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Beyond the Edge: One Woman’s Journey Out of Post-Natal Depression and Anxiety

By Hazel Rolston
August 2008 | Review by Rhona Black

Synopsis

Hazel doesn't offer us a formula for instant escape. But she does remind us that God is there, even if our feelings say the opposite. No matter how bad things feel, God is faithful to his wounded, broken people beyond the edge.

  • Publisher: InterVarsity Press
  • ISBN: 978-1844742165
  • Pages: 170
  • Price: £7.40
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Book Review

‘Does God know our limits?’ This is the question that confronts us at the start of this book and runs like a refrain through its pages – as the author describes the years of her life spent struggling with postnatal depression and anxiety.

She wrestled with overwhelming fear, physical illness and the uncertainty of life, and struggled to believe that God knew her limits. Her struggle is familiar, perhaps, to many other believers – who at times find no answer to their perplexities but continue to look to God for help to bear them.

Beginning with her childhood, Hazel takes us through many of the formative events in her life. Born and brought up in Northern Ireland, her experience was shaped by unique fears and challenges. As the book progresses into her years of illness, there is a feeling of going round in circles.

Some readers may wonder if there could have been a more measured approach to decision-making, but this serves to draw out one of the crippling effects of depression – its propensity to place the sufferer in an invisible wheelchair with all their normal functions impaired by the illness.

Hazel describes how her condition altered her attitude towards many things – including church life and the way others responded to her. Unlike cancer or a stroke, depression is often regarded as the sufferer’s own fault. One benefit of reading this book will be to make you question that assumption.

Thankfully, there is another refrain – that of God’s faithful presence in times of deepest shadow. She thanks the Lord for his comfort and help in the affliction she least expected to suffer, that of mental illness.

If you know someone who is depressed or struggling with anxiety and consider getting this book for them – might I suggest you don’t. Read the book yourself first; then decide how best to share it. Compassion, understanding and prayer may be of greater assistance.

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