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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Live to Tell: A Suicide Survivor's Struggle with Depression and Anxiety is a non-fiction self-help/memoir written by Ben Schwipps and Shelia Merkel. On July 18, 2015, Ben decided to end his life. After he pulled the trigger, he described the result as feeling as though his face had been hit with a baseball bat. Fighting dizziness, he managed to call 911 and get help before he collapsed and died. He was one of the approximately 8 million Americans who attempt suicide each year, according to statistics found by the authors. Most don't survive the experience. When Shelia Merkel went to visit him in the hospital, she was stunned by the physical injuries he sustained, but moved by the apparent resilience and spirit her long-time friend and co-worker displayed while lying there. Together, Schwipps and Merkel planned and wrote this book to share his story. They hoped others would be able to recognize the signs of depression and anxiety in those they loved, and that those fellow sufferers might benefit from hearing of Schwipps' experiences. The authors include a List of Resources at the end of their work.
Ben Schwipps and Shelia Merkel's non-fiction self-help/memoir, Live to Tell: A Suicide Survivor's Struggle with Depression and Anxiety, is a compelling and inspirational tale. Ben's voice is strong and filled with reflection and understanding after his traumatic experience and long-term struggle with depression and anxiety. I felt his pain and frustration with the snags his career hit and the subsequent toll it took on his life, family and self-esteem, and was rocked by his account of those moments after he pulled the trigger. Live to Tell reads like a novel, and I'm hoping that Schwipps considers writing one as a future project. His voice is strong and authentic, and his message and purpose here is made very, very clear. As I read this work, I couldn't help but remember a young friend who did not survive his attempt. I'm so thrilled to see stories like this one; stories that show there's a far better way to relieve the suffering and pain. Live to Tell: A Suicide Survivor's Struggle with Depression and Anxiety is most highly recommended.