Heather B. Armstrong rose to blogger fame way back before This Mom Loves even existed (she was actually fired from her day job in 2002 for writing about her workplace) and subsequently became the epitome of the “Mommy Blogger”. (I hate that term. Please don’t call me that.)
In her new book, The Valedictorian of Being Dead: The True Story of Dying Ten Times To Live, Heather (a.k.a. Dooce) recounts the experimental (and ultimately successful) treatment she underwent to battle her severe depression: ten rounds of a chemically induced coma approximating brain death. (Which her mother watched by her side.)
As someone who has not struggled with depression, this book was incredibly eye-opening for me. (Of note: the nuanced distinction between not wanting to die by suicide yet wanting to be dead.) I laughed and cried and learned a lot. I strongly recommend it.
More information from the publisher:
From New York Times bestselling author and blogger Heather B. Armstrong comes an honest and irreverent memoir—reminiscent of the New York Times bestseller Brain on Fire—about her experience as one of only a few people to participate in an experimental treatment for depression involving ten rounds of a chemically induced coma approximating brain death.
For years, Heather B. Armstrong has alluded to her struggle with depression on her website, dooce. It’s scattered throughout her archive, where it weaves its way through posts about pop culture, music, and motherhood. But in 2016, Heather found herself in the depths of a depression she just couldn’t shake, an episode darker and longer than anything she had previously experienced. She had never felt so discouraged by the thought of waking up in the morning, and it threatened to destroy her life. So, for the sake of herself and her family, Heather decided to risk it all by participating in an experimental clinical trial involving a chemically induced coma approximating brain death.
Now, for the first time, Heather recalls the torturous eighteen months of suicidal depression she endured and the month-long experimental study in which doctors used propofol anesthesia to quiet all brain activity for a full fifteen minutes before bringing her back from a flatline. Ten times. The experience wasn’t easy. Not for Heather or her family. But a switch was flipped, and Heather hasn’t experienced a single moment of suicidal depression since.
Disarmingly honest, self-deprecating, and scientifically fascinating, The Valedictorian of Being Dead brings to light a groundbreaking new treatment for depression.
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book for review purposes. Opinions, as always, are my own.