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100 of 103 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading for anyone with stress-related depression, 29 Feb 2008
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This review is from: Depressive illness-curse of the strong (Paperback)
This book has revolutionised the way I view myself and my depression.

It's not a self-help book as such. It provides information on stress-related depression, with occasional bits of advice. There are no exercises to complete. Intead, Depressive Illness: The Curse of the Strong helps you to understand how your illness developed, why you need to be gentle with yourself and what you need to do to get better.

I first became ill with depression after pushing myself too hard during my final year at university. For years, I thought of myself as weak. I struggled to cope with everyday life, was often too depressed to work, and I hated myself for not being able to function like a "normal" human being. Tim Cantopher turned that view of myself on its head. He argues that those who develop stress-related depression are actually hard-working, perfectionistic people with a strong work ethic who burn themselves out. This was very true of me but in the mire of negative thoughts that's part and parcel of depression, I hadn't been able to see it until someone else pointed it out.

Before reading this book, I'd tried many CBT-based self-help books with practical exercises to complete. These were very helpful on one level - challenging negative thoughts makes a huge difference - but on another level they just fed into my perfectionism issues. I always felt like I should be doing more to fight against my depression. I pushed myself too hard and it was a vicious circle.

Since reading this book I've completely changed my approach to depression. I still use CBT, but in moderation, and I make sure I take some time out every day to relax and do something I feel like doing. With the help of medication and a therapist, I've now recovered from depression and am living the life I want to lead.

If I have one criticism of this book, it's that the explanation of how antidepressants work is a little simplistic, and theories are presented as facts. Cantopher stresses the need for medication, which was true in my case, but I'm not sure it's true for everyone. However, even if you're against the idea of drugs, don't let that put you off the book. The rest of it is truly life-changing.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 8 Aug 2010 12:47:19 BDT
Nancy Jane says:
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Posted on 21 Aug 2010 23:36:57 BDT
Patrick Lye says:
Brilliant Review. Certainly one I can relate to :) Thankyou for taking the time to write it
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