Book Reviews

Finding True North by Linda Gask

What da Cover says: Beneath the wide skies of Orkney Linda Gask recalls both her career as a consultant psychiatrist and her lifelong struggle with her own mental health. After the favelas of Brazil, the glittering cities of the Middle East, and the forests of Haida Gwai, will she find perspective, spiritual relief, and healing in the quietude of her new home? Her troubled past is never far away.

What I says: What a remarkable book this is, Gask shares with us a side of mental health that the average joe wouldn’t ever consider, the mental health of a psychiatrist. Gask has had a full career helping those many people who have needed somebody to be there, to listen and to see them and if her writing is anything to go by she must have been a great listener with a soothing voice. The book comes across as very honest, by listening to her patients she has learnt ways to come to terms with her own past trauma and depression and she shares with the reader the highs and lows of her route to where she is at this moment in her life.

I am one of those lucky people, I don’t suffer from any mental health issues and I feel very lucky to be where I am in life, a good life at home and somewhere at work to get away from the stresses of work, (a common with plenty of wildlife to help me unwind) without these stable parts of my life it is scary to think what I’d be like. I think I found “The True North” that Gask is hinting at in this book early on in my life. I do know of people who suffer from anxiety and depression and this book has really opened my eyes about what they are going through, I must admit that I have thought at times that it must be easier to deal with and that it would go away soon…this book has taught me I’ve gotta be way more patient and shown me ways I can be more helpful.

I think Gask has been very brave in writing this book as it is a harsh world out there full of people with a mean streak and zero cares for anybody but themselves, I think she has written a well balanced book, she hasn’t attacked anybody or any system, she points out faults and comes up with ways to improve things and she has raised awareness of things that are working. I’m not sure this is a book for those who suffer as they won’t get any help here, apart from realising they aren’t alone, this is a book for those who know of people who suffer from mental health problems, it is a way they can find ways they can help. Also don’t read this book if you are trying to avoid falling in love with The Orkneys, it is somewhere I’ve always wanted to go….one day I shall make it there.

Thanks to Sandstone Press for the copy of this book to review.

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