Midwest Book Review
"Transcending Depression: Quest Without a Compass chronicles almost fifty years of the author's mental illness, using journal entries to trace its progression and evolution through the years.
This approach differs from others by its longer viewpoint of the experience of struggling with mental illness long-term. It moves beyond the usual clinical or self-help approach to document what helped alleviate pain, what didn't work, and how Larry Godwin lived through it all.
Another difference between this story and books that might sound similar is that Godwin presents his experiences as not one long chronicle, but a series of succinct vignettes that will prove more accessible to those with short attention spans who may be challenged by the large tracts of information provided in the usual book about depression.
Strong personal insights evolve over a series of years, as in this 1994 entry: 'Jenny's just a normal baby but I can't abide her interruptions, crying fits, and independent contrariness. I hate myself when I yell at her. I'd wager Mother couldn't put up with my disruptions, either. I must have learned my reactions from her.'
In addition to observing issues of inherited reactions and perspectives on life, Godwin includes the daily challenges of staying alive: 'Tonight my life has little meaning. I feel suicidal like in Durango in 1979 before we met and in May 1980 before Cathy came to live with me. Actually, I don't want to live and I don't want to die. If only there were a way to suspend life awhile.'
Anyone who has struggled with depression will recognize these feelings, and will appreciate Godwin's focus, not on miracle cures and pat answers, but documenting the flow of life into, within, and through depressive cycles. This charts the path within and through depression to not only provide thought-provoking reading to those on a similar journey, but much understanding for loved ones accompanying them and trying to offer support.
And yet, Godwin also points out the power of working through depression: 'I believe I have transcended my illness in the sense of coming to terms with it and rising above it. Although coming upon a cure seems unlikely, I have reached a comfort level that allows me to tolerate depression, live with it, and function acceptably most of the time, interspersed with periods of contentment, happiness, and even joy.' Readers who seek concrete tools for achieving this will find them in Appendix II, 'Depression Survival Guide,' which provides a collection of insights that can readily be applied to daily life.
Readers who want to get a sense of how life is lived long-term with depression that ebbs and flow will find Transcending Depression powerful, highly recommend reading for health, self-help and psychology readers seeking enlightenment."
N.N. Light's Book Heaven Book Review (with 5+ star rating)
"Are you suffering from depression? You're not alone. Larry Godwin has spent the better part of fifty years trying to understand and cope with his depression. He's opened his journals and wants to share his experiences with you. Told through journal entries he delves deep into just how debilitating it can be and how he never gave up. He talks about a wide range of topics, including his roller coaster ride through a variety of medications. Larry Godwin knows what you're going through and wants to help you. You're not alone. You, too, can Transcend Depression.
Transcending Depression is a brilliant treatise on mental illness, specifically depression. Larry Godwin's writing style instantly puts the reader at ease. His compassionate, emotional writing connects with the reader. His experiences are honest, authentic and his advice is spot-on. My favorite section is his Depression Survival Guide at the back of the book. His tips on surviving depression are applicable to anyone and offer great insight. Transcending Depression is also a must-read for family and friends of those who have depression. Highly recommend!"
Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite (with 5 star rating)
"Transcending Depression: Quest Without a Compass is a nonfiction mental health memoir written by Larry Godwin, Ph.D. Godwin shares journal entries written over the 49 years he’s suffered from depression and thoughts of suicide. He discusses the medications he’s been prescribed and the reactions he’s had to them. He also expounds upon the alternative treatments he’s tried including nutritional supplements, natural foods, yoga, meditation, acupuncture, and exercise. Godwin found he inevitably suffered adverse reactions to many of the pharmaceuticals out there and even fine-tuning his dosages to micro-levels failed to protect him from the inevitable physical and mental issues that would result.
The author shares the impact his depression has had on his life, his interactions with family and friends, his ability to function in full employment, and his need for space, time, and privacy for healing. His history and life were shaped in no small part by his dysfunctional family background, primarily his mother and her behavior, coupled with the absence of his father, and it’s something he’s worked to offset throughout his adult life. As well as his carefully curated journal entries, Godwin includes Appendices listing the psychiatric medications he’s been prescribed, a Depression Survival Guide listing over 30 steps and suggestions, and Chess in the Labyrinth, an article which imagines mental health and the struggle with depression as a chess game and offers strategies for dealing with it.
Larry Godwin’s Transcending Depression is a frank and fearless look at the author’s life and struggles with depression, which he shares in the hopes of helping others to find their own way through the dark times and stay alive. The seduction of ending it all is a sad and constant thread throughout his entries. Godwin’s persistence in surviving, despite the disappointments stemming from the medications which failed to resolve his issues and the difficulties he faced in dealing with interpersonal and professional relationships, is inspiring. His is an important work that may indeed save lives. Highly recommended."