Rob Sheppard never thought he would have a serious depression. Of course, being a man of his generation, the baby boomers, he figured he was “smart” enough to deal with the stresses and challenges of life ... or at least that's what he thought.
But serious depression did strike. Men of his generation also typically don’t talk about such things. Whether he liked it or not, admitted it or not, Rob found out what it was like to suffer the pain and discomfort of depression. He found out first hand that serious depression is no fun. It keeps you from you.
He felt a need to be honest right away. He realized that when you get really depressed, you start thinking of yourself as a little crazy, and maybe that was also true in terms of your thinking then. So he figured that if someone can read about a person like him who is as crazy or crazier than they are, that might help. And if that includes witnessing someone who is as crazy or crazier than you are grow out of depression, that seemed even better.
Depressed people can be a problem for folks who are not depressed. The latter start thinking they have the answers for those who are. They want to “fix” that depressed person, especially if they are close to them. But such fixes rarely work and are often more of a problem than any kind of help. This book might also help people who are not depressed understand more of the hard work it takes to get out of depression.
People are all built differently. Some are more susceptible to depression than others. Looking back, Rob can see that he had always been susceptible to depression, but he had learned a resiliency and some coping mechanisms (not all good) that helped him for a very long time. The depression that really hit him hard was debilitating at times, but in dealing with it, he was forced to look at his life and his work differently. That was painful at times, but Rob feels it was well worth the effort.
Growing out of depression (and it is a journey of growing) taught him so much that he really needed to share those ideas. He wanted to be encouraging and to be real and authentic to his experience. Finding the authentic in you is an important part of the journey from depression. Because of that, Rob has shared his deepest thoughts, and he has been honest about the journey. You will find his path was not a linear line of progression up and away from depression, and this is true for most people. He knows how frustrating it can be when you seem to be going over the same things again and again and struggling to learn the lessons.
Rob has not tried to hide this from you. You will see that some things repeat, that steps forward are sometimes followed by steps back. He wants people to know that this is okay and be reassured that this is part of the journey. That doesn't make the process any less challenging, but it can help one feel connected to others dealing with similar issues.
For most people, real change that takes you out of depression comes from changing thought processes, from growing in your mind and spirit. This book is purely about the head journey and lessons learned on his road up and away from depression.
Rob started this project not as a book but as simply writing to himself to help him think and process what he was thinking and learning when he first started seeing a therapist. He realizes that not all people are comfortable with going to a therapist nor can evenyone even afford to do that. So as he made may way along this rocky path, it occurred to him that others might benefit from these sometimes challenging thoughts.
These essays were not written daily, but written as ideas appeared from many sources, from questions by a therapist to things he saw or read during a day to just thoughts bouncing around in my head. This book is a story of a journey that anyone could go on, though the specifics are Rob’s.