A Hell of Mercy: A Meditation on Depression and the Dark Night of the Soul

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9780060825188: A Hell of Mercy: A Meditation on Depression and the Dark Night of the Soul
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n this unflinching look at depression and the human struggle to find hope in its midst, acclaimed author Tim Farrington writes with heartrending honesty of his lifelong struggle with the condition he calls "a hell of mercy." With both wry humor and poignancy, he unravels the profound connection between depression and the spiritual path, the infamous dark night of the soul made popular by mystic John of the Cross. While depression can be a heartbreaking time of isolation and lethargy, it can also provide powerful spiritual insights and healing times of surrender. When doctors prescribe medication, patients are often left feeling as if part of their very selves has been numbed in order to become what some might call "normal." Farrington wrestles with profound questions, such as: When is depression a part of your identity, and when does it hold you back from realizing your potential?

In the tradition of Darkness Visible and An Unquiet Mind, A Hell of Mercy is both a much needed companion for those walking this difficult terrain as well as a guide for anyone who has watched a loved one grapple with this inner emotional darkness.

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About the Author:

Tim Farrington is the author of Lizzie's War, The Monk Downstairs,—a New York Times Notable Book—and The Monk Upstairs, as well as the critically acclaimed novels The California Book of the Dead and Blues for Hannah.

Review:

“These days that there is meaning in suffering is not a particularly popular position. But Tim Farrington with intellectual rigor and great candor lays out his relationship to both religious suffering and clinical solutions. A Hell of Mercy is an important book.” (Darcey Steinke, author of Suicide Blonde and Easter Everywhere)

“This book, as lyrical as it is profound, is a brilliant testament to that most enduring of hopes--out of death grows life. For all of us craving salvation, this is essential reading, a mysterious atlas of the sacred.” (Eric Wilson, author of Against Happiness)

“With a poet’s eye and a seeker’s heart, Tim Farrington explores the often-interwoven threads of spirituality and depression. Farrington is both a guide and a muse: his honesty invites introspection and hope.” (Julia Cameron, New York Times bestselling author of The Artist's Way)

“A personal diary of one man’s journey to the other side of the black chasm of depression. This meditation will be most useful to someone who is facing similar struggles. Farrington’s description of the Stations of the Cross for children is alone worth the price of the book.” (Library Journal)

“So many of the passages and insights written by Tim Farrington in his astonishing work so surpassed my own writing on the same subject, that it catapulted me into the darkest depression of my life. Fortunately, I quickly reread his book and saw the light.” (Richard Lewis, comedian and author of The Other Great Depression)

“Farrington drills deep into his soul to ponder his own lifelong coexistence with depression...He writes about his slow crawl to regular, functional life with beauty, cleverness, bone-breaking honesty and a deep, hard-won appreciation for the holy.” (Publishers Weekly STARRED review)

“[Farrington] comes to see his depression as a way of purging his soul of the selfish ego, bringing that soul to silence and an awareness of its own nothingness.” (The Los Angeles Times)

“An unsoppy meditation by a man who—though marginally devout—came to rely on the 16th-century saint’s humble and hard-nosed spirituality (a does of Effexor didn’t hurt, either). Laced with wry jokes and anecdotes, like the most accessible teachings, this volume is a healing gift.” (O Magazine)

“[A] brave and ambitious work of nonfiction...We commend the author for opening the doors to both depression and the dark night of the soul and for dealing in a meaningful way with the spiritual practice of surrender to God.” (Spirituality & Practice)

“An amazing little book, equal to William Styron’s Darkness Visible.” (The Oregonian)

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