Reviews for Transcending Depression
Diane Donovan for the 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."
Allan V. Horwitz, author of Creating Mental Illness and Anxiety: A Short History
“Larry Godwin's Transcending Depression provides a searing and honest self-examination of the ravages of major depressive disorder. Spanning a 49-year range, it portrays the intrapsychic and interpersonal conflicts that accompany this condition. Transcending Depression also recounts Godwin's experiences with 36 different psychotropic drugs, many therapists, and numerous psychiatrists over this long period. It is highly recommended for anyone trying to understand the internal struggles that this relentless yet engrossing condition features.”
Coral Beck, Licensed Clinical Social Worker
“Godwin shares one man's walk with lifelong depression. He offers intimate details of his journey of pain, hope, and treatment. His struggle toward understanding, accepting, and coping is exhausting at times and always persevering. At the end of the book, his Depression Survival Guide and Chess in the Labyrinth bring to the reader concrete actions and perspectives that are a must for anyone wrestling with depression.”
Reviews for Surviving Our Parents' Mistakes
Jon Michael Miller for Readers' Favorite (with 5 star rating)
Surviving Our Parents' Mistakes: Healing the Scars from Childhood Mistreatment--Second Edition by Larry Godwin, Ph.D., is a compilation of the author's lifelong problems from having grown up with a single abusive mother, who, her husband having abandoned her, placed all her attention, useful and not, on her son. Dr. Godwin was not physically free to find his own way until he left home for college. From then on, he struggled to understand and to manage the personality defects he came to understand were a direct result of his chaotic upbringing. He writes his book using footnoted professional references from the psychological community. Though the exact incidences of difficult behaviors are not chronological, the reader can read between the lines to construct the confused life path of the author and, more importantly, the coping methods he eventually learned.
I was particularly intrigued by the format Larry Godwin uses. Instead of a chronology of life experiences, he divides his story into topics: Depression, Insecurity, Self-Concept and Self-Esteem, Guilt, Responsibility and Obligation, Engulfment and Confinement, Control and Assertiveness, Anger, and Stress. Within this framework, he presents journal-like vignettes, demonstrating first the emotional reaction to a specific event (a student criticizes him) with the rational antidote (his right to defend himself). Especially poignant is his long evolution from blaming his mother to forgiving her. He anchors his views with references to a variety of experts, clearly footnoted. What stands out is his brutal self-criticism and honesty, almost as if we're eavesdropping on actual psychoanalytical office sessions. By using himself as an example, Dr. Godwin presents answers for anyone whose damaging childhood has created often debilitating struggles in adult life. Having traveled a bit on that route myself, I am grateful for this enlightening book.
Diane Donovan for the Midwest Book Review
The second edition of Surviving Our Parents' Mistakes: Healing the Scars from Childhood Mistreatment is both a memoir about the author's recovery from childhood emotional neglect and a testimony to how parents’ behavior affects their children for, often, the rest their lives.
It uses personal journal entries and Larry Godwin's background as a Ph.D. to cement the story of tactics that helped him not just to survive childhood, but to craft a new life for himself as an adult. Overcoming the impact of a single mother who emotionally abused him throughout his childhood was a lifelong pursuit.
As Godwin faces down depression, anger, and self-esteem and guilt issues to develop special coping mechanisms, those who have endured childhood trauma receive not just a memoir about the author’s past, but a blueprint for envisioning a better future and life.
His primary motivation in producing this book is to "...encourage other abuse victims to acknowledge the crippling disabilities they face as adults, to openly confront what happened, then to heal childhood wounds."
Having a guide that teaches these approaches by example is invaluable—especially since the discourses and revelations come from recognizable, relatable personal encounters, and are presented as short, readily digestible vignettes designed for easy contemplation through brief bursts of insight.
Surviving Our Parents' Mistakes goes beyond most books that outline the problem to delve into how effective solutions evolve from childhood adversity.
It should be given as a gift to any who struggle to overcome parental abuse, and also should appear in any collection strong in self-help and psychological healing.
N.N. Light's Book Heaven Book Review (with 5 star rating)
From the title to the body, this book tries to present an optimistic feel. Another brave effort to expose the inner troubles of someone to the entire world. Written in a format that is very readable, this is a quick read. The benefits of this book could be that if you have been the victim of horrible abuse by an evil parent, you may find solace reading this victim's tale.
Recommended as a valid self-help resource to those battling to overcome long-term mental challenges from their youth. A worthwhile addition to the mental health book library.
Lorri Williams, Ed.D., Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor
"Larry Godwin's poignant journal story of his struggle for freedom from his mother's influence throughout his lifetime contains many suggestions for survival for others who have endured a stifled childhood. Godwin's rendition of his painful journey from anger and blame to accepting responsibility for his current thoughts and actions is an inspiration."
Paul W. Moomaw, Ph.D.
"As a psychologist with thirty years clinical experience, I see the essence of many of the clients with whom I have worked contained in Godwin's vignettes. He offers us a pound of his flesh and a slice of his soul. I appreciate the brevity and pungency of his intensely personal journey from victim to survivor. The result is a work that offers mirrors in which all of us can see parts of ourselves reflected."
Austin Macauley, Publishers
"Your manuscript was brought to our attention at the latest Editorial Board meeting when we discussed the potential of its publication. Having read all the reports and taken note of the Editors' opinions, we can confidently state that your work was found to be a powerful and moving memoir. Your chronicling of your experiences in the format of journal entries is incredibly emotive and evokes a strong sense of empathy in the reader. The Board was keen to comment on the poignancy of the work and applauds the way in which you have tackled difficult subjects. The assured writing style and the honesty with which you detail your experiences make this story one that will resonate with those who may be in facing similar struggles."