Book review: Escaping the Rabbit Hole tells of B.C. woman’s battle with depression
Okanagan Valley nurse Tracey Maxfield tells her tale of recovery from acute depression with this book, based on journals and a blog she created during the worst of her illness.
Review can also be found in The Province, The Calgary Herald, The London Free Press and the Regina Leader Post :)
Escaping the Rabbit Hole: My Journey Through Depression
By Tracey Maxfield
(CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, February, 2018)
We all have our moments of sadness, but some of us live with crippling depression that makes simple life tasks nearly impossible, so steeped in sorrow and hopelessness that getting out of bed can be painfully daunting.
Tracey Maxfield, a UK born and Okanagan Valley based nurse, has been one of those sufferers since August of 2015, when a combination of workplace bullying and other life stresses sent her tumbling into an acute depression, a fall into what she calls “the rabbit hole.”
This book, based on journals and a blog she created during the worst of her depression, is the story of how she was faced with a situation that can sometimes lead to suicide.
Although that dire prospect haunted Maxfield, to the point she gave it an ironic pet name, she survived. Her book gives a vivid account of seemingly endless changes in psychiatric medication and of her difficulties with her psychiatrist, as well as of the anguish when she experienced a day or two that was relatively OK, followed by a plunge back into the darkness.
Through it all, Maxfield keeps fighting, pushing herself to get out of bed, to exercise and to reach out to friends for support. In fact, her list of such counter-depression tactics will be one of the elements in this book that many readers will value most.
This book is an example of the currently popular trauma and recovery memoir genre, and is better written than many. Some cynical and/or over-sophisticated readers will wish that the author took a more critical perspective on the smorgasbord of mood altering drugs she was given, and will balk at Maxfield’s tone, which they will find over-sweet and over-insistent on optimism as a survival strategy.
Nevertheless, this is a book that will find and deserve an audience wider than the one reached by the author¹s blog. Maxfield is honest and eloquent in describing her pain and her temptations to despair, and her relentless will to survive and thrive again will move many, as it did this reviewer.
Many of us, like Dante’s narrator, find ourselves alone in a dark wood in the middle of our lives, not knowing the way to go. It happened to Tracey Maxfield, and her account, while not in the classic mode of Dante, is a valuable record of trauma and survival.
Tom Sandborn lives and writes in Vancouver. He welcomes your feedback and story tips at firstname.lastname@example.org