In A Culture That Strives For Happiness And Perfection, Depression And Mental Illness Are Often Surrounded By Stigma, Misunderstanding, And Endless Questions In Silent Souls Weeping, Bestselling Author And Nationally Recognized Journalist Jane Clayson Johnson Hopes To Change The LDS Dialogue And Cultural Stigmas Surrounding Mental Illness She Vulnerably Shares Her Own Experience With Depression Along With The Experiences Of Many Other Latter Day Saints, Offering Support To Those Suffering And Understanding To Those Loving Someone With Depression

10 thoughts on “Silent Souls Weeping

  1. says:

    My mom bought me this book as she thought it would help me out in my life at this time.This book is about General Depression, as in clinical depression that often creeps up on most of humanity at some point in our lives It isn t the lows of life, that down feeling you get under certain circumstances happening at some time, it is really about the mental illness, or brain disease , as she calls it Because that s what it is She explains in detail how it is NO different than diabetes or cancer or other physical maladies and diseases It just haunts the brain itself and the part of the brain that houses emotions Depression is usually caused by dysfunction of certain neurotransmitters in the brain Just like dysfunctions in other parts of the body, it needs to be addressed Many times certain medications can help with the symptoms though it can be difficult and take time to find the right one s to work for each individual, this coupled with therapy individual, group, and family Also, she notes that one of the most effective and important healing and comfort for those suffering from this illness is just talking about it with other people who try to understand Even if they ve never experienced it themselves, they have a listening ear, sympathy and love This can have great positive effects on the depressed person The author, Jane Clayson Johnson is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and writes toward that audience She does this for several reasons which I will get into later This book is very well written and very well researched and documented The best and most poignant overall writing of the book, is the interviews she has with different people of all ages, genders, sexual orientations, active members and less active members, race, etc She does not discriminate between people, only the fact that the people she did interview are all members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints She does contain the subject of her writing to depression only, excluding other mental illnesses, but she states that other illnesses of the brain deserve just as much attention.I enjoyed this book because in the various interviews with those people suffering or who have suffered in the past with depression basically put into words feelings I have felt myself and haven t been able to adequately explain People who have never experienced clinical depression really don t know what it feels like, though the ones who care do try to understand It is debilitating One can get to the point of not even being able to get out of bed Taking a shower can be the one huge victory of the day and that alone zaps any energy we have mustered Some people endure this stage for months, others less time But the feelings are the same One example she used was two sisters who both struggled with physical illnesses The one sister had stage 4 cancer, the other was in deep clinical depression Both had been hospitalized than once The one with depression was interviewed and she actually said she d give anything to trade her sister places Her sister would be flooded with flowers, cards, visitors, and well wishes, whereas the sister with depression rarely or never got visitors, cards, flowers, or any recognition at all She feels people just saying there she goes again, back in the hospital This alone makes her depression even worse Jane says that she really feels for these different people and the next time she heard that this lady was in the psychiatric hospital, she sent her a card and said I know that you are here, really only on life support And it s true People don t think how devastating this illness really is It does lead many to take their own lives Some do make it to the hospital and get the help and medications they need, others just want to end their suffering I remember several times thinking nothing can be worse than the way I feel right now Even knowing what I do about the Church and its stand on suicide and the hereafter When in depression, we just don t care about anything She talks about perfectionism I know there are many people in the world, both in and out of this church who have this tendency It is much prevalent in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Even in the Bible, when Christ is talking about the beatitudes He says lastly be ye therefor perfect And a lot of us take that literally We believe that this is the time to prepare to meet God This is our probationary state, this short mortality This is our only chance we have to be better and become the person we are supposed to be, to become like our Perfect Example, Jesus Christ When we see all our faults, mistakes, and imperfections, it gets us down Those who fall into perfectionism feel this even This can lead to depression Statistically, Utah has a higher rate of people with depression than any other state, also statistically, it has the highest number of members of the Church residing here This is not coincidental We have a living Prophet and 12 living Apostles who lead and guide the Church They receive revelation directly from God and issue His council to us as members for our life in these days One Apostle, Elder Jeffrey R Holland who happens to be my personal favorite , spoke at a worldwide General Conference about this very subject The title of his talk is Be Ye Therefore PerfectEventually It is excellent It addresses all those who feel they have only this earthly life to become perfect This isn t true It s NOT what Christ had in mind when he commanded us to become perfect He states that in Him, through His Atonement, we can repent of our sins and mistakes, try to be better, but we are human and will always fail in one way or another Basically, the doctrine of the Church is try your best and rely on God s grace and Christ s love for the rest Leave it to Him to make up the difference He suffered for us so we don t have to suffer So why do we put ourselves through this by trying to be perfect NOW This is just unnecessary I m really glad she dedicated a whole chapter to just this one topic She also speaks throughout the book about the stigma associated with mental illness It is there and it IS VERY REAL I m sure you ve heard about it, and maybe you feel a bit of it yourself or see it in others This stigma can isolate those with mental illness even We feel ashamed to admit that we have a mental problem, seemingly something we should be able to control We think others think we are weak, have no will, aren t strong enough to face everyday challenges This isn t true I will say from my own experience and what I ve learned in the last 22 years, that I AM A SURVIVOR I don t believe I m weak I don t believe I can t face life s challenges like other people can But I admit that in the times when the illness strikes, no, I can t even seem to face another day I wish to sleep forever and never wake up There are many other chapters she devotes to different types of depression, different symptoms and different coping mechanisms She delves into post partum depression She relates depression that even those with higher callings like bishops and mission leaders suffer She has interviewed them and shares their own insights on how they make it and they are still here They are still alive Depression can be taxing on loved ones, too Especially those who just don t understand It is NOT something someone currently suffering can snap out of , pull yourself up by your bootstraps pray read your scriptures you must be doing something wrong and this is your curse and there are many words of advice that we are given Most of the people giving this advice are our own family members or other loved ones They don t know what they are saying though they do mean well One thing that Ms Johnson stated, is that some members, WHILE suffering with depression actually become closer to the Spirit of God, they read their scriptures even and pray fervently than ever But people don t know that Basically, this book is for everyone It is for the general publicto minimize at least a little, some of the stigma For family members and loved ones who have to deal with the person suffering from depression, and also those who have or have had depression in their lives to know that they aren t alone Many other people suffer or have suffered, too Most have made it or are making it through this struggle there were a couple instances in the book that the interviews were with the mothers of two teenagers who had committed suicide I highly recommend this book.Now that I have raved and commended the book, I don t remember why I only gave it four stars, I ll see if I can change that It is a five star book A necessary book A must read in my opinion Take it for what it s worth.

  2. says:

    There is much to celebrate with the publication of this book it s a conversation starter for the important discussions members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints need to have regarding depression it calls out the toxic perfectionism in our culture as a force that complicates symptoms of depression it addresses depression in missionaries and youth it looks at suicide as an epidemic in society and so much .I love that topics are explored through the stories and experiences of the people the author interviewed for the book It really helps combat the feeling of isolation depression engenders And it also adds a good deal of straight talk to the book the details feel as dark and raw as depression does A particularly helpful chapter discusses the spiritual implications of depression and the feeling of sheer abandonment from God that so often settles in with the disease The author doesn t, of course, offer a cure for depression This is not a self help book It is a book about the people who deal with depression and the hope and despair they feel in their journeys I highly recommend it to those who have depression and for the parents, children, siblings, leaders, and others who love them.

  3. says:

    I absolutely loved this book I, myself, have struggled with depression and found so much hope and validation in this book Jane is incredibly vulnerable as she shares her own personal battle with depression She also does a wonderful job sharing other individual s stories of their struggle She does a great job of sharing the realities of what people go through while suffering from depression, as well as offering nuggets of wisdom and hope Even if you don t struggle with depression, chances are you know someone who does It would be a great resource to help you understand what your loved one is going through, and how you might help I highly recommend this book

  4. says:

    This book really gets to the heart of mental health issues in the LDS community Contains much helpful info and hope as well Just wish it hadn t taken so long for our people to be open about these very common situations A must read

  5. says:

    With an expert journalistic background, personal experience with depression, and a gift for connecting with the inner most parts of the human soul, Jane Clayson Johnson has captivated the core experience and intensity of emotions of suffering from mental illness in a whole and comprehensive way, specifically addressing the experience of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints As an over all, but raw and close up look at mental health struggles, every reader has the opportunity to understand mental illness, in all it s forms and severity, through personal accounts, yet within the context of gospel truths to hear the the personal experiences of those who have suffered and those who love those who suffer to understand the hope that is available from those including a prophet, mission president, and missionaries that have been able to endure, serve, and accomplish amazing things in their lives amidst the struggle with mental illness Jane explores both the physiological and spiritual effects of mental illness, how loved ones can support those suffering from mental illness, as well as how we, as a culture, can better understand and support those that are struggling I consider this a absolute must read for everyone who wants to understand the modern epidemic of mental illness in an intimate way for the benefit of their loved ones, their children, their spouses, and themselves.

  6. says:

    One of the many people Jane interviewed while writing this book was my husband While he doesn t deal with mental illness first hand he s learned a lot about supporting a spouse through it It has not been easy but we have both learned and grown together through this struggle Please take the time to read this book It offers hope to anyone struggling with mental anguish It offers empathy to those looking on, wondering how to help It is full of wisdom, beauty, and compassion.

  7. says:

    It is good to not feel alone Jane is incredibly candid with her journey through depression, as are the many people whose stories she shares Having family members who suffer from anxiety and depression, I have become convinced that the only way to remove the stigma from mental health and for those suffering to receive the help they need is to bring it out in the open There is too much suffering in silence I have a friend whose mother committed suicide because of depression I have several friends whose children have attempted suicide My daughter has dealt with both cancer and depression, and I believe that the cancer was by far the easier of the two to deal with Navigating the mental health treatment labyrinth is extremely difficult and slow Things need to change, but that will only happen when we bring it out in the open, when we remove the shame and silence that surround it I listened to the audiobook, which was fabulous Jane narrated it and it felt very personable.

  8. says:

    Wonderful book about depression and the stigma that surrounds it It shares moving stories from both caretakers and those suffering with it and highlights depression in different groups ie youth, postpartum, missionaries, etc Conversation about this illness needs to happen and I feel this book is a step in that direction A helpful book whether a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints or not.

  9. says:

    An important book for EVERY, and I mean every, Latter Day Saint to read We are all affected by mental illness and this LDS centered approach is so helpful.

  10. says:

    Stories are powerful and definitely an honest, open and vulnerable approach to depression is needed I was hoping for than story and the importance of sharing feelings.