by Kathy Cronkite
Review by Dianne Rockenstein, M.A. on Jul 1st 2000
"I walk outside... sun shining, breeze wafting, birds singing --- SO WHAT? My baby gives me one of those dazzling smiles --- SO WHAT? My best friend calls with good news, my boss gives me a raise, my husband cooks my favorite meal --- SO WHAT? Little things overwhelm me. I can't find the mate to my sock... the doorbell rings when I'm on the phone... I want to cry..." Living with the "black dog". Can anyone really understand what it's like to live with Major (clinical) Depression unless they have been there themselves? Kathy Cronkite's On The Edge of Darkness provides insights and dispels myths about this very real brain disorder. She utilizes first person accounts of celebrities who live in the darkness and the physicians who specialize in treating them. These self-disclosures are significant and courageous due to the stigma which unfortunately still exists.
Readers who can profit from the information in On The Edge of Darkness include those who are afflicted and need more insight into their illness. Also, those who have friends or loved ones suffering Major Affective or Bipolar disorders can profit from the in depth illustrations of those who have been there. The uninformed can also learn a great deal from the physicians' accounts, especially those discussing genetic predispositions and environmental interactions. There is nothing worse than the (well-intended?) advice of the uninformed such as: "Snap out of it!" "Be positive!" "All you need is a good kick in the butt!". These comments are cruel and only add to the already unbearable emotional pain felt by these individuals.
As with all the mental or psychiatric disorders, information is needed to help alleviate the stigma and bring the general public to better understand these disorders. People who suffer with recurrent Major Depression need the help provided in this book to try to be aware and avoid relapses. Cronkite's book is compassionate and informative in a very relative way with its use of first person accounts. It will help one to learn more about the "black dog" and how to live with him. Dianne is a widow living with her two daughters, two dogs, two cats and two lovebirds in Western PA. She formerly worked in nursing at the VA Medical Center in Butler. After she lost her husband to suicide, she chose to go back to college to study Psychology. She earned her B.S. in Psychology in 1990 and M.A. in Counseling Psychology in 1993. Dianne has worked as a therapist with adult and adolescent trauma clients and in addictions counseling. She has also taught General Psychology on the college level. She is an avid reader, enjoys photography, drawing and painting. She is also an avid animal lover who enjoys horseback riding.