One day after Bell Canada's Let's Talk initiative, where this company raised the profile of mental illness while raising over six million dollars, I'm thinking about thriving alongside depression more than ever. Alison Gresik's book Pilgrimage of Desire: An Explorer's Journey Through the Labyrinths of Life dives into a real account of moving through it all. About expanding and finding glimmers of joy, even while feeling unwell. Her tremendously popular article 10 Signs of Walking Depression talks a bit about what near-constant, low-grade depression feels like. I have experienced extreme depression, the take-over-all-functions-for-a-few-years kind, but I can relate.
The following encompasses my thoughts on Pilgrimage of Desire, and are also posted on the book's Amazon.com page.
I finished reading, tears streaming down my cheeks, with fist pumped in the air for the labyrinthine journey of the heroine. For the journey of Alison, and her way-finding.
Alison's writing style brought me in from the start. I was curious about this studious and proper young girl, and wanted to know, "Will that shell crack?" "Where will she find happiness?" "Where will she find fulfilment?" And, "Seriously, are there people who stick it together from first teenage kiss through marriage and families and moves and kids and unwellness?"
And what I discovered was depths and breadths—the expanse—of human experience. Some of us journey geographically; some, internally; others, interpersonally; and beyond. I felt the intensity of Alison's journeying through all of it, and felt invited along. I felt like I was tasting spicy chicken curry along with the protagonists, feeling the heat of the sun in Penang and the breeze-on-skin while biking the Netherlands. I felt hope in the possibilities of doing what I want to do, of finding the friendly guide in resistance on my own river-path. Now, I feel delighted by the travel story, inspired by the heroine story, and invited to try the flow exercises. I empathize with the physical and mental unwellness—like I could reach out and touch it from the writing—and understand how these moments can be guides toward our better lives.
In a word, I feel touched. And I have been well entertained along the journey.