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Help! Books to help my daughter

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Showing 1-25 of 41 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 16 May 2012 17:51:27 BDT
Nanny Netty says:
To cut a long story short i'm looking for recommendations for books for my daughter.
She's an 18 year old single mum living on her own and suffering from depression. One of the nasty physical symptoms of which is chronic severe nausea which has been going on since the beginning of february.
One of the things we've been trying to do to help her cope with feeling so manky all the time is encourage her to read, but her taste in books is not necessarily the same as mine so i'm struggling to suggest books.
She has read angelas ashes, the boy in the striped pyjamas and the lovely bones recently, all of which she loved. She loves horror films (scary rather than gory) and recently watched rabbit proof fence which she loved. Just to give a bit of an idea of what she might like.
She's not into fantasy and has never tried any chick lit mainly because i wouldn't know what to suggest.
I also wondered if anyone had read any really inspirational biography type books which might help her. Doesn't necessarily have to relate to her situation.
Any suggestions would be gratefully recieved.

In reply to an earlier post on 16 May 2012 18:11:20 BDT
Denis Powell says:
Nanny, I'm no expert on depression although I've suffered from it for a number of years, on and off. I gave up reading when I was at my lowest as reading about how "happy" others were just reinforced my feeling of "failure". There's no reason at all why you should take any advice from me but I would still urge you to seek advice before embarking on any course of action.

I sincerely hope your daughter makes a speedy and complete recovery.

In reply to an earlier post on 16 May 2012 18:19:31 BDT
Hippocratia says:
I'm not sure whether I have any biography-type suggestions for you, but as someone who enjoyed Angela's Ashes and The Lovely Bones, I will put down a few of the books that I have enjoyed recently.

The Auschwitz Violin is a very good book, probably along similar lines to The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas (which I haven't read yet, but ought to).

But Can You Drink The Water? is about a family that moves from England to live in South Africa. It isn't a biography, but it is funny.

Before I Go To Sleep is about a woman who loses her memory every time she goes to sleep.

How To Live Forever is about some people who are trying to set up a live-forever lifestyle company.

The Reluctant Traveller is about a writer who reluctantly agrees to travel to Ethiopia to climb an obscure mountain, and complains for the whole trip. (Funnier than it sounds).

Posted on 16 May 2012 18:28:21 BDT
Nanny Netty says:
Thank you denis.

Reading was a recommendation of her dr as a method of coping with her nausea. She has refused to take any more anti emetic tablets as a side effect seems to be that they have all had a strong sedative effect which affects her ability to look after my grand-daughter.
The dr suggested reading to as a way of trying to break the cycle of the anxiety triggering the nausea, then feeling so sick she becomes more anxious, then as she is so anxious more sick and so on. This is often in the middle of the night.

In reply to an earlier post on 16 May 2012 18:44:40 BDT
Denis Powell says:
Nanny, yes that spiralling cycle is difficult to get out of. My NHS doctor made matters worse as he lacked the training and experience to deal with it but when I was eventually referred to a community psyschiatric centre I got excellent "treatment" although it took many months before I was able to function at anything close to normal. I had to keep a diary to find where I could "get off" the spiral and for every three steps forward I took there were two steps backward but I got there in the end. At the beginning I didn't understand what was wrong with me, but now that I know the symptoms and recognise them when they occur I can react accordingly and now live a "normal" life and have done for a number of years.

In reply to an earlier post on 16 May 2012 19:46:36 BDT
Lucy Lou says:
The thing is the depression can and does amplify feelings, moods, medication effects etc, so reading might help with the nausea but does nothing for the lethargy and tired feeling, which, if combined with medications which may make you feel drowsy, only compounds the lethargy and turns it into a "strong sedative" complaint.

Nothing can help more than getting off the old sofa and getting out and about; moving around to shake the lethargy and get some decent blood flow to the brain and body.

Posted on 16 May 2012 20:45:35 BDT
stormincat says:
Hello Nanny Netty, sorry to hear about your daughter, you said she likes Horror but not Gore. I can recommend the Author Phil Rickman, she may be interested in the books he has written about Merrily Watkins. I am currently reading Curfew which is excellent. Here are the links:
Wine of Angels, The (Merrily Watkins 1)

Personally if you were going to download either of these, I would go for Curfew first followed by his other books. I hope your daughter starts to feel better soon.

Posted on 16 May 2012 21:45:34 BDT
Ryan Cawsey says:
A brilliant biography i can suggest would be crissy rocks auto boigraphy its really inspirational and i learn alot about life and how lucky we all are its a great read and couldnt put it down i really suggest you get your daughter to read this.
I hope your daughter gets through her depression!

Posted on 17 May 2012 03:03:15 BDT
kittycat2000 says:
Nanny, I agree with Clagg. I took M.E. at the age of 27 and over a period of a few months I lost my job, which I loved, and my social life. It was no surprise that I got depressed. My mother encouraged me to do things I'd never tried before. I took up container gardening even though a lot of the time I was only able to choose the plants while someone else did all the work. I still felt a sense of achievement when they flowered. I also grew tomatoes in window boxes and baby leaf lettuce in pots. Another thing I enjoy is baking and cake decorating which again requires some help but is very fulfilling. I was able to look back at the end of the day and say I did that. Fresh air is also a help. I'm not able to take much exercise but even sitting on a chair outside while drinking a cup of coffee can lift my mood.
The best thing you can do, in my opinion, is too encourage her to do anything that makes her feel good even for a short while. Medication is also important. I understand her reticence to take tablets due to having her child to care for but there are many varieties available and her doctor should be able to find something to suit her. I still have M.E. and have days where I can't get out of bed but I no longer suffer from that debilitating depression. She will get well again, sooner rather than later I hope.

Posted on 17 May 2012 08:42:44 BDT
Hi Nanny, I'm a reader and writer and musician and have had severe panic/anxiety problems as long as I can remember.

The two books which help me the most, in an ongoing way, are Self Help for your Nerves by Claire Weekes (quite an old book and she's a doctor - deals with depression and associated symptoms in a matter of fact and reassuring way) and Creative Visualization by Shakti Gawain. Not sure what formats they're available in now but they are about.

I would also suggest that trying a bit of her own writing might be good, also singing is very uplifting.

You and/or your daughter are welcome to contact me - details on my profile if you click on my name at the top of the post.

Posted on 17 May 2012 10:19:17 BDT
Put authors your daughter likes into and other authors with similarities will be suggested - it's a really nifty route to new authors to try.

If stress-nausea overtakes me I have a strong lozenge and breathe in the fumes - it helps a lot. I use Strepsils Warm and Strepsils Cool. (Some types of Strepsils have a limit you can use in 24 hours).

Your daughter might like to find a post-natal group. Try National Childbirth Trust to be put in touch with her local branch. She need not feel alone in her situation. Early motherhood and all the hormone changes hit many women very hard.

Good luck in finding ways through.

Posted on 17 May 2012 10:37:24 BDT
ape says:
To cope with stress and depression I have found Mark Williams books on Mindfulness really useful. They come with a cd of guided meditations and they are really calming.

In reply to an earlier post on 17 May 2012 10:38:17 BDT
Last edited by the author on 17 May 2012 10:40:08 BDT
I think sadly too many GPs are reluctant to refer to psychiatric care, even though the GPs don't really have the expertise they need. My GP is the best doctor I've ever had, and I've still had to fight to see someone who actually has the training and experience to help me deal with what's going on.

Regarding inspirational biography type things, I found My Kind of Crazy: Living in a Bipolar World to be one of the best books I've read about mental illness, and surprisingly very enjoyable and often funny.

A Real Boy: How Autism Shattered Our Lives - and Made a Family from the Pieces was absolutely inspiring and heartwarming.

I haven't read it yet, but A Girl Called Barney: Loving an autistic child is so easy... and so hard has been highly recommended by a couple of people here.

The Book Thief is about WWII etc from a rather unusual perspective, if she enjoyed The Boy In Striped... then she might enjoy this one.

I personally find it most helpful when I am depressed to read books that really immerse me in the story and take me out of myself. I have ME (have had for most of my life) so life can be very lonely and sometimes I just need to escape. As such, though Unicorn Mountain is not strongly related to the books you've mentioned, I'm recommending it anyway. I've been fond of it since I first read it as a teenager, and it's very immsersive. It's about unicorns and AIDS, so not your typical unicorn fantasy novel, and I've always found it very uplifting even though it's also very sad in places. Anyway, just a thought. (Additional bonus is it's probably one of the best treebook-to-Kindle reads I've had, it's nice when a book has been properly transferred, properly proofread (by the author himself, no less), and it's basically been done with care rather than, as so often is the case, sloppily thrown together as an afterthought.)

If I think of any others I'll let you know.

In reply to an earlier post on 17 May 2012 12:29:13 BDT
Last edited by the author on 17 May 2012 12:29:47 BDT
Hippocratia says:
One book that I just thought of that helped me a lot as a newish mother is What Mothers Do: especially when it looks like nothing. There are lots of 'baby manuals' out there telling you how to bath a baby and deal with toddler tantrums, but this book talks about how mothers feel. I read it with tears falling down my face because it expressed so much of how I felt and showed me that I wasn't alone in the way that I was feeling. It isn't available as a kindle book, but the paperback is well worth getting.

On a slightly more light-hearted note, there is How Not to be a Perfect Mother: The Crafty Mothers Guide to a Quiet Life, which is good stress-relief when your child is not acting the way the baby manuals say he/she should (and why should they - the child hasn't read the manual.).

Posted on 17 May 2012 12:48:22 BDT
ScattyMe says:
Has she tried ginger for the nausea even ginger ale, I found the fizzyness helped when I was feeling sick.
What about all the other books by author of lovely bones.
If she can have a book that will need a box of tissues by her try The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver.
The NO1 Ladies detective agency series are wonderful set in Botswana, gentle funny in parts and just gives a taste of life out there.
I had another book but cannot remember it, involving Africa again but also needs a box of tissues by you when you read it. I think I gave it away in the box of 200 books when I cleared out some shelves. though I normally keep those that had an impact on me.
My depression takes the form of anxiety.
also can I suggest comedy DVD;s to watch, laughter really is the best medicine as long as watching doesn;t make the nausea worse.
when on Chemo I did not know what side effects I got were from the anti nause or the chemo so can;t recommend anything there. BUT have had PND so do understand. have had episodes all my life and now just grateful to be alive after Cancer.

HOpe this helps
If I think of any more I will post back.
Sending her a ton of hugs
OH Have they properly examined her ot make sure there is not a physical cause for the nausea as I admit I have not heard of it before. and I have been involved in all sorts of mental health stuff.
So many times Medics are ready to say Well of course it is because of stress.
Well I am not saying this to frighten you BUT a dear friend went 2 years undiagnosed with stomach cancer due to the medics saying it was stress as he did have depression but in the end it was too late when they found it and it had spread through out his body.

In reply to an earlier post on 17 May 2012 12:58:58 BDT
Maybe she should try some books aimed at kids her age ... I have three teenage daughters and I know they are big fans of John Green's books. Going back to my own teenaged years I absolutely loved The L Shaped Room by Lynne Reid Banks which is the first of a trilogy which includes Two is Lonely and The Backward Shadow ... basically the story of a young single mother. I doubt it is available for Kindle though.
Or on a completely different note I can recommend the Heather Wells Mysteries by Meg Cabot (who wrote the Princess Diaries but these are not childrens books) which are just good, light, escapist entertainment.
Hope she feels better soon ... there was a great letter doing the rounds on Twitter recently that Stephen Fry wrote in reply to a letter he got from a teenaged girl suffering with depression ...

Posted on 17 May 2012 13:03:02 BDT
ScattyMe says:
Just another thought Is there not a mother and baby club nearby. just getting out is hard but once she has done it then it does get easier.
Her health visitor should be able to give her details. Also if possible has she a garden to work in. I found one of the best releases was to get out in the garden and plant something or dig up the weeds. Now I can barely do that and miss it so much, Broken ribs not helping at the moment either.
I am guessing you might help with Babysitting( I don;t know how close you live to her) BUT has she any friends even from school so she could go out and meet them even once a fortnight) IT really is important to go out and not sit indoors. Take her baby to the park where she might meet other people. dogs and babies are good conversation triggers.
I think I was lucky when I had PND as I lived on a naval housing estate and so a lot of husbands were away so we supported each other. not so easy I know if she is just in a flat somewhere.
Sending more hugs for her

In reply to an earlier post on 17 May 2012 13:03:46 BDT
Hippocratia says:
Bizarrely, The L Shaped Room is not available on kindle, but Two Is Lonely and The Backward Shadow are.

Posted on 17 May 2012 13:10:38 BDT
ScattyMe says:
Ah found the other book
1. Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight
Written by Alexandra Fuller, Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight is a fascinating memoir about growing up in a white farming family during the Rhodesian war in the 1970's. The book is poignantly written and Fuller's deep love of Africa comes bounding through despite the violence she encountered in her young life. If you are at all interested in the complexities of post-colonial Africa, this is a wonderful read.
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In reply to an earlier post on 17 May 2012 13:11:47 BDT
That is just bizarre!
Another thought, if she likes horror/suspense - John Connolly writes excellent thrillers with supernatural overtones - featuring Charlie Parker.
And of course Stephen King's older books are amazing - things like The Tommy Knockers and IT - although they did genuinely scare me when I read them. But certainly absorbing and distracting

In reply to an earlier post on 17 May 2012 16:14:31 BDT
Last edited by the author on 17 May 2012 16:15:41 BDT
Try any of the Phil Rickman books especially about Merilly Watkins, I have really enjoyed all the ones which I have read.

Posted on 17 May 2012 16:36:36 BDT
worm says:
Michael J Fox's autobiography Lucky Man: A Memoir is pretty inspirational (IMHO), also Always Looking Up

In reply to an earlier post on 17 May 2012 18:11:29 BDT
Oh, I haven't read "Always Looking Up", but totally second the "Lucky Man" recommendation - wonderful book.

Posted on 17 May 2012 18:19:43 BDT
Last edited by the author on 17 May 2012 18:20:31 BDT
Nanny Netty says:
Thank you all so much for all the suggestions and the love and support.

We/my daughter have a whole rake of strategies. She has a list stuck on her fridge of things. Each day she tries to tick at least one thing on it. Some things are little treats for her aimed at giving her some " me" time like paint her nails or long soak in the bath. Other things include walking to the park or feed the ducks and the like (tho weather hasn't been to great for that). There are a number of mother and toddler groups nearby and we're going to messy play tomorrow. I do babysit when i can tho mostly it's been during the day lately and i've dragged them both to the allotment a couple of times.

She is currently waiting for an endoscopy to ensure the nausea is not due to any nasties there which i must say i had to have a mini paddy in the drs to get them to refer her for and she has had a whole rake of blood tests which were all negative. She had her ears syringed to make sure that there wasn't a blockage causing the problem. Sadly from bitter experience i do not have a massive amount of faith in gps.

I signed up for marion keyes' newsletter via her website. Tho not a massive fan of her books myself i do love her. She suffers from chronic depression and i've found her blogs incredibly moving and inspirational as well as funny. I have to agree that laughter is the most fantastic medicine.

Thanks again to everyone. I'll be checking out the books suggested over the weekend.

Thanks again

Posted on 18 May 2012 05:46:43 BDT
kittycat2000 says:
Nanny Netty, the book Ali mentioned by Dr Claire Weekes Self Help for Your Nerves: Learn to relax and enjoy life again by overcoming stress and fear is excellent, I'd been trying to remember the name as my mother found it a great help when she was unwell some years back. Marian Keyes autobiographical books Under The Duvet: Notes on High Heels, Movie deals, Wagon Wheels, Shoes, Reviews, Having the Blues, Builders, Babies, Families and other Calamities and its sequel are very uplifting.
I get a lot of nausea due mainly to a lot of the medication I have to take. One thing I find helps this immensely is anything lemon scented. I sprinkle lemon essential oil on my pillow and on tissues and inhale this when needed. I also suck barley sugar sweets although I have no idea why this helps but it does. Hope you find something to help. Keep us posted on how she is getting on.
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Total posts:  41
Initial post:  16 May 2012
Latest post:  28 May 2012

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