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NAMI Bookshelf: January 2010

Editors' note: Click the book title to order the book from Amazon.com and NAMI will receive a portion of the proceeds.


The 10 Best-Ever Depression Management Techniques: Understanding How Your Brain Makes You Depressed and What You Can Do to Change ItThe 10 Best-Ever Depression Management Techniques: Understanding How Your Brain Makes You Depressed and What You Can Do to Change It
Margaret Wehrenberg
W.W. Norton (2010)

Written by a psychologist in private practice, this book is designed to empower readers to take a diagnosis of depression and turn it into a deeper self-knowledge. The author deconstructs the common assumption that all depression is the same.

Wehrenberg’s focus on the language we use—our “self-talk” or the way we describe our feelings to others—helps lend precision to the way someone thinks about their depression or expresses their symptoms to practitioners. In one interesting anecdote, a woman relates a conversation with her primary care doctor about her efforts to change her internal commentary about herself. Rather than telling herself, “I can’t,” she was trying to move towards “I can.” “Well, that should be easy,” the doctor remarked. The woman, like many people who have internalized negative messaging, was shocked by the idea that changing her cognitive habits would ever be easy.

Though the exercises came out of years of clinical experience, they would probably be most effective if used with the help of a therapist or other treatment. An appendix lists resources for finding this type of help. 

Reviewed by Kim Puchir

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Beyond Schizophrenia: Michael's JourneyBeyond Schizophrenia: Michael's Journey
Susan Frances Dunham
Modern History Press (2011)

We tend to remember significant experiences in terms of the small details. For our memories, a chance turn of a phrase, a song, or a random encounter can contain the entire essence of a life-changing moment. It is on this level that we can see the effectiveness of Beyond Schizophrenia: Michael’s Journey. The author knows how to choose the right details to effectively take the reader inside something that is highly personal—the way mental illness touches a life, or several lives. By weaving together scenes from her son’s childhood, his breakdown and subsequent recovery, the book offers multiple levels of a journey towards better understanding of herself, her son and the illness he lives with.

Reviewed by Kim Puchir

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