Out of the Blue

Out of the Blue

A Memoir of Workplace Depression, Recovery, Redemption And, Yes, Happiness

Book - 2012
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Out of the Blue is the surreal, wrenching, sometimes hilarious, and ultimately triumphant story of one woman's struggle to come to terms with depression.

At the height of her career in journalism, Jan Wong's world came crashing down. A story she wrote on a school shooting sparked a violent backlash, including death threats. Her newspaper failed to stand by her, and for the first time in her life she spiraled into clinical depression. She found herself unable to write, but the paper's management thought she was feigning illness, and fired her. Her insurer rejected her claim of depression, and her publisher refused to publish this book.

Out of the Blue is a memoir unlike any other. It is the surreal, wrenching, sometimes hilarious, and ultimately triumphant story of one woman's struggle to come to terms with depression.

Publisher: Canada : Jan Wong, c2012
ISBN: 9780987868503
0987868500
Branch Call Number: 616.8527 WON NVD
Characteristics: 263 p. ; 22 cm

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sgcf
Mar 26, 2017

I have nothing but admiration and respect for Jan Wong’s warrior spirit in this David & Goliath memoir of workplace depression. It was a page turner not only for her juicy blow by blow personal account, but for her research into depression and its treatment – both statistical/scientific, and anecdotal first person accounts of other writers. In the end her philosophic perspective was that this negative experience forced her to take a realistic inventory of her life to be a better person, and she quotes Socrates: the unexamined life is not worth living. She does not allow herself to escape her own critical scrutinizing.
Any discussion of being an “unreliable narrator” becomes a moot point when Wong repeatedly, in her backward look at those two years, questions her perceptions: Did the other parents actually ostracize me? Or did depression distort my reviews of reality? (p.117) A very worthwhile read for all to help dispel our cultural ignorance and myths around depression.

m
megaculpa
Feb 04, 2015

Most people will value this book as a compelling story of depression and recovery, in the face of an uncaring employer and a callous insurance industry. It certainly is that.

But, in the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo massacre and similar incidents -- with everyone lining up to trumpet their support for freedom of the press -- there's another cautionary tale here. In a feature article about the Dawson School shootings, Jan Wong made a brief and measured comment about a possible connection between the marginalized sons of immigrants, the pur laine obsession of Quebeckers and outbreaks of social violence.

For this, she was subjected to attacks in the francophone press, a torrent of hate mail and even death threats. She was censured by the fawning cowards in our national parliament and thrown under the bus by her employer, the Globe & Mail, Canada's voice of liberalism.

There's a life lesson for all of us here. Freedom is not free and you better be prepared to fight for it yourself, because when the going gets rough, our sacred institutions aren't going to stand by your side.

g
GZZ
Nov 16, 2012

One of the most accurate books on depression ever. Work place depression, or any other type of depression, the symptoms and pain are the same.

Must read.

l
linder55
Oct 12, 2012

I intended to read this over a week or so, but found I read it feverishly in two days. Powerful stuff! At one point, I wondered how she was able to write so boldly about her former employer and the insurance company, and then found out she had to self publish, when the publishing company backed out at the last minute. If you have ever been badly or unfairly treated by an employer, this book is a must.

ksoles Aug 15, 2012

I admire few (if any) writers more than Jan Wong; she consistently produces gripping pieces with her rigour, clarity and refusal to shrink from conflict. Five years after experiencing severe depression and losing her job, Wong has returned with "Out of the Blue," a professional vindication that details her lengthy battle with The Globe and Mail after coming under public assault for her coverage of the 2006 Dawson College shootings in Montreal.

The unwillingness of her employer to acknowledge her mental illness forced Wong to defend her right to be sick. "Out of the Blue" traces the circumstances leading up to her dismissal but the book centres on her candid description of her mental and emotional collapse and her frustrating search for effective treatment. With both humour and sadness, she details how the illness affected her cognition, her behaviour, her perception of reality and her relationships.

Wong also embeds her personal story in an exploration of the history of depression, touching on its various manifestations and possible causes, its enduring taboo status and its well-known sufferers. Ultimately, her book shows that sustained workplace stress and over-identification with one’s occupation can result in breakdown.

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Geezerlaw
Aug 15, 2012

Wonderful book. Open and honest description of her depression and her employer who treated her badly.

cotterman Jul 24, 2012

I've been eager to reading an article about it a magazine. I've read Wong's book Red China Blues which was excellent. I'm looking forward to reading this one.

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bpaszek
Jul 06, 2012

Please return the book quickly so that the rest of us who have it on hold can read it soon :)

Thanks for returning quickly so I could read it :) I simply and completely agree with everyone's comments that I read....such a compelling book!!...I look forward to her next one. For now, I will re-read "Out of the Blue" and will appreciate new things about it.

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bobgrant
Jul 01, 2012

Really a good read, especially if you are a fan of Jan Wong's other books. Also if you've ever been in a dispute with an insurer over anything! Imagine being told you are not sick, even with a doctor's diagnosis! It is a realistic and honest look at clinical depression. Jan Wong is a usual unflinching and razor keen in her observation. If you liked this one, try Red China Blues.

c
carol554
Jun 16, 2012

Jan Wong had to publish this one herself.
as she points out in the book, the Globe and Mail is a great newspaper but a lousy corporation(I'm paraphrasing)
read it and weep

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GZZ
Mar 20, 2013

GZZ thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

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