Powerful, moving, beautifully written & so important! This book is magnificent. You must read “Missing Christopher” by Jayne Newling. A true masterpiece. An easy read for it’s wonderful writing, a difficult read as it’s so deeply personal & so many of the themes I know & associate with.
I have just finished Missing Christopher and I have been rocked to my core. This is an incredible piece of writing that captures the heart and invites you intimately into the world of the Newling family and their pain. Jayne Newling is an exceptional writer and I can’t recommend this book more highly.
Jayne has bared all in this book. It’s so raw and real. I was crying from just a page in and felt the sting in my throat so many times as I choked back tears. Who am I to cry as I read this story when this woman and her family have been through so much. She details so well the characteristics of the people around them, the feeling of the places they lived, the emotions she endured and the suffering they felt. You are with her on every step of the journey and flipping each page to see how she could carry on. It’s an incredibly detailed trip into the world of grief and pain. I admire her courage and strength to write this and share it with the world. I thank her for being so open and know that her words will help others.
I really enjoyed the quotes dotted throughout the book and the way she shares the inspirations that once encouraged her son. The story sometimes jumps around and I like how it replicates the mind in this troubled stage and you can follow her thoughts at these challenging times. You really are taken into the world of depression, suffering, pain, grief and struggle. I felt exhausted but also educated by this book. For anyone who knows someone or themselves is suffering with mood disorders, I recommend this book. I have now passed it on to a 17 year old friend with clinical depression and I know the words will be of great solace to him.
To my friend Nic, the youngest son of Jayne Newling, wow, your journey is amazing & I’m thankful to know you and your goodness! I met Nic on the Trek to Machu Picchu with Black Dog Institute in 2012. Nic had incredible insight into mood disorders and worked for Bite Back with Black Dog Institute. I saw his amazing intuition and kind heart as he supported others on our trip through some tough times. His wisdom and fun loving spirit made him the perfect companion for the good times and the bad. I knew some of his story but nothing like what I read in Missing Christopher. I knew he was a wonderful person and I knew he’d been on a journey but not to such a great extent! I have such a great respect for him and a deep sorrow for the pain the family has endured. No-one should have to go through that. I know that Nic will succeed in his new path of speaking as he shares his story and Christopher’s to so many around Australia.
The afterword in this book is written by Professor Gordon Parker AO, founder of the #BlackDogInstitute. His help with the family at the most critical times and the continued support over the years is amazing. His insight and knowledge of mood disorders is above and beyond and I think his work in instigating an organistion such as Black Dog Institute is exemplary.
I have had my own battles with depression. I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress in April 2005. By July 2005, I had slipped into a deep depression and was diagnosed with clinical depression. Despite having loving family and friends, a caring and dedicated doctor, a wonderful school counsellor, supportive school teachers and staff and an appointed psychologist, my mind took over and depression consumed me. I was on anti-depressants and had regular counsellor, doctor and psychologist appointments. I understand the darkness and the depths that depression can take you. For me, it was circumstantial and the family history of it may have been the tipping point. Ultimately, it was the support, the love and the will in me to get through that saw me clear. The Black Dog of depression has re-visited me twice but funnily enough I am thankful for hitting my lowest low in 2005 as I now recognise the signs early enough to seek help.
We are all unique individuals and will all travel a different path. I cannot say that my depression was anything like what Christopher experienced. We come from different situations, different triggers and who knows what could, would have been. But I do understand that mental health is important, that mood disorders should be understood by the wider community and that people who are suffering should be treated with kindness, respect, love and care.
I feel passionately about the issue of suicide and mood disorders and value the work of Black Dog Institute. I’m happy to share my story, just as Jayne has shared their story and the pain she endured, so that others may not suffer in the same way.
In October 2015, I will travel to Bhutan to Trek for Happiness! I will be personally raising $3500 for the work of Black Dog Institute. I wish to support those living with mood disorders and to break the stigma that surrounds mental health. Each year, Black Dog Institute aims to advance the understanding, diagnosis and management of depression and Bipolar Disorder and improve the lives of those affected by these mood disorders. Please help me in my cause by donating through my page.