The graphic novel format works brilliantly - with Korkut Öztekin's illustrations allowing
Brent Williams' words to resonate deeply.
The book describes the inner world of someone who is clinically depressed with extraordinary vividness. The influence of a toxic past, self-defeating perfectionism in the present, and despair about ever feeling well again in the future will be horribly familiar both to sufferers and to their families.
What Brent shows so painfully clearly is the way depression refuses to let go: how, time and again, it creates its own reasons to give up, putting up ‘convincing' barriers to try and prevent the journey to recovery. His story bears witness to the truth that a person may need to persist in exploring different methods to find a way through it all, but that the effort will bear fruit.
If one person's unique story is told really well, it becomes universal. This book does
just that - and will give courage and faith to many many sufferers.
– Professor Mark Williams
Co-author of The Mindul Way Through Depression
Emeritus Professor of Clinical Psychology
University of Oxford Department of Psychiatry
The artwork is superb and the text clear and inspirational. The fact that it is conveyed in pictures means that sufferers can actually have access to the crucial messages in this book when they need them most, when they are in the pits of depression and unable to concentrate for long enough to read pages of text.
I strongly recommend that anyone suffering from depressive illness should read this book first. A great contribution to the global effort to overcome Major Depression.”
– Dr. Tim Cantopher
Author of Depressive Illness: The Curse of the Strong
– Professor Robert Sapolsky
Professor of Biology
Professor of Neurology and Neurological Sciences
Professor of Neurosurgery,
Author of Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers
– A Guide to Stress, Stress-Related Diseases, and Coping
I found it easy to read and I was drawn into the narrative. Brent shares some personal and powerful messages and I am guessing he must have put a lot of thought into deciding what/how much to tell.
With my psychologist hat on, I really appreciated the clear references to signs and symptoms to look out for, as well as the message that there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to treatment.
I appreciate that Brent talks about persisting to find an approach or combination that works for the individual, the importance of addressing sleep (nice clear messages), the value of making a number of consistent, small changes over the pursuit of one big ‘fix all’/magic wand.
The book captures so many messages in an accessible, accurate and balanced way (mindfulness, acceptance, behavioural activation etc.). I especially appreciate that this is potentially a great resource for other men –both young, middle and older.”
– Bronwyn Sweeney, PhD, MClinPsych
Sleep/Wake Research Centre | Massey University
I was enthralled and hooked from the first few pages. A chill went down my spine on seeing the blackness of the space Brent occupied when most depressed. His story drew me in and I was unable to put Out of the Woods down. I felt compelled to read it from start to finish to discover what happened and whether or not Brent came through the horrible depths of his depression.
Out of the Woods tells a journey through key aspects of Brent’s life. The beauty of the illustrations combined with sparse poetic narrative is sufficient reason to read it alone. However, Out of the Woods also educates on depression. It provides a deep understanding of the nature of depression and the ups of downs of treatment.
It is ultimately a journey of redemption, growth, and hope that could provide an invaluable lifeline to those experiencing depression, and those at a loss to understand what their loved ones are going through. It can also serve as a powerful tool for medical students, counsellors, and GPs wanting to supplement textbook knowledge with a personalised yet accurate account of depression.
The illustrations tell a story on their own with masterful use of colour and facial expression to document the journey through depression Brent has taken. Illustrator Korkut Öztekin creates allegorical spaces of dark foreboding and spiritual enlightenment that demonstrate the highs and lows of Brent’s journey. Complex concepts such as panic attacks and the neurobiology of depression are encapsulated by his drawings.
Read it, share it. That’s all I have to say. ”
– Ben Beaglehole
Psychiatrist, Senior Lecturer Otago Medical School, Christchurch
– Professor Shaun Holt
Author of Depression: Natural Remedies That Really Work
Those who suffer from serious depression and anxiety, who don’t respond well to medication, can get lost in self defeating thoughts as they sort though a confusing array of conventional and complementary treatments.
Brent Williams gives a realistic account of the many disappointments he encountered until he finally found the breathing practices, the lifestyle changes, and the right therapist to help balance his emotions and resolve the past experiences that lay beneath his depression.
Within this graphic novel are valuable keys to better understand and cope with depression for those who suffer from the disorder, and for their families and friends.
Healthcare professionals will also enrich their understanding of depression through the eyes of a patient.
Highly recommended for anyone living with depression. ”
– Patricia L. Gerbarg, MD
Assistant Professor in Psychiatry, New York Medical College
Co-author of The Healing Power of the Breath