Black Rainbow is the powerful first-person account of Rachel Kelly’s struggle with clinical depression and how she managed to recover, in part, through harnessing the healing power of the written word. In 1997, Oxford graduate, working mother and Times journalist Rachel went from feeling mildly anxious to being completely unable to function within the space of just three days. After a short spell in a psychiatric hospital, she returned home to be cared for by her family. As someone who had always loved poetry, it became something for Rachel to cling onto – from repeating short mantras to learning and reciting entire poems – these words and verses became a positive force for change in her life. Black Rainbow offers a lifeline to anyone seeking to better understand the experience of depression and is testament to the therapeutic value of the arts.
Rachel Kelly has produced a remarkable and totally honest account of her struggle with depression. This is a book I would recommend to everyone to help understanding of just how difficult and physically painful this illness can be. But I think there is something for everyone in this book, including those of us lucky to have never suffered from depressive illness. A very gripping read.
This candid exploration of depression was at times difficult to read. Kelly, a high functioning journalist, had every conceivable privilege. But in many ways that is what makes the book so admirable. It shows that whoever you are, if depression comes calling, none of those privileges can prevent your decent. The wonderful husband, the nanny, the extraordinary mother, none of these could avert her slide into a place of complete isolation and despair. This is a beautifully written account of a subject that doesn’t lend itself to the title ‘page turner’ but ‘page turner’ it is.