They say that a journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step. Mind you, if I’d known it was going to be a thousand miles, I might not have taken that first step, but I’m glad I did. I have many people to thank for making this book a reality. After the success of my two books in Australia, I thought it would be relatively straightforward to take the concept to the world. How wrong I was.
Before I acknowledge the people who helped with this book, I’d like to thank those who helped save me in the first place: My parents, Alan and Judy Cowan, believed in me when I could see nothing but hopelessness and supported me when I couldn’t support myself.
My children, Melissa and Adam, were my main motivation to keep trying when I doubted I would ever get well again, and Melissa was also a great help in editing the interviews.
My friend Ted Doraisamy helped me decide to write my first book on one of our many long walks. I now know that writing that book was an essential part of my recovery.
To Gavin Larkin (who passed away in 2011), the inspirational founder of R U OK? Day (discussed in chapter 10), thank you for allowing me to be part of creating something great. I miss you mate.
Professor Gordon Parker from the Black Dog Institute was encouraging about my Australian book before a single word was written, and he was kind enough to contribute to the first chapter of this book.
John Draper, project director from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (in the United States), heard me speak about my book in Australia and encouraged me to consider doing a US version.
He introduced me to the Chicago based Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA), where Allen Doederlein and Cindy Specht immediately embraced the idea of working together to produce a book like this, written with firsthand advice to help overcome depression or bipolar disorder. DBSA does such important work, and I’m delighted that they will receive 20 percent of the royalties from this book. Allen was also kind enough to write the Afterword.
In 2009, I first met Rita Rosenkranz, my literary agent. I don’t think either of us realized how long it would take for this project to come to fruition, and I deeply appreciate her patience and faith. She helped me find a suitable publisher and improve the proposal.
My support manager, Sonja Firth, was diligent in bringing the many edits of chapters together into the final product, and in keeping me organized in all of my other activities.
Many US publishers ruled this book out because I’m from Australia and “there are too many books about depression.” I am deeply grateful that Melissa Kirk, an acquisition editor from New Harbinger, was close enough to the subject to realize that firsthand advice would be valued by those close to the brink.
Sincere thanks to Jasmine Star, the book’s copy editor, whose patient and diligent review and thoughtful suggestions made the book stronger.
Julie Bennett, New Harbinger’s director of sales and marketing, and her team were enthusiastic and resourceful in thinking about the best ways to promote the book. There are many others, too numerous to mention, who provided suggestions, contacts, and ideas that helped strengthen the book.
This leaves the interviewees: Patrick Kennedy, Trisha Goddard, Alastair Campbell, Lora Inman, Bob Boorstin, Cliff Richey, Jennifer Moyer, and Greg Montgomery. This book couldn’t exist without you. Your honesty, courage, and genuine desire to help those who are suffering are truly admirable. Despite considerable cultural progress, depression and bipolar remain primarily secret illnesses. It’s one thing to admit that you’ve suffered, and quite another to discuss your experience, in detail, publicly and for posterity. I admire each of you immensely. It was an honor and a pleasure getting to know you.
Glenn Close did me an immense honor in writing the Foreword. Along with her sister Jessie, she has used her considerable profile to found BringChange2Mind – a charity dedicated to eliminating the stigma which often accompanies mental illness.
Before BFTB even hit a book shop, Tony Blair, former UK Prime Minister, Geoff Gallop, former Premier of Western Australia, Dr Ed Coffey, CEO of Behavioral Health Services, Henry Ford Health Systems, Michael Fitzpatrick, Executive Director of NAMI, John Grohol, founder of PsychCentral.com, and Sue Baker, Director of Time to Change UK, were kind enough to read the book and write a testimonial.
Marc Piano and Renee Underwood were essential members of my team leading up to the launch, and helped produce some great resources, which I’m sure, will help many people.
Finally, immense gratitude to my new wife, Karen Canfell, who has been with me every step of the way over the last three years. You provided humor, encouragement, and ideas, along with your considerable intellect, to help bring my dream to fruition. I love you for it.
Graeme Cowan’s book Back From The Brink brings you true stories from well-known and everyday people, and practical help for overcoming depression and bipolar disorder. Touching, moving and often surprising, the stories in Back From The Brink are living proof that you too can overcome depression, using the tools and resources provided in the book.
Cowan survived the worst depression his psychiatrist had ever treated. Click here and find out more.