Posted by Literary Titan
From The Shadows describes your personal journey through some very trying times. Why was this an important book for you to write?
I want people struggling with depression to know there’s hope. My message to them is: if you’re depressed, you’re not alone, you’re not crazy, and you can obtain lasting happiness.
The last thing I thought I’d share publicly was my journey into and out of despair. But writing this story uncovered a passion I buried forty-eight years earlier. By recounting and working through my most painful mistakes and memories, I discovered meaning and renewed purpose. I now experience joyfulness and self-love beyond my wildest dreams. I share all the steps I took so others can follow my path and find healing, too.
You were able to take a deep look at your depression, explaining its breadth and depth. What are some common misconceptions you feel people have about depression?
First, most articles focus on the sadness, but for me, depression also felt hostile. I remember constant self-loathing over the past, hopelessness about the future, and emptiness in the present.
Next, depression isn’t only about a person who’s stuck in bed. For years, I contended with high-functioning depression, or dysthymia. To the casual observer, I seemed healthy, but I wasn’t. Many times, I wanted to sleep and never wake up. But, I crawled out of bed every day and went to work pretending everything was peachy.
Last, depression is more common than many realize, surpassing all other disabilities. According to the World Health Organization, one in five people will suffer at some point. When I talk about my triumph, so many people privately tell me about their own or a loved one’s battle against depression that I wonder whether the one-in-five estimate is too low. Few admit to their condition because of the crushing stigma. Perhaps resources like my book can shift reader’s perceptions from judgment to empathy.
I felt like this emotional book was ultimately uplifting. What do you hope readers take away from this book?
If you’re combatting depression, I hope my insights from the trenches encourage your healing and self-love.
If you’re not, I hope by revealing the chaos my disorder caused, it furthers your understanding and compassion.
Either way, my wish is that sharing my intimate story serves as inspiration.
What is the next book you are writing and when will it be available?
Currently, I’m working on two books for release within the year. The first is Escaping the Shadows, a poetry collection. The second is Beyond the Shadows: The Light Within. It provides an even deeper dive into I how I healed my motherhood guilt. I share the ways I found forgiveness for myself and my molester to reclaim innocence lost and cement self-love.
Offering hope and healing, the author retraces her beautiful transformation from suicidal despair to habitual happiness, sprinkling each step with soul-stirring original poetry and journal excerpts.
For decades, she hid her chronic depression from everyone, including herself, until hitting a crisis point. She seemed successful and happy to all, except her closest confidantes; they knew the anguish she wished to end by killing herself. Through self-exploration, she found a pathway to conquer the pain.
In From the Shadows, she shares the questions she confronted, unearths her root causes, and presents a map out of the mire. Finally, she unlocks inner wealth by facing phantoms holding long forgotten keys to her past.
Joining in her journey, you may uncover a few treasures of your own.
Posted in Interviews
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Posted by Literary Titan
In the book, From the Shadows: A Journey of Self-Discovery and Renewal, author Elizabeth Onyeabor introduces her audience to the sum of her parts, figuratively speaking, and takes the reader through the journey of her life. Readers meet the youthful, bright-eyed, big-hearted, trusting Beth who she has left locked away for decades, and her counterpart, a less trusting and icier persona, Liz, who she adopts abruptly at the beginning of her teen years. Liz is described as the mask that gets her through every day. Liz is the person that coworkers and social media contacts know. She is also painfully drowning in depression. Her only hope of becoming a whole person again is to reconcile with the girl she locked out so many years ago.
Onyeabor’s reflective journey is written as a narrative, a journal, and a collection of poems rolled into one piece. I personally prefer the narratives to the more metaphorical parts of the book. I can identify more with her real-life stories and experiences. However, I do recognize the importance of her poetry. It is cathartic for her. It is a therapeutic release. It is her outlet. It is necessary.
The author dives very deep into her depression, explaining its breadth and depth. She explains how she feels and why. She describes the magnitude of her sorrow, guilt, shame, obsession, self-deprecation, and even suicidal tendencies. I’ve been lucky enough not to be able to fully comprehend being in such a depressed state, but it gives insight to the reader about what it must be like. It is obviously a constant battle for someone dealing with this degree of depression to keep her head above water. I’m sure those who are prone to depression would take solace in knowing there is someone out there who understands, and that they are not alone in the quagmire that Onyeabor describes.
In my eyes, Onyeabor is your typical wife and mother who makes sure everyone is taken care of, everyone but herself. Also, typical of mothers and women in general, she places the blame for literally everything that could possibly go wrong in her entire family on herself. She is the fixer. She feels like anything that is broken happened by her own hands. She also feels like she has the responsibility of sweeping up the broken pieces, dusting them off, and perfectly gluing them all back together. The problem is that nothing is ever perfect. She continues to chase perfection anyway. Never hitting that mark feeds her depression.
Another identifiable theme throughout the book is striving for spiritual perfection. Readers will see themselves in this struggle as old as time itself. Good vs. evil. We are often our own harshest judges in this aspect as well. She holds herself to unreachable standards. That perfection thing never quite happens, and it leaves Onyeabor feeling like a sinner at times.
I did find myself at times questioning how someone who seemed to have it all could be so depressed. I guess that’s the point. Living in exotic places, vacationing in Paris, having a successful job, raising independent kids. Those things aren’t always enough. Those things are sometimes painted façades stretched across crumbling buildings. I also feel for her family. It couldn’t have been easy for them to never hit that perfect mark either, and to feel helpless. They wanted to help her. They just couldn’t. It’s a personal choice to stay in the dark caves you’re accustomed to or to step out into the light. It’s a long walk. A journey. I cheered her on for deciding to take those first steps.
I am giving this book 4 out of 5 stars. It is written well, but can feel repetitive. There are also a lot of breaks in the flow due to the poetry entries. Over all, I think it could be very useful to readers dealing with depression. It will give them strength to pursue their passions and hope that there are brighter days on the horizon.
Pages: 208 | ASIN: B01MTKFS9U
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