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Depression and How to Survive it Hardcover – 7 Jan 1993

3.7 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 244 pages
  • Publisher: Ebury Press; First Edition 2nd Impression edition (7 Jan. 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 009177019X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0091770198
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 15.4 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 615,211 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Interesting and entertaining" (Times)

"Anyone worried about a depressed friend or relative should read this book" (Daily Telegraph) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

A self-help book with a difference, this is a revelatory book about the deepest of human emotions and human psychology, experienced by world-famous comedian and star of The Goon Show, Spike Milligan, and revealed by leading psychiatrist and celebrity interviewer Anthony Clare. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm in agreement with the other reviews here at the time of writing.

I'll start out with a couple of things you *won't* get from this book.

Firstly, the cover gives the impression that Spike had a hand in writing this book. That's not the case. Spike is merely the primary and almost only individual case study. His contribution is via interviews conducted by Clare about Spike's depression. Nevertheless Spike's observations and experiences of suffering bipolar illness are illuminating and, if you suffer from depression, you will be able to relate to them. If you've never suffered depression then his experiences will help you understand how depression feels.

Secondly, do not expect Spike's humour to play a role in the book. There is merely one page where Clare quotes some of Spike's comedy material to make a point about bipolar illness and creativity. Spike's input on the subject of his depression is devoid of laughs. This didn't bother me but I merely warn you that Spike's involvement does not make itself felt through any kind of madcap humour on the subject.

Thirdly, the "how to survive it" subtitle is a little misleading. If you're looking for a self-help book there are plenty of others on the market. This book focuses far more on studies about depression and research into treatments. It is very short on what someone suffering should do in their lives to relieve depression, though it does go into detail about treatments.

On the subject of treatments it is worth recognising that this book was published in 1994. I seem to recall the latest bit of research in the book comes from 1990.
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3 Comments 27 of 27 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
This was the first book on depression that I have read having suffered several bouts of severe depression over the last 12 years. More than anything it made me feel not so alone in my symptoms and that people can live full and rewarding lives suffering from this disabling clinical condition. It was very intelligently written and the personal anecdotes made it all the more real. As an introduction and insight into depression and manic depression I would recommend it. The only thing I would say is that since it was written several years ago now, it doesn't deal with the latest developments in medications (i.e. SSRIs) which have helped me and many others I suspect in recovery from depression.
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Format: Paperback
After years of not understanding what depression actually was, this book gave me a thorough insight into the 'disease'. Whilst reading Spike's candid story, his ups and downs and such struggle with this debilitating illness, I have been thoroughly enlightened. It was the first book on depression which I chose to read and how it mirrored the history of my own life. I read it from back to front in 2 hours, so gripping was the material. Thank goodness someone had the good sense to write of their experience of a manic depressive life. It has opened a new world of understanding to me, since it not only disclosed Spike's problems, anxieties and tribulations, but also spoke of the medical diagnoses which have meant such a stigma being attached to individuals and families in the past, and which is no longer the case. Spike has intended to help fellow sufferers of depression and manic depression through recounting his own story, He has certainly helped me. I highly recommend this book.
Comment 29 of 30 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
This is a useful but ultimately disappointing book. It reads for the most part like a medical textbook, exploring the causes of depression and reviewing the available treatments. Spike Milligan's contribution is limited, and he disappears for large parts of the book. This is emphatically not a user-friendly guide on how to limit the effects of depression; it is more a scholarly review leavened by Spike Milligan's own observations.
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By Peter Buckley VINE VOICE on 5 July 2010
Format: Paperback
Spike Milligan (1918- 2002), was a wonderful anarchic comedian, actor and writer, and the co-creator, and a principal cast member of 'The Goon Show', 'QI' amongst other shows.
Milligan wrote and/or edited many books, including 'Puckoon', and a six-volume autobiographical account of his time serving during the Second World War, beginning with 'Adolf Hitler: My part in his downfall'. He was also a writer of comical verse.
Television director Richard Lester recalls that the television series 'A Show Called Fred' was recorded live. "I've seen very few moments of genius in my life but I witnessed one with Spike after the first show". He had brought around a silent cartoon, and asked Lester if his secretary took shorthand. She said she did. "Good", said Spike, "this needs a commentary". "It was a ten-minute cartoon and Spike could only have seen it once, if that. He ad-libbed the commentary for it and it was perfect. I was open-mouthed at the raw comedy creation in front of me".
Even late in life, Milligan's black humour had not deserted him. After the death of friend Harry Secombe from cancer, he said, "I'm glad he died before me, because I didn't want him to sing at my funeral." Appropriately,a recording of Secombe singing was subsequently played at Milligan's memorial service. He died at the age of 83, on 27 February 2002, and once famously quipped that he wanted his headstone to bear the words "I told you I was ill."
He suffered from severe bipolar depression for most of his life, having at least ten mental breakdowns, several lasting over a year. He spoke candidly about his condition and its effect on his life: "I have got so low that I have asked to be hospitalised and for deep narcosis (sleep). I cannot stand being awake. The pain is too much...
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