It Won’t Last Forever
This time, our favorite author tackles depression. Our protagonist, Kristen is watching Mom slide into a very dark place. Evidently Dad left, Mom lost her job, and the baby is crying. Poor Kristen is left to hold everything together. Mom attempts suicide and is hospitalized. Kristen is confused. The doctor fixes everything and they all go home. I wonder if he also helped her get a job and find Dad?
Same simplistic story and creepy illustrations as we have seen in the past. I know all of you appreciate this wonderful, uplifting story just in time for the holidays.
Wait, how old is Kristen? Young enough to be given a kiddie talk about the doctor making Mom all better and letting your feelings just BE, but she sees a bottle of sleeping pills and immediately thinks of them as a suicide method? Either Doris has no idea what level of conversation/knowledge is age-appropriate, or there are problems in this family that probably need more than Mom’s three-week depression cure. I’m guessing the former, since she also has no idea how treating depression works. Neither talk therapy nor medications are likely to have Mom back to normal in three weeks – with every antidepressant I’ve ever heard of (and I’ve heard of more than I’d really like to) they say the effects on your mood will probably start to be noticeable in a month or six weeks.
I think it is safe to assume she knows nothing about any “problem”. Her books border on the insane!
I ordered this book out of curiosity–I have kind of a bile fascination with ole Doris’ books thanks to the ones covered on here, and my own mother happens to be manic depressive, so the subject matter alone made me even more curious to see how she would handle it. Plus the 1 cent price for a gently used library copy on Amazon couldn’t be beat. Here’s some things that weren’t covered in the submission post that might give you a better idea about what the book is like:
1. Kristen appears to be slightly older than most of the protagonists in Doris’ books. She calls her mother “Mom” instead of “Mommy” like the others do and there’s also a scene where she participates in an Easter egg hunt hosted by the Easter bunny, and the story basically says that even though Kristen was certain the Easter bunny wasn’t real she still enjoyed the egg hunt anyway. I know that’s not necessarily a definite clue about her being an older child (I still refer to my mom as Mama…it’s a Southern thing! :P), but I did kind of pick up on the idea that she might be older and so it’s not out of the realm of possibility for her to be aware of depression and also a possible suicide method, but still not really understand what depression is. That still doesn’t really excuse the rather simplistic ways depression is explained to her and also how she could help her mom feel better–asking for advice and coloring pictures and all that. If anything, it only makes it worse assuming she’s about nine or ten.
2. Leading into number two, it seems like dear Doris is only used to the kind of depression they show on TV where the one afflicted is just sad and weepy all the time. Depression can manifest itself in many ways: sudden mood swings, extreme outbursts of anger, smiling and laughing when it’s not appropriate. Ah, and especially forcing a smile around others that won’t understand why you’re crying or upset. My mom still gets extremely angry for the smallest of reasons and if Greta (Kristen’s mother) is the same way, it may not be wise to come bugging her for advice or a hug when she’s clearly about to blow up over something, even if the source of her anger seems trivial. I still have to walk on eggshells around my mom most of the time because of that, I just never know when she’ll lose it.
3. Is Doris even aware that maybe what Greta is going through is mostly post-partum depression, since she just had a baby? I know there were other factors such as her husband leaving and her losing her job, but it could’ve started from there. Post-partum depression is just as serious as any other kind of depression and could’ve easily been compounded by the other things or spiraled out of control. Just because it didn’t happen with Kristen doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen with the baby brother. Also, according to Barbara, her mother “suffered a depression once before Kristen was ever born”. You don’t suffer a depression. Depression usually manifests itself very early on in life. Not everyone who has depression has suffered a serious loss, as the advice in the back after the story says. There are many people that have a loving family, several good friends, and all the money in the world but still have depression, as it’s mostly a chemical imbalance. What Greta likely went through before Kristen’s birth was a period of grief, which doesn’t always correlate with depression.
4. Probably what’s the saddest thing of all is that the title of this book is a lie. Depression usually DOES last forever. Greta’s depression may never become as bad as it once was if she stays on top of it and if her psychiatrist does too, but it’ll never completely go away. My mom’s depression won’t ever go away, and I wonder if it’ll ever be properly managed since I feel like she still has problems with it. One thing that the book did get correct is that some antidepressants do tend to make you sleepy–a little for some people, a lot for those like my mother. My mother doesn’t do much anymore and usually just lays in bed or sits in the kitchen listening to the radio. Of course, she also had aneurysm surgery, but I know her current combo of meds isn’t really working that good. At the same time, I don’t want her to go back to how she was when I was younger, more energetic but really out of touch 🙁 All the book shows is her supposedly being all better after three weeks of long walks and reading a bunch of self help books and her and Kristen enjoying a walk through the park. It doesn’t show months later if Greta is continuing to get better, or if she got worse because of not being helped long enough and didn’t ever find a new job, or maybe even successfully committed suicide and left Kristen and her baby brother in the care of Mrs. G and her husband. Any of which are possibilities, because depression really is forever, and can easily get much worse again if you don’t continue to help yourself and get help from others.
5. Just a question regarding some of the Dear Friend advice from the back…is electro-convulsive therapy still really a thing used anymore?
Sorry for the extra-long post, but as someone who’s “been there”, I wanted to provide my own opinion on it.
Yes, ECT is still a thing. It’s really effective for some types of depression.
I don’t know about three weeks, but three months in a psychiatric hospital turned my entire life around. Even a 72-hour hold can make a big difference in where your mood state is. But you’re right, unfortunately – it never completely goes away.
Thanks, I wasn’t sure if that was still current or a completely outdated detail.
Not to mention, what kind of treatment is Mom having that she’s not likely to wake up from till afternoon?
Maybe its just me, but the front cover art reminded me of ads for shows like “The Deadliest Catch.”
It must be the raincoat! xD I’ve noticed that Doris and her illustrator Graci appear to love using the gray rain/clouds of depression trope to play up the drama, but the raincoat and clouds appear enough in this book that it makes me wonder if this story takes place in Seattle.
The pictures alone could bring on a good case of depression.
I’m already depressed because I have Asperger’s Syndrome and every other day I’m reminded how the world thinks I’m a worthless antisocial freak with weird obsessions and psychotic tendencies. The holidays this time of year are the worst because of all the pressure to be social and having to deal with all the changes and sensory overload. And I can tell you from experience that you’re lucky if medications they give you for depression work at all, and you don’t suffer from debilitating side effects that are 5000 times worse than the depression itself. I don’t need medication, I need people to accept me for who I am.
Lo siento, Lora. I have neurological differences that make pressure to socialize, sensory overload, and (especially unexplained) changes hard for me, too. I don’t get the same societal judgment you do, but people say they’d rather be dead than like me. Stinks.
I hope you can let your loved ones know what, specifically, you might need that would make the time easier on you and that they are willing to listen and accommodate you as they’re able.
Consider the possibility that you might need acceptance /and/ medication. Acceptance and understanding, while very important, don’t make sensory overload go away, for instance. Doesn’t have to be either/or. I have something I can take just when I need it, usually when I’m utterly overwhelmed or facing a situation where that’s likely to become an issue and I find it indispensable.
Hope you have a happier holiday than you expect.
Not to make light of your feelings, Lora, but I work in an academic library, and it sounds like you would fit right in on our campus. I think I have forgotten what “normal” students look like and act like. And that’s probably a good thing. And from experience, I agree completely about medications sometimes causing more harm than good. But some folks need them to stay alive.
This ^. I have Asperger’s, and people in my personal life, portrayal in modern media, often claim that Asperger’s is an excuse for “negative” behaviors, or is just a label to garner pity. I’ve been told that I’m “too bright” to have Asperger’s, that it’s a phase and I can ‘fix’ it, or even that I’m psychosomatic (make myself believe I have it). Because struggling to keep a job or connect with peers is simply amazeballs.
I am little disappointed that the seagull is not the LOVE-DOVE.
Mom is released from the hospital in three weeks because that’s as long as her minimal insurance will keep her. I’m bi-polar and made a suicide attempt under nearly the same conditions as Kristen’s mom. Lots of women were in there to satay until their medication levels were satisfactory. That was in 1983 though. Times have changed – the hospital won’t keep someone that long – they prescribe, get a psychiatrist to evaluate you, and boot you back home, hoping that you will continue to see the psychiatrist that evaluated you.
That’s true. I only stayed eight days in the hospital and that was much longer than all the other patients. I feel like Doris should have written books for middle grade or teen readers. Little kids at the picture book stage shouldn’t know about pill addictions or suicide attempts. “Mommy is sick” should suffice for this age group.
What’s with the weird side plot about the doctor not looking at Kristen while he was talking to her, but looking at her friend instead? That creeped me out–it feels really out of place in this book.
I know! And then he speaks in an impersonal bulleted list! I hope he’s not responsible for mom’s talk therapy!
Yes, oversimplification, that’s what everyone needs. It’s actually kind of impressive that for whatever issue she attempts to tackle, she manages to get it completely, utterly twisted and wrong. It’s like the blind leading the blind, although I’d wager that a small child would likely be more astute than Doris on these subjects.
And that’s what bothers me the most about Doris. There are probably plenty of kids in the real world who have to deal with a problem like this (not to mention the entries/offences dealing with foster care, divorce, and sexual abuse) and really need a resource to help them deal, but what good would this misinformed inanity do? I almost prefer it when she’s writing about death cults!
Oy, who’s the wiseacre agent that keeps authorizing the publishing of Doris’ books?
Sadly, my biggest problem with this book is the girl’s name is “Kristen” in the text, but “Kristin” on the back cover. I must be growing immune to the Sanford awfulness.
I’m waiting for a article to pop up in a psychiatry journal detailing how much damage this author has caused.
But then Doris will have to expand her Hurts of Childhood series to include a book about a child dealing with the trauma of having read the rest of the series…
I was thinking the same thing as A.C. Depression actually can last forever, though it can have lighter periods and darker periods.
What’s that Doctor doing? Unravelling his jumper or knitting? And he’s the creepiest character in it.
No wonder the Mum feels down her sofa is levitating!
Fiona, I think it’s one of those key chains with the round cords like a phone cord? It’s so hard to tell with her illustrations, though.
why does the doctor think the Hitler look is a good idea???
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