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Kelly J. Cooper

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Book Recommendation For Folks Dealing With Depression [Apr. 23rd, 2008|01:51 am]
Kelly J. Cooper
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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."

Good advice.

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.

[User Picture]From: egwenna
2008-04-23 08:12 am (UTC)
From my experience, and what friends say, I think days do go in clusters. It's a cycle, good days and bad days fading in and out like seasons. The goal mostly being to cultivate looong summers and to learn tactics to make the falls and winters as short and painless as possible. I wonder if my library has the book...
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[User Picture]From: kjc
2008-04-24 02:33 am (UTC)
From my experience, and what friends say, I think days do go in clusters.

Good to know I'm not alone. I hope you find a copy.
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[User Picture]From: egwenna
2008-04-25 06:38 pm (UTC)
Me too. Though I think my sister-in-law needs a copy more than I do at the moment. She just went crazy and I'm pretty sure half of it is depression (the other half is sleep deprivation).
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From: audioboy
2008-04-23 10:07 am (UTC)
lilllibet pointed me to your post. I'm clinically depressed and have several creative projects going (or in the planning stages), many of them with other people depending on my getting things done, so I am under constant, self-induced stress over not disappointing them.

This sounds like just the book for me. Thanks for posting about it!
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[User Picture]From: kjc
2008-04-24 02:34 am (UTC)
Hey, I'm glad Lillibet sent you over. Good luck with the strategies and the projects, I hope they help.

I regularly talk about my depression and what I'm doing to work on it, if ya wanna friend me. (I also talk a lot of fluff, so I'll understand if you don't want to overload your friends list.)
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[User Picture]From: bedfull_o_books
2008-04-23 11:12 am (UTC)
I sooooooo need to read this book.

(Yahoo had an article recently whose headline read "10 ways depression can sabotage your job search" or some such. I pointed and laughed and moved on. I already *know* that depression can sabotage a job search. It's why I am still where I am....)

Thanks for posting.
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[User Picture]From: kjc
2008-04-24 02:35 am (UTC)
Thanks for posting.

You're welcome! Good luck with it.
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From: moria923
2008-04-23 07:56 pm (UTC)
I do want to read it. What I suffer from isn't so much depression as anxiety. And I have blamed myself for not being "cured" yet. I want to read this.
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[User Picture]From: kjc
2008-04-24 02:38 am (UTC)
Actually, Julie has anxiety too, which I don't particularly.

A couple of her strategies target anxiety, and many of them factor in anxiety alleviation as part of their benefit.

I think it could definitely help you. If it's not available in a format you can use, I'm not sure if there's anything I can do to help, but let me know.
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From: n5red
2008-04-23 10:12 pm (UTC)
Not being in an environment every day that tears me down has been a big help.
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[User Picture]From: kjc
2008-04-24 02:39 am (UTC)
Excellent! Glad to hear it.

It's not required reading, and I don't think it'll make dramatic changes in anyone's life. It just helps with planning, managing, handling ineffective days.
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