The book begins with an overview of depressive illnesses and subtypes. Strategies for dealing with depression are broken down into illness treatments and wellness promotion strategies. Illness treatment strategies like medication, ECT, and therapy, lift you from sick to less sick. Wellness promotion strategies, including mindfulness and self-care, help boost you up from less sick to well. Finally, the book looks at common issues faced by anyone living with a chronic mental illness.
Managing the Depression Puzzle draws on the author's education and experience as a former mental health nurse and pharmacist, as well as personal experience living with treatment-resistant major depressive disorder. The approach is pragmatic, candid, and realistic, with the recognition that depression doesn't happen just one way; it is as unique as you are.
Ashley began her career in health care as a pharmacist in 2002, but she quickly returned to school to get a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. During her 15-year nursing career, she specialized in the field of mental health, working primarily with people with serious and persistent mental illness in both hospital and community settings.
Two years into her nursing career, Ashley was hospitalized and diagnosed with major depressive disorder. Since then, she has been passionate about sharing her own experiences to challenge stigma and generate open conversations about mental health and illness.
For her Master of Psychiatric Nursing thesis work, she used a research method called autoethnography to situate her own experiences with mental illness within nursing culture, addressing issues like stigma. She published several papers in peer-reviewed nursing journals based on this work.
Since illness-related disability has brought her nursing career to a close, Ashley has shifted her focus to writing and advocacy efforts online, including on her blog, Mental Health @ Home. She is the author of four books: Psych Meds Made Simple, Making Sense of Psychiatric Diagnosis, Managing the Depression Puzzle, and A Brief History of Stigma.