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4.0 out of 5 stars Worthwhile reading offering helpful suggestions although sometimes rather biased., 10 May 2012
This review is from: Happiness Is a Choice: The Symptoms, Causes, and Cures of Depression (Paperback)
A Masters-level social worker for over 29 years, I read this book written by two well-meaning psychiatrists with interest. The book contains much detailed information describing depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive and histrionic personality types. It concludes with my favorite chapter, "Chapter 16: How Do You Find Lifelong Happiness?" I say this because the MOST useful suggestions for those suffering from depression seem to come from that chapter.
Where the book's flaws lie have more to do with a male bias that is infused into some of the work. I would disagree with some reviewers in their opinion that the authors are "fanatic" Christians. I do think they sometime come across as somewhat male chauvinistic. I agree with another reviewer that is not true that a battered wife is simply "satisfying an unconcious need to be a masochist". Many battered women grew up in homes where they witnessed their own mothers being battered by their husbands and were socialized into believing that this behavior was normal. They also are born and raised in a society where from the beginning women struggle with low self esteem because of the way they are treated from childhood. Thus their "learned helplessness" lead them to have low expectations of their male partners.
It is interesting though where the authors seem to condone violence against women they excuse men for what they call "righteous indignation" for their anger when their wives do not desire to engage in sexual activity with them. The authors come right out and say: "If a wife refuses her husband..she is violating his God given each other's bodies."
I strongly disagree what the authors allege in "Chapter 10: What Precipitating Stresses Bring on Depression" that a "battered wife...may be subconsciously provoking his explosive behavior" as if it were HER fault that her husband was beating her! The author's ignorance about domestic violence comes across very clearly here. There is a tendency to victim blame here absolving the (male) batterer from the responsibility he holds in the violent behavior. Having been myself an educator in the field of domestic violence (as well as having worked with both male and female victims and perpetrators of domestic violence) I would suggest that the authors would do well to educate themselves more in this often ignored (or minimized) area in our society. I often wonder what a better, more peaceful world we would have if the so-called Christian community that delights in gay-bashing and speaking up for the "rights of the unborn" would spend HALF as much energy at trying to help children who have already BEEN born not to suffer from neglect and abuse and those spouses who have been physically abused by partners who feel it is ALSO their God-given right to make their wives totally submissive to them "or else".
This male bias comes across earlier in "Chapter 9: Can Depression Be Acted Out?" where the author alleges "Many a female hysteric seeks a good man to bring down sexually so she can tell everyone he seduced her, thus ruining his reputation." This is the argument male pedophiles use when they sexually abuse young girls and try to defend themselves by saying "but they were so cute. I couldn't help myself."
Despite the male bias often encountered in this work this IS nonetheless a valuable book worth reading offering many suggestions useful to those who suffer from depression and anxiety. Let's not "throw the baby out with the bath water". Spiritual beliefs are VERY important in helping someone cope and recover from depression. As much as good diet, exercise, medication, other self care methods, believing and trusting in a higher power (God to some of us) is crucial in being able to recover from very painful states of mind.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best book on the topic, 15 Mar 2013
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This review is from: Happiness Is a Choice: The Symptoms, Causes, and Cures of Depression (Paperback)
This is the best book I've ever found on the topic of depression, what causes it, and more importantly - how to change the processes that lead us to that "edge" of energy and capacity, to stay healthy mentally and emotionally. I read the book originally in German, and then English; I've read it at least three times, to remind myself of those key points for me personally. I've recommended it to others, given it as gifts, and loaned out countless copies! Both my German and English copies are on loan now, as a matter of fact...
The authors (both doctors and psychologists) walk the reader through explanations, clinical examples, checklists of symptoms, explain causes in layman's terms, and then begin to walk you toward recovery. The steps are up to you. I've never found another book that I would ever recommend as highly as this one; if you know anyone going through depression, or are in the claws of it yourself, this is your light at the end of the tunnel.
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