Thursday, August 06, 2009

Book Review: I Trust When Dark My Road

A Lutheran view of depression, by Todd Peperkorn. I can't give this book the kind of review it probably deserves, since it is written from a pastor's point of view as well as a Lutheran one. He does make excellent points about a pastor's particular burdens that can exacerbate depression, even though I've never lived them. As a layperson who has dealt with depression, I think his descriptions of what depression does to your mind and body are very good at conveying the issues to someone who has never had clinical depression. Clinical depression is so much more than "feeling sad" and Pastor Peperkorn illustrates how this mental illness can take over your life, robbing you of your ability to appreciate the many blessings you have and your ability to enjoy and grow your most important relationships.

I wish I could have tried the two weeks away from duties and responsibilities that Pastor Peperkorn experienced. I ended up hospitalized as a last resort, not seeing any other alternatives. While it did help ease my overwhelming desire to end my life, and the new medication prescribed by the hospital psychiatrist has helped me manage my bipolar symptoms, it was largely mind-numbingly boring and in other ways difficult to live through.

Like Pastor Peperkorn, I received help from several great people during my recovery. I was blessed that my pastors knew that my mental struggles did not stem from a lack of faith, and that my place as a saved and loved child of God does not depend on my feelings, nor my ability to perfectly execute my vocation. Indeed, if one were to take a single thing away from I Trust When Dark My Road, I believe it should be that no matter how dark the road may seem, God is there providing for us. The intense suffering can go away, but God never will.

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