30 June 2011

What books have helped you deal with your depression?

by Nia and Pastor Jayne

Nia: I had no success with most mainstream books about depression — Undoing Depression by Richard O'Connor was one that I looked at — because so many of them assumed an event-based depression and were about changing thinking habits, which for me simply was not the problem. I had to go the physiologically-based route. The Mood Cure by Dr. Julia Ross (slightly optimistic title) was much more useful to me in explaining what's going on up there.

Fifteen years ago, Listening to Prozac by Peter D. Kramer was the first thing I read that presented depression in a neutral, non-judgmental tone. Shadow Syndromes by John J. Ratey made me realize that you didn't have to be a suicidal screaming banshee to qualify for anti-depressants (also 15 years ago), and Prozac Nation by Elizabeth Wurtzel left me relieved that someone with a seriously out-of-whack brain could still be articulate and accomplished. I had the same reaction years later to Karen Armstrong's memoir The Spiral Staircase: My Climb Out of Darkness, about her epilepsy and her life in and out of a convent and at Oxford.

Pastor Jayne: I too have read Undoing Depression but other than that I have not read other secular books on the topic. The ones that helped me get through, however, were: Get Out of that Pit by Beth Moore, Changes that Heal by Dr. Henry Cloud, Depression: The Way Up When You Are Down by Edward T. Welch, and Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer.

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Photo by M. Rhea.