Still Standing ISBN: 9781456634414 Orca Publishing, copyright and written by Vicki Fitzgerald and M.G. Crisi.
Sub-titled One Woman’s Struggle with Divorce, Depression, and Betrayal, the story details repetitive painful episodes of a life of gradual descent into the depths of despair but with ultimate survival resulting from unrealized internal strength. The reader follows the gradual decline of an originally confident, outgoing, fun-loving young Vicki as she makes one poorly thought out decision after another unfortunately accompanied by others not of her making. After several poor relationships in early teen years, she finally progresses in her life to gain a position as a respected investigative reporter, finds a loving husband who grows in his executive positions with an international organization, and she gives birth to an adorable son and a lovely daughter. Only three days after her beloved Emily was born, however, her beloved and constant ‘rock of strength’ Grandfather was diagnosed with a terminal disease, one which he fought and she had to watch his gradual decline. During this period, she was invited to report on the opening of a new entertainment park where she was given a ride on a new mechanical device called The Whip. Seemingly a malfunction resulted in a painful back injury. Apparently because of the British Health System, she was sent for examination to an incorrect diagnostic center and her spinal disc injuries were not properly diagnosed. She continued to suffer with increasing bouts of pain, lost the other Grandfather, and her disc problem worsened causing her to enter a deep state of depression until the disc problems finally were diagnosed correctly and she had back surgery. Still recovering, she received word that her almost indispensable childminder, suffered a CVA resulting in loss of vision and speech impairment. The effect upon the already heavily depressed young Vicki requires no words. Still functioning ‘normally’ on the surface however, she was continuing her news assignments and other activities. But now she began to encounter increased problems in her job, which her editor advised to ‘forget about’. Recounting the situation to her husband, instead of providing the loving ‘comfort’ she had expected, she receives nothing more than a repetition of the editor’s advice. She suffers an instantaneous, intense feeling of rejection and truly ‘being without anyone’ and her world suffers complete devastation. From this point on, her downward spiral greatly accelerates. Her husband’s increasing numbers of trips away from home, conjure up suspicion of possible unfaithfulness She encounters deceit and betrayal by trusted friends. Drugs and even an assault occur. Even worse, there is a totally unexpected and horribly frightening encounter with the judicial system, brief incarceration, marital separation and multiple suicide attempts. BUT, the story continues beyond these features as ultimately it tells of her gradual climb back to become an accomplished author and CEO of a rising company.
Discussion: This is a poignant tale of survival by a vibrant young woman who falls to emotional rock bottom as a result of an extended series of devastating, many self-inflected, situations only to courageously once again approach the pinnacle of success. It is a journey which easily can be the tale of anyone who, for one or another reason, still retains and exhibits, much of the naiveté and insecurity exhibited by much younger people. She now readily admits many errors but is glad to have put her trials and troubles on paper and has no doubt they will be criticized and worse by some, but they have provided a welcome catharsis for which she has no regrets. So, “With my children by my side, life is good.” And “After everything I’ve endured; pain, betrayal, tragedy, and near death, I’m still standing.” And, in revealing these matters, she hopes to offer a simple message: “Hope it inspires at least one person at rock bottom to keep climbing, keep swimming and hold their head above water when they’re drowning. “If I can weather the storm until the sun shines, so can you!
5* Message of hope to the confused, depressed looking for help.