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Book Review: Drowning in the Dark: My Descent into Hell and the Long Road Back by Daniel C. Friend

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In Drowning in the Dark, Daniel C. Friend bares his soul in this candid story of the personal results of abuse, dysfunctional family life, and co-dependency. In the midst of a successful career with the CIA in Special Operations and Counter Terrorism, Dan was ready to begin a new assignment which would involve blocks of time spent on overseas assignments.

These plans abruptly changed when Dan was admitted to a mental hospital for a 72-hour period of observation and evaluation. Dan was diagnosed to be suffering from a complex partial seizure disorder. His hospital stay was extended in order to perform more tests. The test results indicated that Dan was suffering from bi-polar disease (the clinical name for manic-depressive – which is more descriptive of the reality and the accompanying feelings Dan was experiencing). In an attempt to alleviate Dan’s out-of-control lows and highs and radical mood shifts, Dan was put on a series of medications which left him with numerous side effects that then had to be addressed.

The subtitle of Drowning in the Dark describes the ongoing plight of what Dan calls his descent into Hell and the long road back. He tells of the difficulty of confronting yourself with complete honesty, and of the importance of this as essential to healing. He relates how a new sharpness and reconnection with his spiritual side became the dynamic of being true to himself as a person throughout the healing process.

Dan writes with an amazing intellect, an engaging sense of humor, and a clear presentation of facts related to the manipulative nature of individuals driven by motivation of greed and personal power, and the insight he shared into information dealing with bi-polar disease, suicidal feelings, and treatment plans for these issues.

Drowning in the Dark: My Descent into Hell and the Long Road Back addresses a serious social issue in our medical and legal system that puts at risk the rights and future of persons labeled with mental illness. Daniel C. Friend hits a “social and political nerve” as he brilliantly articulates the abuse of professionals, and institutions, to “house” patients, for ongoing monetary benefit provided by insurance companies honoring claims.

Drowning in the Dark provides an important look behind the scenes of being victimized by a beleaguered system.

(Reviewed by Richard R. Blake for Reader Views)

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