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In It Together

Navigating Depression with Partners, Friends, and Family
Publication Date: March 3, 2023

Millions of people worldwide are coping with depression. Whether it’s you, a family member, a friend or a partner — odds are depression affects your life. Even so, many of us don’t know what to do when it hits someone we care about.

JoEllen Notte challenges the preconceived notions that keep us from showing up for each other in a meaningful way and offers strategies for supporting each other and ourselves when depression comes calling. Challenging the notions that tell us “that’s not my business” or “they probably don’t want to talk about that,” In It Together equips readers to navigate depression alongside the people they care about.

Informed by interviews with over 200 people coping with depression and featuring practical tips and real-life examples, In it Together is an insightful and much-needed guidebook for people with depression and those who love them.

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Reviews

  • In It Together is a loving, transparent book that gave me skills to meet my loved ones halfway, in a healthy place. So many of us are managing depression, so how do we stay good to each other when we all have needs? JoEllen writes like a friend, vilifies no one, and focuses on how we can give ourselves a break. It’s an incredible guide for better relationships. I want to buy a copy for everyone I know.

    Am I allowed to say I laughed and had so much fun reading about depression? Read this book and you’ll feel seen—and you’ll walk away with a real-life guide to helping loved ones without sacrificing your own mental health.”

    —Meredith Goldstein, Boston Globe Love Letters advice columnist, podcast host and author of Can’t Help Myself

  • In It Together is a must-read for anyone who loves someone with mental illness. This easy-to-read handbook for how to show you care about someone with depression is overflowing with honesty, concrete suggestions, and outright hope. JoEllen writes with unquestionable authority on the subject, both as someone who has surveyed and interviewed hundreds of people with depression, and also as someone who has wrestled tenaciously with the voices in her own head.

    Through personal stories, forthright suggestions, and even “cheat sheets,” she lays out a vision for what healthy, productive relationships might look like, and also provides specific steps for how to get there. If you have a loved one with depression, you may often find yourself asking what to do, what to say, and how to help. In It Together is a powerful, timely and helpful answer to these questions.”

    —Michael J. Scholtes, author of Darkwater: A Pastor’s Memoir of Depression and Faith

  • In It Together is a must-have resource for anyone experiencing depression and for the people who love someone struggling with depression. JoEllen Notte does an amazing job of challenging common misconceptions about mental illness, uncovering the obstacles in the ways of helping those in need of support for their depression, and offering numerous practical tools for how to get on the same teams with someone coping with depression. There’s even a cheat sheet (which is really an entire chapter) on what to say and not say when communicating with a loved one going through depression. JoEllen Notte takes on a difficult and often avoided topic with practical wisdom, candor, and humor. I highly recommend this book!”

    —Jessica Fern, author of Polysecure: Attachment, Trauma and Consensual Nonmonogamy

  • “This book is a gift, because in JoEllen you have somebody speaking from the inside of their experience (both past and current) of living with depression. And I can only imagine how within the depth of grief and loss, how challenging it must have been to muster the energy and focus to write a book speaking to the very experience she was going through. So often with mood disorders we are understanding them through the lens of the outsider or someone who is on the other side of recovery, here we have an account from the inside and I think that is so very useful both for the layperson and for the professional.

    JoEllen’s writing is a combination of heartfelt experience and deep insight, presented in a way that will leave you moved and sometimes chuckling to yourself. This book is full of wit and emotion, and, just as important, equally full of relevant practical approaches and advice. I’ll be adding this book to my ‘highly recommend’ list.”

    —Stephen Biggs, registered psychotherapist and sex educator

  • “There is undeniably no one else writing about the effects of depression on relationships with such a depth of understanding and perspicuity than JoEllen Notte. A trailblazer in the world of mental health advocacy, JoEllen expertly shepherds us past the isolating and confusing world depression inhabits within our loved ones. This is an empathetic manual on how to create and maintain loving, supportive, healthy relationships.”

    —Elle Chase, author of Curvy Girl Sex: 101 Body-Positive Positions to Empower Your Sex Life

  • “Nonscientific and consumer-friendly, In It Together provides real insights into life with depression, the behaviors associated with it, and how best to assist someone with the condition. Notte begins by exposing some of the myths about depression and mental illness in general, suggesting that individuals with an ailment may conceal it “out of fear” because of society’s preconceived notions. Particularly revealing are some of the obstacles that may impede delivering aid to a person who is depressed. Notte’s explanation of “why you don’t need to understand and how you can still effectively support someone” is especially insightful and helpful. Much of her advice is simple yet powerful; for example, “People who are struggling want to know that they aren’t alone”; “Remember they are not causing the situation—depression is”; and “Be OK with people being not OK.”

    The author does an admirable job of weaving in her own often gut-wrenching experiences with those of the individuals she interviewed. Offering the voices of people of different ages, genders, races, and backgrounds helps clarify the key point that depression is universal and can affect anyone. The book’s final chapter, “The Cheat Sheet,” is likely to be extremely valuable; here, Notte presents specific tips on “what not to say—and what to say instead,” “things not to do (and things to do instead),” “active ways to support someone with depression,” and “things to remember when you don’t understand.” This useful chapter even includes specific ideas for texts and voice messages to send to a depressed person.

    Candid, compassionate, engaging, and wise advice on dealing with depression.”

    Kirkus Reviews

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