You learn that Pat, someone you care about very deeply, is being held in a dungeon. Perhaps Pat managed to get a direct message to you. Perhaps you just noticed Pat’s absence at work, leisure activities, church, or school. In any event, because you care so much about Pat, you decide to make a rescue. You manage to break into the dungeon and find Pat’s cell. The cell is shrouded in an eerie black fog, which even the flashlight on your cell phone cannot penetrate. In the dark corner you can barely make out a figure. As you approach, the figure looks up. It is Pat! You try to tell Pat to come with you, but the eerie fog muffles sound, distorting the words into unintelligible garble. However, Pat stands up and you turn to lead the way out of the cell. But Pat doesn’t follow. Turning around, you see Pat sitting back on the floor, head down. You hear the guards coming. Time is running out. You grab Pat’s arm, urging him/her to follow. Resistance. You can hear the guards getting closer. You have no choice but to leave Pat behind and run for safety.

Back at home, confusion, frustration, even anger overwhelm you. Why wouldn’t Pat just follow? Does Pat want to stay in that terrible, dark dungeon? Doesn’t Pat realize the great effort you made to rescue him/her?

When planning an escape, you must understand what keeps the person imprisoned. What you didn’t see through the gloom were the shackles on Pat’s feet, chaining him/her to the wall. Pat had managed to break free from those chains once, so the guards inserted a microchip in Pat’s neck. If Pat tried to leave the cell, the microchip would cause a powerful shock, throwing him/her back into the cell, unconscious. Pat would wake up in pain and mental agony. One time, the guards had Pat out of the cell. Pat managed to get away long enough to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Just as Pat experienced that glimmer of hope, he/she felt a rough blow to the head and passed out. Pat woke up in the cell, badly beaten, chained, and micro-chipped. The eerie fog sapped all hope, joy, and happy memories until all that remained was pain and emotional torment.

You arrived some time after that. You couldn’t see the chains or the microchip. You had no idea about the torture Pat had experienced. All you knew was Pat got up, then sat right back down again. If you had understood what held Pat prisoner, you would have been able to orchestrate a successful escape by getting the necessary help and tools and making sure you had all the time required to get Pat to freedom.

            That, my friend, is what this book is all about. I want to help you to understand the Dungeon of Depression from as many angles as possible. I want to equip you with tools to help orchestrate the Great Escape for someone you care about. The Dungeon of Depression is complex, at times very deep, and is filled with a dark fog that twists reality. The journey to freedom is rarely quick, but it is always worth the effort!

This book is laid out in four main sections. The “Introduction” gives you an inside look into the Dungeon of Depression and examines the most common escape option provided to inmates. The next section, “Some Links in the Dungeon’s Chains,” explores the different physiological and psychological factors that can provide some explanations as to WHY someone is in the Dungeon. Addressing some of these factors may be all that is needed to set some individuals free. For others, it will be part of the rescue operation, but additional steps and tools will need to be employed for complete liberation. Although this book can be used by someone personally struggling with depression, the section “From Dungeon Keeper to Rescue Team” assists the caregiver to recognize their own behaviors and communication patterns which may be hindering their loved one’s escape. It suggests new ways of interacting with your loved one that will empower you to encourage them, support them in moving forward, and celebrate their victories. “Returning to Freedom” provides tools and strategies for breaking free from the Dungeon. Some of these will benefit both caregiver and prisoner, some can be done together until your loved one can manage on their own, and some are tools that you can bring to your loved one’s attention. I pray this book truly equips you to orchestrate the Great Escape from the Deep, Dark Dungeon of Depression for someone you care about.