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43 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on 3 July 2007
This book is not heavy. It is written by a fellow sufferer rather than an academic, and it comes across in a very sympathetic manner that I found easy to relate to.

The book takes you through mental exercises, motivation, exercise, meditation and mentoring. It didn't have all the answers for me, but reading it gave me a big lift when I needed one.

What stops it getting 5 stars? A whole chapter on alcoholism, from which the author suffers. The rest of the book is applicable to any depressive, but I suspect the differences between drink, drugs, gambling, comfort eating etc are sufficient to warrant a change to this chapter.
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72 of 74 people found the following review helpful
on 3 November 2007
If you are suffering from depression, have suffered from depression or know someone suffering from depression, then I recommend this book for you.

Winston Churchill called his depression "the black dog", and this book can really help if you feel that you are overwhelmed by the black dog - or a whole pack of them! Remember that depression is not a personal weakness or failing, rather a debilitating condition that can strike when our systems are overstressed, overtired and overworked - anyone can be a sufferer at any time in their life.

After I received this book I read it in one night as it was so easy to read and full of uplifting ideas. Immediately it offered hope and practical steps to help me move forward at a difficult time in my life. Patrick Ellverton is a fellow sufferer and his book offers practical, light-hearted advice in an very readable and non-technical style. He doesn't offer any advice about medication, however, although there are many other texts about this if you want more info.

If you are suffering from depression I would recommend this book in conjunction with "Overcoming Depression" by Paul Gilbert, which contains a self-help CBT approach* (please see below for more detail) and goes into more practical detail and exercises. Both these books were recommended to me by a therapist from the Priory and I hope these will help you too. Together these books can help you gain insight into problem areas such as perfectionism, shame, anger, and aggression, and how these areas can become exacerbated by depression.

My only extra comment would be that if you are currently suffering from depression, please do not just buy this book, but do consult a professional as well. Particularly if you are feeling suicidal, or know someone who feels this way, talking or reading alone will perhaps not be fast enough to save you or them. Sometimes the combination of therapy and medication is needed to help sufferers tame their black dog quickly and get back on the track to happiness and health.

I am buying this book as a gift for others close to me who have or are suffering from depression as I think it could well be a life saver for them as well. My partner also read this book and I believe it gave him insight and understanding into something he really didn't comprehend beforehand.

I wish you all the best if you are trying to overcome depression - please hang in there, for yourself and all the people who care about you!

* Cognitive behavioral therapy (as opposed to "talk therapy") is internationally established as a key method for overcoming conditions such as depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and eating disorders and used to treat emotional disorders by changing negative thought-patterns.

That our thoughts can have a major impact on our emotions is the underlying principle behind this form of therapy. For example, a person who goes through life thinking "I am unlovable," or "I'll never achieve anything," will find constant evidence to support his or her beliefs.

CBT offers a systematic program of treatment by which people can monitor their thoughts, learn to recognize negative patterns, and challenge them, using step-by-step suggestions, case examples, thought-monitoring sheets, and practical ideas for gaining control over depression and other debilitating conditions. CBT offers a course of action for sufferers to change the way they think about themselves and their problems.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on 13 May 2009
This book was recommended to me by a psychiatric nurse. It is fantastic, full of bite size chunks to easily digest and loads of practical activities to take part in.
It suggests some basic changes in one's outlook to life and the activities suggested are a foundation to make change happen. I can't praise this book enough, I have to admit I was sceptical but I was proven wrong.
The book arrived in a matter of 48hours from Amazon so I was able to get straight on with it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 26 October 2009
Extremely good book to work through for sufferers, very informative, and a good insight into depression for families dealing with someone with depression.
Would recommend.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 13 June 2010
Going through a bout of depression and not wanting to let this overtake me, I bought this book as I had seen it recommended elsewhere. It is easy to read and it has quite a few worthy pointers that I have used to help challenge my depression.

Overall though I found I had to put the book down several times as the tone of the book became authoritative and preacher-like. I dislike being "told" you must do this, this and this or you will not get better. Many things will work for some but not others. As noted in a previous review, there are many references to alcohol dependence, which isn't relevant to me, and this is harped on about in other chapters as well.

Overall, some good pointers but I wouldn't rely on it alone, and I would recommend using these self help books in conjunction with a GP, counsellor or Well Being team, that would be able to assist in the tasks and be there to discuss some of the issues that may arise from the self reflection activities.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 15 April 2014
Ok felt a little unhappy when I read most people with depression don't need counselling .... WRONG . How can a book recommend by therapist and professional alike rubbish the support and insight gained from therapy.
Along side this there is a small amount of religious reference that could be removed ..( not that I'm anti religion)
Did the author forget mindfulness ? Some solutions were unrealistic or a little patronising e.g. loose weight drink less exercise more ...hum
I had looked forward to a book I could recommend but not so sure .. the one positive part is its written in plain English . I have to say only read this book while your getting proper support or if your struggling to understand depression .
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on 16 May 2014
I bought this book because a friend suggested it as a step by step guide to combatting depression. And it is that! Having read so many books on the subject in an effort to help myself I found this book to be straight talking and to the point. It suggests an all round approach that you can work through one step at a time which is very different from most books on the subject. The breakdown at the end of each chapter of the main points in that chapter were also useful when I needed to review rather than re-read the entire chapter.

I was grateful for a practical guide rather than another vague book on the importance of pharmaceutical help and talking therapy that not everyone can afford or has access too. The keeping of a diary in tracking what I was feeling and going through helped greatly. I've often felt overwhelmed by my feelings and talking therapy did not help me to identify which emotions were out of balance. I was able to ascertain that low self esteem and anger are my major issues and have been able to look into dealing with these further. Also keeping track of what I was eating and my sleeping patterns helped me to realise how much lower I feel if I am not eating or sleeping properly.

I find the negative comments about the fact that this book does at times mention God rather narrow minded. Not every book can and should pooh-pooh religion and many people have found their faith a big help in aiding recovery. I am not particularly religious and did not find the brief suggestions about turning to one's faith obtrusive or 'preachy'. Also, if you're expecting to merely read this book and for your depression to be magically cured by some kind of osmosis then don't bother buying it. You actually have to work to help yourself not sit on your backside and idly flip through a book and say, 'am I cured yet?'

Yes, the book is very straight talking and can sometimes come across as patronising but the author is has been successful in managing their depression and if you are reading this book you are probably trying to find help to manage yours. So read it with an open mind not a chip on your shoulder.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 22 July 2013
thought it was a very good guide line to depression, bought it for my sister to help her understand a bit more.would reccomend to people coping with depression
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 8 September 2011
I found this book very helpful with my bouts of anxiety and depression.It uses common sense and humour and is written by someone who has actually'been there'.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 18 November 2013
This book is a life-line when faced with the sadness of mental health problems and feeling that there is no solution within reach.
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