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Undoing Depression: What Therapy Doesn't Teach You and Medication Can't Give You [Paperback]

Richard O'Connor
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)

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Book Description

21 Sep 2007
In a truly holistic approach that combines the best of many schools of thought about depression Richard O'Connor offers new hope - and new life. One in ten people suffer from depression and for many sufferers depression has been their experience for so long that it is possible to believe that it has become who they are. Yet, depression is an illness, like heart disease; it is something that one "has". "The major reason why people with depression stay depressed despite therapy, medication, and support from loved ones is that we are simply unable to imagine an alternative. We know how it do depression. We are experts at it." Like heart disease depression is fuelled by complex, interrelated factors: genetic, environmental, biochemical. In this eminently sensible book Richard O'Connor considers another, often overlooked factor: our own habits. Unwittingly, the sufferer can become 'good at depression'. Learning how to hide it, how to work around it, perhaps even achieving in their life a depressive can make it through every day but each day is a struggle rather than satisfying. They deprive themselves of the possibility of true recovery, of joy and healthy emotion, of the feeling of being alive in the world. Ultimately, they make things worse. "Undoing Depression" teaches you how to replace depressive patterns of thought and relating to other people and behaving with new, better skills. Anyone who has learned to do depression can learn how to undo it.

Frequently Bought Together

Undoing Depression: What Therapy Doesn't Teach You and Medication Can't Give You + Depressive Illness: The Curse of the Strong (3rd Edition) (Overcoming Common Problems) + Shoot the Damn Dog: A Memoir of Depression
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Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Souvenir Press (21 Sep 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0285638025
  • ISBN-13: 978-0285638020
  • Product Dimensions: 13.6 x 21.2 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 517,891 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"A clear understanding of the nature of depression and the struggles associated with it." -- Depression Alliance

"This well-written book imparts so much common sense and good advice that members and their carers are recommended to buy it." -- Depression UK

"To explore more self-help strategies to find the best mix now and to help prevent a recurrence of depression."
-- 'Woman's Weekly'

From the Author

what the author has to say
I wanted to write a book to address the issue of preventing depression. The emphasis is too often focused on treatment after someone has hit rock bottom. There is a sense that depression is something that happens to you without warning. I disagree. I think there is a warning - that people do lead a depressed lifestyle before they feel depressed - and that people should be encouraged to believe there is a lot they can do to avoid hitting bottom and to make their recovery much faster and more effective. And because of my own personal experience with depression, I feel a strong desire to help prevent people from suffering what my family and I have gone through. So I've tried to lay out a roadmap for people to follow through recovery. I've taken the "practice wisdom" of good psychotherapy and put it into a form that people can follow to help themselves as they deal with depression in their thinking, their behavior, their emotions, their relationships, and their self-image. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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WE ARE LIVING in an epidemic of depression. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is helping me - a lot 26 Aug 2010
By PFrank
I am a middle-aged man and have recently realised (or rather acknowledged) that I have suffered from depression for much of my adult life. I have never been actively suicidal but have spent long periods fighting the thought (over extended periods uppermost in my mind for every waking hour of every day) that I would rather not have been born. Medication (which I am taking) helps but does not provide an answer in itself.
I can understand much of how I got to this point but believing that there is a viable way to a meaningful existence in what remains of my life is a serious challenge. If I can find it I will.
Which brings me to this book. Two pieces of advice which I have followed in the past - suck it up and "be a man about it" are disastrous for depressives - at least they have been for me. Reading this book is in part like reading my biography. More importantly it provides a map for the way forward. For the first time in a long while I have hope. This is very precious.
If you are suffering from depression or know someone who is I would strongly recommend this book. It is not a silver bullet and I suspect there isn't one. But you need help. Please get it. This book will help you to understand what is going on and what to do about it.
Large chunks of my life have been wasted as a result of this condition. If the statistics are right I am far from being alone and the more that can be done about this blight the better.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Helped me 6 Jun 2009
This is not a lightweight book. Someone said it's a bit like a medical journal and they couldn't relate to the case studies (some of which are of lifetime depressives with lot's of suicide attempts etc)I can understand those comments and for that reviewer or those who've suddenly found themselves depressed for the first time ,I'd recommend "Depression: the curse of the strong" by Tim Cantopher.
This is very much targeted at those who've struggled with depression all their lives.It's especially good for those who may not even recognise it, but have just accommodated it in their life and think "this is who I am, this is the way things are".People who are "good at depression" and need to learn they can be "good at being happy" There are so many people who bear up under this ongoing depression, often very successfully but more often than not the weight gets heavier and their ability to carry it declines as time goes on and life throws inevitable banana skins in their path.
I found myself in that situation...suddenly finding that what I thought were lifelong essential characteristics of "me" (workoholism, anger, grumpiness, disappointment, anxiety, unwillingness to think about the future)suddenly became triggered into something catastrophically overwhelming. My "personality" was suddenly an "illness" needing bed rest, doctors, pills, hospitals etc! Pretty bloody frightening. This book helped me navigate that. I needed to UNDERSTAND in order to start doing something to help and this book gave me that basic navigation . Plus in doing so I was relieved to find out that millions of people had similar experiences and this was not just a "me thing".
The main messages are very hopeful: you were not just "born that way" and are not destined to suffer.
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118 of 121 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
As a lifetime sufferer of depression, I've read my share of self-help books, most of which didn't seem to address the real problem and the terrible suffering in a way that I could translate into progress. This book opened up the mystery and offered just the most practical, everyday advice. I've been going around preaching it to my friends so much that they call it "The Book." Not to sound too effervescent, but even in the few weeks since I put his suggestions into effect, I've found myself laughing more: always a good sign. Really worth the time to read and reread if you or someone you love is tormented by this illness.
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126 of 130 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Helpful and encouraging 29 Dec 1999
By A Customer
The author states that this book is not a substitute for medication and therapy and it doesn't offer an easy cure for depression. If you are very depressed you may find the prospect of an intense self help program too much to face. If however you have taken the step to recognise that you can and must help yourself then this book is extremely useful. I found the authors understanding of depression to be very accute and his own personal experience of the illness meant that I never felt alienated or patronised. The explanation of the habits that depressed people fall into helpled me rationalise my experiences and appreciate that I can change whilst the advice on how to recognise these habits and challenge them is down to earth and practical without being too clinical and detached. No book can be the first step in recovery from depression but if you are preparing to face life again and you want to understand depression in order to live a full life and prevent further episodes then you may well find this book very helpful.
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323 of 336 people found the following review helpful
The author is quick the point out (and he is correct) that this book will not improve or cure depression by itself. You need professional help for that. Instead, the purpose of this book (which it magnificently addresses) is to describe what the depressed person and the depressed person's family and friends need to be doing to provide the maximum likelihood of overcoming depression. That's a reasonable promise and premise for a book on this important subject, and you can begin to overcome your ignorance (and the harm it can bring) by reading this book and acting on its advice.
First, the bad news. Depression is increasing. Worse still, the younger someone is, the more likely that the person will experience depression sometime. Even worse, many people are undiagnosed, and suffer alone with their affliction.
Second, the good news. Around 70 percent of all those suffering from depression will improve with either drug therapy or mental health treatments. Those who get both do even better.
Third, more bad news. Depression tends to recur for many people.
The voice addressing these issues is an expert one. He is a psychotherapist who runs a community health center. More importantly, he has suffered from depression himself. I doubt if you can get more direct access to what depression is all about than from Richard O'Connor. I admire his caring to share so much of his own pain with us, and respect him enormously for this gift he has given us all.
Depression is currently under reevaluation. No single paradigm seems to capture all of its elements. Undoubtedly, an improved scientific model for it will emerge.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars I liked the way this book is presented and it gave ...
I liked the way this book is presented and it gave me insight into Depression and offered me some light tas to how I'm going to live with it in the future

Worth reading... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Polly N
1.0 out of 5 stars Had to stop reading!
I bought this book quite a few months ago and have tried at least 4 times to read it and give it a chance. Read more
Published 5 months ago by charl
4.0 out of 5 stars Explains much
I am still in the process of reading this book. But as an individual who has cared for a parent with bi-polar and at time suffered from their own depression, potentially as a... Read more
Published 7 months ago by AP
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent and very encouraging
I loved this book and found it very useful on a personal and professional level. Definitely a bookone worth reading.
Published 7 months ago by Mrs Elaine Robertson
5.0 out of 5 stars depression explained, finally an answer and the 'cure'!
I have suffered with depression on and off for over 20 years and searched in vain these last few years for an answer to people saying "it's very treatable nowadays" and not... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Elayne
5.0 out of 5 stars A great help to us.
Very helpful to me & my wife who are dealing with a child with depression. It's hard & there are no fast cures. Read more
Published 9 months ago by GAG65
5.0 out of 5 stars Understand how it works
The book presents you with working examples of how to tackle issues that lock you up from progressing during your day. A very good read.
Published 12 months ago by Oguzhan
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book.
This book is great. Author's writing style is superb and is easy to read. I think topic is well covered and this book helped me to see issues I haven't noticed before. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Mr O
5.0 out of 5 stars No Nonsense...
I have read a few books on depression so wasn't really expecting anything different. This book is great. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Miss H C Falconer
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best ever books on surviving depression
I have had bouts of major depression throughout my life, and have read all kinds of self help books and the like in order to try to learn how to heal. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Viva_Viv
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