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February 21, 2011

Half in Love- A Memoir by Linda Gray Sexton

Half in Love
Half in Love (Surviving the Legacy of Suicide) by Linda Gray Sexton is a gripping memoir.  I found myself pulled in to her story of depression, suicide attempts, her family history and recovery in an odd way.  It was deeply comforting for me to read.  The honesty and depth that Linda gives to the reader is a gift to anyone that has dealt with depression and/or suicide on their own or with a member of their family.  At times I felt myself biting my hand as I read, half crying and reading. I related to her descriptions of "going down the rabbit hole" that depression creates all too well. 

As a woman of three girls and a post partum depression survivor two times over I am hardly a novice to mood swings, dark moments in time and feelings of intense anxiety.  My own mother went through the same situation from the time I was six months old to when I was about five.  While I don't have a clear memory of those days as a child I do remember when she turned the corner towards recovery from her depression and how it lifted the fog off of everyone in our household.  I had a different mother and one that I took great joy in being with as did my father.  Gone was the grey, fuzziness that seemed to tinge our lives.  Enter sunlight and a mother with a presence. 

Now, five years after my first round of PPD, my husband and I have entered marriage counseling.  Our communication skills are not up to par and problems within ourselves have left gashes in our life together.  Reading Sexton's book about her own marital counseling was not just relatable but gave me a way into seeing how my anxiety issues, pregnancy and post partum depression times strained my own marriage.  Five years of all those ups and downs.  Five years of my husband pulling that added weight of taking care of all of us. Never wanting to burden me with any of his problems so as not stress me out or unravel me further takes such a toll on a relationship no matter how stable.  It was through Half in Love that I was able to turn around and see more clearly how it must have been for my spouse to live with me.  I could barely pull myself together on many days so how could I give the support that one needs to give when in a relationship?  I could not.  He had no one to lean on and my children have lived with a mother who often wept throughout the day as she roamed the inner dark spots of her mind.  It is not a life I want for me or for them.  Through therapy and medication I have found my way out once again and hope to be here in this brighter, clearer spot forever.

My mothers own honesty with me about her post partum depression was a huge relief for me.  Unlike Linda, I never felt that I had to be my mother's keeper as a child. It was never on that level.  Her discussions with me about her own experiences with PPD made it possible for me to know that if I needed her I could rely on her to talk about my own pervasive sadness.  Depression and suicide are an inherited trait to some degree. But like Linda talking with her sons, Nathaniel and Gabe about her own illness and suicide attempts she gives it a voice that offers not just a release but the ability to see the person and the trait more clearly.  At the end of her memoir Linda writes, "Love might not ensure that I would stay well, but love would help me through the darkness."  I am eternally grateful for the love my husband, family and friends have provided for me over the years and my rounds with depression.  I can never express my gratitude enough for helping to not just save me from the cocoon of darkness but my family as well. 

Thank you to award-winning author Linda Gray Sexton for sponsoring this series, which is inspired by her memoir Half in Love: Surviving the Legacy of Suicide.

I was selected for this sponsorship by Clever Girls Collective which endorses Blog With Integrity

To learn more about Linda Gray Sexton and her writing, please visit her website.