Life is Worth Getting Better: A Faith-Based Journey of Recovery from Depression, Anxiety, and Bipolar II Disorder

Maria A. Mansfield

Publisher: iUniverse Pages: 139 Price: (paperback) $14.95 ISBN: 9781532002151 Reviewed: December, 2016 Author Website: Visit »

Life Is Worth Getting Better is Maria A. Mansfield’s story of recovery from depression, anxiety, and bipolar II disorder. She writes, “Hopelessness affected my view on almost everything about my life…I’d been a Christian all my life, but I was all out of hope.”

Mansfield states that this is not a self-help book. Rather, it encourages readers to seek help. In the foreword, Mansfield’s psychotherapist, Geraldine McEwan, says the book reveals “how to want to get well.”

Mansfield writes as though speaking with her audience. The book begins chronologically, with events leading up to a family move to England in 2012 and Mansfield’s deepening depression; it then follows the 14 months she was in intensive day treatment. Some later chapters are topical. For example, although she includes the importance of faith and family support throughout the book, Chapter 16 specifically shares God’s plan for getting people through difficulties, and Chapter 18 is a tribute to her husband’s love and support.

Despite her pronouncement that this isn’t a self-help book, readers will find helpful suggestions woven into the narrative. These hints are often simple: walk the dog; commit to two activities a day, even when you don’t feel like it. Many came from her therapy and are often backed by scripture. For example, Mansfield paraphrases Lamentations 3:23, “God’s mercy renews every morning,” as inspiration to not let a bad day set the expectation for tomorrow. Her words are comforting and heartfelt, and she shares that she prays for her readers.

At times the writing is repetitious and clichéd, with phrases such as “hang in there,” or “the last time I checked.” Overall, however, these issues don’t detract from the content.

Mansfield speaks from the female experience, so the book may find primary readership with women battling mental illness and their supportive family members. Pastors and therapists will also appreciate Life Is Worth Getting Better as a resource for clients.

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