This is a subjective review by a chronically depressed bloke that’s close to had enough.
Defeat depression: 52 brilliant ideas for healing a troubled mind
by Dr Sabina Dosani
I read this yesterday but felt at the time I got little from it, though it was an easy read and did raised the odd shocked smile. But as I say, this is a subjective review and last night I was so low it was surprising I could even read. Normally when I’m that bad I either just stare at the wall or lately shut myself in a lightless shed.
Must have sunk in a little though as this morning I was up fairly early and am listening to ‘The French Experience 2’ audio discs (an intermediate course from the BBC) and thinking again about taking a break in Paris. I’m not kidding myself it fixed me though as it only takes a wrong word to drop me back into the pit of despair.
To give you a feel, here’s a page, taken from the preview on the Amazon link above:
In the light of day though, this book is well worth the £10 price on Amazon. That the author writes with the perspective of having been there is a great help too. It’s a light, easy read with jargon and psychology deliberately kept to a minimum and it’s this that has helped me sponge it up, rather than having to struggle with and ponder over every page, as I have with some books.
I could paste in a screen of this from Amazon, but I’ll type it up instead, makes it more real. Extracts from the introduction by the Doctor author:
… my depression spiralled out of control… robbing me of confidence, cheerfulness, self-esteem and, eventually, my will to live. .. I withdrew from friendships and snapped at anyone who tried to cheers me up.
Then, after a bodged, half-hearted attempt at topping myself, I was admitted to hospital, where I started discovering some of the ideas in this book
Most of my own problems come from low-self esteem and even lower personal confidence and from letting people walk over me. All stems from child abuse and bullying, but with this book ands others like it I’ve read this week I’m realising it’s baggage I’ve carried and let dominate me a lifetime. Worse, it’s affected and is still is affecting my children. They are in their teens now and they have never actually known ‘me’ as I’ve been depressed and moody for a very, very long time.
The book is well written and very comprehensive, for instance:
It glances at new (extreme) techniques like transcranial magnetic therapy, an alternative to the scary electroconvulsive therapy (shock treatment)
There is a very sensitive section on self-harm. Not something I’m into (thankfully), but if you are you REALLY need to buy this book just for the ideas and advice to help you deal with it. Doesn’t even tell you MUST stop, though it does advice that.
Winter blues? It covers SAD too, concluding that an hour a day in the morning with a proper lightbox (10,000 lux) will make a great difference to your mood.
Ruminations (something I lose myself in sometimes) are covered briefly in part 14 – Diversion ahead.
One of the ideas is on CAT (Cognitive Analytic Therapy), a new form of help devised my Dr Anthony Ryle, a psychiatrist at Guy’s Hospital. I think that’s the type I need, if I can get it. Had CBT, counselling etc, need something radical (and not involving electrodes) to end this for once and for all.
I mentioned about automatic negative thoughts in the last book I reviewed (Coping with Depression) and idea 18 – Mind your mind-set – covered this nicely too. And I didnt need to read it half a dozen times either, thought the previous book gave me an insight. The five mindsets are listed as:
- ‘Can’t live without you’
People Pleaser where you need affection and don’t cope at all well with criticism or people being angry at you. Really, the fear they might be angry with you if you don’t comply to everything. I’m a mat mentality.
(That’s my mindset, the root cause being physical and mental abuse as a child).
- ‘It’s got to be perfect’
Perfectionist, where even trivial errors can affect you badly.
(Have a slight-learning to this too, but more due to OCD)
- ‘I make the world go round’
Organiser mentality, where you keep it all together and it’s your fault if anything goes wrong at all
- ‘Work to live’
Workaholic. This is the type that sails through life but melts down if faced with redundancy or retirement.
- ‘It’s my right’
Meh to those! To my thinking, regardless of any background stuff, this is the bully mindset and probably responsible for causing much of the depression in the world. I know that’s the case for me.
There are other general mindsets, but those are the ones she’s covered. In Coping with Depression which I looked at the other day, I’ve added further examples.
The touchy subject of dealing with suicidal feeling is here too. She asks (as my shrinks keep doing with me) “what holds you back, who or what prevents you from putting it into action” and warns “It’s heartbreaking seeing people with organ damage or who are wheelchair bound after inflicting lasting disability.”
As she says, if you can put it off for ten minutes you can put it off for another 10 minutes, and another.
(Reading that helped me get through yesterday, even if I didn’t realise it as I read!!!)
Again, idea / chapter 29 ‘Just say no‘ was and is very helpful to me.
If you are a people pleaser and always say yes to others you end up being taken for granted and it leads into you being treated like a mat by everyone, feeding your spiralling depression. It’s only a few pages long, as are all the others, but I found it incredibly empowering, substantiating the epiphany I had after reading Feel the fear and do it anyway
Again, worth the price of the book just for this! (Both books really).