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The Other Side of Silence: A Psychiatrist's Memoir of Depression

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Having spent her life trying to patch up the souls of others, psychiatrist Linda Gask came to realize that being an expert in depression didn’t confer any immunity from it—she had to learn take care of herself, too. Artfully crafted and told with warmth and honesty, this is the story of Linda’s journey, interwoven with insights into her patients’ diverse experiences of dep Having spent her life trying to patch up the souls of others, psychiatrist Linda Gask came to realize that being an expert in depression didn’t confer any immunity from it—she had to learn take care of herself, too. Artfully crafted and told with warmth and honesty, this is the story of Linda’s journey, interwoven with insights into her patients’ diverse experiences of depression -inextricably linked with problems in the past and the present such as vulnerability, fear, loss, loneliness, dependence and grief.  She sets out to convey, in a new and original way, how it truly feels to experience this devastating illness, what psychotherapy is about, and the role of medication—and provides hope for those who suffer from depression and their loved ones while busting the stigma of mental illness.


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Having spent her life trying to patch up the souls of others, psychiatrist Linda Gask came to realize that being an expert in depression didn’t confer any immunity from it—she had to learn take care of herself, too. Artfully crafted and told with warmth and honesty, this is the story of Linda’s journey, interwoven with insights into her patients’ diverse experiences of dep Having spent her life trying to patch up the souls of others, psychiatrist Linda Gask came to realize that being an expert in depression didn’t confer any immunity from it—she had to learn take care of herself, too. Artfully crafted and told with warmth and honesty, this is the story of Linda’s journey, interwoven with insights into her patients’ diverse experiences of depression -inextricably linked with problems in the past and the present such as vulnerability, fear, loss, loneliness, dependence and grief.  She sets out to convey, in a new and original way, how it truly feels to experience this devastating illness, what psychotherapy is about, and the role of medication—and provides hope for those who suffer from depression and their loved ones while busting the stigma of mental illness.

30 review for The Other Side of Silence: A Psychiatrist's Memoir of Depression

  1. 5 out of 5

    Rosie Claverton

    What I love about The Other Side of Silence is that it sets aside the traditional, medical model of psychiatry and instead embraces a whole-person, holistic approach to the illness. It looks at depression not as a disease of neurotransmitters and recovery models and care programme approaches, but as an experience that happens to people and affects their lives. We see up-close and personal the effect it has on Linda's life and the course it takes. However, she also retains the perspective of the What I love about The Other Side of Silence is that it sets aside the traditional, medical model of psychiatry and instead embraces a whole-person, holistic approach to the illness. It looks at depression not as a disease of neurotransmitters and recovery models and care programme approaches, but as an experience that happens to people and affects their lives. We see up-close and personal the effect it has on Linda's life and the course it takes. However, she also retains the perspective of the psychiatrist. The reader is left in no doubt that they are in the hands of a doctor, a professional with clinical expertise on this subject. Linda's narrative moves effortlessly from a psychiatrist's analysis to a patient's point of view. She shares encounters from both sides of the table - her own work with patients and her own experiences of being tended to by professionals. I highly recommend The Other Side of Silence if you want a real account and contemporary understanding of depression, particularly with the supporting knowledge of a medical perspective. I can also recommend it if you have a personal experience of depression and are struggling to understand it, or are already on that journey. I think it is particularly relevant to professionals and those trying to maintain or reclaim the functioning of their lives. In fact, I recommend it so highly that I have already lent my copy to a friend.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Miranda

    This was fine but it felt quite surface-level, parts were touching and interesting but I felt like generally it was a bit brief and basic to be too meaningful.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Erika Monaghan

    A frank insight into depression I liked her discussion of depression as being multi-faceted and not the same for everybody. I also enjoyed her different descriptions of treatments and ways of tackling your demons. For her, there were lots of familial connections and feelings of loss...but it doesn’t always have to be that way. This was definitely an eye opener for me, just in terms of the various patients she describes.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    This is an interesting description of depression and its treatment, from the point of view of a psychiatrist who is also a sufferer. She explains what various treatments involve and how each of them may help in different ways and at different stages of the illness.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Robert Windsor

    Please, if you’ve ever suffered or know somebody who has suffered with depression or psychological ill health then pick this book up and read it. Take it with you wherever you go and pass it on when you’ve finished or recommend others buy it. I don’t think I can let mine go. Object relations! Now finished this wonderfully honest and at times raw personal journey through depression whilst caring for those with mental ill health. I have been able to relate more closely than I expected during this Please, if you’ve ever suffered or know somebody who has suffered with depression or psychological ill health then pick this book up and read it. Take it with you wherever you go and pass it on when you’ve finished or recommend others buy it. I don’t think I can let mine go. Object relations! Now finished this wonderfully honest and at times raw personal journey through depression whilst caring for those with mental ill health. I have been able to relate more closely than I expected during this relationship with Linda’s words and story. I was quite sad putting it to rest after finishing it and wanted to stay connected. I’ll have to stick with following her on Twitter. I obviously have attachment issues that I need to explore! x

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sam

    I always find it quite fascinating to read a first person narrative of a person’s own life and their psychological functioning across time; particularly when they are trained in psychiatry or psychotherapy. I think it stems from my inner motivation to feel that I am actually normal for having the thoughts that I do; I suppose why I have this motivation is a more interesting question. After all, what is normal? This book highlights how it’s a very rare occurrence for people to openly admit to how I always find it quite fascinating to read a first person narrative of a person’s own life and their psychological functioning across time; particularly when they are trained in psychiatry or psychotherapy. I think it stems from my inner motivation to feel that I am actually normal for having the thoughts that I do; I suppose why I have this motivation is a more interesting question. After all, what is normal? This book highlights how it’s a very rare occurrence for people to openly admit to how they’re actually feeling; often not because they do not want to, but because they do not even realise why themselves. It’s very difficult sometimes to realise that our behaviour is often due to inner turmoil that fights surreptitiously beneath the surface of our consciousness; inner turmoil which has its roots in childhood and lingers on to destroy our future relationships. It almost leaves me sad that we do not have a culture that promotes the discussion of feelings, where we are repressed in expressing what people actually mean to us so we never really tell them; we never really reach out to them and express how we would really like to spend time with them. The result is that we never truly connect with more than a handful of people; this restricts our growth. What was so illuminative about this book was that so many people of different backgrounds, ages, creeds, culture, social class etc. suffer from depression; even the most unlikely and unexpected. I wonder if in time we’ll come to realise that we all at some point do; even those who ferociously reject the concept; are they not just in denial and out of tune with their own inner conflicts? Perhaps not, perhaps they are the fortuitously blessed and never have to suffer unexpected feelings of dread, an intrusive negative thought or the hours of rumination over a situation where you construct what you wish you would have said. Overall I enjoyed reading this book but I did at times feel that Gask was being self-indulgent, unlike other memoirs of a similar ilk I have read, when she circled around topics such as her father. I also question her presentation of her own therapy sessions as I find it difficult to accept that she constructed these accurately when reflecting on them in retrograde; they also would have been marred by her own distorted perception at times of her unrest. Nevertheless I definitely got something out of it.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kat

    Amazing book. A vivid image of depression from the angle of common, everyday traumas, emotional stress, and insecurities most people face. To even more deeply illustrate this, Linda switches back and forth between her own life and the life of her patients experiencing the same problem. It is incredibly humanizing. One critiscm could be that it focuses too much on how "normal" or "common" depression is, so one might get the idea depression is "just having a hard time and feeling kinda sad; It'll a Amazing book. A vivid image of depression from the angle of common, everyday traumas, emotional stress, and insecurities most people face. To even more deeply illustrate this, Linda switches back and forth between her own life and the life of her patients experiencing the same problem. It is incredibly humanizing. One critiscm could be that it focuses too much on how "normal" or "common" depression is, so one might get the idea depression is "just having a hard time and feeling kinda sad; It'll always pass. Just run everyday like I did and you'll be cured!" But I think you would have to be reading it from that mindset in order to get that message... And be very stubborn. Linda does a great job at showing the diversity within cases of depression/mental illness. As well as how depression is helped by different treatments, and even different treatments at different times in life, as it is often chronic and prone to relapse. It is sometimes a lifelong journey to overcome the childhood circumstances that made you develop the insecurities and depression that you carried into adulthood. Speaking of childhood, Linda comes from a psychoanalytic perspective. I am a behaviorist, but I agree and resonate with the observations about childhood she made throughout the book. Going back to normalizing depression, This book is not just for people with a diagnosis. Anyone could read this book and find at least one topic they can relate to on a personal level. The issues are not just depression issues, they are human issues.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    I bought this memoir when I visited the Cheltenham Literature Festival in October 2017. It instantly drew my attention, due to my interest in the subject matter (I am a qualified counsellor). Working as a counsellor, there are times when those around you - perhaps even those you share your life with - seem to have the impression that, because you help others through difficult times, there is almost an immunity to life's difficulties for you. This, of course, just isn't true. After all, doctors g I bought this memoir when I visited the Cheltenham Literature Festival in October 2017. It instantly drew my attention, due to my interest in the subject matter (I am a qualified counsellor). Working as a counsellor, there are times when those around you - perhaps even those you share your life with - seem to have the impression that, because you help others through difficult times, there is almost an immunity to life's difficulties for you. This, of course, just isn't true. After all, doctors get sick, just like the rest of us. So, being able to read a memoir of a psychiatrist who also suffers from depression, appealed to me, as it would show that it is okay to still be a human when you are working in the caring professions. This memoir is exceptionally well written. The chapters are divided into shorter sections, meaning that it is a book that you can easily dip in and out of. Gask writes with honesty, providing details of her own experiences of therapy, as well as providing case studies from her professional role. Regardless of whether you have suffered from mental health issues, such as depression, reading Gask's memoir is easy to relate to. As mentioned, what it truly does do, is to show that those who look after us in various different roles are just as human as the rest of us. If those working in the caring professions can read this, and not feel ashamed about the struggles that they may be going through in private, I think this memoir will have achieved its aim. I would definitely recommend this to others.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sheena

    Spoke to me In so many ways Starting from a relapse in MDD I was curious to understand what psychiatrists who had depression thought...and I came across this book. It spoke to me In so many ways and, just having completed my first reading, find I have highlighted so many phrases which I have felt through the years, first studying a year of medicine, then changing to study accountancy and economics and dealing with life’s crises as they have stacked one after another, through to the situation now, Spoke to me In so many ways Starting from a relapse in MDD I was curious to understand what psychiatrists who had depression thought...and I came across this book. It spoke to me In so many ways and, just having completed my first reading, find I have highlighted so many phrases which I have felt through the years, first studying a year of medicine, then changing to study accountancy and economics and dealing with life’s crises as they have stacked one after another, through to the situation now, when menopause hit, and my husband tells me that I no longer had the padding left in my cushion and feel the springs as I was diagnosed with burnout and major depression last year. Thank you, Linda, for your candid book, for sharing your story. I think it has brought more out for me to look through, sort out and untangle...for things that I thought were normal and I now realise my reaction to it was not. Namaste <3

  10. 5 out of 5

    G

    The topic of depression is certainly heavy to read about, however Linda's way of writing is so smooth that I consumed the book within few days. I appreciate it for a different perspective just as I admire her courage to reveal so much of her inner life, which really helps to understand how complex the whole problem is. The fact that Linda's own story is intertwined with stories of her patients makes it truly a unique piece. She points to a direction in which we need to dig deeper in order to be The topic of depression is certainly heavy to read about, however Linda's way of writing is so smooth that I consumed the book within few days. I appreciate it for a different perspective just as I admire her courage to reveal so much of her inner life, which really helps to understand how complex the whole problem is. The fact that Linda's own story is intertwined with stories of her patients makes it truly a unique piece. She points to a direction in which we need to dig deeper in order to be able to treat depression better and I can only sympathize with antireductionism views that go along with it.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ginny

    I greatly admire Linda Gask's honesty and bravery in writing this book- I'd love to be able to write a book like this one day. She writes with such clarity, openness and raw honesty- I found myself relating to her on both a professional and personal level. She does a brilliant job of balancing her personal history and life experiences with her clinical experience as a Psychiatrist- so you get a broad and deep understanding of depression; one of the most common mental health problems. Highly reco I greatly admire Linda Gask's honesty and bravery in writing this book- I'd love to be able to write a book like this one day. She writes with such clarity, openness and raw honesty- I found myself relating to her on both a professional and personal level. She does a brilliant job of balancing her personal history and life experiences with her clinical experience as a Psychiatrist- so you get a broad and deep understanding of depression; one of the most common mental health problems. Highly recommended for those that want to understand depression and the ways of treating it.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Clare

    A really sensitive, thoughtful overview of depression combining both the professional and scientific lense of a psychiatrist with the personal lense of a sufferer. The author’s compassion rings through as does her vulnerability. I found it a good “beginners guide to depression”, it covers a lot of theories, areas and the personal and professional anecdotes catch your emotions. However it just kind of fizzled at the end, and despite being bravely open about some areas of her life I felt feeling f A really sensitive, thoughtful overview of depression combining both the professional and scientific lense of a psychiatrist with the personal lense of a sufferer. The author’s compassion rings through as does her vulnerability. I found it a good “beginners guide to depression”, it covers a lot of theories, areas and the personal and professional anecdotes catch your emotions. However it just kind of fizzled at the end, and despite being bravely open about some areas of her life I felt feeling frustrated that I didn’t really know how the author’s personal journey was progressing.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jade

    A brilliant, insightful and honest read. I am so grateful that I stumbled across this book. It helped me to understand myself a little deeper, it helped me find the words I was unable to find and it helped me be a little kinder to myself for experiencing things that I felt ashamed of at times. I would highly recommend this book, Linda although highly academic delivers her book in a way which is easy to access and in some ways feels therapeutic in finding parts of yourself in the pages and beginnin A brilliant, insightful and honest read. I am so grateful that I stumbled across this book. It helped me to understand myself a little deeper, it helped me find the words I was unable to find and it helped me be a little kinder to myself for experiencing things that I felt ashamed of at times. I would highly recommend this book, Linda although highly academic delivers her book in a way which is easy to access and in some ways feels therapeutic in finding parts of yourself in the pages and beginning the process of address what ever it is that you find.

  14. 4 out of 5

    graham morgan

    Wonderful I love reading books that break barriers and stereotypes and this one certainly does that. I learnt so much and recognised so much but despite the wonderful subject matter the bit that I will remember most is the description of going to the Wash and bathing her feet in the sea

  15. 4 out of 5

    Dafni

    I have met Linda in person and she is such an amazing and inspiring speaker. She also has this charismatic way of transferring feelings in paper. The way she presents her lived experience of depression in relation to the lived experience of her patients is very touching. I liked that she explores loneliness and grief - as she highlights many times “depression is associated with loss”.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Theres

    Similar to "Maybe you should talk to someone", Gask is a psychiatrist receiving counselling at the same time as practicing, and she switches between these two viewpoints. Very informative about depression and counselling, closer to a memoir than a self-help book or a science book, but a bit of all three. Gask also writes very well. Similar to "Maybe you should talk to someone", Gask is a psychiatrist receiving counselling at the same time as practicing, and she switches between these two viewpoints. Very informative about depression and counselling, closer to a memoir than a self-help book or a science book, but a bit of all three. Gask also writes very well.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Connor Smith

    Couldn't really put it down honestly. A fantastic insight and a heartfelt tale that really puts you in touch someone else's perspective. Some chapters were definitely more interesting that others, but all of them were interesting enough to keep wanting to read on. Couldn't really put it down honestly. A fantastic insight and a heartfelt tale that really puts you in touch someone else's perspective. Some chapters were definitely more interesting that others, but all of them were interesting enough to keep wanting to read on.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jenny Davies

    An interesting read and I definitely gained a new level of insight into depression, enjoying the combination of perspectives that Linda Gask provides - her own personal experience and her knowledge/experience as a psychiatrist.

  19. 5 out of 5

    tyrt

    Very frank - Refreshing

  20. 5 out of 5

    Chi Thanh

    Obviously not a self help book, but written deeply personal. I enjoyed the honest perspective and the bits of medical background that was easy to read.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Leah

    Yeah, pretty good. I think it's important to read these sorts of books, get the perspective of someone who works in this field with the issues they're trying to help! Yeah, pretty good. I think it's important to read these sorts of books, get the perspective of someone who works in this field with the issues they're trying to help!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Karin Jenkins

    A frank and moving memoir of life as a psychiatrist and depression sufferer. Shows the complexity of the disease and how there is no one size fits all treatment.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ana

    Simple, but very sensitive book Simple, but sensitive book. Very nice how the author describes her patients' stories throughout the book in one flow with her own experience. Simple, but very sensitive book Simple, but sensitive book. Very nice how the author describes her patients' stories throughout the book in one flow with her own experience.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Pen

    Great book. Found it very interesting.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Zareen

    The book is clear, compelling, honest and very insightful. The author skillfully interweaves her own experiences with her work with clients and colleagues. The experiences she has help to add a deeper dimension to the support and work with her clients. She writes very knowledgeable way about grief, loss and bereavement. I found myself fully absorbed in reading Linda Gask’s personal story. She has experienced these emotions herself and has supported her clients through the bereavement process.

  26. 4 out of 5

    2017reviewer

    Friendly, frank, down to earth, relatable. Gask's memoirs are a healthy balance of vignettes from various unnamed clients from her years of being a psychiatrist, snippets from her career on the wards including the pervasive cynicism she experienced from colleagues about the patients they treat, as well as glimpses of her personal life and personal experiences within the all-consuming bowels of depression. Of particular interest, were her experiences with various anti-depressants, her contradicto Friendly, frank, down to earth, relatable. Gask's memoirs are a healthy balance of vignettes from various unnamed clients from her years of being a psychiatrist, snippets from her career on the wards including the pervasive cynicism she experienced from colleagues about the patients they treat, as well as glimpses of her personal life and personal experiences within the all-consuming bowels of depression. Of particular interest, were her experiences with various anti-depressants, her contradictory hunger for affection and fears of intimacy, as well as her role as both a psychiatrist and a mental health patient. I enjoyed seeing this disease from the perspective of a person who wears both hats in equal measure. It provides a sense of feeling less alone, and less guilty - as loneliness and guilt often are, the hallmarks of depression.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Holly Christine

    I found this book very insightful and easy to read. I feel that I connected with this book through the authors honesty about having episodes of depression at various times throughout her life and how different therapies can help. It was also interesting to hear about both her personal and professional experiences with treating and being treated for depression. This book gave me hope and a sense that we are all human looking for connection and a way to fight our inner demons.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Emma Griffiths

    *I won this in a GoodReads Giveaway!* What an inspirational woman Linda Gask is! Despite the painful subject-matter, she writes with so much honesty, sensitivity and clarity. I really like how she told her own life experiences as well as those of her patients in her professional life. I found it interesting to realise that those who treat depression in others are subject to its effects too. Although mental health problems are becoming less of a stigma there is still a lack of understanding, Which *I won this in a GoodReads Giveaway!* What an inspirational woman Linda Gask is! Despite the painful subject-matter, she writes with so much honesty, sensitivity and clarity. I really like how she told her own life experiences as well as those of her patients in her professional life. I found it interesting to realise that those who treat depression in others are subject to its effects too. Although mental health problems are becoming less of a stigma there is still a lack of understanding, Which is what makes this book so valuable. This book is beautifully written and I would definitely recommend it.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Lane

    As someone who struggles daily with both anxiety and depression I wasn't sure if this book would be my cup of tea. What followed was a balance of both personal and professional experience. There remains a taboo around this area and it is not something you discuss openly. I felt for the author struggling to deal with her own demons whilst also helping others to deal with theirs. It wasn't overly sentimental and that made the book easier to read. I read so much that resonated with me but this is not As someone who struggles daily with both anxiety and depression I wasn't sure if this book would be my cup of tea. What followed was a balance of both personal and professional experience. There remains a taboo around this area and it is not something you discuss openly. I felt for the author struggling to deal with her own demons whilst also helping others to deal with theirs. It wasn't overly sentimental and that made the book easier to read. I read so much that resonated with me but this is not in any way a self help book but it certainly made me feel slightly less ashamed of my struggles as it can happen to anyone.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kirsty

    A well written book tackling a deeply personal subject. I liked the mix of personal memoir and examples from Linda gask's work, which helped to show how debilitating depression can be, and yet what can be achieved. A well written book tackling a deeply personal subject. I liked the mix of personal memoir and examples from Linda gask's work, which helped to show how debilitating depression can be, and yet what can be achieved.

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