A lot of self-help books outline a bunch of techniques on how to discover yourself and rules to follow in pursuit of happiness but this book changes the bar. There is definitely a lot of self-discovery involved and the best part of it is that it is infused with poems to keep you hooked. I’m really not a great fan of poems and if you fall into my category …do not be deterred; the poems are beautifully written and interwoven with the author’s wonderful story.
“From the Shadows: A Journey of Self-Discovery and Renewal” begins with how the author died! *just kidding*, it actually begins with how her soul nearly died. She introduces herself as Elizabeth and talks about her childhood and her family. The story gets more interesting when at a tender age, Elizabeth developed two personas. One she named Liz and the other she named Beth. Liz is the logical one who never acknowledges rational feelings and seeks solace in writing and keeping journals, while Beth is the emotional one who is a sweet soul that is fixated on the brighter side of life.
The author, Elizabeth Onyeabor, tells the tale of her journey through depression, her near-rape experience, her unacknowledged anger and her feelings of unworthiness. She questions her existence, her life as a mother and how she felt so hopeless that even words of love intensified her unworthiness. She describes her depression as “An immeasurable burden burrowing a black hole through her, swallowing all her light”. Her depression led her to suicidal thoughts and feeling of dependency. She was stuck in her own inner turmoil.
She also integrates intense poems of how she felt at each stage of her life and how these feelings paved way for the author in her.
At each stage of her life, she struggled through the depression and learned to work through her inadequacies and grew to love both personas which in ardently, merged Liz and Beth together.
This book was so intense; I admit I was caught up in the story and I was suddenly becoming empathetic towards her depression. Her graphic description of depression left me awed. It was hard not to relate to such raw emotion, it was amazing to note that there is a pattern to depression. I guess you never knew that right? It starts with Busyness, Emptiness, Sadness and ends with Depression. In a paragraph of the book, she notes;
“My journals described many activities with friends, then feelings of emptiness when I was
alone. I had spent my teenage years keeping busy doing school work, acting in plays with
family members, doing activities with friends, longing for a boyfriend to complete me, and
feeling empty when I was alone. See a pattern? Busyness. Emptiness. Sadness. Depression.
My teenage depression was not deep yet. It was not at a crisis point. It was already present”.
For anyone who has gone through anything like this, my heart goes out to you, but most importantly, this is a book you can totally relate to.
This was an eye-opener to depression at an early age. It’s definitely no respecter of age and a big silent killer. It brings to light depression and its stale roots, the struggles, and the huge damages it brings to the emotional life of a person. .
To my delight, there were no grammatical errors and better still; I love the fact that the author incorporated her knowledge gotten from other books which helped her through her journey. Hopefully, we get to see more works like this that addresses the silent ills of the society.
You can get a copy of “From the Shadows: A Journey of Self-Discovery and Renewal” on OkadaBooks. Please click here.