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Shoot the damn dog - Sally Brampton

rollinat

rollinat

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I have just read this book and thought I would post to share what I thought of it. Although some of it is hard going - and I wouldn't recommend reading it on a really bad day - it is still somewhat comforting that others can experience what I still (despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary) think of as unique to me and, if not quite come out the other side, at least emerge with a greater degree of understanding and ways of coping. Which I guess is where I would like to be but which doesn't always seem possible. For me, it is easy to belittle what I am feeling in comparison with the depths she found herself, so I am trying to hold on to the fact that it is having a serious impact on my life and therefore is important to me - you can always find someone worse off than you, and sometimes that helps to give perspective, and sometimes it makes you feel pathetic for feeling how you do.

Ultimately, her recovery was down to trying lots of different methods of treating the illness (major or severe depression was her diagnosis). Lots of drugs, several stays in psychiatric units, therapy (having the courage to stop therapy if you just don't get on with the counsellor), and then, as she started to get better, things like yoga, walking and meditation - which she continues to use as a way of staying well. I found the book almost equally comforting and disturbing - comforting that she did find a way of managing the illness, but disturbing that it still took a lot of effort to keep the depression at bay. But that is more about me and the fact that I am only taking the first tentative steps down the path of understanding about my own depression, and it's hard to think that the road will be a long one.

Anyway, it's the first book - as opposed to forums - about depression I have read but I do think it was interesting to read. She doesn't promise to have the answers and can only comment about her own experience. It would be interesting to hear if anyone else has read it and what their thoughts were.

Rollinat :flowers:
 
nickh

nickh

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Wierd rollinat :) - I am in the middle of the book. I have it out from the library, and am not sure if I will finish it before I have to return it - not cos I'm not enjoying it but because of time. In any case I want my own copy because with a book I like I am a scrawler - I underline, write notes in the margins and so on - and I DON'T do that on library books!:).

But I agree with you - I think it is a terrific book. Again you are right that it is not a book for reading when you are really down, but certainly I would recommend it to anyone with moderate to severe depression. What I like most is the fact that she is not in the least prescriptive - she describes her own journey but it is open-minded and alert to the fact that everyone's case is different. I would guess that there would be parts of her story which every depressive could relate to but they would be different parts; again there would be parts which were not relevant to their particular stories. I am just onto the part about her childhood now and realised that my experience is almost completely opposite to hers. She describes how one trigger for her was going to airports - in therapy she worked this back to childhood and the fact that they meant she would be leaving her family (who were overseas) and going back to England and boarding-school which she hated. In my case I always get a lift when I am driving away from home to somewhere else in the UK - this is because in childhood I was so happy to be leaving home and going to school! So you have to work at the book and apply it to yourself.

But I do highly recommend the book. And it would be great for people who don't have depression but want to understand more about it.

Nick.

(Incidentally this thread might be better in the depression section? what do you think Dollit?).
 
D

Dollit

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I agree Nick, this is probably a better spot. Incidentally I have quite a collection of books from over the years and I've had to stop reading them. Even if I am well when I begin them they quickly cover me with hopelessness. I don't find books like this at all helpful, I like my identification here in this forum. But if books help then they should be read. :)
 
Fedup

Fedup

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I've heard of this book before .............. i may get round to buying it one day :)
 
nickh

nickh

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I agree Nick, this is probably a better spot. Incidentally I have quite a collection of books from over the years and I've had to stop reading them. Even if I am well when I begin them they quickly cover me with hopelessness. I don't find books like this at all helpful, I like my identification here in this forum. But if books help then they should be read. :)
Yes Dollit I can quite understand that. I think is probably the first book that I have persisted with.

A bit off subject cos I know this is not what you are saying! - but for many years the moment I got well I stopped thinking about depression or my mental health at all; I didn't want to think about it, I just pushed it to the back of my mind and tried to enjoy everything else. Of course the depression always came back. Over the past couple of years or so this has changed, and obviously once you start getting in mental health issues whether here or in rl it is different and the illness is pretty constantly in my thoughts. This does tie back to Brampton actually because one of the things she says is that we have to constantly look after our mental health. We have to think about everything we do and its effects. This is not easy nor is it very pleasant but will be better in the long run. I think this is probably true for me.

This may not have been very well explained :rolleyes:.

Nick.
 
D

Dollit

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I agree with you that you do have to look after your mental health and it is a day by day job to be done. But I'd rather talk to you and be able to give something back - even if it's only to say that I identify - than to be alone with a book that will make me depressed. I cry when I read literature and when I read an autobiography by one of my favourite writers and the diaries of another I couldn't see sometimes because of the tears. Because my bipolarity is about extremes and managing those extremes I just have to be careful. But I find that reading about and ackowledging my abnormal psychology very soothing. Does that make sense? :)
 
nickh

nickh

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Ummmm...sorta :). Do you mean you like reading technical medical books but not personal accounts? (I may have that quite wrong!).

Nick.
 
D

Dollit

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That's spot on. I like whatever helps me understand me from a dispassionate point of view but someone else's suffering makes me feel the pain I feel when I'm really ill.
 
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