This memoir chronicles the story of one woman’s courageous battle with depression and how, rather than destroying her life, the crippling disease ended up improving it.
Keiffer (Word-Temple Person, 2007, etc.) seemed to have it all. She held an enviable position at a prestigious advertising agency; she had a husband who loved her; and she had a well-behaved, lovable teenage son and a slew of loyal friends. It was hard to fathom, then, why she began slipping into a deep depression, which left her feeling not only incapacitated and weak, but also suicidal. Keiffer’s battle with depression began when she started feeling extreme pressure to succeed at a fast-paced ad agency in San Francisco. As her main priority shifted to doing better and better at work, she began to notice that she felt odd, “like a visitor from another planet”—lethargic, disinterested in food and no longer able to find enjoyment. She also had an inexplicable rash on her body. Eventually, Keiffer realized she had reached a place where she was no longer able to function, and she took leave from her job, going from her own bedroom to a hospital to a supportive friend’s home to try to recuperate. Keiffer’s book chronicles her excruciating journey, from the fall into depression through the climb out of it. As she explains in her introduction, “I will take you down into the abyss of my depression with the truest words I can find. And I will leave nothing out—not the chaos of the fall, the deadening despair, nor the love that was a candle in my darkness.” Keiffer focuses much of her story on the pulls of feminine and masculine instincts inside of her (labeling these instincts “Valentine” and “Duke,” respectively), and she explains how this conflict exacerbated her depression. Her book offers not only a brutally honest account of what it feels like to deal with depression, but also the hopeful and optimistic story of overcoming it.
A candid memoir about the toll depression can take on body, mind and spirit, offering hope for sufferers and their loved ones.