Friday, March 30, 2007


An interesting post by Diane Shipley, co-editor of Trashionista, on the Guardian bookblog today.

Diane bravely explains how suffering from depression has affected her choice of reading matter over the years. This was something I can relate to, as I too have suffered from depression at various times of my life and indeed am on medication for it now. I am perhaps 'lucky' in that my depression is of the reactive variety, which affects me at serious stresspoints of my life, rather than being the full-blown black hole of clinical depression. However, that is of little comfort when those stresses arise from situations in your life which simply can't be avoided and I can clearly see a tendency to depression on one side of my family.

I recently attended an interesting tutorial on the use of complimentary therapies in mental health, particularly depression, which provided much food for thought. I know from my own past experience how much a gentle yoga session or an aromatherapy hand massage can help lift the spirits. However, not everyone has the time or money to access complimentary therapies. Books can provide cheaper relaxation. Unlike Diane, I do not find that my mood affects my reading choices. In fact I often gain as much of a lift from reading more depressing work as from lightweight books, as they remind me how many people have serious crises in life and come through. They help to move me away from self pity and self absorption.

On the other hand I have had periods in my life when I could not bear to listen to any music at all and I am still far too prone to listening to ancient cheesy pop songs which remind me of long lost loves and the freedom I used to have. So I can understand how Diane is similarly affected by books...


Joanna said...

Cathy, I too know what it is like to feel very down indeed...I don't think I've ever been clinical, but still been to some dark, dark places. Anxiety is horrid too. I love that Billy Joel song. Makes me want to cry. Keep your chin up, and definately keep reading!

Anne Brooke said...

Always good and helpful to read this kind of blog, Cathy - it's helpful to know that there are other people out there who suffer from those black moods.

I've found reflexology very helpful for me recently too. And the use of a SAD light.



Cathy said...

Thanks, both of you. I know that for me it is definitely just stress related and very occasionally medication is all that can help me cope with that stress. I know I am far from alone in that.

Anonymous said...

In the UK at least, Depression is now the third biggest reason to visit a GP and yet, outside of the medical field, very few people understand what Depression is all about.

Please forgive the 'sales pitch' but you might just be interested in a brand new DVD just released by my company called EVERYTHING YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT DEPRESSION and presented by UK Consultant Psychiatrist Dr Darryl Britto, who made the DVD especially for Depression patients and those training in the medical field. He discusses the myths about Depression, as well as its causes, symptoms, diagnosis, the various treatment including antidepressants, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, and Social Intervention, and then goes on to discuss prognosis (outcomes of treatment.) MORE INFO AT:

Cheers, John Edmonds, CEO, TimeTrappers

Catherine said...

Skipping from depression to ADHD, apparently there is a link here too - something about the way the brain processes dopamine, so maybe that is why your sons have issues?

CBT is probably the best thing, but only if you connect with the therapist; homeopathy can be helpful. I know complementary therapies are expensive, but your health is so precious and I think it's worth it.

My son is also seeing a homeopath for his problems, so we're tackling it both ways. See what helps, what gets him through.

To change the subject, I'm having some problems with my page -would you mind if I consulted you on them? I'm a novice and you seem to be more established.

Nice to meet you too and good luck with the depression. It's such a hidden epidemic.

Cathy said...

Marianne, that is very interesting...we have never tried professional ( as opposed to over the counter) homeopathy but I know people who have had good results for various problems.
My son is currently having CBT with a very good therapist and it is helping, slowly but surely. However I was told by a psychologist that in adults at least, medication is very often needed to support the CBT. I guess it depends on the severity of the problem being treated.

Catherine said...

I have been very impressed with homeopathy, to the point where I would consider taking a course, if I could only find the time. I'm currently stuck halfway through an interior design course.

Although it's not the answer to everything, it works brilliantly for so many problems. Again, the practitioner is pretty crucial, word of mouth is the best way to find one. It's well worth a try.