Monday, May 28, 2012

Terry Wise pulls people out of the darkness

On Christmas day 2000, I didn't just peer over the edge of a rooftop.  I jumped off, feet airborne with the cement blocks of depression shackled to my ankles.  The final thing I recall was swallowing the last fistful of Percocets.  I did not make an an attempt to commit suicide.  I killed myself.

This how Terry L. Wise starts her book Waking Up: Climbing Through the Darkness.*

Further along in the book, she writes about the scene two days later:

I began to discern the shocking reality. Contrary to the laws of science, I was still alive, seated on the bathroom floor a few feet from my bed--an anatomical aberration that was nothing short of miraculous.  One of my worst fears had become a reality.  I had woken up from committing suicide.

My free fall back into life had begun. ....Netted by fate, I had woken up.

Terry documents all this and more in her book but also spends her time addressing audiences of all types about her experience and what can be learned from it.  She has won a National Mental Health Award and spoken in over 200 cities in the 9 years she has been dedicated to this effort.  Waking Up has been distributed to caregivers, returning veterans and communities that have been dealing with the many issues of mental health. It has become a widely used book in undergraduate and graduate clinical psychology programs, primarily because it is one of the few works that provides transparency to effective therapy from a patient's point of view.

Rabbi Harold Kushner says, "Terry saves lives and pulls people out of the darkness that envelops them."

*This is the 2012 updated edition, with a slight title change from the previous version.

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