View from the bottom of the well
By Karen Thodsen
The story is almost a contradiction in terms – humour and depression. It is the story of a middle-aged woman working and interacting with colleagues and friends, struggling not to offend or be offended in return while her mental state slowly disintegrates. The narrative is interwoven with facts and research and the darker moments lightened with wry humour.
Ffion Delaney lives alone with her cat Sukey, she has a very interesting and responsible job in education and a handsome man in her life. Recently she has developed a fascination with obituaries – reading other people’s and writing her own! Ffion soon realises that her new found obsession, her growing lack of interest in her new relationship and her inability to concentrate on her work are symptoms of something serious.
Karen Thodsen’s latest book chronicles Ffion’s struggle against the onset of depression with great honesty and compassion. The feelings of complete helplessness and the desire to retreat from all human contact are movingly expressed, as Ffion falls deeper and deeper into her well of depression, until she reaches the bottom and can finally look up and see the light above.
Even though the subject matter in this book is serious, there is still some humour that comes through dealing with children and teachers in Ffion’s working life.
View from the bottom of the well describes the desolation of depression in a clear and unsentimental way and will greatly enhance the reader’s understanding of this very common illness.
HOW TO BUY?
Publisher: Austin Macauley Publishers
Cost: £5.99 (approx AU$11.00)
Where to Purchase: Online via Austin Macauley, Foyles, or Amazon
Book Details: 120 pages, Paperback
QUESTIONS ASKED IN AUSTIN MACAULEY PUBLISHERS’ INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR
I heard a doctor talking about antidepressants. He described depression as like being at the bottom of a well and the antidepressants as being the rungs of a ladder to help one climb out.
Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?:
Women in general because we often relate to a negative self image; teachers because they can relate to the situations described in the book about the classroom and staffroom; as well as anyone who has suffered from or knows someone who has depression because the book gives an insight into the mindset of a depressed person. Also included are facts and how research has affected the way depression is treated.
Is there any lesson or moral you hope your story might reveal to those who read it?:
That it is possible to laugh at oneself even when one is depressed. With resilience and determination there is hope of recovery.
For the full interview please click on the Title link above.
I found this book very easy to read, understand and relate to, as such I think it would be suited to any mature age group, particularly females, as it is written from this perspective.
Although this is a fictional story, you can clearly see that the writer has a deep understanding of what it can be like for people who experience, or think they may have, depression or depressive episodes.
The book explores what it is like for someone with depression to manage day to day tasks, the extreme thoughts that can come from depression, and the people or events around them.
It also briefly discusses some of the available information regarding studies on depression and the available treatments.
I would recommend View from the Bottom of the Well both to anyone who is unsure if they have depression and those with a clinical diagnosis of depression, as well as to anyone else who wishes to develop an understanding of what it can be like to live with depression.
NikSSC – 18/12/2014