#BookReview Depressive Illness: The Curse of the Strong #TuesdayBookBlog

Book Review

Title: Depressive Illness: The Curse of the Strong

Author: Dr. Tim Cantopher

Category: Self-Help

My Rating: 4*

Depressive Illness

My Review:

I’ve blogged about my struggle with depression on a few occasions, and so it’s my ongoing mission to find books that help me make sense of this horrendous affliction.

The Curse of the Strong is a short book at only 114 pages. This appealed to me. If you suffer from depression, you will understand the struggle to sit and concentrate for long periods of time. Holding this book in my hand, I felt like I could finish it without too much trouble.

As well as the manageable size of this book I was also drawn in by the content.

  • What is depressive illness?
  • What causes it?
  • What to do when you get ill.
  • Recovery.
  • Staying Well.

These are the questions I ask myself daily.

I’ve been told to ‘snap out of it’ a couple of times and believe me, I wish I could. To discover in the first few pages that depressive illness is not a psychological or emotional state and not a mental illness, but a physical illness was a huge relief.

According to Dr. Cantopher, Clinical depression is every bit as physical a condition as pneumonia or a broken leg. He goes on to explain that this can be demonstrated in the chemical analysis of the cerebro-spinal fluid (this is the fluid found around the brain and spine) by showing a deficiency of two chemicals.

What I liked about this book was the way in which Dr. Cantopher feeds his reader the scientific information behind depression without losing his audience. I was grateful for the simplistic way he describes the limbic system for example.

He uses cases studies to put his points across, and the section on cognitive therapy was interesting to read as I didn’t find CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy) to be of any help for me when I had my sessions. It made me review a lot of the work I’d already done.

He lost me completely when talking about medication as he goes into great depth about the history of antidepressants and their chemical and trade names. I skimmed over these parts as I just couldn’t focus.

To finish, Dr. Cantopher reviews practical ways to help yourself, including relaxation exercises, time management, and tips for sleeping.

I liked his down to earth approach and the fact that he has worked with clients for many years. Although Dr. Cantopher hasn’t suffered from depression himself, he has seen the harsh realities, symptoms, and effects on his patients and uses his knowledge to offer a practical, manageable book that will offer some help.

People who get stress-induced depressive illness tend to run too hot. They spend too much of their lives putting in too much effort. When confronted by a sea of troubles, they try to deal with them all at once. By now this will be a familiar picture. When they get over-whelmed they just push harder. Because they are so over aroused, they have difficulty in getting to sleep and then, when they become ill, they start waking in the early hours of the morning as well. Then they deal with the mounting tiredness by trying to push their way through it. So the conditions are in place for the fuse to blow.

At the end of the book, there is a list of useful addresses and recommended further reading suggestions.

Depressive Illness: The Curse of the Strong is an easy read that offers good advice. It will be helpful for anyone suffering from stress-induced depression as well as family or friends who wish to understand this illness better so they can offer support.

BUY a copy from Amazon UK or Amazon US

Book Blurb:

This book has helped many thousands of those who have depression. This new edition, written by a leading consultant psychiatrist, explains that depression tests the strongest of us. Dr Cantopher guides the reader through the nature of depression, its history, symptoms, causes and treatments. He covers the latest information on medications, new guidelines as to the management of depression, and stresses that no one should be to blame for succumbing to depression.

 

10 comments

  1. I remember reading long ago that there are two basic types of depression: reactive (a reaction to circumstances, ie, unhappiness, which is part of life!), and the other one that’s down to a chemical imbalance (and I can’t remember its bloody name!) – it’s for this that such drugs as Prozac are prescribed, in order to redress that balance. Of course theories will have moved on since then, but I’m appalled that no one has explained this to you before – grrr to useless GPs!!

    The problem comes when medication-happy doctors prescribe Prozac, etc, to people who are unhappy because of events in their lives – bereavement, divorce, the general stresses of life, job dissatisfaction, money worries, etc. I remember being offered them after a bad relationship break up 20 years ago, and my brother after his son died, around the same time. Alas, grief is part of life, you can’t mask it with pills, and you never get over it if you don’t feel and acknowledge it – and you become dependent on those chemicals. Makes me so mad! If this book helps people to see the difference, I applaud it.

    Incidentally – about 25 years ago I read a study that was done on a group of depressed patients. A third were given counselling, a third medication, and the final third exercise. The third group showed a marked improvement, the others didn’t. Exercise stimulates the endorphins in the brain that produce the chemicals that can be deficient in those who suffer from depression. Maybe that ancient advice about ‘going for a long walk’ isn’t as archaic as it sounds!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Terry, that’s great advice. I’d just be happy if I could get through to my GP let alone speak to them! I do feel much brighter when I’ve been to the gym so there is definitely something to explore with the exercise group.

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  2. Endogynous. That’s the name of the chemical imbalance sort of depression. Typical, remembered it about a minute after posting the comment!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Read this as asked to by my doctor and found it invaluable. When in the depths of depression it shone a ray of light and hope for me. Felt a lot less alone knowing there are other people suffering like me.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Well, crap, that excerpt sounds familiar. 😦 “So the conditions are in place for the fuse to blow.” I see he has a book, Stress-related Illness, too. Will check them both out. Thanks, Shelley. Hope you’re doing well.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. How many times have I heard the unhelpful comments “Snap out of it, “It’s about choices, blah, blah, blah. Gets to the point where you just up the brave face and suffer in silence. Not good that, but I guess a lot of people do just that. Trouble is isolating is fuelling the default state of mind that overthinks and catastrophizes (mindfulness speak; done that, done phone therapy, done CBT). between them I found mindfulness the best at helping recognising when the default was dropping into the state it rather likes and fights like heck to stay in. I now apply CBT concepts with that to schedule tasks in advance and stick to them to reduce overthinking time and get busy again. Must apply that to writing, blogging and getting published!!!

    Good review Shelly. Also excellent to spread the word too. Nothing shameful in having issues of MH. They often creep in and establish before you even realise its happened!

    Liked by 2 people

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