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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is helping me - a lot
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...
Published on 26 Aug 2010 by PFrank

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38 of 41 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not for me
I'm amazed that every review of this is extremely positive. I found this book more like a medical journal full of case studies rather than any help to myself. I couldn't relate to any of the cases as the author states that all of his patients have had a 'difficult childhood' and that is the key reason behind their depression - I had a happy and balanced childhood with...
Published on 12 April 2009 by REP


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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is helping me - a lot, 26 Aug 2010
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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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Helped me, 6 Jun 2009
This review is from: Undoing Depression: What Therapy Doesn't Teach You and Medication Can't Give You (Paperback)
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. You CAN change the situation, you can engage with and enjoy life and tap into all kinds of positive aspects of yourself that maybe you've neglected to cultivate. It takes effort and patience but the effort will certainly transform your life and could save it!
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118 of 121 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great summation of a confused subject: depression., 4 Aug 1999
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoughts and Actions That Can Overcome Depression, 13 May 2004
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 124,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
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. There are signs that it can have roots in disturbed relations between Mother and child, family dysfunction, possibly genetic disorders of brain chemistry (like using up seratonin too rapidly), other traumas, and poor thinking habits. Who knows what else may turn up?
Many people try to deal with this problem too much on their own. Families often put up with the depressed person's behavior, not knowing what else to do. Others reject the depressed person, which will usually make the situation worse. O'Connor lays out common sense guidelines that should make a diference: for depressed people, for those who care about them, and for those who treat them.
The author sees depression as a disease and as a social problem, "an illness to be treated professionally and a failure of adaptation that we must overcome through self-determinination." He outlines important principles for the depressed person: (1) Feel your feelings (depression is the suppression of feelings -- acknowledging those feelings often causes depression to improve). (2) Realize that nothing comes out of the blue (your depressed state has a root cause that you should look for in an event or situation). (3) Challenge your depressed thinking by questioning your assumptions, especially ones that center on meaningless perfectionism. (4) Establish priorities so that your energies go into what will be on what's most important to you. (5) Communicate as directly as possible to everyone around you. Depressed people are often poor communicators who don't get their emotional needs served. With better communication, they can experience a more supportive emotional environment. (6) Take care of your self. Learn to enjoy yourself. (7) Take and expect the right responsibility for yourself -- for your own actions. Depressed people often feel guilty about things that they have no responsibility for (like the death of a parent or the divorce of their parents). (8) Look for heroes. These role models can empower you to see the way to improve, especially if they were also depressed like Lincoln. (9) Be generous. Helping others puts your own situation into perspective. (10) Cultivate intimacy. This means letting down your defenses so people can see you as you are, and accept you for that. Depressed people often feel disgusted with their true selves, and hide that self from everyone. (11) Practice detachment. Depressed people are often overly critical and pessimistic. Seeing things in the proper perspective can heal a lot of inappropriate pain. (12) Get help when you need it. This may be the most important piece of advice since so many people do not.
The book is filled with personal examples and case studies of people the author has treated, which help make the points easier to understand.
I was astonished to realize that there is no self-help network like there is for alcoholics and those with other mental and behavioral problems. The author shares some experiences with having established such groups that can be a prototype for creating such a network in the future. I think that is an important priority for improving the mental health of our society from what this book shares.
Mental health professionals will find good advice for overcoming the parochialism of whatever discipline they originally trained in, to create links to the other treatments the depressed patients need. Those who provide therapy discussions will benefit from the author's own assessments of how therapies helped or did not help him. The therapist as caring adult is emphasized above the particular technique used.
I was fascinated by how often this book pointed out problems related to stalls that most people have such as poor communications, procrastination, misconception, disbelief, tradition, independence, purposelessness, wishful thinking, and avoidance of the unattractive. The depressed person seems to have more of these at the same time than the people I work with. Yet both groups have in common that they have not yet learned the stallbusting techniques that can improve or overcome these stalls. To some extent, the lack of understanding of how to focus our minds is one of the causes of depression in our society. So here is another reason to learn the questions and focus that can enormously improve personal and organizational effectiveness. I rate this book a 2,000 percent solution stallbuster, and hope that you will read it and apply its lessons. Whether you are depressed or not, we all will encounter depressed people and this book can make us more helpful to them.
Since reading this book, I have been greatly helped by it in understanding the depressed people I know. Following the advice here, they have made progress in moving away from depression. I am very grateful for having obtained this valuable knowledge.
Help everyone to walk, look, and feel on the bright side!
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars YOU CAN RECOVER FROM DEPRESSION!!, 9 Aug 1999
By A Customer
Immediately after visiting the Undoing Depression website I purchased a copy. My comments about Mr. O'Conner's masterpiece: FINALLY a book written in plain, understandable English!!Finally, somebody takes away the stigma of depression and says recovery IS possible. Finally a book compassionately written about how to recover from depression - FROM SOMEONE WHO HAS. His profile of a depressive is right on the mark, and the steps he outlines as the road to recovery are understandable and attainable
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I just read Undoing Depression and already I feel better., 8 Feb 1999
By A Customer
I have been diagnosed with dysthymia. I was taking medication, but just stopped out of the blue. I felt very alone. The only discusssion or dialog between my prescribing psychiatrist and I, were about side affects of the drug. Although medication made me feel better, I really needed something more. I needed to understand that I'm not alone, to know that intelligent, seemingly normal people are affected by depression. We walk around everyday with the mask of happiness and normalacy, but feel differently inside. Thanks for bringing light to this area. It is comforting to hear of other successful people who are plagued with depression, but in spite of this setback do lead normal lives and make contributions to society.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolute must-read for depressives, families, friends, 15 July 1998
By A Customer
As a recovering depressive who believes knowledge is a pretty good weapon, I was already really tired of reading work on depression that is preachy, naive, alien to my experience and/or didn't tell me anything I didn't already know. By the time I read the first 100 pages of Undoing Depression, I'd learned more than I ever did in other books or therapy. (And, in the tradition of many depressives, I wept in catharsis. <g>) After O'Connor demonstrates that he knows depression inside and out, he offers real-life, plain-language, non-simplistic strategies for attacking each of the depressive lifestyle traits that continue to face many people who thought listening to Prozac would solve every problem. While I am sorry that O'Connor also struggles with depression, I can't help but think of this book as a gift to the rest of us.
In Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield (a fellow depressive if there ever was one) talks about the writers he'd like to call up because he enjo! ! yed their books so much. I'd love to call up ol'Richard O'Connor.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I usually hate these books but this was great, 13 July 1998
By A Customer
Wow, this is a helpful book. The best thing is that he realizes that depression effects, long term (if not forever?), multiple facets of your psyche--behavior, thinking, self-image, relationships, etc., and those have to be systematically addressed one by one and over time. It is the most hopeful yet real book I've read on this topic. When I read, "We end up being depressed because we never learn how to act differently--'But I'm so GOOD at being depressed'...." I said, Amen, brother. We don't need someone else to tell us our self-esteem is out of whack. We need a way to do something about it. Thanks!
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great help in understanding depression, 24 May 2007
By 
Tracey Bell "TinkerBelle" (Kent, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I suffer from Bipolar. Before I was diagnosed (having spent from age 14 to 41 being treated on and off for ordinary depression) I was very confused about depression and its causes. It was this book that started me thinking that there was something else wrong with me other than circumstancial depression. Very informative, with lots of case studies. A good book if you want to broaden your knowledge of depression. It also teaches you new life skills to make living with depression easier and to put you more in control. I felt empowered and optimistic having read this book.
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