Westhampton native pens book to help young people cope with depression

  • “It's the Depression for Me: Three Ways to Make Being a Teenager Suck Less,” by Maeve Ronan. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

  • Westhampton native Maeve Ronan has authored a book, “It’s the Depression for Me: Three Ways to Make Being a Teenager Suck Less,” that has made a splash on Amazon. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

  • Maeve Ronan with her book, which has made a sales splash on Amazon. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 1/31/2021 10:34:51 AM

WESTHAMPTON — In high school, Westhampton native Maeve Ronan wished she had a role model to help her navigate through struggles with depression and anxiety.

Through her recently published book, “It’s the Depression for Me: Three Ways to Make Being a Teenager Suck Less,” Ronan, now 24, hopes to fill this role for teenagers in a similar situation.

Ronan’s book, which she self-published in September, gives young readers “an intro to the world of self-improvement,” she said.

“This book is really for young people who are unsatisfied with their current life, and they feel like they really don’t like where they’re at,” Ronan said. “They wish they could change, but they don’t know where to start.”

The book made a splash on Amazon after its publication, quickly climbing to the top of several Amazon bestseller lists, including books about Self-Esteem for Teens and Young Adults and Teen & Young Adult Parental Issues. Ronan, who now lives in Texas, recently held a virtual author visit event through the Westhampton Library.

While Ronan struggled with depression and anxiety in high school, she has now “found ways to cope, and ways to make living with that a little bit easier, and find that life actually does get better.

“I think a lot of teenagers right now are dealing with mental illness with COVID and online school,” she said, “so I really wanted a title that would meet them where they’re at and catch their attention if that’s how they’ve been feeling, so they can hopefully find ways to improve their lives a little more.”

Ronan described herself as “kind of in the middle of Gen Z and millennials,” which she believes makes a difference in connecting with teenage readers.

“I understand what these young people are going through, because it wasn’t that long ago that I was in their shoes,” she said, noting that readers also appreciated her conversational writing style.

Ronan had the idea for the book as a student at Wheaton College, where she conducted her first of more than 100 interviews. Originally, Ronan imagined the book as a series of interviews with people from around the world who she felt were successful, either because “they’re expert in their field, or they really love what they do and have an interesting story,” she said.

Ronan reached out to “anyone who inspired me, anyone I thought might have an interesting story,” she said. “I emailed them, and I was surprised at how many people actually responded.”

Going into her junior year, Ronan took a break to travel, feeling a pull to “see what the rest of the world looked like outside of Massachusetts.” She spent the next year in Ireland and traveling throughout Asia, including visits to Thailand and Bali, and continued to interview people she met in her travels.

The book eventually morphed from Ronan’s original concept: Noticing that many of her interviewees expressed similar ideas, Ronan synthesized what she’d gleaned into three main lessons that she felt were the most impactful, weaving quotes from the interviews with her own retellings.

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