs to illuminate a lesson. At the conclusion of each chapter is a short heart-felt prayer.
As I explored each chapter I was impressed with the honest simplicity of the author’s approach. There’s no clinical analysis, no judgment, and no preaching. The amount of material to read is not overwhelming or technical. Instead I felt as if I were sitting on the couch with a cup of hot cocoa warming my hands, talking about a shared experience with my sister…or chuckling over an amusing incident. The empathy and warmth in each precept introduced seems to flow from the author’s heart to the reader’s. I could tell that Ms. Swindall really cares that her readers find healing and wholeness through the transforming work of the Holy Spirit.
The other thing I noticed about the book’s make-up is how easy it would be to return to a chapter, and guided by the clear headings and sub-headings, find exactly the place you need to repeat an exercise, rework some of the questions, re-read a section pertaining to some new trial that’s come your way, or to regain some assurance. The book is well organized with succinct divisions that make this a terrific resource.
If a person becomes serious about overcoming depression using this book as a guide, the author recommends working through it with a friend or a small group. Another person is able to help hold the participant accountable and provide much needed encouragement. Emotional healing takes time. It isn’t unusual to feel like giving up mid-stream. Achieving wholeness when all you can think about is your brokenness is a process where sometimes all the progress a person can make for awhile is baby steps. Another person sharing the journey can help prevent discouragement.
Finally, Jenny Swindall encourages her readers to visit her website where she provides a video introduction for each of the chapters in the book. The website address is provided on the final pages. If the reader is part of a small group working through the book together, these short videos are a great way to open each session.
A complimentary review copy was provided to me by Charisma House Publishing and the Booketeria. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
- Wrong Things Said in Church (brokenbelievers.com)