Title: Depressive Illness: The Curse of the Strong
Author: Dr. Tim Cantopher
My Rating: 4*
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.
- 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.
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.