Loving the Life Less Lived
By Gail Marie Mitchell
My Rating: 5*
My thanks to Anna at RedDoor Publishing for a copy of Loving the Life Less Lived by Gail Mitchell in return for an honest review. Loving the Life Less Lived is out TODAY. You can order a copy HERE.
I’m a great believer in things happening for a reason. Having struggled with depression and anxiety for some years, it’s only in the past twenty-four months that it has significantly affected my lifestyle, relationships, and career. I was always able to ‘get on with it’ for the most part, which I’ve discovered, is not conducive to your well-being. When I received Gail’s book I was almost relieved to be able to read about someone else’s journey, and I settled down to read in the hope I would learn how I could fix myself.
Loving the Life Less Lived in not a quick fix book, it’s not a self-help tome that promises to ‘do this, and all will be well.’ What I found instead was a brutally honest account of Gail’s life fraught with anxiety, phobias, panic attacks, and depression.
The author takes you through her many years, and experiences, of depression. She shares a journey where she was so desperate that she would try anything. Reading some of these accounts caused some my own issues to bubble to the surface. However, it was a positive thing to experience as I realised I wasn’t alone. Gail’s journey was exhausting, stressful, and demoralising, and you feel this in the way she writes. Her voice is so strong that it’s sometimes hard to grasp that she experienced such a hard time.
Interwoven among the heartfelt writing are motivational quotes from famous writers, celebrities, and speakers. Some of these I already have in my journals or posted on my notice board. It was a nice touch, and a breath of fresh air to discover these messages.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
From Desiderata by Max Ehrmann
As the author’s story unfolds we discover how she worked out the best route to finding peace and contentment. She not only explains her path to acceptance, but she offers a variety of tools that she experimented with over the years. The ‘Tips from my Toolbox’ sections were a useful resource. Gail used CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) as one of her self-help tools, and although I didn’t find this technique to be helpful for my situation, she guides the reader through the process of re-thinking how you look at certain situations.
She also includes ‘Over to You’ exercises where she summarises the points she has made in each chapter listing it in such a way to give you an easy to follow guideline should you wish to try these techniques for yourself.
Gail Mitchell went through a torturous time and yet she fought hard to maintain a good life where she was committed to helping others. She was a teacher, working with troubled teenagers, she travelled across America, and volunteered in Sao Paulo. I hope she now realises that in writing her story she can help more people than she could ever imagine possible.
The author now understands how to play to her strengths and which tools can help her keep her depression on an even keel; from meditation to Myers-Briggs, CBT to hypnotherapy, Gail Mitchell has tried it all and documents her story with grace, and with a dedication to helping her readership to embrace the life less lived.
Value small victories.
There is no ‘look at me, I’m all better’ ending to this book, but there is a lot of hope that even when you feel life has given up on you, that your depression is in full control, and that your anxiety will never let you live a normal life, acceptance can set you free. Gail shares her life in the hope it will shine a light on mental health. She strives to raise awareness of embracing mental health within the workplace so that employers are better equipped to help their employees, and those employees feel supported in their chosen career.
I started this book expecting to be taught a few lessons on how to fix myself. Instead, it felt like someone shone a bright light on my face. I was able to resonate with Gail’s story, embrace her coping mechanisms and filter these into my life. Yes, I did learn a lot from reading this book, but not in the way I had initially expected. The author allows you to explore your own unique pathway through depression by telling you how it is, warts and all!
Loving the Life Less Lived is an emotional rollercoaster, it’s an honest, often brutal, example of how anxiety and depression can affect your life. It is also a beacon of hope that acceptance truly does have the power to change your life.
Like many people, Gail Marie Mitchell battled with anxiety and depression for many years, finding it exhausting, stressful and demoralising at times. Realising that this approach to her condition was futile, Gail chose a different approach – acceptance.
Taking control in this way removed some of the pressure and enabled Gail to focus on developing coping strategies, creating the tips and tools that are included in this empathetic and practical book.
Gail focuses on the positive aspects of her condition, showing how a person living with mental illness is so much more than the label that society puts on them. She found acceptance empowering, enabling her to live her life to the full. Perhaps not the life she had planned, but one that is happy and fulfilling and that she loves. She is Loving the Life Less Lived.
By sharing her experiences and describing what she learnt from them as well as the resulting coping strategies, Gail has created an essential companion for anyone dealing with mental illness – and their family and friends.
About the Author:
Gail Marie Mitchell has tried her hand at many things over the years from studying chemistry at the University of York to teaching in the favelas of Brazil. She now works in the exciting world of accountancy, supporting small charities in the East Midlands area. She lives in a country idyll with her husband and spends her time working, writing and trying to make sense of this crazy, confused and broken world we live in. She has lived for much of her life with anxiety and depression, conditions she has slowly learnt to accept and celebrate and which have led her to write Loving the Life Less Lived.
You can read her blog and poetry on her website at www.lovingthelifelesslived.com
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