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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 28 April 2015
I was looking forward to reading this book, but I found in the end it promised more than it delivered. It's pretty standard American self-help fare, glorified CBT with an existential gloss, and seems to package "meaning" as just another commodity. Not that there aren't good things in it - I think it is useful to explore the meaning of unhappiness before wishing it away too quickly - but I don't think Maisel goes far enough with this project, and while I think his criticisms of the mental health system are justified, his treatment of the socio-political context of much "psychiatrising" is superficial. It may be legitimate to object to the term 'depression' as a catch-all for sadness and disappointment, but I actually do think something more is going on in depression than merely being unhappy, although unhappiness is surely at the root of it; and even if it is simple, profound unhappiness, the sense of being trapped and hopeless is so palpable in 'depression' that it takes more than a few meaning mantras and good morning habits to shift it. The author also conflates 'depression' with 'mental disorder' in general, and lumps together psychiatry and psychotherapy, both of which positions point to a general criticism of the psy-complex that he doesn't unpack. And I didn't get much of an understanding of the specifically "existential" dimensions of his "program" - it seems to me more like, "Best foot forward". Just saying something has meaning doesn't imbue it with meaning, much less tell you anything about the nature of that meaning. Having said that, for the person like me who is a few rungs up from rock bottom, there were some insightful and helpful points that I'll probably modify to my own use. So it was OK, but not for everyone - and certainly not for the "severely depressed" people whose experience he seems to either minimise or misconstrue.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Stunning reassessment of how we have turned depression into an illness and misidentified perfectly natural states such as unhappiness, loneliness and grief so they can be treated with drugs. A realistic plan to start giving your life meaning is incredibly helpful for those who suffer from ;depression; by offering a way to reframe everyday life and move forward. f
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on 13 February 2013
I would recommend this book to doctors and users. It makes us think more deeply about depression and ask what depression really is. Do we just accept what is told to us by the medical profession, drug companies and so on. I haven't finished the book yet but know it will be one that I will dip into a lot.
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