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Rachael Newham – Learning to Breathe: My Journey with Mental Illness

SPCK Price £9.99 160 Pages ISBN-10: 0281078084

I had overlooked this recently published book until I read it this week in preparation for two sermons I am preaching on depression. Rachael Newham gives a candid account of how easily a person can descend into the pit of desperation and how hard it is to climb out.

The account uncovers the spiralling effect of anxiety, self-loathing and self-harm, some of the strategies of deception that hide anxieties and actions from ourselves and others, and the tantalizingly hopeful false starts.

The author writes well about the various triggers that activate anxious thoughts and compulsive, addictive behaviour. Newham is also helpful on how experiencing the truth rather than simply repeating it helped her to make progress.

I was also struck by how crucial key people that she could trust were in her recovery. How did she get through? A mixture of excellent support, medical help, self-discipline and trust in God, that there was a solid hope, somewhere in the darkness and chaos.

This would be a good book to read if you are a concerned parent, or a youth leader or pastor responsible for the fragile. It is a great reminder that there are no simple, silver bullet solutions to mental illness.

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