Last week, I talked about the way depression fit into the story of my book, Fat Chance. I told you a little about Cass and her struggle with suicidal depression, but what I didn't say (because I hope you would want to read the book and see how she was able to grow and heal) is how meaningful her growth in that story was to me personally.
After Cass went to therapy for the first time, she took home some lessons and some strong encouragement from her therapist, Mac Caswell; he gave her strategies in the book that I have used in my own personal life to battle depression and the lure of suicide. With Mac's guidance, Cass used the power of positive music and daily positive affirmations -- the very same things that I use on an almost daily basis to battle the demon of Depression, which has lived on my shoulder since I was a teenager. Mac challenged Cass to find her own self worth, to find her own self love. He helped her learn to respect herself, and it was his encouragement that gave her the power to change her life.
These weren't exactly the same strategies Mac used with Cameron in Prescription For Love, though.
Cameron wasn't really depressed, per se, but she suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which isn't without its similarities to Depression. Depression and PTSD often come hand in hand, actually, though Cameron was much less severely depressed than Cass; Cameron had a strong support system behind her, one that she trusted completely and believed in with all her heart, and it made the difference for her between giving up after tragedy and rebuilding a life from the ashes.
Still, the after-effects of rape trauma left Cameron somewhat bitter and disillusioned, afraid to risk her heart, and too secure behind her wall of protection to ever risk believing in love. And who could blame her for that, right? We've all been hurt before, haven't we? And I can't imagine any person is ever in a hurry to let themselves be hurt again -- and neither was Cameron, whose heartbreak was far from the average relationship gone bad.
Somehow, a career as a wedding planner didn't help either; as she often found herself planning weddings for the same people over and over, Cameron began to doubt that she could ever find love. Soon, even the reminder of her parents' solid and happy marriage wasn't enough to inspire her to open her heart.
I call Depression a demon, and for most people who suffer from it, that's what it is. It's an evil little whisper in the depths of your heart, a weight you aren't sure you have the strength to carry, a wound you have no hope will ever heal. For sufferers of PTSD, the feeling is the largely the same, though the symptoms may differ greatly. Still, like with Depression, it truly takes a major change to break the cycle -- and Cameron found her major change in an unexpected attraction to a widower, raising his young son mostly alone.
A widower who knew his way around a troubled soul.
When the Kingsley Series is taken book by book, each story is a message of something bigger that pertains to one story ... just a book about a couple journeying together into the realm of love, sometimes having been there before -- and sometimes not. But I like to think of the Kingsley Series as a whole, and as a whole, this is a story of a family's growth through Depression, Anxiety, and PTSD. It's the journey of a family as they move through tragedy and shame, hardship and unbelievable challenge.
But it's their journey of hope, too, the picture of a family making it work through the best and the worst of times. They hold each other up, they encourage and love each other despite everything they've all been through, and they accept the growth of their family through spouses and children with incredible grace and charm.
In the next post, I'm going to keep this up -- and as we walk through the Kingsley Series, I'm going to walk you through some of my personal journeys with Depression. I'll share with you the tools I use to battle this horrible disease, and I hope not only that you'll grow to love the Kingsley family as much as I do, but that these posts will find just the right readers, that these words will provide encouragement, and that my journey might inspire others to keep journeying, too.