According to Statistics Canada, eight per cent of adult Canadians will experience depression at some point in their lives. Yet most of them, particularly if they're Christians, won't seek help for fear of being judged.
Sharon Fawcett's debut book, Hope for Wholeness, stems from a nine-year battle with depression in which the mother of two learned to embrace, and subsequently let go of her disease. As she writes, "I hope you will come to understand that depression is not an enemy trying to rob you of life but rather an opportunity for self-examination and spiritual growth."
Before she could get better, Fawcett says she had to erase the stigma associated with depression--that is, as a character flaw or weakness. "I thought that followers of Christ were supposed to live like walking billboards, advertising perfect, painless lives as the product of a relationship with Christ. I gave all I had to projecting the victorious image, but the truth was that deep inside I was one of the messy ones."
It was only after accepting who she truly was that Fawcett could begin to recover, with God as her helper.
"Many hope depression will pass," she writes. "They hope they'll be able to overcome it on their own by trying harder, thinking happier, praying longer. They hope God will see their suffering and choose to heal them. But hope is not a plan. Hope is important -- it's essential to surviving the illness -- but you need more. You need treatment. You need counsel. You need help."
Within the pages of this book Fawcett painstakingly details every leg of her journey with raw, emotion-filled stories. These personal anecdotes are intermingled with Scripture, examples of Biblical characters who battled depression, and inspirational stories meant to motivate and uplift the reader.
"I've experienced this miraculous transformation, though it was a long process and I needed a lot of help. It took the insight of a trained Christian counselor -- and divine illumination from the Holy Spirit -- for me to identify and renounce the lies that had held me in bondage for three decades. Be encouraged that if I can lose my baggage, you can too."
Review by Emily Wierenga, author of 'Save My Children--The story of a father's love.'