Book Reviews: Back From The Brink & Living With Your Body And Other Things You Hate

Hello everyone,

today we're gonna take a break from history. Instead, I'd like to talk about two books dealing with two issues very close to my heart: depression and poor body image. If you suffer from them or know someone who does, I highly recommend you check them out.

Back From The Brink: True Stories And Practical Help For Overcoming Depression And Bipolar Disorder by Graeme Cowan
Having suffered from depression on and off for most of my life, I know all too well the stigma attached to it. There is a misconception that depressed people are simply weak or lazy and should just get themselves together and get on with it. A lot of depressed people feel that way too, which is why they find it so hard to admit they have a problem, let alone ask for help, and prefer to just auto-medicate themselves with alcohol and drugs (which, of course, just makes things worse) or retreat from life altogether. The worst thing about depression, though, is the loss of hope and the  feeling of being completely alone.
In this book, Graeme Cowan, who suffered from such a bad bout of depression that he tried to commit suicide four times, shares his experience with "The Black Dog", as Churchill used to call the disease (guess I can't stay completely away from history after all, lol). He also interviewed a few people from all walks of life, such as former US Representative Patrick Kennedy, TV host Trisha Goddard, and former tennis pro, Cliff Richey, who were affected by either depression or bipolar disorder. Although these people are all very different from me, I could relate to and understand very well what they had been through (and, if you've been, or are still going, through it, you'll do too). It made me feel less alone, which is why I wish I had this book when I was a teenager, and was suffering from one of my worst bouts of depression ever.
By telling these stories, Cowan doesn't just shows depressed people that they aren't alone but also that, with proper help, it is possible to get better and lead a normal, fulfilling and successful life. What this book does is give you hope, which is what depressed and bipolar people need the most. Without it, they would never ask for the help they so much need.
Cowan also discusses the various types of depression, what causes the disease, how to recognize if you (or a loved one) is suffering from it, and how it can be treated. Too many doctors are too quick to put those who suffer from a mental illness on antidepressants or mood stabilizers, and, while they undoubtedly help, curing depression and bipolar disorder usually requires a lot more than that. Therapy, exercise, a healthy and balanced diet, meditation, doing fulfilling work, and having a supporting family and encouraging friends are all very important too.
The book also dispels some myths about depression and bipolar disorder. For instance, not all people who have depression stay in bed doing nothing all day. Some depressed people may actually do the opposite and keep themselves super busy, always running around doing this or that, until their bodies can't take it anymore and have a breakdown. Depression can affect anyone, it can manifest itself in several different ways, and there is not one treatment that works for everyone. Finding a treatment that works takes trial and errors, but it is worth doing. Depression is just an illness, not something to be ashamed of. And it can be cured.
If you're suffering from depression or bipolar disorder, know someone who do, or simply want to know more about them, you should pick up this book. Depression is the most disabling illness in the Western World and is predicted to become the one most disabling illness in the world by 2020. Understanding this illness is therefore more important than ever.
Available at: amazon
Rating: 4.5/5

Living With Your Body And Other Things You Hate by Emily Sandoz, Kelly G. Wilson, and Troy Dufrene
What woman has never hated her body? And, of course, men can hate theirs too For some people, the constant worry over their appearance can literally affect every aspect of their life, preventing them to living it to the full, be happy and chase their dreams. If that's you, you have probably tried everything you can think of to stop hating your body, but without success. In this case, I encourage you to pick up this book.
The book offers a different approach to body image issues. It's called ACT (which is pronounced as a word, not as letters) and stands for Acceptance And Commitment Therapy. ACT is revolutionary because it never tells you that the way you feel and think about your body is wrong. It doesn't offer tips for you to stop this negative thinking. Instead, it helps you acknowledge that you will have negative thoughts about your body sometimes and teaches you how to accept them without letting them dominate, and ruin, your life.
It's an unusual and quite odd approach, isn't it? And yet, it works. Well, it may not work for everyone, because we are all different and what works for one person may not work for another, but the techniques addressed here will surely help a lot of people. And if you have already tried everything without success, what have you got to lose? However, be warned: this is not an easy read. The authors have provided exercises that can be quite difficult to do. Difficult because they can be painful, bringing back memories you may prefer would remain hidden and forgotten forever, and summon unpleasant feelings you may not want to deal with. But if you stick to the therapy, the rewards will be worth it.
To help you do the exercises, there are some audio tapes you can download. I recommend you do it because they are very helpful. Unfortunately, the book doesn't come with a journal or some blank pages at the end where you can write, which is a shame because pretty much every exercise asks you to write something down. So, if you're serious about them, have paper and pen at the ready.
This approach doesn't just work with body image issues. If, after you've completed the book, you feel much better about your body and the way you look, you can use the ACT approach to target any other problem you may have. ACT is used to treat anxiety, eating disorders, obsessive compulsive disorders and pretty much anything else you can think of. Even if you're skeptical, give it a try. After all, you never know what works for you until you try it.
Available at: amazon
Rating: 4/5

Will you pick up these books?

Disclaimer: I received these book in exchange for my honest opinion. In addition, this post contains affiliate links.