Shoot the damn dog : a memoir of depression
~ by Sally Brampton
If you have long-term depression yourself, or know someone close suffering from it, this is recommended reading. There are many different types of depression and it can take people in different ways, but whatever form it takes you’ll recognise many of the torments she suffered, especially pushing everyone away, something we all do, with depression. Fortunately the author had a few true friends that would not take no for an answer, no matter how much she tried to shut herself away. She’s one of the lucky ones in my opinion, not everyone has friends like that. I suspect, sadly, that the truth is few people really do, or maybe that’s just me being a pessimist.
A lot of the book was taken up with her constantly crying and turning to drink, so in that respect I spend a lot of my time thinking, "Hmm? I’m nothing like that…." But, as I say, takes people differently. I’m so emotionally numb I can’t cry, over anything, wish I could, it would let some of the pain out. I also can’t drink ‘cos my kidneys are damaged. I tell you, there’s days when I could cry just over never being able to sample a glass of Talisker again!
Anyway, it helped me a little and it’s only £5 or so from Amazon and should be available from most public libraries, so really, read it.
There’s a few specific parts I could personally relate to, over family, but besides that, these are what I picked out at the end:
The principles that keep her strong are based on years of therapy and on the AA’s ‘twelve step programme’:
Ask for help.
Be completely honest.
Take a daily inventory.
Whenever you are in the wrong, make amends.
Share your concerns and your worries with another human being.
Help another human being, on a daily basis.
Count your blessings, not your failures.
Don’t live in regret or in yesterday.
Don’t project your fears into tomorrow.
Take action when action is needed.
Deal with your feelings if and when they arise. Don’t sit on them.
Near the end of her book, Sally Brampton goes on to cap:
If there is any lesson I have learned from depression, it is this
We have to let go – of self-pity, anger and blame. We are what we are. Life is what it is. It will be what it is, however we are, and the best way to deal with it is gently.
You must let it go
(There was a related web site and blog, but it’s gone now, it seems, and is being camped by someone else).