Friday, June 22, 2012

Finding Joy in Depression by Amanda Pelser

The-Pelsers-Blog-Button125Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to attend the 2:1 Conference.  That weekend was a great time of rest, reflection, healing, and rubbing elbows with some old and new blogging friends.  Amanda Pelser from was in attendance as well.  Little did I know, at that time, that God was going to bring Amanda into my life in amazing ways this year! 

HMButton125x125With the growth of Homeschool Mosaics, we felt that it was time to search out some new contributing writers. I got an e-mail from Amanda, expressing interest in one of the spots.  Amanda offered to write a column on sharing the Bible with your children (“Walking in the Way”).  Great fit!  So, watch for that column to debut in July! 

As Amanda and I were e-mailing back and forth, ironing out the details, I kept seeing little things about her book – Finding Joy in Depression.  Finally, I decided to check it out . . .

Cover-Art-Final-231x300Finding Joy in Depression is a story. It’s a story of facing depression and learning to manage it day by day.

Hiding from your depression? Finding Joy in Depression will encourage you to face depression and take your first step towards finding joy.

Learning to manage your depression? Finding Joy in Depression will give you tips for managing your depression and encourage you to share your story with others.

Don’t deal with depression? It’s likely that someone close to you is battling depression and needs your support. Finding Joy in Depression will give you a glimpse into the life of someone with depression so you can support a loved one and create environments where it’s ok to talk about depression.

Amanda Pelser has been married to her high school sweetheart, Josh, for over eight years. They have two young boys, Jonathan and Jacob. She has a BA in Bible from Anderson University and a MA in Old Testament Studies from Talbot School of Theology. She is a former church communications director turned stay-at-home-mom. She spends her days running after and homeschooling her boys. She opens her home as an inspiring and encouraging shelter for the heart of women through her writings of faith, motherhood, and homeschooling at She loves to read, so any time she can, she hides away with a book, her fuzzy blanket, and a homemade chai or vanilla latte in her favorite mug.

I e-mailed Amanda and said “I should probably read your book.”  To which she replied, “Do you deal with depression?”  I wrote back, starting with, “Well, I’d like to say ‘no’, but . . . “

The truth of the matter is that I’ve never been diagnosed with depressions issues, but I think that we all deal with various levels of depression at certain times in our lives.  Hormones, of course, play a role; but so do the things that are going on in our lives each day. 

On Sunday, in a review of a music cd, I shared a bit about some of the things that have been going on in my life over the past several years.  To expand on that a little bit --- in the fall of 2009, I was sure I was experiencing thyroid issues.  I had shared my symptoms with friends and many of them said “thyroid”.  I went to the doctor, had various blood tests done, and everything came back normal.  I went on my way thinking that the problems were “all in my head” and I needed to put on my big girl panties and get over it. 

Then, the following spring, my best friend passed away and I started to cry.  And cry.  And cry some more.  (To this day, just typing it has me crying!)  By summer, I was still crying.  I took Gracie to the doctor for something and when she was leaving the room, she bent down and asked me how I was doing (she had been Sue’s doctor also).  I lost it.  She said “wait here – I want to write you a prescription for something”.  I took that prescription with me; but I never filled it.  Why?  Because I’m one of those in denial, “I”m fine”, “I can handle it on my own” type people.  From someone who has “been there, done that”, let me tell you that if you find yourself in the place that I was in, do NOT think you can just handle it on your own.  You can’t!  And it’s ok to need help sometimes – even in the form of a pill. 

This past January, as a result of my amnesia episode, I was given a low dose of Ativan.  When you have a health scare like that, you do what the doctor tells you! Besides, at that point, I was in no condition to “handle it on my own”. At that point, I could care less what anyone thought of me.  I just knew that I needed to get better. 

I’m not saying that my amnesia was depression-induced.  I know that it was stress-induced.  But, looking back at the circumstances surrounding that time in my life, I know that depression was there as well.  I’m not a person who likes major change – and I was experiencing a lot of changes at that point. 

Anyway, I share all of that to get to this . . . Depression isn’t something to take lightly, it’s not something that you can handle on your own, and it’s ok to need help!  Amanda talks about all of this – and so much more – in this little book called Finding Joy in Depression.

When I told her that I’d read and review it, I warned her that I’m a little slow with non-fiction.  Then, I sat down with my Kindle and read the book in a few hours time.  I pretty much devoured it.  I could see myself – and my situation – reflected in the pages.  Nobody wants to admit to being depressed, but why?  If we all choose to hide away and not share our stories, then we are missing out on an opportunity to help and minister to others.

Amanda has chosen to step out and shout her story from the mountaintops (or, at least, from the pages of this book); and, in so doing, she is ministering to every person who picks up this book.  To me.  To you.  To anyone who is willing to read it.  Because maybe you don’t personally deal with depression – but surely you know someone who does – or maybe you will someday. 

This book is divided into two parts.  The first part is Exposing Depression.  In this section, Amanda shares what depression is, the various stages of admitting that you are experiencing depression, and ways to deal with it.  She shares her personal story, causes and symptoms, and factors that may play into depression.  The second part is Taking Care of You.  As the section title suggests, Amanda shares ideas on the best ways to take care of yourself – diet, exercise, Bible reading, rest, etc.

The chapters are short and easy to read. At the end of each one, Amanda has added a “Finding Joy . . . “ section that includes a few questions for you to ask yourself. 

By the end of the book, you’ll likely feel differently about depression.  You might even realize that you’ve been dealing with depression, but didn’t know what it was. If nothing else, you should realize that depression isn’t something to be hidden – it’s ok to talk about it, and it’s ok to experience it.

I am really proud of Amanda for sharing her story on the pages of this book and on her blog! 

GIVEAWAY!  Amanda has offered to give one of my readers a .pdf copy of her book.  If Finding Joy in Depression sounds interesting to you, please leave me a comment telling me why.  Have you experienced depression?  Are you dealing with depression now?  Do you have a loved on who struggles with depression.  Open up and share! 

I will select a random winner next Friday, June 29th, at noon (est).  Good luck! 


Vickie said...

Have you experienced depression? Yes, I deal with it on a daily basis but the effects aren't as bad as they were as when I was younger.   I have been on drugs and counceling through my adult life to learn to deal with it.    I still struggle but I have more coping mechanisms that are healthier than I used too.    Are you dealing with depression now? I am to a certain extent.   It isn't something that just goes away, it feels as if Satan really puts things before me daily that lead me down that path most of the time I can overcome it with redirecting my thoughts and prayer.   Often times, I use music too.

Quinnschilling said...

I have read Amanda's ebook as well and I agree with your review~important stuff!! Hope you are well, I know how much you miss Sue. HUGS! 

Melissa said...

I would be very interested in this book Heidi...I know you have an idea of the kind of year I've really extends beyond this past year (several years actually), and feels like lately it's all catching up to me.  So yeah, add me to the giveaway.

Crissyanna said...

I spent a year in counseling after our miscarriage to deal with depression, the abuse I lived with growing up and to learn to accept the fact that it is ok for me to accept love and let others in. I've learned that it is cyclical and I do deal with it still to this day (seven years later nearly) and instead of fighting it, I've learned to live with it and not let it have control (ok, still working on that one, but I always will be probably).

Julia Reffner said...

I do struggle with depression. Like Vickie, praise music helps big time or meditating on God's word. Also finding a caring friend to talk to.

Robyn Lloyd said...

I agree that we all deal with depression at different stages in our lives.  Life can be pretty tough and we all need a helping hand.  This looks like a great book.  Thanks for the review.  Another great book that I recently read has changed my life.  It is called, "Get Well & Stay Well" by authors Steve Amoils, M.D. & Sandi Amoils, M.D.  This a non-fiction self help book written from a holistic point of view
by a husband and wife team of medical doctors on how to achieve optimal,
lasting health, which addresses medical issues such as weight loss,
chronic fatigue, stress, cancer, and much more.

Naomi said...

As you said, we all deal with it on some level or another.  Over the years, I've learned to just push it aside and not let it control me.  Some days it is harder than others...

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