Here are a few books and web resources I would recommend to those seeking more information about Depression.
There are a lot of books about depression out there. A lot!
In fact, one begins to wonder whether all of this literary melancholia can actually deepen depression. So, read, then, with care. Here are my recommendations.
- Book: Lewis Wolpert, Malignant Sadness. The Anatomy of Depression. Internationally renowned developmental biologist, Wolpert applies a rigorous, scientific analysis to the nature of his own depression, which has struck him at various times in his life. The title, "malignant sadness" suggests an analogy with cancer - which, as we know, happens as the result of cell growth and multiplication "going wrong". Depression, for Wolpert, is seen as negative thoughts getting out of control and distorting our thinking. Very much in the CBT 'school', Lewis Wolpert is a former President of the British Association for Behavioural & Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP)
- Book: Ronald Reng, A Life Too Short: The Tragedy of Robert Enke. To be a top professional football goalkeeper (the so-called last line of defence) you have to be "mentally strong". Yet Robert Enke (who played for Barcelona and for Germany in the European Championship finals) was ultra sensitive and unforgiving of himself and his perceived shortcomings: if he made an error in a match, no matter how insignificant, he would brood on this, or isolate himself.
Generally very calm, particularly when the pressure was on, Robert was also frequently struck by depression and depressed feelings.
Having. half-jokingly, once expressed an interest in having his friend, the journalist Ronald Reng, 'ghost' his autobiography, he diligently kept a diary, to aid Reng's research. And through this diary, Enke's depressive episodes are revealed. He succumbs again and again — unable to get up in the morning, overwhelmed by negative thoughts.
He'd had his fair share of tragedy: he lost his daughter at two years of age to heart problems, but life had seemed to be good and getting better for Robert, and he was keen to handle and manage his depression.
Despite that, he took his own life in November 2009.
Few people knew he suffered from depression, fewer still appreciated what that really meant for him. Through Robert's diary, as well as interviews with friends and family, Ronald Reng shows how, by hiding his depression, Robert put more pressure on himself, becoming all the more depressed. Reng's book is an excellent analysis of what depression really is — thoroughly recommended.
- Web resource: Mushrooming out from Ruby Wax's 2009 comedy tour, Live from The Priory, Black Dog Tribe (after Churchill's pet name for depression) is a social networking site and forum, slowly building. Much needed, and much welcomed.
- Book: Mark Rice-Oxley, Underneath the Lemon Tree. A Memoir of Depression and Recovery. "Before this happened to me, depression was for losers, mental illness for the weak". If ever there was a book that shows how therapy can help you recover from depression, this is it. Do stream/download this enlightening interview with Mark Rice-Oxley and BBC Northampton's Bernie Keith (originally broadcast on 17 April 2012)
- Book: "Utterly insubstantial" is how Joe Griffin and Ivan Tyrell describe depression, once you've applied the techniques they describe in How to lift depression …fast (The Human Givens Approach) (2004). But "utterly insubstantial" could equally be used to sum up this, admittedly, well-meaning and well written book.
Ultimately. it's a triumph of marketing over content.
How a book can 'deal' with Cognitive, Psychodynamic and Person-Centred therapies together in just one, dismissive, paragraph and still get an endorsement from BBC Radio 4's All in the Mind, is simply baffling.
- Further Book Recommendations: I also pretty much agree with all of the recommendations by Jeremy Dean at PsyBlog