Book Review by Victoria Brewster, MSW Montreal, Quebec

Escaping the Rabbit Hole Book Review

Escaping the Rabbit Hole by Tracey Maxfield

I was not sure what to expect when this book arrived; the title makes one wonder.
As soon as I opened the cover (the actual softcopy version) I was drawn in. Tracey took her blog posts and turned them into a book.

Depression, an acute depressive episode-not easy and Tracey Maxfield certainly struggled, but we learn why. It began with her work environment. Bullying, harassment that escalated and made Tracey’s work like very difficult. The bullying and harassment was deliberate, malicious, and intentional. Also, the abusive home she left behind in England left a mark on her emotions and mood.

She describes her depressive episode as ‘falling down a rabbit hole’ where she felt helpless, sad, hopeless, and cried. She further described the depression as one that, “Is a kind of pain that rips your heart and soul out, shreds your brain into minute pieces, and makes every bone in your body hurt.”

She had death by suicide (DBS) moments and thoughts where she felt the cloak of despair envelop her and follow her…the fingers of death were reaching for her. She had a few close calls, but she got through them.

I have empathy for her and compassion. It sucks to think a boss would intentionally make an employees life hell. Why? To make themselves feel better? To feel in control?

Even worse is when your union as well as the disability branch in British Columbia does not believe your story. Why would someone lie about bullying and harassment? Especially one who worked hard and for so many years as a nurse.

Tracey continued to ‘function’, she kept her routine going, she kept in regular contact with her doctor, she took depression medication, but she felt she existed on automatic pilot.

BUT-she kept one foot in front of the other and she kept moving forward inch by inch.
She wrote in a journal, she exercised, she got out of bed, and out of the house. She describes two years of ‘emotional torture’ in this book. She married and divorced, changed jobs, and still continued her life. Kudos to her!

Anyone going through a depressive episode, acute or not; anyone going through a tough time in their life can learn from Tracey as she did and made many good choices during her depressive episode. She journaled, exercised, and met regularly with a helping professional.

She got out of the rabbit hole and is moving forward with her life.

I also want to add my surprise in seeing my name mentioned in the Acknowledgement section of her book. Totally unexpected!  Tracey asked my advice about her blog as we were in some of the same groups on LinkedIn. She wanted to know if her blog posts were book worthy and I told her yes!

Thank you for the ‘shout out’ Tracey. I also made the introduction to my book co-author and editor, Julie Saeger Nierenberg, as I had this gut feeling they would work well together! This book proves they did.

Hugs Tracey as I say to Julie. We all have difficult times in our life and never fully know what will come our way…but us three ladies have come through quite a lot over the past few years; we each have had out challenges, but we are all going strong! Cheers to us!

*Encouraged by a psychologist, Tracey started a Blog, Escaping the Rabbit Hole: my life with depression, to better help her friends understand her depression. Over time, Tracey began to heal and found that out of the darkness and despair, there is hope, there is life after depression.

**Book Review by Victoria Brewster of MSW Writes


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