Book Review: Depression-Free for Life

So here’s the deal.  I have, for the last several years, have been suffering from clinical depression (also known as Major Depressive Disorder), and it blows.  That being said, I am finally able to admit to this without shame, without the feeling that I’m a phony who just needs to suck it up and without feeling that I have to excuse anything about my existence.  Why?  Because denial isn’t going to get me anywhere.  And if it does get me anywhere, it isn’t going to get me better.

Depression Free for Life is a book given to me by my counselor that’s a first step in a direction to manage mood from a more holistic viewpoint, recognizing that it’s a very nuanced illness that happens for numerous different reasons–and often many at once.  Gabriel Cousens, M.D., designed this program based on treatments he’d done on people suffering from multiple symptoms that fall under the depressed umbrella (which I imagine to be a rather threadbare, half-open umbrella with holes punched in it).  He examines the different chemicals in the brain that stimulate pleasure and other positive emotions, and what supplements, amino acids, foods and activities can work to stimulate the under-worked neuro-transmitters.  In reading through it, I was able to identify my symptoms, connect these symptoms to causes, and decide which practical and inexpensive actions I could take in order to rectify the situation.  It’s all terribly empowering.  I’ve never felt so happy reading about depression (and thank goodness for that–it prevents quite an ugly cycle). As of now I haven’t been trying long enough to see if this works, but there are enough case studies in the text that I’m confident that I will at least show some improvement maybe even within two weeks.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 30 percent of adults suffer from major depression over the course of their lifetime.  For one thing, that indicates that many people in our circles are going through a similar struggle as I am.  I’m excited to learn that there’s work I can do to improve my quality of life, which according to Dr. Cousens is the “natural birthright that is the ultimate prize”.  I hope that other people will brush away shame or denial and do the same thing.

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