|Book Recommendation For Folks Dealing With Depression
||[Apr. 23rd, 2008|01:51 am]
Kelly J. Cooper
I just finished reading Get It Done When You're Depressed: 50 Strategies for Keeping Your Life on Track by Julie A. Fast & John D. Preston, Psy.D. ABPP and I don't think I can recommend it highly enough.
When I started it, I thought "Crap! This is all that stuff people have been telling me for YEARS like 'break projects down' and such."
But the rest of my brain said "SHUT UP! We're READING here."
A lot of the strategies seem simplistic or superficial, but the nice thing about that is, when I'm really depressed, I'm sorta lower-functioning as well. Thus, many of Julie's suggestions are perfect for that fuzzy brain space. Others are meant to be implemented on good days, in anticipation of bad days. Julie is an actual depressed person, with a story somewhat similar to mine (but my friends are cooler, cuz many of them stuck with me through whatever shitstorm I was experiencing).
The hardest thing has been accepting that depression, like my low-functioning thyroid, could be with me for the rest of my life. That I'll have good days and bad days. This was interesting because I realized that, in contrast to this possibility, I was blaming myself for not being CURED despite all the work I've done over the past several years. This both made me sad and made me feel free from some self-imposed expectations of achieving the "perfect" life.
As Julie shared her experiences along with experiences culled from Dr. Preston's patients (anonymized or turned into composites) I was startled to recognize myself regularly. It was a nice, low-key way to level out the gap between "me" and "normal." There are 50 chapters, each encompassing one strategy, plus an introduction, a conclusion, and an index. Each chapter is about 5 pages long, which is perfect for those of us who are low-attention-span theater attendees. Each chapter has an intro explaining a problem and the strategy designed to handle that problem, a patient's story, Julie's story (often from the past) and how she has implemented the strategy, an optional exercise, a question about the problem answered by Dr. Preston, and a summary of how you might implement the strategy yourself.
My only disconnect is that, because I've been depressed since I was about 7, I have no real idea what a good day IS, versus a bad day. I also seem to have clusters of bad days (in contrast to clusters of less sucky or "good" days) rather than just one bad day (or good day) at a time.
But, aside from that, this is an excellent book. Extremely helpful on a personal, professional, and life-in-context level.