9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars
Balancing Research with Realities, April 11 2007
During the past 2 ' years, I had tried almost every treatment possible to combat my post-partum depression (which had subsequently developed into a period of major general depression) with little or no success. It was only after coming across Dr. Whiffen's research and theories that I began the slow process to recovery.
Whiffen's book is an important read for both depressed women and individuals supporting depressed women. She demonstrates how depression can develop, what it means to be depressed, how particular life stressors can trigger a period of depression, and the vicious cycle that many depressed individuals encounter when addressing the condition. This book taught me that while life is often stressful, normal stress doesn't lead to depression. In addition, the book emphasized that women experience more of the types of stress that often lead to depression, such as chronic or interpersonal stress.
I particularly appreciated the depth of research and references provided in each section to substantiate her arguments, coupled with examples of real-life experiences by former clients. In this way, I was able to rationalize and explore the root causes contributing to my depression. The questions for reflection at the end of each section were helpful for such personal exploration. Equally important, I was able to identify with various aspects of the examples she provided and see my experience reflected and emotions validated through the depressed women in the book.
Having experienced a serious bout of post-partum depression, this was the first book I've read that suggested hormones do not directly cause us to become depressed, even post-partum. There are almost always other factors at play. This was an important realization for me as I was not responding significantly to anti-depressant medication.
Whiffen's book allowed me to release much of the guilt that I carried as a result of my condition, to come to terms with experiences from my past, and to modify the way in which I view my relationships with those individuals most important to me. Most importantly, the book taught me coping mechanisms, such as seeking out a "confidante," to deal with stressful situations that cause or may lead to depression.
I would highly recommend this book to any woman seeking a deeper-level of understanding of her condition and herself as part of the slow process to recovery. It certainly helped me rebuild my self-confidence and the belief that even through my years of darkness and sadness, a strong woman, mother and partner survived.