This book was just what I needed. Tracy Thompson is a journalist. She is also a daughter, a wife, and a mother. She has been all of these things successfully, despite living and struggling with crippling depression and anxiety. In her second book, a follow-up to her memoir detailing her battle to learn to live with her disease, Thompson has examined the effect of motherhood on depression. She surveyed and interviewed hundreds of women, narrowing it down from thousands of responses, and in the Ghost in the House presents the information she learned from these women, history and science.
Only recently has depression, and in particular post-partum depression, begun to be accepted as a real problem. However, Thompson contends that it is even worse than that. Post-partum depression is usually defined as the onset of depression in the year following the birth of child and tends to be attributed to the extreme changes and fluctuations in hormones. But what if there is something more, what if depression is something that continues to linger, crippling a woman's ability to be a mother. The author calls this maternal depression.
From my experience she is spot on the money. What started for me as PPD has morphed into a depression that hasn't abated. These should be years that I cherish, raising my three young boys, lucky enough to be able to stay home and watch them grow up. Instead, I struggle to get out of bed in the morning, scream, cry, throw things, and isolate myself. I hate myself for feeling this way, and yet I'm powerless to stop it. What this book did for me though, was to show me that I'm not alone. Unfortunately it has also taught me that my children are at a very high risk for inheriting my disease and behaviors. I'm only the latest in a long history of depressed women in my family and I already see my oldest beginning to fall prey to the same beast. Thankfully, this book also shows me that I can live with this. I can change turn things around for me and my kids.
My only complaint is that I wish this book offered other solutions besides anti-depressants, therapy, and friendship. Yes, I know that this is the best way for many to solve their problems, but I also feel like there should be more resources available. Forcing yourself to go make friends when you can barely get out of bed in the morning is nearly impossible. Therapy and medication can be cost-prohibitive for many. I just feel like there is something more and because she seemed to gloss over the solutions, focusing instead on the problem, this information seemed to be lacking.