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Silent Souls Weeping: Depression—Sharing Stories, Finding Hope

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In a culture that strives for happiness and perfection, depression and mental illness are often surrounded by stigma, misunderstanding, and endless questions. In Silent Souls Weeping, bestselling author and nationally-recognized journalist Jane Clayson Johnson hopes to change the LDS dialogue and cultural stigmas surrounding mental illness. She vulnerably shares her own ex In a culture that strives for happiness and perfection, depression and mental illness are often surrounded by stigma, misunderstanding, and endless questions. In Silent Souls Weeping, bestselling author and nationally-recognized journalist Jane Clayson Johnson hopes to change the LDS dialogue and cultural stigmas surrounding mental illness. She vulnerably shares her own experience with depression along with the experiences of many other Latter-day Saints, offering support to those suffering and understanding to those loving someone with depression.

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In a culture that strives for happiness and perfection, depression and mental illness are often surrounded by stigma, misunderstanding, and endless questions. In Silent Souls Weeping, bestselling author and nationally-recognized journalist Jane Clayson Johnson hopes to change the LDS dialogue and cultural stigmas surrounding mental illness. She vulnerably shares her own ex In a culture that strives for happiness and perfection, depression and mental illness are often surrounded by stigma, misunderstanding, and endless questions. In Silent Souls Weeping, bestselling author and nationally-recognized journalist Jane Clayson Johnson hopes to change the LDS dialogue and cultural stigmas surrounding mental illness. She vulnerably shares her own experience with depression along with the experiences of many other Latter-day Saints, offering support to those suffering and understanding to those loving someone with depression.

30 review for Silent Souls Weeping: Depression—Sharing Stories, Finding Hope

  1. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    My mom bought me this book as she thought it would help me out in my life at this time. This book is about General Depression, as in clinical depression that often creeps up on most of humanity at some point in our lives. It isn't the 'lows' of life, that down feeling you get under certain circumstances happening at some time, it is really about the mental illness, or "brain disease", as she calls it. Because that's what it is! She explains in detail how it is NO different than diabetes or cancer My mom bought me this book as she thought it would help me out in my life at this time. This book is about General Depression, as in clinical depression that often creeps up on most of humanity at some point in our lives. It isn't the 'lows' of life, that down feeling you get under certain circumstances happening at some time, it is really about the mental illness, or "brain disease", as she calls it. Because that's what it is! She explains in detail how it is NO different than diabetes or cancer or other physical maladies and diseases. It just haunts the brain itself and the part of the brain that houses emotions. Depression is usually caused by dysfunction of certain neurotransmitters in the brain. Just like dysfunctions in other parts of the body, it needs to be addressed. Many times certain medications can help with the symptoms though it can be difficult and take time to find the right one(s) to work for each individual, this coupled with therapy--individual, group, and family. Also, she notes that one of the most effective and important healing and comfort for those suffering from this illness is just talking about it with other people who try to understand. Even if they've never experienced it themselves, they have a listening ear, sympathy and love. This can have great positive effects on the depressed person. (WOW. Just now, right at this very minute while I am typing this, my mom just texted me and said something that is a HUGE no-no in what you say to a depressed person. Obviously she hasn't read the book. I just told her so, and....I am angry. I'm sorry, I need to finish this later.) Next day: The author, Jane Clayson Johnson is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and writes more toward that audience. She does this for several reasons which I will get into later. This book is very well written and very well researched and documented. The best and most poignant overall writing of the book, is the interviews she has with different people of all ages, genders, sexual-orientations, active members and less active members, race, etc. She does not discriminate between people, only the fact that the people she did interview are all members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. She does contain the subject of her writing to depression only, excluding other mental illnesses, but she states that other illnesses of the brain deserve just as much attention. I enjoyed this book because in the various interviews with those people suffering or who have suffered in the past with depression basically put into words feelings I have felt myself and haven't been able to adequately explain. People who have never experienced clinical depression really don't know what it feels like, though the ones who care do try to understand. It is debilitating! One can get to the point of not even being able to get out of bed. Taking a shower can be the one huge victory of the day and that alone zaps any energy we have mustered. Some people endure this stage for months, others less time. But the feelings are the same. One example she used was two sisters who both struggled with physical illnesses. The one sister had stage 4 cancer, the other was in deep clinical depression. Both had been hospitalized more than once. The one with depression was interviewed and she actually said she'd give anything to trade her sister places. Her sister would be flooded with flowers, cards, visitors, and well-wishes, whereas the sister with depression rarely or never got visitors, cards, flowers, or any recognition at all. She feels people just saying "there she goes again, back in the hospital!". This alone makes her depression even worse. Jane says that she really feels for these different people and the next time she heard that this lady was in the psychiatric hospital, she sent her a card and said "I know that you are here, really only on life support". And it's true! People don't think how devastating this illness really is! It does lead many to take their own lives. Some do make it to the hospital and get the help and medications they need, others just want to end their suffering. I remember several times thinking "nothing can be worse than the way I feel right now". Even knowing what I do about the Church and its stand on suicide and the hereafter. When in depression, we just don't care about anything! She talks about perfectionism. I know there are many people in the world, both in and out of this church who have this tendency. It is much more prevalent in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Even in the Bible, when Christ is talking about the beatitudes. He says lastly "be ye therefor perfect". And a lot of us take that literally! We believe that this is the time to prepare to meet God. This is our probationary state, this short mortality. This is our only chance we have to be better and become the person we are supposed to be, to become more like our Perfect Example, Jesus Christ. When we see all our faults, mistakes, and imperfections, it gets us down. Those who fall into perfectionism feel this even more. This can lead to depression. Statistically, Utah has a higher rate of people with depression than any other state, also statistically, it has the highest number of members of the Church residing here. This is not coincidental. We have a living Prophet and 12 living Apostles who lead and guide the Church. They receive revelation directly from God and issue His council to us as members for our life in these days. One Apostle, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland (who happens to be my personal favorite), spoke at a worldwide General Conference about this very subject. The title of his talk is "Be Ye Therefore Perfect...Eventually". It is excellent! It addresses all those who feel they have only this earthly life to become perfect. This isn't true! It's NOT what Christ had in mind when he commanded us to become perfect. He states that in Him, through His Atonement, we can repent of our sins and mistakes, try to be better, but we are human and will always fail in one way or another. Basically, the doctrine of the Church is try your best and rely on God's grace and Christ's love for the rest. Leave it to Him to make up the difference. He suffered for us so we don't have to suffer! So why do we put ourselves through this by trying to be perfect NOW? This is just unnecessary. I'm really glad she dedicated a whole chapter to just this one topic. She also speaks throughout the book about the stigma associated with mental illness. It is there and it IS VERY REAL! I'm sure you've heard about it, and maybe you feel a bit of it yourself or see it in others. This stigma can isolate those with mental illness even more. We feel ashamed to admit that we have a 'mental' problem, seemingly something we should be able to control. We think others think we are weak, have no will, aren't strong enough to face everyday challenges. This isn't true! I will say from my own experience and what I've learned in the last 22 years, that I AM A SURVIVOR! I don't believe I'm weak. I don't believe I can't face life's challenges like other people can. But I admit that in the times when the illness strikes, no, I can't even seem to face another day. I wish to sleep forever and never wake up. There are many other chapters she devotes to different types of depression, different symptoms and different coping mechanisms. She delves into post-partum depression. She relates depression that even those with higher callings like bishops and mission leaders suffer. She has interviewed them and shares their own insights on how they make it and they are still here. They are still alive. Depression can be taxing on loved ones, too. Especially those who just don't understand. It is NOT something someone currently suffering can "snap out of", "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" "pray more" "read your scriptures more" "you must be doing something wrong and this is your curse" and there are many more words of 'advice' that we are given. Most of the people giving this advice are our own family members or other loved ones. They don't know what they are saying. though they do mean well. One thing that Ms. Johnson stated, is that some members, WHILE suffering with depression actually become closer to the Spirit of God, they read their scriptures even more and pray more fervently than ever. But people don't know that. For example, what happened yesterday as I was attempting to write this and my mom sent the text, she actually said she could tell I wasn't doing well. Then she said "just try to focus more on the Savior and become more like Him". How does she know that I'm not trying? I hardly ever see her, maybe 2-3 times a year, hardly ever talk to her, and she has no idea what I do during the day or at night, alone. That is what made me angry. She didn't know. Consequently, I had mailed her the book back after highlighting and writing my thoughts in the margins. I thanked her for the book but said I think it is more for her to read than me. I already know how it feels. If she could read the thoughts of others, not just my own, maybe she would understand better. She says she is only trying to help and she tells that to everyone she knows who is struggling like I am. Well, I feel sorry for them. They wouldn't have the courage that I did to tell her just how much that would have hurt them even more. Made them feel more isolated and misunderstood. I feel badly about my anger and blaming her ignorance, but I want her to read the book at least in concern for others she knows who suffer and she has the good intentions to try to help but really doesn't know how. Basically, this book is for everyone! It is for the general public...to minimize at least a little, some of the stigma associated with mental illness. For family members and loved ones who have to deal with the person suffering from depression, and also those who have or have had depression in their lives to know that they aren't alone. Many other people suffer or have suffered, too. Most have made it or are making it through this struggle. (there were a couple instances in the book that the interviews were with the mothers of two teenagers who had committed suicide). I highly recommend this book. Now that I have raved and commended the book, I don't remember why I only gave it four stars, I'll see if I can change that. It is a five-star book. A necessary book. A must-read in my opinion. Take it for what it's worth.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Janna

    There is much to celebrate with the publication of this book: it's a conversation starter for the important discussions members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints need to have regarding depression; it calls out the toxic perfectionism in our culture as a force that complicates symptoms of depression; it addresses depression in missionaries and youth; it looks at suicide as an epidemic in society; and so much more. I love that topics are explored through the stories and experiences There is much to celebrate with the publication of this book: it's a conversation starter for the important discussions members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints need to have regarding depression; it calls out the toxic perfectionism in our culture as a force that complicates symptoms of depression; it addresses depression in missionaries and youth; it looks at suicide as an epidemic in society; and so much more. I love that topics are explored through the stories and experiences of the people the author interviewed for the book. It really helps combat the feeling of isolation depression engenders. And it also adds a good deal of straight-talk to the book—the details feel as dark and raw as depression does. A particularly helpful chapter discusses the spiritual implications of depression and the feeling of sheer abandonment from God that so often settles in with the disease. The author doesn't, of course, offer a cure for depression. This is not a self-help book. It is a book about the people who deal with depression and the hope and despair they feel in their journeys. I highly recommend it to those who have depression and for the parents, children, siblings, leaders, and others who love them.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lindsay Bartholomew

    I absolutely loved this book! I, myself, have struggled with depression and found so much hope and validation in this book. Jane is incredibly vulnerable as she shares her own personal battle with depression. She also does a wonderful job sharing other individual's stories of their struggle. She does a great job of sharing the realities of what people go through while suffering from depression, as well as offering nuggets of wisdom and hope. Even if you don't struggle with depression, chances ar I absolutely loved this book! I, myself, have struggled with depression and found so much hope and validation in this book. Jane is incredibly vulnerable as she shares her own personal battle with depression. She also does a wonderful job sharing other individual's stories of their struggle. She does a great job of sharing the realities of what people go through while suffering from depression, as well as offering nuggets of wisdom and hope. Even if you don't struggle with depression, chances are you know someone who does. It would be a great resource to help you understand what your loved one is going through, and how you might help. I highly recommend this book!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Amy Harding

    With an expert journalistic background, personal experience with depression, and a gift for connecting with the inner most parts of the human soul, Jane Clayson Johnson has captivated the core experience and intensity of emotions of suffering from mental illness in a whole and comprehensive way, specifically addressing the experience of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. As an over-all, but raw and close-up look at mental health struggles, every reader has the opportunit With an expert journalistic background, personal experience with depression, and a gift for connecting with the inner most parts of the human soul, Jane Clayson Johnson has captivated the core experience and intensity of emotions of suffering from mental illness in a whole and comprehensive way, specifically addressing the experience of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. As an over-all, but raw and close-up look at mental health struggles, every reader has the opportunity to understand mental illness, in all it's forms and severity, through personal accounts, yet within the context of gospel truths; to hear the the personal experiences of those who have suffered and those who love those who suffer; to understand the hope that is available from those (including a prophet, mission president, and missionaries) that have been able to endure, serve, and accomplish amazing things in their lives amidst the struggle with mental illness. Jane explores both the physiological and spiritual effects of mental illness, how loved ones can support those suffering from mental illness, as well as how we, as a culture, can better understand and support those that are struggling. I consider this a absolute must-read for everyone who wants to understand the modern epidemic of mental illness in an intimate way for the benefit of their loved ones, their children, their spouses, and themselves.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    Wonderful book about depression and the stigma that surrounds it. It shares moving stories from both caretakers and those suffering with it and highlights depression in different groups (ie youth, postpartum, missionaries, etc). Conversation about this illness needs to happen more and I feel this book is a step in that direction. A helpful book whether a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints or not.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Danica Holdaway

    An important book for EVERY, and I mean every, Latter Day Saint to read. We are all affected by mental illness and this LDS centered approach is so helpful.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Deyanne

    Stories are powerful and definitely an honest, open and vulnerable approach to depression is needed. I was hoping for more than story and the importance of sharing feelings.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    I applaud those who overcame the stigma surrounding mental illness to share their deeply personal stories. This book is real, raw, and needed. The chances are good that you know or love someone who is a “silent soul weeping,” secretly battling depression or other mental illness.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Susanhayeshotmail.com

    Excellent. Not a self help book but if you or someone you love has ever struggled with depression or mental illness you will find validation, empathy, and hope in these pages. The author does not flinch when addressing any aspect of depression, including the terrible, rapidly rising rates of suicide. Silent Souls Weeping is directed at members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and deals with some things specific to LDS culture, such as depression among missionaries, but I would Excellent. Not a self help book but if you or someone you love has ever struggled with depression or mental illness you will find validation, empathy, and hope in these pages. The author does not flinch when addressing any aspect of depression, including the terrible, rapidly rising rates of suicide. Silent Souls Weeping is directed at members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and deals with some things specific to LDS culture, such as depression among missionaries, but I would consider most of the content universal. Written with compassion and understanding based on her own personal descent into depression Jane Clayson Johnson has written a timely and much needed work. One of my favorite things was the observation in one of her interviews that when one is diagnosed with cancer people organize and find ways to help and support. Which is as it should be. When one is diagnosed with depression or mental illness it's .... chirping crickets. Granted, it sometimes can be hard to know how to help and support someone struggling with mental illness but we need to do better. Depression can be every bit as debilitating as chemo and radiation therapy. I had an older friend years ago who had what we would now call postpartum depression. She knew there was something wrong, something that far exceeded "the baby blues" of a sleep deprived new mother but she didn't know how to explain what was happening, how desperate she was becoming, and she didn't want anyone to think she was crazy even though she was certain she was standing on the edge of of an abyss clearly labeled crazy. She told me if days when people would come to the door and she would run to her room, put on her robe, wrap a towel around her head as if that would explain why she wasn't dressed at 3 in the afternoon and her house was a mess. Even as she made jokes about the baby keeping her perpetually exhausted to the point she didn't know what time of day it was she silently wondered what it would take for someone to see there was something wrong. Somehow she powered through on her own. The "blues" as she called it lifted, equilibrium was restored, she bonded with her baby, she started showering and washing her hair for real. How grateful I am that we are moving away from the stigmas of mental illness. We have some miles yet to travel but as we know better we can do better and I think Silent Souls Weeping can play a role. I would take away half a star because there is not much dealing with the connection between chronic pain or illness and depression. They are often so entangled. Pain, lack of sleep, the financial burden such illnesses represent, the limits such diseases can put on one's ability to work, play, and even socialize, when added to the knowledge and understanding that "chronic" means that there may be treatment but there is no cure, can be devastating. Yes, we've all read or watched the stories of people rising above their diagnosis and refusing to be limited by their disease, they are inspiring but I think there are far more people quietly and valiantly just struggling to keep themselves together while fighting cyclical bouts of depression. And they need our help. When we know better we must do better.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Summer Owens

    One of the many people Jane interviewed while writing this book was my husband. While he doesn't deal with mental illness first hand he's learned a lot about supporting a spouse through it. It has not been easy but we have both learned and grown together through this struggle. Please take the time to read this book. It offers hope to anyone struggling with mental anguish. It offers empathy to those looking on, wondering how to help. It is full of wisdom, beauty, and compassion.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Val

    When I hear people say "everyone should read this book" or "this book is a life-changer," I sometimes roll my eyes at what I am sure is exaggeration to increase book sales. It is with no exaggeration or book sales motive that I recommend THIS book unreservedly as a book everyone should read, and if everyone did, it would be a life-changer for the good for everyone. I would give it 6 stars if I could. I started reading this book the day after the funeral for my friend and long-time colleague who t When I hear people say "everyone should read this book" or "this book is a life-changer," I sometimes roll my eyes at what I am sure is exaggeration to increase book sales. It is with no exaggeration or book sales motive that I recommend THIS book unreservedly as a book everyone should read, and if everyone did, it would be a life-changer for the good for everyone. I would give it 6 stars if I could. I started reading this book the day after the funeral for my friend and long-time colleague who took his own life at age 53 after enduring the pains and unrelenting suffering of severe manic depression since his early youth. He was not my first friend to take his own life. One of my good friends since childhood took his own life 3 years ago, also as a result of severe depression. Both of these friends were members of my faith, and their suicides caused me to do a lot of searching, pondering, and praying about how we talk about depression and mental health in our faith, or more precisely, how we typically avoid talking about it openly and honestly as we should and NEED to do. This book is such a welcome addition to the slowly opening dialogue within the church about all forms of mental illness, but particularly depression, and not the temporary types but the long-term/permanent types that cannot be overcome with time, more prayer, more scripture study, or "pulling yourself up by your bootstraps." Although the author and the people she interviewed about mental illness and depression are members of one faith, most of the stories these depression sufferers and their families share with the author will resonate with people of most faiths or none. Yes, there are some chapters in the book that discuss (brilliantly) some aspects of depression that would be unique to members of one faith because of certain practices and expectations of that faith, but a reader of another faith could skip those chapters and still find the vast majority of this book exceptionally useful, touching, and honest in its efforts to help people with depression and those who are living with them and loving them through their darkest feelings. There is practical advice in this book for spouses, children, teens, church leaders, and friends who want to be helpful and minister to a family affected by mental health challenges but aren't sure what to do or what not to do. This is one reason I think everyone should read this book. Depression is the most widespread mental illness and the most likely to be encountered as you try to befriend and serve others. Recognizing signs, being aware and educated that severe long-term depression is an illness and not a choice or a consequence of choices, and what families go through when facing this illness can make ALL of us better prepared to serve each other in meaningful ways. The author talks openly and bluntly about aspects of our faith that can impact the mental health of its members. There is a portion on returned missionaries, especially those who return early for various reasons, and the feelings they experience that can be very detrimental to mental health. There are portions on things church leaders do or say that can help or hurt those who are enduring depression and other diagnosed mental illnesses. There are portions about ministering (aka visiting teach and home teaching) to individuals and families with mental illness challenges. There is a valuable portion on young mothers and the overwhelming feelings of guilt they can feel when their clinical depression keeps them from accomplishing everything every day that motherhood seems to require. SO much practical advice from real people sharing real experiences with the author, who they trust and know empathizes because of her own experience with clinical depression, which she shares in detail in this book. She helps readers differentiate between temporary "normal" bouts of depression such as post-partum or event-produced, and lasting long-term dangerous depression that indicates a mental illness that cannot be corrected to overcome without medical help. I really enjoyed the part where she describes interviewing her husband to get his perspective on when he first realized she had a serious illness and needed medical help. That discussion was so forthright and could be a model for how people need to talk about these issues with spouses and other family members. The chapter I wish everyone would read is the one on "perfection" and how our daily striving for it can play a significant role in our mental health if we do not have the right perspective of what "perfection" means or how soon we will be expected to achieve it (eternity is a LONG time, thankfully). The feelings of guilt and unhappiness at our imperfections can compound existing mental illness to drive one even deeper into despair. A lot of what the author discusses with her interviewees in this chapter explores similar themes that Elder Holland spoke about in his masterful discourse "Broken Vessels," but in much greater specificity and detail that will resonate with every church member, and likely with members of all faiths committed to constant daily striving to be more Christ-like or simply to be better examples of their faith, whatever it might be. The author interviewed more than 100 people and their stories are powerful, heartbreaking, courageous, and sometimes tragic. Yet that is what makes this book so important and effective. The greater tragedy would be if families experienced these heartbreaks and none of us learned from them so we can help someone else who may be on the same path. My review of this book could never give justice to how much I learned from it and how powerful it was to me at the time I read it. Everyone who reads this book will recognize in the stories shared someone they know right now who is suffering real depression. This book will be worth more than 5 stars to anyone who reads it, and could improve quality of life in families, or even save lives as readers become educated in depression as a real illness. The book is beautifully written. I highly recommend the audiobook, since the author is an award-winning journalist and a brilliant public speaker who personalized the issue of depression by giving voice to her own experiences and those of her interviewees.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Connie

    I came across this book just when I needed it. It's been a rough while for me. I just can't seem to shake the depression this time around. I loved her insight and honesty. There is a huge stigma with mental illness especially in my church. "All you have to do is; read your scriptures more, pray more, have more faith. Dust yourself off, pull yourself up by the bootstraps. And serve, serve, serve." Nope. Doesn't always work that way. I want to run from church screaming every time I hear that. I've I came across this book just when I needed it. It's been a rough while for me. I just can't seem to shake the depression this time around. I loved her insight and honesty. There is a huge stigma with mental illness especially in my church. "All you have to do is; read your scriptures more, pray more, have more faith. Dust yourself off, pull yourself up by the bootstraps. And serve, serve, serve." Nope. Doesn't always work that way. I want to run from church screaming every time I hear that. I've been doing all that plus medicated for a year and seeing a doctor weekly for the past six months. Mental illness sucks! This book is great for those struggling or those with family members who struggle. It's very helpful to know you're not alone and a lot of people are going through the same thing you are. *It's geared towards a Christian audience*

  13. 4 out of 5

    Becky Nelson

    I learned a lot for hearing other's depression stories but at the same time it made me depressed so I couldn't decide how many stars to give this book. I did like the suggestions on how to reach out to those with mental illness.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    This is an important book for all Church members to read. We need to learn to be more loving and supportive and less judgmental towards those with mental health struggles and their caregivers. We need to be more open about discussing depression so it becomes less stigmatized. It is incredible to read people's experiences in their own words--thanks for sharing your stories.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Lindquistheather

    I think this should be mandatory reading for the LDS community whether you struggle with depression yourself or you have a loved one who does. This was very helpful for me and my husband to read together.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    Jane Clayson Johnson sheds light on what it's like to suffer with depression. She interviewed many people and tells their stories. These are eye-opening examples that made me want to be a better disciple of Christ--noticing when someone might need someone to listen to them and care. She points out some important things we can do and shouldn't do to help. She also identifies some things in our culture that might make it more difficult for those with depression. I think it's important to understan Jane Clayson Johnson sheds light on what it's like to suffer with depression. She interviewed many people and tells their stories. These are eye-opening examples that made me want to be a better disciple of Christ--noticing when someone might need someone to listen to them and care. She points out some important things we can do and shouldn't do to help. She also identifies some things in our culture that might make it more difficult for those with depression. I think it's important to understand that those suffering with depression may not be able to feel the Spirit in the same way or for a time, and references to perfection or service or perseverance might not be helpful. This is an illness that should be treated like any other illness--the right doctor and the outpouring of love from those around. Sister Johnson discusses stigma, missions, postpartum depression, suicide, and how we can help. I was grateful for these insights. I think it's important to try to understand those around us and offer help and compassion. Here are some of my favorite quotes: "I seek to highlight that being marginalized or rejected, regardless of cause, aggravates depression--the greater the isolation, the more extreme the risk of serious, even life-threatening emotional health problems. This is a subject of great complexity (p. 2)." "For long stretches of time, I couldn't feel the Spirit. I did the right things: said my prayers, read my scriptures, and went to the temple. But I didn't feel anything. It was as if the most important part of my soul had been carved out of me. Why would God do that to me? Why would He allow it (p. 6)?" "They needed me--the real me, not this person whose mind had been hijacked by illness. I started taking an anti-depressant and seeing a cognitive behavioral therapist. Little by little at the start, and then more quickly, the chains began to loosen (p. 9)." "'Broken minds can be healed just the way broken bones and broken hearts are healed (Jeffrey R. Holland, p. 10).'" "'Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: 'What! You too? I thought I was the only one (C.S. Lewis, p. 13).'" "'The numbness was a lack of feeling, really, something akin to apathy (p. 14).'" "'I came to church during those months convinced that I was a hypocrite and terrified that others were going to catch on. I felt like all of my prayers were hitting a brick wall. It had been ages since I'd felt the Spirit. Surely it was a sign that I was unworthy (p. 15).'" "'You feel like God has abandoned you completely. You feel so estranged, so severed from His Spirit that you think, 'Why is this happening? Why am I abandoned; what did I do wrong (p. 17)?'" "What does it mean, many wonder, when that promised comfort seems beyond reach (p. 18)?" "'When you are depressed, believing you have failed at something regularly referred to as the 'plan of happiness' can very quickly generate despair (James D. MacArthur, p. 18).'" "'The spirit and the body are the soul of man.' The two are inextricably linked: what affects the body also affects the spirit (p. 18)." "'There's no question in my mind that our mental state and our emotional state can affect our spiritual state (p. 22).'" "'We don't always feel the Spirit in the same way (p. 23).'" "It's a lie the adversary loves and certainly hopes we will buy into: that each of us must suffer in solitude. The authentic connection you make when you share your story, and feel it resonate with another's, shatters this lie, bringing hope, comfort, and confirmation that your suffering is real and you are not alone (p. 24)." "Prayer is a powerful source of spiritual sustenance. It buoys us up, provides answers to questions, and is instrumental in fostering a relationship with our Savior. But it's not the only thing we can or must do to become spiritually strong. When we add scripture study, temple attendance, weekly repentance couple with partaking of the sacrament, and a regimen of obedience and structure in our daily lives, that relationship with the Savior is strengthened. The same is true of treatment for depression. Medication provides the traction...but it is rarely enough on its own. To really break through and reopen the circuits that allow the Spirit to flow more freely and restore our reception, we need a regimen of complementary tools and behaviors (p. 27)." "He tells us to lose our lives to save our lives (p. 27)." "Reaching out to and serving someone else established a connection not just with a fellow sojourner on the path of righteousness but to the love of our Savior (p. 28)." "Remembering is transformative... 'Remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things (p. 30).'" "'That doesn't mean God is dead or absent, or that God is mad at me. I just couldn't feel it right then and that might not be my fault (p. 32).'" "'I've learned I need to ask for blessings (p. 32).'" "Our suffering, our weakness, may not be taken away, but the Lord can use it to make us strong and to help us endure (p. 33)." "'I felt like I shouldn't need medication (p. 36).'" "'The Lord provides ways for us to overcome all of the obstacles that we have in this earthly existence...but it's not always the way we think it's going to be. A lot of times, it's through scientific discovery (p. 36).'" "'Depression is something that we don't talk about very much and that we sort of sweep under the rug...Those who struggle with it tend to hid as much as we can, because there is a feeling of shame or guilt, or even feeling broken, like you don't want people to know that you're broken (p. 37).'" "'I think we need to talk about it as 'brain health' instead of 'mental health (p. 38).''" "For the sister with cancer, 'there's been an outpouring of love and kindness and support and 'what can we do for you,' and donations to a fund to help pay for expenses and all of the things that are going to come.... For her sister with depression, however, there has been nothing anywhere close to this type of reaction (p. 39)." "'I'm afraid if someone asks how I'm doing, I will just begin to cry (p. 41).'" "Instead of thinking depression is a weakness within her, she sees it as an earthly struggle she has been asked to face (p. 42)." "''Master, who did sin, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?' The Master responded with love, a lesson, and a miracle: 'Neither hath this mane sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God might be made manifest in him (p. 43).'" "'This is an illness just like any other illness. You can say all the prayers you want and you can live completely righteously, but it doesn't necessarily mean that you're going to be healed of an illness. You might be.... But depression is a trial, and some of us simply have to endure this one (p. 44).'" "Life isn't really about being happy. It's about finding peace (p. 45)." "'If something is broken in your mind, go to the right doctor and go to God (p. 47).'" "Depression is a disease, not a spiritual deficit (p. 49)." "There is no judgment and no cause for shame. The Lord's love encompasses this ailment, and so does ours (p. 51)." "I had no idea how dangerous perfectionism can be (p. 52)." "The desire to be 'good enough' is debilitating for the depressed or anxious person (p. 59)." "'Brothers and sisters, every one of us aspires to a more Christlike life than we often succeed in living. If we admit that honestly and are trying to improve, we're not hypocrites; we're human (Jeffrey R. Holland, p. 60)." "'Turning to the Savior with faith in His atoning sacrifice to overcome our weaknesses is a process...and we will never overcome completely and fully in this life (p. 62).'" "'Perfection is pending (Russell M. Nelson, p. 63).'" "'The Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart (1 Samuel 16:7, p. 68).'" "Striving for eternal perfection of which the Savior speaks is not only worthwhile but also a commandment... the Savior wants us to succeed and makes it possible for us to do so. It is Satan who teaches the counterfeit of immediate perfection and rejoices when we declare ourselves failures for not accomplishing the impossible (p. 69)." "'We begin to believe that God's blessings to us will be withheld until we can earn our reward. Associated with this is Satan's lie that we can, and perhaps somehow must, do it entirely on our own without God's help (Janet Scharman, p. 69).'" "'Have ye any that are lame, or blind, or halt, or maimed, or leprous or that are withered, or that are deaf, or that are afflicted in any manner? Bring them hither and I will heal them (3 Nephi 17, p. 70).'" "The Savior already knows about our anxiety, our depression, our worry, our fear, our tendency to give up when we can't be perfect in every way. He knows it all. And He loves us anyway! Because of that love, there is hope--hope that the Atonement will take care of our imperfections and make us whole, or perfect, in His time (p. 72)." "'Our only hope for true perfection is in receiving it as a gift from heaven--we can't 'earn' it (p. 73).'" "'Depression can destroy the very essence of a teenager's personality (p. 75).'" "'People aren't as mean as you are to yourself (p. 83).'" "'Experts recommend full disclosure with children when one of their siblings suffers from a chronic illness, including depression... Talking openly about their sibling's depression...inviting them to ask questions and share their feelings...will not only reassure them that their sibling is being helped but will also destigmatize the illness (Dr. Esther Dechant, p. 86).'" "As members of the Church, we must be on the lookout for those within our congregations and communities who are coping with these exhausting demands (p. 87)." "Depression doesn't define you... you're still a beloved child of God even if, for a time, you can't feel His love (p. 88)." "'Always ask for help. Sometimes that's the hardest part (p. 89).'" "'He knows how to help us. When we rely on His understanding and when we put our faith in Him and we let Him do the work and we follow what He needs us to do, then that's when we realize it's going to be okay (p. 93).'" "'What can I do to help them get through this?... Surround them with people that would just love them (p. 96)'" "'The Lord can still use your if you are not 100 percent (p. 100).'" "'All the Lord requires of you is your best, and your best can change... Sometimes my best is getting out of bed (p. 100).'" "'She thought the Spirit would only make her do hard things that she didn't want to do. She thought that God only pushes us to do things that we don't want to do that are righteous, and that He would never tell us to do something that we enjoyed (Dr. Feinauer, p. 106).'" "Sleep is a wonderful thing (p. 108)." "God's love is powerful--it shines through each and every one of the interviews I've conducted for this book (p. 117)." "'The Savior is there and He makes every experience that we go through something that is actually quite beautiful, even though it can be really difficult in the moment. We just need to remember this (p. 131).'" "'We need to talk to each other and we need to give people the support they need when they're going through this (p. 133).'" "Depression and anxiety, coupled with perhaps a too-strong urge to be perfect, had convinced her that she would never measure up (p. 136)." "'The face that our heart yearns for something Earth can't supply is proof that Heaven must be our Home (C.S. Lewis, p. 141).'" "'We know, from all the statistics out there, that someone in the ward is hurting, someone is having suicidal thoughts in your ward. And as we come together as families, as churches, in a community, we can do better than we're doing now... There's an old sectarian notion that suicide is a sin and that someone who commits suicide is banished to hell forever. That is totally false (Dale G. Renlund, p. 143)!'" "It is not our place to judge (p. 146)." "'If you genuinely love the person, then you're willing to sit there with them, and you're willing to cry with them, and you're willing to hold them. And you do that in concert with healthcare professionals and with ecclesiastical leaders, with friend and family support. In most cases, people continue to have a burden. But the burden can be made lighter (Dale G. Renlund, p. 148).'" "There can be no dispute: nothing but love and compassion--totally devoid of judgment--should be bestowed upon individuals who live with and die from mental illness. You can never know what is going on inside a depressed person's head (p. 148)." "Depression destroys relationships from the outside in and from the inside out (p. 162)." "Telling a depressed person that things 'aren't as bad as they think they are,' urging them to lose themselves in church work or other service, reminding them of he power of prayer; all are as counterproductive to healing as shaming or threatening would be (p. 176)." "'I couldn't feel any hope; it was like a dead tree that had been cut off, but I knew the roots were there and at some point some life would come back'... Even though nothing is growing on top, there's life down there and it is the Savior (p. 178)." "So what can the Church--and we, specifically, as its members--do for those who are stuck with these invisible illnesses, depression in particular? Exactly the same as we do so well for people who are confined to visible wheelchairs and body casts, and what we do for the indigent, the lonely, and the bereft. We can withhold judgment and extend a helping hand (p. 182)." "'The best that bishops can do is be open and approachable and understanding and soft and sympathetic and encouraging and patient, because that's the bishop's role... they need to know they're going to be listened to; they need to know they're going to be understood... Bishop are advocates just like the Savior is our advocate (p. 187).'" "'Many of our brethren and sisters are on the plains with handcarts, and probably many are now seven hundred miles from this place, and they must be brought here, we must send assistance to them (Brigham Young, p. 193).'" "'I am thankful that we do not have brethren and sisters stranded in the snow, freezing and dying, while trying to get to...Zion... But there are people, not a few, whose circumstances are desperate and who cry out for help and relief (Gordon B. Hinckley, p. 194).'" "Among those who feel the most desperate, I believe, are those who suffer from mental illness. It is our privilege--and the essence of our discipleship--to bring them in. Because there is no cure for depression, we cannot rescue them in a way that heals them of their illness, but we can save them from being stranded alone int he winter of their pain (p. 194)." "'Everyone who is suffering...needs people to share with (p. 197).'"

  17. 5 out of 5

    Trent Mikesell

    I found this touching and powerful. Depression and anxiety are such a complex issue, and I love the reminders of mercy and love in the stories that she shares. We need to be merciful to others when they struggle and to ourselves when we struggle. This is primarily written for an audience of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but more broadly to all Christians and anyone who struggles with this issue and draws strength from and needs strength from God.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Dickson

    This book needs to be read by anyone who knows people. It can help all gain insight into how we can have empathy and understanding for those who suffer from the affects of all kinds of mental illness.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Ramona McConkie

    These are important stories that need to be told. I'm just not in love with the journalist format for this subject. It feels a little cavalier, even though Jane does a great job with this skill of hers. I really respect her. She is doing something very difficult, vulnerable, and authentic. And more discourse about this subject is so, so needed in the church. I'm grateful she wrote this.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Christina Hogewoning

    I am not a reader, and when I do actually read a book, I rarely get to the end. But I read this book in less than 5 days. I think this was especially powerful to me for a number of reasons. One being that Jane isn't a doctor or mental health specialist. Instead, she has dealt with depression, and I was able to relate to that. There is something about hearing personal stories from those who have struggled firsthand that makes what they have to say so much more meaningful. Two was simply the timing. I am not a reader, and when I do actually read a book, I rarely get to the end. But I read this book in less than 5 days. I think this was especially powerful to me for a number of reasons. One being that Jane isn't a doctor or mental health specialist. Instead, she has dealt with depression, and I was able to relate to that. There is something about hearing personal stories from those who have struggled firsthand that makes what they have to say so much more meaningful. Two was simply the timing. I've been struggling with depression for 15 years and counting. Recently I've been struggling with intense suicidal thoughts to the point that I had made a plan and set a date, both of which I had never previously done though I've had suicidal thoughts on and off for almost as long as I've dealt with depression. So to read this book while being in such a dark place was powerful. Three was simply Jane's goal to help start a conversation that is much needed right now. I have this burning desire to try to help others understand depression and suicidal ideation. And reading her book lit a fire within me. Knowing that I'm not alone in my want to spread awareness and end stigma made me realize how important this is... sharing experiences of mental illness, helping people understand, changing how people view those with mental illness, and being a voice for so many who can't share their personal stories for whatever reason. We have to do this. We have to start a conversation and rewrite the dialogue associated with mental illness. Four was the strength that comes from remembering you're not alone. Not only did Jane share her own story of dealing with depression, but she shared countless others. When you have depression, you feel completely and utterly alone. The reminder that others are going through similar things that you face is helpful. Five was the different perspectives on depression. From kids and teenagers to new mothers to return missionaries to those who are older. No category of people is exempt from this painful illness. Again, there is great strength that comes from realizing you are not alone. I could probably go on and on. My point is everyone needs to read this. Because it opens your mind whether you don't know anything about depression or you've suffered with it for 50 years. Everyone can take away something from this incredibly inspiring book. Please read it and share it! And let's keep opening the conversation on mental illness wider and wider!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Cherise

    “It’s a lie the adversary loves and certainly hopes we will buy into: that each of us must suffer in solitude. The authentic connection you make when you share your story, and feel it resonate with another’s, shatters this lie, bringing hope, comfort, and confirmation that your suffering is real and you are not alone.” “By seeing how many kinds of resilience and strength and imagination are to be found, one can appreciate not only the horror of depression but also the complexity of human vitality “It’s a lie the adversary loves and certainly hopes we will buy into: that each of us must suffer in solitude. The authentic connection you make when you share your story, and feel it resonate with another’s, shatters this lie, bringing hope, comfort, and confirmation that your suffering is real and you are not alone.” “By seeing how many kinds of resilience and strength and imagination are to be found, one can appreciate not only the horror of depression but also the complexity of human vitality. . . . All of us have stories, and the true survivors have compelling stories.” I believe that healing for those who suffer from depression begins when we listen to these stories, when we encourage those who tell them to speak out about their pain and share their vulnerability. It comes, too, when we are willing to be vulnerable along with them, to sit with them in their pain and, hopefully, draw them out of isolation. Each person I interviewed, and nearly every book and article I picked up on the topic, agreed that “depression will only intensify in the private cocoon we spin at our lowest.” As someone who suffers from anxiety and depression this book was comforting - and helped dispel the misunderstandings that surround mental disease.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Amber Spencer

    Abraham Lincoln, arguably one of the most influential men of the nineteenth century, experienced several documented periods of deep depression. At one point, he wrote to a friend: “I am now the most miserable man living. If what I feel were equally distributed to the whole human family, there would not be one cheerful face on earth. Whether I shall ever be better, I cannot tell; I awfully forbode I shall not. To remain as I am is impossible.” “Depression thrives in secrecy but shrinks in empathy. Abraham Lincoln, arguably one of the most influential men of the nineteenth century, experienced several documented periods of deep depression. At one point, he wrote to a friend: “I am now the most miserable man living. If what I feel were equally distributed to the whole human family, there would not be one cheerful face on earth. Whether I shall ever be better, I cannot tell; I awfully forbode I shall not. To remain as I am is impossible.” “Depression thrives in secrecy but shrinks in empathy.” “Never forget: ‘All your losses will be made up to you in the resurrection, provided you continue faithful. By the vision of the Almighty I have seen it,’ said the Prophet Joseph Smith, who knew more about anguish, disappointment, and spiritual affliction than most.” I never thought I would say it, but I am grateful for this journey of depression, and especially for these last two years, during which I became privy to the shared stories of so many remarkable, brave, resilient, compassionate, and merciful people I met along the way. God lives and loves us. He has offered His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, to be our Savior. And it is not only ultimate salvation of which we speak: Jesus is saving us every day. He has borne our sorrows. He visits us in our afflictions. We are privileged to be His ministers. This I know now more than ever.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Elsie

    This is a must read, whether you or someone you know suffers from mental disability. This book will expand your understanding and your compassion for you and others. Written by a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, she discusses issues unique to members of her faith but also issues that span humanity. Depression is a disease not unlike diabetes or cancer. But whereas others will flock to help you with a broken leg or breast cancer, many do not know how to help someone with This is a must read, whether you or someone you know suffers from mental disability. This book will expand your understanding and your compassion for you and others. Written by a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, she discusses issues unique to members of her faith but also issues that span humanity. Depression is a disease not unlike diabetes or cancer. But whereas others will flock to help you with a broken leg or breast cancer, many do not know how to help someone with mental illness. Perhaps we change the name to Brain Health but we need to let go of the stigma of mental illness to really help the individual and even search to find help for ourselves.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Mommywest

    Through the power of story, those who struggle with depression and don’t know where to turn, or who feel alone and afraid to share their burdens, as well as those who love the depressed, will find enlightenment, knowledge, understanding, and hope. There are so many people who get you, who know what this is like. And there is help and a way up. Readers should know that the stories and information in this book are aimed at and come from the perspective of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of L Through the power of story, those who struggle with depression and don’t know where to turn, or who feel alone and afraid to share their burdens, as well as those who love the depressed, will find enlightenment, knowledge, understanding, and hope. There are so many people who get you, who know what this is like. And there is help and a way up. Readers should know that the stories and information in this book are aimed at and come from the perspective of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and even a few former members, but the principles in the book could apply to people of many faiths and beliefs. Truly one of the most excellent books I have ever read.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Lauren Perotto

    Everyone needs to read this book. Whether you’ve struggled with depression or mental illness yourself, or you know someone who has, the insights are so helpful and encouraging. This book would be especially helpful for church leaders, parents, or loved ones of those who struggle. It is not a self help book, or a how-to. It’s not written by medical professionals. It’s a compilation of stories and insights from real people who have really been there. Well written and researched. The goal is not to Everyone needs to read this book. Whether you’ve struggled with depression or mental illness yourself, or you know someone who has, the insights are so helpful and encouraging. This book would be especially helpful for church leaders, parents, or loved ones of those who struggle. It is not a self help book, or a how-to. It’s not written by medical professionals. It’s a compilation of stories and insights from real people who have really been there. Well written and researched. The goal is not to “fix” but to understand and to love. This book will help you do that. And if you’re the one struggling, it will give you hope and let you know you’re NOT alone.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jenny

    This is a great book for anyone who suffers with depression or knows someone who does (which is probably most people). It is not a scientific discussion, but (like the title states) a sharing of many stories. I think having done it that way helps you realize a few things: 1) How widespread depression is 2) How it needs to be recognized as illness 3) How someone with depression's behavior is more "normal" than you thought. It's not an easy read, simply because of the subject matter. But Jane Johnson This is a great book for anyone who suffers with depression or knows someone who does (which is probably most people). It is not a scientific discussion, but (like the title states) a sharing of many stories. I think having done it that way helps you realize a few things: 1) How widespread depression is 2) How it needs to be recognized as illness 3) How someone with depression's behavior is more "normal" than you thought. It's not an easy read, simply because of the subject matter. But Jane Johnson has a way with words that does flow easily. Highly recommend!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan Plowman

    Jane Clayson Johnson has obviously conducted a great deal of research in delivering this book, which provides hope, perspective, and understanding of an illness still attached to so much stigma in our day. Especially insightful for me were the chapters on missionaries and depression, postpartum depression, and toxic perfectionism (we Latter-day Saints really love that one, don’t we?). I would recommend this to sufferers of depression as well as their loved ones and friends alike.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Denise

    I think this should be on the required reading list for everyone. If you suffer from depression, it will give you hope. If you don't have any idea what depressions is all about, it will help you understand those who do. Jane Clayson Johnson did extensive research and writes in a style that keeps your interest. She interviewed lots of different people and shares their stories, some of whom you will recognize.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Tonya

    We all have experience with depression, whether our own or those we love. This book is good for either. It is especially relevant and helpful for depression within the LDS culture. I liked how the chapters were organized and I was going to list the ones I particularly liked, but really they were all good. I love this author and would love to meet her or hear her speak someday.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kasi

    While I feel this book sheds valuable light on a very important topic, I felt like it was so full of individual stories they became somewhat redundant. In the end I still didn’t have a take home what to do about it for those I love.

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