We tend to believe that bad things happen to -other' people. But what happens when they happen to us? How do you recover? Not only recover but actually turn your life around for better and help others to do the same? The amazing individuals in this book have managed to do just that.
Dr Sharp says, -The reality is that for most of us who've suffered depression, or any other form of psychopathology, the struggle is ongoing. I'm pleased to say that for me it has undoubtedly become easier as I've mastered effective strategies and fundamentally changed certain ways I think about and live my life; but I still have periods of darkness that knock me down. Thankfully, I've become much better at picking myself up more quickly.'
He adds, -There are probably far more people out there who've suffered some form of psychological distress as a result of 'negative reactions" to 'normal life" than have suffered the severe events experienced by some that gain the newspaper headlines. But that doesn't make any of them more or less important.'
The contributors tell about overcoming tragedies and health issues such as alcoholism, depression and cancer; limb amputation following a car accident; a policeman's recovery from post-traumatic stress; the death of a child; losing all the other members of your family in a mass murder; and child sexual abuse.
Each contributor tells his/her story in a chapter, and then Dr Sharp analyses each life story from a psychological perspective and gives readers -take home tips' which they can use in their own lives.
Transformation: Turning Tragedy Into Triumph
Author: Dr Tim Sharp
Question: What should we expect from Transformation: Turning Tragedy Into Triumph?
Dr Tim Sharp: Transformation: turning tragedy into triumph is a collection of 12 inspirational stories from some truly amazing people. All of them, in different ways, have experienced tragedy or adversity; and all of them, in different ways, have survived the challenge and/or trauma. In fact, more than just surviving they've all gone on to thrive and this, really, is the key raison d'être of the book. That rather than just 'bouncing back" from difficult times we can actually 'bounce forward" to better times. By learning and improving and making the most of what might seem to be negatives, we can in fact turn almost anything in to positives.
Question: Who are 'Australia's bravest and most inspiring individuals"?
Dr Tim Sharp: Well, there are so many; I'm very reluctant to list or rank them as I'd hate to leave anyone out. But I can confidently say that all of the contributors to 'Transformation" are indubitably brave and inspiring.
Question: What inspired you to write Transformation: Turning Tragedy Into Triumph?
Dr Tim Sharp: The idea first came to me following a meeting I had with a particularly fascinating person; and as I was reflecting upon it an hour or so later I realised I know quite a few fascinating and inspiring people. Doing what I do I'm lucky enough to meet, on a regularly basis, all manner of people who've achieved all manner of success. And quite a few of them have achieved their happiness and success despite facing challenges and difficulties. Knowing how motivating I, personally, found talking and listening to these people it wasn't hard to imagine that others, also, would find their stories interesting and motivating. And then the idea for the book was born!
Question: Can you share a -take home tip' with us?
Dr Tim Sharp: Spend some time thinking about the idea of 'post traumatic growth". Most people have never heard this phrase before but almost everyone has heard of 'post traumatic stress"; so most of us associate trauma and adversity with negativity! Now obviously trauma and adversity can be stressful and they can be negative; but so too can they be inspirational and so too can they contribute to growth and development and the increase of wisdom and strength. Accordingly, even the toughest of times can ultimately be good for us.
Question: What piece advice would you give someone, who has recently been diagnosed with depression?
Dr Tim Sharp: I'd say it's not a death sentence! Most people with depression can be treated, effectively, relatively quickly. So do what you can to find the right treatment for you and then persevere until you feel better. Along with this I'd say don't lose hope. Depression can be debilitating, but it's very common, and as strange as it might sound most people can still live happy and fulfilling lives despite such a diagnosis.
Interview by Brooke Hunter