Overcoming Depression: A Step-by-Step Approach to Gaining Control Over Depression Paperback – 24 May 2001
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Its straightforward, unsugarcoated style is still gentle and useful. The exercises are well worth the time.
The book's author seems to understand a lot about what it's like to be depressed, much more than any of my clueless therapists ever have. The first thing I saw from it is that most of my depression and sadness isn't a result of what happens to me - it's a result of my *reactions* to what happens to me, and the conclusions I draw from them without questioning. I don't know how this sounds to someone who hasn't read it, I know I'm usually really skeptical about things, but this book really helped me, and nothing else ever has.
I was thumbing through this book in the store, and the example that convinced me to buy the book goes something like this... Let's say you're expecting a phone call from a friend/lover and they don't call. Your line of thought might go something like this:
"He/she hasn't phoned.
This is because he/she has forgotten about me.
Maybe he/she had better or more fun things to do.
If he/she cared about me, he/she would have phoned.
Therefore, he/she doesn't really care.
I don't ever seem to be able to find someone who cares about me.
What's wrong with me?
Maybe I am just too boring and unattractive.
I'll never have a good, long-lasting relationship.
I'll always end up abandoned.
Life is completely pointless and empty."
Well, I saw that, and I said, omigod, that's ME... 20 years of medication and therapy and nobody ever pointed out to me that I do that. I take one possibly negative thing, and make a quick cascade of negative conclusions about it, and those conclusions get me down, maybe more so than whatever set them off in the first place. It's almost subconscious but I see it now, it's not the person not calling that's getting me down - it's me doing it to myself!
And that's just the starting point. It's in the introductory first part of the book's three parts. For the rest of the book he has specific exercises aand concrete suggestions to help you see exactly where you habitually do things to bring yourself down worse than you would be otherwise. Hey, maybe life really *does* suck - but that doesn't mean you have to make it even worse for yourself. And that's sure what I was doing.
After 20 years of chronic depression, with no help from medication or therapy (and I've been through a LOT of both) this book was the first time I ever saw light on the horizon. I'm far from being free of depression, but for the first time since I was 14 it at least seems possible. I strongly recommend checking it out.
So, if any of this sounds at all like you, here's what I think you should do... Ignore what total strangers on some website say. I hope Amazon will allow me to say something like this on their website, because I'm saying it in the hope it will help someone like me... But what you should do is go to your local bookstores, find a copy of this book and thumb through it yourself just to see, then if you decide you want it, come back and and order it from Amazon! But please, don't let that one weird review dissuade you from checking it out. I highly recommend it. I found it completely amazing, I'm really glad I found it, it's the first thing that's helped give me hope in a very long time.
I have fought depression and its affects since first taking myself to an emergency mental health clinic in November 1991. Until, then I knew I was having problems, but I could not identify what was bothering me. Putting down the bottle and the drugs was only the beginning.
I also sought help from numerous psychiatrists. The counseling offered by social services was limited. Although the psychiatrists and the counselors were helpful, they were only interested in keeping people out of what I call the Red Zone, which is promising them that I will not hurt myself or others. In addition, I worked many twelve step programs. Yet, I kept feeling bad at times. My anxiety also increased.
Paul Gilbert's "Overcoming Depression" is not the quick fix; I don't think anything is' however, Chapters 9-12 of Overcoming Depression is helping me stop feeding my negative self-image. I am not the helpless, jerk I thought I was. I am not the weak bumbling cry baby my ex-girl called me. Because I did not have other choices, I also criticize myself for not making the progress I thought I should make. Gilbert calls this self-bullying.
He also tells me to stop seeking approval from others. In response, I am going to start telling myself the good things about myself and rely on myself for confirmation about myself. Gilbert not only offers me hope, but shows me what I was doing wrong and what are the right things to do.
I highly recommend this book to everyone with depression and those who love those who have depression.
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