Tabita Green is an author, speaker, blogger, and community organizer. In 2011, she left her six-digit corporate job to focus on family, health, community building. After three years of research into mental health and resilience for Her Lost Year, she believes humanity’s future health and happiness depends on the creation of resilient, sustainable communities. Her blog at tabitagreen.com inspires readers to take action for personal wellness, social justice, and a sustainable future. Tabita lives in Decorah, Iowa, with husband Todd, daughter Rebecka, and (spoiled) dog Sophie. In her spare time, she likes to run around in the woods and teach Swedish (but not at the same time). Follow @tabitag.
‘Her Lost Year’
Tabita Green authors book on her family’s struggle with adolescent mental health
DECORAH, Iowa – In the spring of 2010, Tabita Green’s daughter, Rebecka—then just 13—started to feel depressed and lost several pounds from her already slim frame. Almost immediately, Rebecka’s well-meaning health care providers recommended that she take an antidepressant to “kick-start” the treatment process.
Green wrote “Her Lost Year: A Story of Hope and a Vision for Optimizing Children’s Mental Health,” to tell her family’s journey of surviving a year of modern psychiatry and explore how people might live differently to promote mental health for all people.
“Her Lost Year,” chronicles a yearlong nightmare of hospital visits, psychiatric commitments and various cocktails of antidepressants and antipsychotics. Green and her husband, Todd, watched their funny, bright teenager transform into a psychiatric patient, hospitalized numerous times for suicidal ideations and psychosis—unable to function in the real world.
Green—with Rebecka—shares her family’s intimate story of despair, recovery and hope throughout the first two parts of the book.
She goes on to describe what she learned about psychiatry in the U.S.—especially related to kids and teens—and discusses the ever-widening definition of mental illness and the culture of medication as a first, rather than last, resort.
Subsequent chapters cover a wide range of effective, alternative treatment options from taking care of physical needs to specific therapies including family therapy and dialectical behavior therapy, therapies that helped Rebecka and her family heal.
To close the book, Green explores why so many people are struggling mentally and emotionally in the first place. What if we could redesign our society for optimal mental health? What would such a society look like? And what actions can we take now?
“This is a book every parent should read. While the book title is ‘Her Lost Year,’ it also tells a story of triumph and hope for adolescents and their parents,” said Eric Robinson, associate professor of educational psychology at Baylor University.
Beyond inspiring hope and providing valuable insight into children’s mental health care, the book offers concrete steps for action. “There are ways we can transform our homes, our schools, and our society into environments that are conducive to mental health. I hope this book serves as a reminder that many struggling kids are not “disordered”; they’re simply trying to communicate that things are amiss—and they are right. It’s time we did something about it,” Green said.
In 2011, Green left her corporate job to focus on family, health and community building. After three years of research into mental health and resilience for her book, “Her Lost Year,” she believes humanity’s future health and happiness depends on the creation of resilient, sustainable communities.
Green’s blog at tabitagreen.com inspires readers to take action for personal wellness, social justice, and a sustainable future. She has also written guest posts for blogs such as “Write to Done,” “Lifehack” and “Search Engine Journal.”
As a speaker, Green offers presentations on topics ranging from mental health optimization to simple productivity. She has presented at the National Wellness Conference, offers workshops on time management and health, and is a guest lecturer at Luther College on several subjects, including mindfulness in education.
A native of Sweden, Green lives in Decorah, Iowa, with Todd and Rebecka. Follow Green on Twitter, @tabitag.
“This is a book that every parent should read. Tabita opens her family to the world in a way that most people avoid in order to help other families that have a child diagnosed with a mental health disorder. While the book title is ‘Her Lost Year,’ it also tells a story of triumph and hope for adolescents and their parents. As an educator, I was particularly drawn to the suggestions on how to improve our educational system and Tabita, consistent with the entire book, provides practical solutions and excellent resources.”
–Eric Robinson, Educational Psychology Director, Baylor University
“With great courage and uncommon candor, Tabita Green (with her daughter Rebecka) narrates a harrowing tale of one family’s encounter with the modern psychiatric industry, where the use of psychotropic medications to treat the side effects of other psychotropic medications has become the unfortunate treatment du jour. But Green’s book goes beyond simply telling her family’s story and raising important questions about the efficacy of the “medication first” approach to treating emotional suffering. She provides a holistic and consistently insightful critique of all the aspects of modern living that undermine any attempt to raise emotionally resilient, well-adjusted children. Green’s untiring advocacy on behalf of her daughter and her vision of what life can become is truly inspiring and an effective antidote to the cynicism of our age.”
–Bob Shedinger, Luther College, author of Radically Open
“In Her Lost Year, Tabita Green tells the story of her daughter’s plummet into an illness misunderstood by the professional system in place to prevent and treat the illness and documents the family’s ability to persevere until they find the help needed. There are similar stories written, but Green does not stop there. She exposes the system that failed her daughter and goes further to envision a social order where this would not happen. In the process, she exposes the problems with our current mental health culture and our competitive, materialistic, and self-indulgent practices that allow—and conceivably promote—such tragedies. As a social work educator and a mental health clinician, I continue to believe that we need to listen to our clients and learn from them. Read the book.”
–Lee Zook, PhD, LISW
Click images for high-resolution version. Photo credit: Aaron Lurth