While reading “Coming of Age on Zoloft”- a book about anti-depressants and depression- by Katherine Sharpe, the terrible shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary happened. I know I am not alone in grieving for the families that had any connection to this unthinkable tragedy. I grew up in Connecticut, and I could never imagine such horror, and I know this has affected multitudes of people, globally. And unfortunately, this isn’t the only senseless mass shooting to happen this year.
And with that heavy-hearted introduction, I present Katherine Sharpe’s book which deals with mental health. Now more than ever, it seems appropriate to focus on mental health and to facilitate any related discussion. This book investigates depression specifically, but also accomplishes putting together an abridged history of mental illnesses, information, and true accounts of people that have been diagnosed (and misdiagnosed) with a variety of mental issues. And although Sharpe writes about the adolescent period that we have coined as ‘coming of age’, I found this book to have no real target reader. With all the unrest going on in the world these days, I believe it would be wise for people with and without mental hurdles to read up on the ever-so-elusive mind. I recommend Sharpe’s book because she puts depression, the word, medical definition, and interviews, into perspective. With her writing she challenges professional milieu, praises certain methods, tries to separate depression between normal growing pains, and, above all, she’s created a piece that tries to disarm the topic of mental health issues.
Because Sharpe candidly writes about depression, in and around the ‘disease’, she invites open and honest discussions about mental health. Until societies are able to be frank and accepting, there will be more devastating side effects like Sandy Hook. While reading “Coming of Age on Zoloft” the topic of depression didn’t seem taboo, which has been stigmatized in my past. The cycle of silence needs to be broken. Widespread knowledge and proper assistance precede a decreased rate for suicides, massacres, and suffering. As Einstein said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” It’s time to take a new approach and increase awareness.
Mental health is not a sexy subject but it is something worth delving into. It is continuously being redefined, even diluted by companies and doctors that are after the dollar more than they are for real, sustainable, healthy progress. There’s still some debate on how much the pharmaceutical companies engineer the way we define and view depression and the role that perception and emotions play. The bottom line is that there are millions of people diagnosed with depression. They are being diagnosed with a term that signifies difficulty in living day to day. It is necessary to address and take interest in the mental health of children and adults. This book acknowledges the truth that there is a real and substantial community in need of understanding and acceptance. And the individuals that belong in this group may not always know that they are not alone. Depression and mental struggles often cause people to believe that they are alone and become discouraged to seek solace.
I am not suggesting this book in lieu of any professional help, instead I am reviewing this book because I believe it is one of the best recently published on the topic of depression. It is written in comprehensible language not medical jargon, which may muddle the subject and confuse a person. My belief is that with better understanding, proper treatment, and maintenance (like regularly checking happinessseries.com) everyone should have access to healthy, happy mental functioning.
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About the Author: Kathryn Bratslavsky, originally from Moscow, Russia, moved to the States in 1990. She graduated from the University of Connecticut with a degree in English. Kathryn is an avid reader with a variety of favorite authors, like Gibran, Thoreau, Chekhov, Lahiri, Maupassant, Satrapi, and Tolstoy. Kathryn's mission is to provide Happiness Series visitors with an extensive compilation of HS worthy books. Her hope is that the recommended books will inspire and contribute to one's happiness.