Sunday, May 17, 2015

Gunnar Skollingsberg, Author of Don't Cry, Pappa

don't cry pappa, gunnar skollingsberg, norwegian american author, book about depression, chronic depression book

Gunnar Skollingsberg is the author of the autobiography/memoir Don't Cry, Pappa.

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am semi-retired.  My professional career – when I lived in the U.S. – was in the field of education (20+ years as a school teacher and 20 years as a school psychologist).  I now work part-time teaching English in a Norwegian public school.

Describe Don't Cry, Pappa in a few sentences.

Gunnar is the youngest son of an immigrant family who grows up with feelings of loneliness and alienation, eventually leading to depression.  After becoming a father, Gunnar has finally found his purpose in life: to love his little child.  Two years later, this child dies in an automobile accident, plunging Gunnar back into depression.  Years later, after reconstructing a new relationship and family, a second child dies from drowning.  Dealing with feelings of anger, injustice, and retribution, Gunnar eventually adopts a new purpose in life: to lighten other children’s lives through laughter.  He does this in the memory of his two departed children – he believes that they would want him to stop crying for them and to bring something positive into other children’s lives.

Who do you think would most benefit from reading your book?
Besides the general reader’s interest in a moving and inspirational memoir, there are three groups that would specifically benefit from this book.  Those parents and family members who have lost children through death will learn that they are not alone (and they are not going crazy) – that they can survive through this horror.  This book will also assist therapists and mental health professionals to gain insight into the feelings and issues of those of their clients who are dealing with death and grief issues of family members.  Finally, friends and acquaintances of those who have lost children can use this book to try to understand at least something of what their friends are going through.

Author Gunnar Skollingsberg

What inspired you to write a book about your struggle with depression?
Although depression is not the main theme of the book, it is a major element.  From the time when I was a child – and into my young adulthood – I thought that I alone experienced depression, that everyone else was happy and contented with their lives.  Now, I realize that all of us experience depression of various degrees at many points throughout our lives – this is something we can all relate to.  I describe my own struggles with this often debilitating condition (as well as those techniques I use to combat it) in hopes that it will benefit others in this struggle.

In your book, you write about getting close to ending your life to escape the pain. What gave you the strength to keep moving forward?
There were two such points.  When one’s depression reaches the point of being suicidal, the mind is in a very dark place and does not think logically; that is a very dangerous time.  There are two different ways that I eventually got past these points.  The specific circumstances and methods are difficult to explain here, although they are described in detail in the book.

What do you hope readers take away from reading this book?

I think readers can gain several things from this book, including knowledge and understanding of the grieving process, daily appreciation for children (theirs as well as others’), and possibly a desire to develop their own ‘mission in life’ to make children’s lives brighter and happier.

You’ve refocused your life to bring happiness to children. Was this something you were always interested in or did this desire emerge later in your life?

The best sound in the world (to me) is the sound of children’s laughter, and I’ve always enjoyed making my own children laugh.  Some time after my second child died, I determined to make it a point in my life to bring happiness and laughter to other children.  I then embarked (as much as I could) on an unofficial goal to make children laugh at the schools where I worked.

Do you have any plans to write additional books?

This first book was about one part of my personal life.  I’m now working on a book that taps my professional training and experience.  It will be a practical guide for parents, tutors, and teachers to use to teach effectively, and how to help the student/child learn efficiently.

Is there anything else you'd like potential readers to know about your book?

People who have read my book have given me feedback that it is emotional and powerful.  If you choose to read it, I hope you will feel the same emotions that I put into it.

Relevant Links

No comments:

Post a Comment