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74 of 74 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a "must read" for those suffering from depression!
This collection of 22 essays about depression by respected writers has helped me with my journey through depression more than any other book on the subject. I sat in awe, often with my jaw dropped open because these people were so accurately describing experiences that I have also gone through. They are written with clarity and I have found much solace in the reading of...
Published on June 25, 2001

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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars not too impressed
This collection could best be described as a mixed bag. Some essays are penetrating, insightful and well-written; others are in need of editing - they read more like a magazine piece, a draft of one that is. There are many dead-on descriptions of what it is like to exist (you don't exactly "live" during depression) with a mood disorder. However, the essays are...
Published on May 29, 2004


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74 of 74 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a "must read" for those suffering from depression!, June 25, 2001
By A Customer
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This collection of 22 essays about depression by respected writers has helped me with my journey through depression more than any other book on the subject. I sat in awe, often with my jaw dropped open because these people were so accurately describing experiences that I have also gone through. They are written with clarity and I have found much solace in the reading of these various essays. The essays include thoughts, feelings, medications, therapy, relationships, and the challenges of pregnancy with this illness. I agree whole-heartedly with William Styron, (who wrote one of the essays, as did his wife Rose) that the word depression does not describe even remotely the concept of depression. He said that it is more like a tempest in the brain. I am recieving much comfort in the reading of these essays because so many times we feel as if we are all alone; the only one experiencing the sometimes foreign and devastating symptoms resulting from climical depression. Praise goes to Nell Casey the editor of the book, who has a sister suffering from depression. I could go on and on. I cannot reccommend this book more highly if you or a loved one are going through the agony of depression. I believe everyone who reads this collection of essays will leave it having a fuller knowledge of depression.
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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Welcome Anthology, May 28, 2003
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This review is from: Unholy Ghost: Writers on Depression (Paperback)
If you are seeking a "Chicken Soup for the Depressed Soul" brimming with uplifting stories, this book is not the source.
Unholy Ghost reflects the ordeal of depression via the perspectives of those coping with it. The DSM-IV provides a skeletal structure for understanding the diagnosis. These essays add flesh to the framework. The reader is given an opportunity to intimately connect with each writer's experience of anguish. Some might criticize these essays as self-absorbed and declare the writers to be imperfect. Well, that's the point. This book is about personal involvement, revealing humans who try to genuinely articulate their journeys. Among many viewpoints, the reader will grapple with the issue of taking medication while pregnant, what it is like to be an African American woman who is depressed, how one person's "failed" suicide led to a reckoning with life, trying to understand the heritability of depression, and the general strange reality of living with this heavy companion.
This book does not contain answers. It is ponderous and sometimes disconsolate reading. What it does is invite the reader to walk alongside each writer and learn vicariously what depression can be. As a person who lives with major depression and dysthymia, I was fascinated by these voices and heartened by their company. As a psychotherapist, these essays will be a valuable tool for me in educating people about the dimensions of depression.
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69 of 78 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Coping with the unholy ghost, May 9, 2001
Unholy Ghost is a compilation of various writers detailing their personal struggles with depression. Some authors are well known, William Styron, Larry McMurtry, and A.Alvarez to name a few. Some see their depression as a catalyst for their creativity, some see it as a thief that threatens to rob them of theselves. Each writer details their recognition of being different, and the time lost. All who contribute to this book(there are a few companion essays by family members detailing the effect their loved-one's depression had on them)have sufferd from depression. Each writer has a very distinct voice when discussing their melencholia, some are scattered and frenetic, some detail the various pharmacological interventions, there are stories of suicide attempts and hospitalizations. The continuing thread is the loss of hope and orientation. Each writer describes the depression as a very real, physical and emotional being that threatenes to rob them of their lives and happiness. You do not have to be a writer or suffer from depression to appreciate the raw honesty of these pieces. The only problem I had was the constant theme of depression,(book on depression, too much depression, go figure)and the rawness of the tales.As a person who has suffered from chronic reoccuring depression the truth of these pieces resonated with me. These people really have hurt and it is like poking an open wound to read these stories.

Rereading the book almost 10 years later, I find the stories still resonate and the truths are still there. I have changed my rating since the cloud of my own depression has lifted and I have a safer place from which to view. ML
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars impressive, April 4, 2001
By 
J. C. Nash (Massachusetts) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
unholy ghost is a very impressive collection of essays dealing with depression. the writers include susanna kaysen (author of girl interrupted), lauren slater (welcome to my country and prozac diary) and william styron. the writers reflect on depression in powerful, personal, and revealing ways. the book begins with virginia heffernan's comment "this is what would happen. in the middle of movie theaters, meetings, and restaurants, i would suddenly have to leave." i was most impressed by meri nana-ama danquah's essay "writing the wrongs of identity" which deals with the intersection of race, gender, and depression. she notes, "...mental illness and race are topics that can not be divorced from one another. not easily. not for me."
this is an incredible book - gripping, powerful, and intense.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book for anyone who doesn't "understand" depression.., November 24, 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Unholy Ghost: Writers on Depression (Paperback)
Coming from a family who suffers from "depression," I could never truly understand, or begin to explain the depth or the meaning of the word "depression."
While reading, I found myself eerily remembering some of my own dark moments from the past. I also felt encouragement.
I would recommend this book to anyone suffering from severe depression, to pass this book along to friends or family that just don't understand when you say you are having a "really, really bad day."
I remember a psychologist I once sought for help, asking me how it felt "to want to be dead." I should send him a copy of this book.
For the depressed, the book might be a bit of a downer at times. If you are done trying to explain why you quit your job so many times, quit your marriage, didn't finish school, stayed in unhealthy relationships, stayed in bed for a week, didn't answer your phone, the door, or your mail, faked textbook illness to get everyone off your back, then pass this book along to those you've been "explaining" to your whole life.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Uneven but mesmerizing in spots, November 1, 2001
By 
Terry Higgins (Milwaukee, WI United States) - See all my reviews
Taken as a whole this collection of meditations on depression from writers can be a bit much, but the better writers in the bunch have produced some really gripping accounts of their, and their loved one's, battles with depression. The poems by Jane Kenyon scared the living daylights out of me, they were so frighteningly close to home.
Donald Hall's companion piece was moving and honest, as well.
Some of the authors tend toward academic blah-blah and others, such as the overrated Darcey Steinke, seem to be showing off rather than sharing.
Not light reading, but worth the nerve it takes to get into it.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully diverse, July 6, 2005
This review is from: Unholy Ghost: Writers on Depression (Paperback)
This is an excellent book on depression. It explores the diverse forms this disease can take by examining the stories of various writers. It is not a how to cope book, but rather offers solace to the reader who has experienced depression,and will resonate with this book.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Book with many different perspectives, August 26, 2001
By A Customer
My mother and I have just finished reading this book. I had seen talk about it on various talk shows and it drew my interest. I have a younger brother who suffers from manic-depression but he refuses to take medication. I happen to be my brother's sounding board and the one who helps to motivate him to keep on living in the darker times of his life. My brother was diagnosed as a teenager and we've struggled along with him for many years before the diagnosis and for almost 10 after. We both found this book very helpful in seeing the impact depression has on people (both the depressed and those who are involved in their lives). The companion pieces were the major drawing point for me. There are many different perspectives in this book which makes it excellent for anyone who really wants to try to understand what depression is or feels like to those suffering with it. We borrowed a copy from our local public library but I definitely plan to purchase it for my personal library.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great read whether you suffer from depression or not, March 14, 2001
By A Customer
I was thrilled with "Unholy Ghost". It takes up where Styron's "Darness Visible" left off (a book that is excerpted in the collection). The essays in this book deal with the effect of depression on both the afficted and those around them (with essays from both parties). Many are eloquently written, and offer hope for recovery, or at least a sense of survival (and even vitality and productiveness)despite the illness. I particularly enjoyed the Lauren Slater essay on her struggle between medication compliance and harming her unborn child from the possible side effects from her psychotropic meds. It is a "literary reference guide" to dealing with depression.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars helpful, moving, July 20, 2005
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A fine collection, thought-provoking, encouraging, often beautifully written . . . and it's important to know that depression can take many forms. I have recommended this book many times.
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Unholy Ghost: Writers on Depression
Unholy Ghost: Writers on Depression by Nell Casey (Paperback - January 8, 2002)
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