5 Best Books on Dealing with Depression

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best books on depression

Depression is a serious matter and it doesn’t take sides. You can be a man or woman, old or young, short or tall.

There are varying levels of this affliction too: I have known friends who soldiered on with their daily duties of childcare, work and family obligations and friends who stopped working, stopped their education, and pretty much gave up until they were able to get some help.

It’s completely normal to feel down and out and depressed for some time after a negative event happens in your life: e.g., perhaps you did not meet a goal at work, perhaps you lost a beloved family member, or perhaps somebody you care about is sick.

If you feel depressed after others have picked up the pieces and moved on, you should speak with a doctor for help. As you take that doctor’s advice, you also might wish to read a few great books that can aid you in dealing with depression.

The literature we have chosen today is informative, easy to read, and written in such a way that all can understand the content. You do not need to be a psychologist to understand the material contained within these great books.

5 Best Books on Dealing with Depression

Check your favorite online bookstore for these, or even your local library to see if they have them available to you.

  1. You Can Do All Things: Drawings, Affirmations and Mindfulness to Help with Anxiety and Depression

The first one we have chosen is something of a light-hearted selection, but still great, nonetheless. This is a nice, gentle way to approach how you are feeling, and it is great to look at during sensitive times during the day, such as early in the morning or just before you are about to go to sleep.

It’s a real pleasure to look at these beautiful drawings and illustrations of animals, and the art style is really cute!

It makes the topic of mental health much easier to discuss. And, do not let my review kid you-this is not simply some happy-go-lucky collection of animal drawings designed to make the bad feelings go away. Rather, these are words and pictures that are supportive but still very knowledgeable about how you are feeling and what you are going through.

The quotes contained within are inspirational and fun to read, and they make you feel pretty darn good when you take them in.

The anecdotal stories contained within are something we can all connect with-for instance, the illustration of the red-tailed fox with the caption “I’m Feeling Down on Myself” is a candid look at what it means to feel and experience self-hatred.

The great thing about this particular book is that it is great for those of us that might have young kids in the house, too.

While I think that mostly adults in their twenties and up can appreciate these messages the best, I do think this is a good resource for young teens who are working through their feelings.

  1. F**K Depression

Okay, so we really changed gears here, going from cute little animals to a cuss word I would not say in front of my mother. And yet, the title is oddly satisfying, too: It is just the kind of greeting we would like to deliver to the creeping crud that is depression.

I’d love to hurl the insult at it in honor of some of my dear friends who missed out on some parts of their lives because they could not find the strength to work, to leave their homes, even cook themselves a meal or shower.

It is written by Robert Duff, who translated his experience working as a psychologist into easy to understand language that everybody will understand. And if you really don’t like self-help books, this is the one for you.

I particularly like this one because Robert Duff talks to you as if you were sitting over a table having some coffee instead of in a counselor’s office. It is raw, real, and a true pleasure to read.

I think what people will really like about this book is the way in which depression is explained. This is basically a breakdown of the affliction, how it works, and how you can manage it with your own hard work and the help of your therapist.

I know that everybody can benefit from this book, whether they are male or female, but I think this is really a great choice for men who often have difficulty talking about their feelings.

  1. The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression

This is a raw, intense, and personal look at one man’s struggle with depression. This gets you up close and personal with somebody who gets it. It is comforting and yet scary how well Andrew Solomon discusses the facets of depression, and you will feel enlightened after you read it.

It takes a holistic look at the phenomenon that is depression: an examination of this affliction is done in a scientific, cultural, and personal way.

All the little nuances and complexities of the disease are covered, and they look at them through several different lenses. Solomon had the chance to interact with doctors, scientists, politicians and even drug-makers, and got their take on the disease that is depression.

Another interesting thing about his book is that it was written over a period of five years. For somebody who is suffering with depression, a complete look is a blessing-not simply a thrown-together, quick account of this disease.

Everything is so refreshing and real about this disease, which is just what we need: talking about depression is difficult for most of us and we would rather not do it.

All in all, I would recommend this particular work if you cannot afford to buy any others; if necessary do borrow it from a friend or library.

The personal experiences that Solomon writes about, plus the intense and comprehensive research he has performed makes this particular book required reading for those who want to learn how to tame the depression beast.

This is also a great one for a friend or family member to read to get a better understanding of what a sufferer is going through.

4. The Upward Spiral: Using Neuroscience to Reverse the Course of Depression, One Small Change at a Time

I really like this particular book in the sense that it tackles how depression really feels. A friend of mine described depression as feeling like she wanted to disappear and leave the world each and every day.

Indeed, depression can feel like you are being pulled into a black hole of sadness, a constant state of fatigue, and a feeling of pure hopelessness. This book tackles how that feels and gives you some advice and ideas about how to get better.

This is a great book to peruse if you would like some straightforward, no BS information about depression. I know how hard it can be to process things when you are dealing with depression (your brain is focused on your symptoms and not your task at hand). This book is written in clear language and is straightforward in its delivery.

The work is also based in evidence, so don’t expect some crazy pep talk from a Tony Robbins wannabe or phrases you mind find on a greeting card to help you feel good for five minutes. The knowledge that is presented here is based upon clinical trials and real studies performed on real brains.

Despite it being based in science, the material is not dry and boring. Rather, you get real advice and suggestions about what you can do to improve your condition.

It essentially shows you how one small intervention can lead to momentum that helps you get lifted up and out of the “downward spiral” that is depression.

  1. Undoing Depression: What Therapy Doesn’t Teach You and Medication Can’t Give You

I saved this one for last, because I have some personal experience with this particular work.

Hiding my depression was a big part of my life. I would act like nothing was wrong, suppressing the emotions until I got home, where I would lie in my bed all evening long, foregoing exercise, healthy meals, and healthy activities like family time, video games or reading.

This book, with the help of my therapist, aided me in learning some techniques I can use to stop unhealthy behaviors. I am not saying it is a cure-all; everybody is different. I will say I think this helped me greatly.

Learning to meditate certainly helped me. I would recommend this practice to anybody; at least give it a shot. It may or may not help you, but I loved learning how to center myself.

Final Thoughts

No book or magic text is going to give you the cure to your depression, but having some helpful “instruction manuals” on hand can certainly be of assistance when there are no medical professionals nearby.

Each author has personal experience with this sensitive topic, and it is our hope that you can reap the benefits of these books.