Friday, 23 December 2011
My friend Stephanie Buslach has recently published a book entitled The Bars that Condemned Me; A Testimony About the Spiritual Implications of Depression. Since this is the holiday season and depression can be a heavy and popular burden at this time of the year I thought it'd be nice to give a small review of the book.
The wonderful thing about this book is that it's short and easy to read. At about 100 pages full of blocked scripture references and journal entries, this book can be read in about two hours (straight reading). If one is reading this because they are dealing with depression, it would take much longer since the book really tugs at the struggles one faces when going through depression.
Bushlach likes to keep the feel in the book personal and uses her first name throughout the book, keeping the reader close to her and her own real experiences. Stephanie does a great job of making the read feel more like a conversation with a dear friend.
For me, the true beauty of this book is the sincerity of it. Stephanie writes not only with conviction but with transparent honesty, sharing difficult experiences from her own life, both past and present. This is a book that examples vulnerability. It's also refreshing to read a book about depression that deals primarily with the Christian scriptures and the motif of spiritual warfare. In an unexpected way, the story of Cinderella is used very well as an allegory for spiritual warfare throughout the book.
Had I read this book during times in my life that depression plagued me I would have thrown it at the wall several times because it has the power to really frustrate the reader through healthy challenges. Buslach challenges the reader to examine themselves honestly and to take action in their pursuit of crawling out of the grave.
Fortunately, she also points to Christ who pulls us out of the grave as part of the answer. It's these times in reading that I would embrace the book, not wanting to let it go for fear that my hope would slip through my fingers along with it's pages.
I would recommend this book to anyone working through depression, especially women and teen girls -- since Stephanie's style may resonate most intimately with them. It would be a great addition to a reading list. It may not be the sole book I recommend to suffering brothers and sisters, but it's definitely one that deserves to be read. If you had a friend who had come out of depression and could speak into your life in a counseling fashion that is full of theology and encouragement then this is what it would be like.
Do you have a friend who might benefit from reading this book? How has God worked through your own experiences with depression? What other resources are available to people dealing with depression?