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86 of 87 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars sunbathing in the rain
Fantastic. This book was a critical part of my recovery, having picked it up quite randomly from a book store. For me, it is the most accurate account of my experience of depression I have heard from ANYONE. Most importantly of all, it offers those with depression methods of coping with the illness rather than another description of depression. I didn't need to know...
Published on 18 April 2005 by S. Milligan

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81 of 95 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Depressing stuff
If your particular circumstances do not include:
an interesting, glamorous job to go back to
a loving, imaginatively supportive spouse
a good social network of friends
a close family
an able body
and you STILL have to deal with depression, I suggest that you avoid this book. It made my heart sink over and over again . Ms Lewis is extremely...
Published on 13 May 2007 by FrustratedOptimist


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86 of 87 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars sunbathing in the rain, 18 April 2005
By 
S. Milligan (Australia) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Fantastic. This book was a critical part of my recovery, having picked it up quite randomly from a book store. For me, it is the most accurate account of my experience of depression I have heard from ANYONE. Most importantly of all, it offers those with depression methods of coping with the illness rather than another description of depression. I didn't need to know what depression felt like - I knew EXACTLY what it felt like - what I craved from a book or professional was actual coping strategies for the hell I was going through. Depression fades with time but never goes away, so I felt I needed to 'arm' myself and learn how to live with it. I would never wish depression on my worst enemy, and if you are reading this and have it, I wish you all the best in your recovery. There actually is light at the end of the tunnel!
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123 of 125 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At last! A helpful book about depression!, 16 Nov 2005
By 
I've been severely clinically depressed, on and off, for 21 years. I'm currently in Month 20 of the lastest bout - the worst ever, which forced me to give up work 18 months ago.
Over the years I have read countless books on depression, mostly self-help books. And I can honestly say that none of them has ever helped me even a little bit.
I started reading Sunbathing in the Rain with a sigh of "here we go again - more time and effort to put into reading a book, with no payback". I couldn't have been more wrong.
I literally couldn't put this book down. It made me laugh and cry in equal measure and for the first time in my life I felt I was in the presence of someone who understood what it's REALLY like to be depressed. Best of all, this book has given me hope and heart and the ability to look forward to the future.
It is also, by the way, beautifully written and pleasure to read on that level alone.
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88 of 90 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Always poetic, never depressing, 26 Feb 2003
Gwyneth Lewis wrote Sunbathing in the Rain as the book she wished she'd had when curled up like a frozen prawn with devastating depression. It's much more than that though, and you certainly don't need the same diagnosis or the same desperation to benefit from Lewis's gripping insights, which go beyond any narrow definition and plunge straight into the human condition itself.
This isn't a self help book. As Lewis says, self help is the last thing a depressive needs. Instead, it's a personal account of depression, mixed with down to earth advice and good old fashioned comfort and reassurance. Aimed at depressives, it's helpful that Lewis has also broken up the text with short and realistically readable quotes from other writers who know what they're talking about.
We don't get just any personal account of depression either, we get a poet's account, which to me is significant for two reasons. For a start, no-one writes prose like a poet. It might seem like bad taste to consider Sunbathing in the Rain as an exquisitely written work of literature, but it would be impossible to ignore that it is. More significantly perhaps, Lewis presents a very convincing case for a close connection between depression and the act of writing poetry. So convincing that I almost started to sympathise with the insurance company that notoriously charges fellow poet Simon Armitage considerably more to cover the risk of living his life as a writer than when he was a probation officer.
There are some unsettling ideas here about the nature and possible causes of depression. Echoing Les Murray's assertion that the cure for depression is the truth, Lewis adds that depression "says the way you've been living is unbearable". A bit harder to take in its implications than the random chemical accident theory but probably more likely to save your life in the long run.
Sunbathing in the Rain isn't a depressing book. Lewis meant it when she chose the subtitle, A Cheerful Book about Depression, and as a poet and truth teller, she can surely be trusted to mean the book's highly encouraging last line too - that she wouldn't swap her life now for anything.
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61 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars By far the most helpful book I've read on depession, 21 Mar 2005
By A Customer
Gwyneth Lewis has written a funny (yes really!) and insightful book on depression which I have found to be hugely useful in understanding my own experience of this condition.
She points out, as gently as possible, that there are no quick and easy cures for depression, and that time and acceptance are the only solutions. She shows us that depression is your subconscious frantically trying to tell you something, which is usually that how you are living is not tolerable for you. If you ignore this warning for long enough, depression will literally take you out of commission for a while, forcing you to re-evaluate your life.
Since reading this book I have recommended it to numerous friends and relatives and they have all found it to be a great help.
I have nothing but praise for this book.
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars cheerful, 28 April 2007
By 
D. Ryan - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Sunbathing in the Rain: A Cheerful Book About Depression (Paperback)
I have suffered from Clinical Depression since the age of 14 ( I am now 59). I enjoyed the book,and most of all my children and husband understood more of what was going on with me after reading the book also. My medication is now at maintenance level, but I remember times when I was in my 20's and would sit in the corner of the bedroom not being able to focus on anything while my 3 year old looked after herself. I have spent many periods sunk in despair, sometimes I have got to work sometimes not. But this isn't a choice, when in the depths of true depression nothing matters, the real world has gone and you are sunk in a deep hole with horrors all around you. I am not sure that many of the reviewers actually have suffered this disease in the full blown variety, or they would have had more sympathy. Many people look upon depression as a bit of the monday blues, but real clinical depression and the other forms of chemical depression are more than this and when taken over, who cares about money food or even a roof over your head, if it all went ,when in the deep stages you wouldn't care. Most depressives who have a long term relationship have a loving caring partner who understands, if they didn't they would have left long ago. Read the book and enjoy it. You will recognise yourself in this book and that is a help.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Heaps that's useful and insightful, with one omission - most people are under pressure to earn a living!, 4 April 2011
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This review is from: Sunbathing in the Rain: A Cheerful Book About Depression (Paperback)
Firstly, let me be clear: there is heaps, really heaps, about this book which is wonderful - the practical hints, the tone of voice and language, the short digestible paragraphs, and many, many of the insights. So I would not wish to put anyone off reading it at all. I found it sympathetic and uplifting, which, when you're in the throws of depression, are sensations you want to hold onto for as long as you can.

Because one of the most painful aspects of depression is the cycle of self loathing, the notion that depressions are learning experiences is extremely useful. When you're beating yourself up endlessly, this suggestion is a breath of fresh air, and the book should be read for that reason alone.

Indeed, this would be a 5* star book for me, but for one area it fails to cover off. Because to my mind there is one omission - it fails to take account of the enormous and real pressure many, many sufferers find themselves under to get well in a specific time frame in order to earn money and continue working. This can mean the cycle of depression is much harder to break, as not very many of us are able to take two years 'out' and just be. Unless I missed something, Lewis never mentions this need to earn one's keep. I can only assume she had some kind of outside financial support, masses of savings or a very sympathetic employer. She certainly has an incredibly supportive partner, and many sufferers are not blessed with one of those either. So in this regard she is fortunate and for some readers in the throws of depression her experience might seem at one remove from their own.

My conclusion: read it, please. But do so alongside Sally Brampton's 'Shoot the Damn Dog'. Brampton's personal experience of depression is deeper, more agonised and very prolonged, so her take is even more salutary. Together these books make a great double bill, and can illuminate a tentative path through the darkest of times.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Astonishingly helpful!, 13 Aug 2007
This review is from: Sunbathing in the Rain: A Cheerful Book About Depression (Paperback)
At a time when every bit of advice seems irrelevant or too impossible to even imagine following, "Sunbathing in the Rain" was just what I needed. I did find it cheering, comforting, soothing and motivating. Depression is very isolating and it was a huge comfort to read someone else's thoughts and experiences and think 'yes, that's just how it is!' I've read many other books on depression which didn't strike that chord and left me feeling more alone/down than ever.

I loved the easy reading style of Gwyneth Lewis's writing and, as she suggests, I picked and chose from the various things she found helpful, rejecting those that I didn't like the sound of without feeling alienated or offended.

I can see several reviewers felt very differently about this book but I would really urge anyone who is struggling to at least try it. Good luck!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book if your depression works this way, 19 Dec 2011
By 
Mel Bourne (Glasgow, Scotland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Sunbathing in the Rain: A Cheerful Book About Depression (Paperback)
This book was recommended to me by a fantastic counselor I had been seeing for depression. She noted that my depression worked very similarly to the author's in that it came at a time when I had been pushing myself too hard for too long and was essentially a call to "slow down." Of course, this is a slightly simplistic way of looking at depression and one criticism I have of the book itself is that at times depression is treated somewhat simplistically. For example, the author appears to assume that all people who have suffered from depression are creative or gifted in some way.

Having said that, I very much enjoyed this book. It's written in a manner that makes it easy to read, even when you are lacking energy/motivation. The author has clearly done a lot of research but does not simply spew facts at us; instead she gives her own opinion on the variety of sources she cites and allows us to come to our own conclusions. The style is simple, mostly informal and friendly without being patronising. You really feel as though the author is directly addressing you and genuinely wants to help.

Whilst I did resent somewhat the idea of depression as a "gift" the author does acknowledge that it is also very much a curse and of course an illness, which has claimed many lives.

Overall there are parts of the book I would say to take with a pinch of salt. (You need to bear in mind that the author is somewhat privileged when it comes to financial security, job security and has a loving and supportive family - not things all of us are lucky enough to have!) However, this book has been extremely useful to me and has even given me the odd giggle or two. (At last someone who shares my hatred of the constant "diet and exercise!" mantra.) That alone, for me, makes it more than worth the money.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read this book !, 24 Jun 2007
This review is from: Sunbathing in the Rain: A Cheerful Book About Depression (Paperback)
I have been off work due to depression for eight years, and am on most types of medication known to psychiatrists, from prozac to lithium. I have a vast collection of books on depression, but honestly most of them are too depressing to read. This book is brilliant - well written, not preachy, easy to dip into. If you are or have been depressed, you will identify with this book. If you know someone who is depressed, this book will give you some idea of what it is like. I do not understand the negative reviews here. Certainly, there is no book on earth that will cure you of depression (this one doesn't claim to, either). Furthermore, in the midst of depression there is probably no book that you will feel adequately describes your personal anguish. For people not looking for miracles, and who find that the turmoil of thoughts sometimes becomes so violent that you feel you no longer know who you are, this book is reassuring. It is also amusing. I don't think the author expects people to interpret the reference to "cheerful" in the title too literally. We are not celebrating depression, but the power of human endurance. You may not be dancing in the street when you read the book, but I bet you'll have a smile on your face.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The last 2 reviews have missed the point....., 24 Mar 2007
By 
Michelle Hampton (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Sunbathing in the Rain: A Cheerful Book About Depression (Paperback)
I had a breakdown followed by 18 months of severe depression and this book was quite literally a lifeline. I felt that the fact I couldn't get up, stay awake, sort myself out, get myself well etc was my fault and my weakness. This book is so reassuring. It shows how depression can be an incredibly serious mental AND physical illness. The last reviewer wouldn't have said what they did if Gwyneth Lewis had been recovering from any other serious illness. The author should be congratulated for writing such a rich, descriptive book about something so misunderstood. She explains how depression this serious IS NOT a choice, that the sufferer CANNOT force themselves out of bed or will themselves better and that, when so ill, attempts to do so result in further guilt, self contempt and prolonged recovery. Ultimately, however, this book is full of hope, a reassurance to those who are really ill that recovery IS possible. An amazing book and a must for anyone seriously depressed and their families and friends who want to understand.
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Sunbathing in the Rain: A Cheerful Book About Depression
Sunbathing in the Rain: A Cheerful Book About Depression by Gwyneth Lewis (Paperback - 16 Oct 2006)
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