The 10 Best-Ever Depression Management Techniques
by Margaret Wehrenberg
I worry about reviewing this book for fear that I might offend anyone who suffers from depression. But I would like to be honest about my thoughts on this book, so here goes.
This is not a book I would ever have thought to read, but my well-read cousin suggested that this book was for everyone, and not just for those with "depression." I think most of us who aren't "clinically depressed" still have times when we "feel depressed" for various reasons (life can be pretty stressful!). This book offers some great advice for those times, as well as effective at-home techniques for those working with a therapist.
As a parent of a teenager, I feel like it offered some great tips that can be shared with those struggling with emotional ups and downs during those times of, well, tumultuous hormonal changes. I realized many of the suggestions seem like "common sense" and yet I might not have thought to apply them in the way the author suggests.
I'll be honest... this is not an easy read, and I thought the writing style was pretty boring (I found the author a bit verbose). There is quite a bit of technical jargon which I found difficult; in fact, I skipped most of it. I guess I'm not particularly interested in the scientific aspect, just what to do about it. :) I think it's probably a great resource for those with serious depression, but is much too lengthy for those just looking for some tips to help during difficult times. (Full disclosure: I skimmed a lot.) Here are a few examples (summarized in my own words):
- Make a "To Do" list of tasks that take 5 minutes or less. When negative thoughts come, do one of the tasks to take your mind off it.
- Rephrase your thoughts to indicate that you have a CHOICE (e.g. "I choose to/not do that," "I could.... but I choose....", "I don't like it but I will do it.").
- Utilize your future energy: pick a task to do, imagine how you will feel when it's complete, focus on the outcome, do the task, notice the pleasure you feel when it's done.
- Do something with your hands (build/repair something, draw, paint, play the piano, knit, etc.).
Some of the ideas are pretty obvious, like:
- eat well
- get enough sleep
- be social, connect with people
- take deep breaths
- count your blessings
Yes. Obvious. BUT how many of us actually do all of those? Especially when we are feeling "low." It's a good reminder.
So, do I recommend this book? Well, if you are interested in understanding the "why" and what is happening in the brain to cause depression, the answer is a resounding "yes." If you are clinically depressed and/or are working with a therapist, the answer is "yes." If you have times when you just feel like being a couch potato and don't have any energy to "get things done," or "feel depressed" at times, then the answer is also "yes." BUT be sure and skip over the "heavy" parts... they can be pretty depressing.