Surviving Depression: A Catholic Approach

by Kathryn j. Hermes, FSP

Reviewed by Eileen Quinn Knight, Ph.D.


here is no escaping depression, it is a condition of the human experience. At this time of the pandemic we are in the midst of an even greater manifestation of this illness. The author, Kathryn Hermes, strives to present us with assistance along the lines of this disease. Into this book are woven many individuals’ unique experiences of depression. Those who have struggled through the journey to well-being and wholeness against incredible odds, and have shared their stories should be applauded.


Some of the characteristics or details that hit home really mesh with your own experience. People who have suffered depression can learn much from each other’s stories. However, not every experience in the book will be completely like the ones you experience. The reader may feel more or less depressed than the people in the stories. The reader may or may not experience the symptoms told here. Flashes of insight or recognition are not a replacement for accurate diagnosis. The author states that this book is not meant for self-diagnosis and does not address the more critical needs of those who suffer severe or psychotic cases of depression or bipolar disorder. Rather, the book is meant to be a companion to the reader or to a friend of yours, struggling with his or her dark periods of life. Much in our Catholic tradition and in spirituality can offer strength, comfort and powerful insight into this struggle. The book will introduce the reader to the wealth of the words and be with the reader as they find God in new ways along this part of their life’s journey.


A new part has been added in this second addition, in these chapters the reader will find eight steps for inner peace that are rooted in scriptural spirituality, in practical wisdom from living in the present and in centering prayer. Learning about depression and reading about spirituality are not enough to bring the reader to the changes that we seek in our lives. A step-by-step process enables those who wish to embark on a journey of personal transformation to more easily find the peace the reader is looking for.

The steps to inner peace are a process. Each step begins by introducing a sentence that sums up the growth of that step and can be repeated during the days or weeks in which you are integrating the material into your life. The main part of the process is made up of a scriptural reflection, presentation of the content of the step, and a step-by-step practice guide. The reader is encouraged to work on each step for as long as the reader feels he or she are getting something out of it. When the readers finishes the eight steps, they should be done again so that the reader can solidify the peace gained. The book also has a list of groups the reader can contact for help. The places where one can check out the need for mental health assistance is given freely in this text.