“I Thought There Would Be Cake” by Katharine Welby-Roberts

So I got the opportunity to review the book “I Thought There Would Be Cake” from Katherine Welby-Roberts. The quick version is I loved it.

Here’s the longer version…

Some book titles grab my attention more than others. As a lover of cake, Gluten Free Chocolate cake to be precise, a book called “I Thought There Would Be Cake” lept out and got my attention. I have to admit, knowing Katherine’s’ name from various tweets, blogs,  and online videos about living with mental health, drew me to reading this.

I feel that before I talk about the book, I should sum up what its about – yet (possibly due to the conversational and personal nature of the book) I am struggling to sum it up nicely, therefore I’m going to steal some text from the books page on Amazon.

Growing up, Katherine Welby-Roberts imagined that being an adult was one big party. But depression, anxiety and crippling self-doubt led her to alienate herself from others. To replay events and encounters as nightmares. Occasionally, to be unable to leave the house.
Aware of the cacophony of voices in her head, Katharine invites us to join her as she journeys to the depths of her soul. Here, with instinctive honesty and humour, she confronts the parts of her story that hinder her most.

Lets talk about what this book isn’t: Its not a self help book designed to try and give you answers. Where some books may ask questions, for self reflection, and give no answers. Kathryn asks, and encourages us to ask the question of ourselves, then gives an honest look at her feelings about what she’s asking.

Instead of self help, this gives an insight into someones journey. Katherine offers an insight into her struggles with feelings of low self worth, depression, and anxiety. She shares what she’s learnt on the journey, maybe there’s something here that can either help you understand your own feelings, or indeed – something else someone else may be feeling.

There are a number of topics covered here including, needing affirmation, how we measure our identity (Do we tie our identity up with what we do? What happens when what we do, fails?), replaying conversations, carrying other peoples burdens, and this is all done in a conversational style that both gets, and keeps your attention.

One of the standout chapters for me was the look at Social Media. It takes you on a discussion of the negative, verses the positive aspects of its use. She discusses that it’s a complex balancing act, and links the need for affirmation from social media to the value that someone believes about themselves. Interestingly this is not the first time I’ve seen this conclusion discussed in text about social media. Yet its still a refreshing conclusion to read, as the last “Christian” book I read on the subject seemed so anti social media.

While I don’t have depression at the moment, there is plenty here in this honest book that rings true for me. There’s talk of anxiety, self doubt, and (what I would call) reluctance of finishing a project, that I do see and feel in myself.

This book is a journey of questions, with  some space for reflection, with the underlying message: that what you are, right now, is enough.

Now, where can I find some cake?

I Thought There Would Be Cake is available from Amazon and other book stores.

(Disclaimer: The above contains affiliate links. The book was provided free, but all opinions and ramblings are my own)

A reminder that suicide and depression are not selfish

After the sad news that Chester Bennington, lead singer of Linkin Park had committed suicide, I wanted to reshare a part of a Guardian article written after Robin Williams had taken his life:

Depression IS an illness

Depression, the clinical condition, could really use a different name. At present, the word “depressed” can be applied to both people who are a bit miserable and those with a genuine debilitating mood disorder. Ergo, it seems people are often very quick to dismiss depression as a minor, trivial concern. After all, everyone gets depressed now and again, don’t they? Don’t know why these people are complaining so much.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again; dismissing the concerns of a genuine depression sufferer on the grounds that you’ve been miserable and got over it is like dismissing the issues faced by someone who’s had to have their arm amputated because you once had a paper cut and it didn’t bother you. Depression is a genuine debilitating condition, and being in “a bit of a funk” isn’t. The fact that mental illness doesn’t receive the same sympathy/acknowledgement as physical illness is oftenreferenced, and it’s a valid point. If you haven’t had it, you don’t have the right to dismiss those who have/do. You may disagree, and that’s your prerogative, but there are decades’ worth of evidence saying you’re wrong.

Depression doesn’t discriminate

How, many seem to wonder, could someone with so much going for them, possibly feel depressed to the point of suicide? With all the money/fame/family/success they have, to be depressed makes no sense?

Admittedly, there’s a certain amount of logic to this. But, and this is important, depression (like all mental illnesses) typically doesn’t take personal factors into account. Mental illness can affect anyone. We’ve all heard of the “madness” of King George III; if mental illness won’t spare someone who, at the time, was one of the most powerful well-bred humans alive, why would it spare someone just because they have a film career?

Granted, those with worse lives are probably going to be exposed to the greater number of risk factors for depression, but that doesn’t mean those with reduced likelihood of exposure to hardships or tragic events are immune. Smoking may be a major cause of lung cancer, but non-smokers can end up with it. And a person’s lifestyle doesn’t automatically reduce their suffering. Depression doesn’t work like that. And even if it did, where’s the cut-off point? Who would we consider “too successful” to be ill?

Read the rest over at The Guardian website.

Has this whole matter hit home a little hard. Contact The Samaritans, or find someone else to talk to. Please.

Robin Williams’s death: a reminder that suicide and depression are not selfish

After reading one take on suicide and depression online, I found this article on Robin Williams’s death from The Guardian fantastically refreshing:

News broke today that Robin Williams had passed away, due to apparent suicide following severe depression. As the vast majority of people will likely have already said, this was terribly heart-breaking news. Such aniconic, talented and beloved figure will have no shortage of tributes paid to him and his incredible legacy. It’s also worth noting that Robin Williams was open about his mental health issues.

However, despite the tremendous amount of love and admiration for Williams being expressed pretty much everywhere right now, there are still those who can’t seem to resist the opportunity to criticise, as they do these days whenever a celebrated or successful person commits suicide. You may have come across this yourself; people who refer to the suicide as “selfish”. People will utter/post phrases such as “to do that to your family is just selfish”, or “to commit suicide when you’ve got so much going for you is pure selfishness”, or variations thereof.

If you are such a person who has expressed these views or similar for whatever reason, here’s why you’re wrong, or at the very least misinformed, and could be doing more harm in the long run.

Depression IS an illness

Depression, the clinical condition, could really use a different name. At present, the word “depressed” can be applied to both people who are a bit miserable and those with a genuine debilitating mood disorder. Ergo, it seems people are often very quick to dismiss depression as a minor, trivial concern. After all, everyone gets depressed now and again, don’t they? Don’t know why these people are complaining so much.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again; dismissing the concerns of a genuine depression sufferer on the grounds that you’ve been miserable and got over it is like dismissing the issues faced by someone who’s had to have their arm amputated because you once had a paper cut and it didn’t bother you. Depression is a genuine debilitating condition, and being in “a bit of a funk” isn’t. The fact that mental illness doesn’t receive the same sympathy/acknowledgement as physical illness is oftenreferenced, and it’s a valid point. If you haven’t had it, you don’t have the right to dismiss those who have/do. You may disagree, and that’s your prerogative, but there are decades’ worth of evidence saying you’re wrong.

Depression doesn’t discriminate

How, many seem to wonder, could someone with so much going for them, possibly feel depressed to the point of suicide? With all the money/fame/family/success they have, to be depressed makes no sense?

Admittedly, there’s a certain amount of logic to this. But, and this is important, depression (like all mental illnesses) typically doesn’t take personal factors into account. Mental illness can affect anyone. We’ve all heard of the “madness” of King George III; if mental illness won’t spare someone who, at the time, was one of the most powerful well-bred humans alive, why would it spare someone just because they have a film career?

Granted, those with worse lives are probably going to be exposed to the greater number of risk factors for depression, but that doesn’t mean those with reduced likelihood of exposure to hardships or tragic events are immune. Smoking may be a major cause of lung cancer, but non-smokers can end up with it. And a person’s lifestyle doesn’t automatically reduce their suffering. Depression doesn’t work like that. And even if it did, where’s the cut-off point? Who would we consider “too successful” to be ill?

Read the rest over at The Guardian website.

Has this whole matter hit home a little hard. Contact The Samaritans, or find someone else to talk to. Please.

Looking at Goliath

We at The Church Sofa, can not pass the book of 1 Samuel, without taking some time to look at Chapter 17. The home of one of this epic battles of The Old Testament. The original David v Goliath battle itself. This battle story has led to the use of “David vs Goliath” to describe almost any story were someone has to face overwhelming odds, and probably has no chance of winning.

We’re going to take a look at how Goliath has been represented over the years.

The Classic Goliath

There are the traditional paintings that have been created over the centuries.

David and Goliath, a colour lithograph by Osmar Schindler (c. 1888) (found at  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goliath )
David and Goliath, a colour lithograph by Osmar Schindler (c. 1888) (found at Wikipedia )

The Updated Goliath

We have the computer generated characters within games.

Found at biblekids3d.com
Found at biblekids3d.com 

The Friendly Looking Monster

There are also Disney style monster Goliaths.

Found at http://entrepreneurialambitions.com/2011/11/02/taking-on-goliath/
Found at http://entrepreneurialambitions.com/2011/11/02/taking-on-goliath/

The team you have no hope of beating.

Goliath can also look like the football match your team have no chance of winning in. (Exeter City managed a 0-0 draw at Old Trafford)

Found at Exeter City's trip to Old Trafford will be a great day for their fans but that is about it - they won't get the result they want against Manchester United. (Mark Lawrenson) izquotes.com
Found at izquotes.com

The Massive Monster

Goliath seems to symbolise the unbeatable monster.

Found over at  www.psxextreme.com
Found over at www.psxextreme.com

Tomorrow.

The thing is:

That unbeatable monster, can just be waking up tomorrow morning.

Good Morning

Struggling with this sort of thing? Dont suffer in silence. There are a number of places online you can get help from, including  samaritans.org, and mind.org.uk.

This post was originally featured on The Big Bible Website.

The World of Hopeful depression

From what I can see, I seem to be a little late in finding in this, but I love the following from Katharine Welby on depression, hope, and God:

…I am very low, very sad and yet at the same time very happy. It seems like the chemicals in my brain are at war with my circumstances ‘I am happy’ ‘No you are not’ ‘no really I am’ ‘no really you are not’. This is the current sound track to my life.

Amongst all the dull thoughts I have been thinking, I have been pondering the happy/depressed state of my mind and wondering at it. What does it mean to find hope within an illness that is doing everything possible to rob you of it?

I have friends, a nice home, a very supportive family near by, a good church, a good job, a brilliant doctor, and an incredibly wonderful boyfriend, however, previously I have had many of these things and still found myself unable to find a way out of the despair.

Read the rest over at katharinewelby.com

#Bible365 – God, The Devil, and Job

I dont know about you, but I have a simple reason to read through the bible in a year.

I dont know some of it very well.

Take the book of Job for example: The combination of what I had read and what I had heard, made me think Job consisted of some sort of cosmic three way discussion between God, The Devil, and Job. (Maybe I’ve watched “God, The Devil, and Bob” one to many times…). Imagine my surprise when I hit chapter 3, and it turns… well.

It turns into less of a cosmic conversation into an intervention, with a depressed Job, surrounded by his band of brothers trying to pull him out of it… by preaching at each other.

Now I’ve not got to the end of this sermon series yet, but I have to admit I’m a little confused about where its all going.

Does anyone have any insights on Job to share?

What is really going on in this book?

In the meantime, here is the previously mentioned “God, The Devil, and Bob”:

(Trigger Warning: Possibly slightly dodgy at points)