Loved Back To Life
Loved Back to Live: How I Found the Courage to Live Free is a courageous, honest memoir/self help book by former 700 Club host Sheila Walsh. She's now currently a Women of Faith speaker and author of several other books. To be honest, I'd never heard of Sheila or her story before picking up this book, but after reading the description, knew it was a book I needed to read. The description reads:
"Join Sheila Walsh on her journey from despair to joy
Beautiful and talented, Sheila Walsh was at the pinnacle of her career, appearing daily on television as co host of The 700 Club. One day she found herself walking away from it all and checking in to a psychiatric hospital, where she stayed for a month.
From the outside everything seemed fine, but on the inside Sheila was in trouble. In her journal she wrote, “Lord, please hold me. I’m falling into a dark well. I feel as if I am disappearing a little more every day. I am so angry inside that I am afraid of myself. I feel so alone.” How did this happen? What brought her to her knees?
Loved Back to Life takes readers on Sheila’s journey of the soul from hopelessness to joy as she finds that although the road was scary, at every turn God beckoned her to follow and trust Him. And He did not let her down."
Now, I feel this is such an important book for Christians today. Depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders are nearly taboo in Christian culture at large. Many, many Christians believe that mental illness is not real, a purely spiritual problem, caused by sin, or any number of other reasons. I have personally suffered from depression and anxiety. I have sat in meetings to train Christian counselors where the speaker stated she refuses to counsel anyone who takes antidepressant/anxiety medication and won't go off of the medications. Considering how many Americans take these types of medications, I doubt I was the only one sitting in that room currently taking an antidepressant and feeling like they were inferior to everyone else in the room.
Frankly, I think this is not just a travesty, but dangerous. A counselor is not a doctor, and good Christians are being made to feel like they are "less than" or that there is something inherently wrong or sinful about them if they suffer from any type of mental illness and seek medical treatment for it. Recently there's been more of a pushback and people are finally starting to realize that mental illness is a real illness that needs real treatment. I think that the more books that are written like this, the better, because people are finally starting to sit up and listen and become open to changing their minds and attitudes about these important issues.
Now onto the book itself, it was excellent. Sheila's story is compelling, raw, and honest. I picked it up and was hooked from the first page. I read this book in less than a day, and honestly it's one you could read in one sitting if you were so inclined. This is a rewrite/update to her previous book, Honestly. Sheila takes us through those dark days 20 years ago and then updates her story to include where she is today, how her journey has gone, and includes updated information in the field of mental health. I highly recommend this book not only to Christians who have suffered from mental illness, but to every Christian. Christianity needs much more understanding and compassion for the issue of mental illness and how to deal with it in the members of its churches. I commend Sheila for putting herself out there and being willing to share her story and journey.
I received a copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.