Written by Bronwyn Barter

Just part of biology

Review by Gunnel Minett

When someone breaks a leg, we do not hesitate to take the person to see a doctor and get help, or the leg will not mend properly. But when the same person gets depressed the solution is not as clear. Somehow the psychological problem is not seen as straight forward as the physical problem. Instead there is often stigma attached to psychological ailments. They are often seen as self-inflicted and/or as a weakness that we should be hiding away from others. Sadly, such negative attitudes often make the problem worse and is really far from reality. Depression needs proper attention just as much as a broken leg.

We need food and water to grow a healthy body and we need attention from others to grow a healthy self. To see to it that we get these needs met, we are equipped from birth via the genetic blue-print to expect a certain level of care from our environment. When we get our needs met we react with positive emotions. If not we react the opposite way. When the negative emotions get out of balance they may turn into more permanent sadness or depression. It is as simple as that. So you can say that depression is just another way of safeguarding our existence on this earth in the best possible way.

This is what this book is all about; to explain why we get depressed, what we can do to help ourselves and in particular how we can help others do come out of their depression. The tone of the book is reassuringly down to earth, showing that there is no need to panic. It simply describes what causes depression and what helps the recovery from it. The language is plain and straight forward, in a way that makes it accessible to someone experiencing depression and consequently in itself also offers help. It shows how we can help ourselves and others to come out of depression and return to a happy, healthy lifestyle even if we fall into a dark hole of depression at some point in our lives.

The author lists a number of reasons why a person may get depressed, childhood problems, poor relationships, and other negative aspects of life that we are most likely to experience at some point of our lives. She also points to the fact that not all depression is the same. Grief for instance may feel like a period of intense depression. But this is nature’s way of handling the effects of a separation and will most likely disappear by itself once the time is right.

Sadly, this is something we seem to forget with our modern expectations of having everything perfect. It is getting more and more common to get anti-depressants when we are grieving rather than the emotional support we really need. Another and even more disturbing fact is the increased tendency to prescribe anti-depressants to children. But as the author rightly points out – antidepressants are not a cure! All it does is to remove the symptoms, which in turn makes it more difficult to help the person to recovery.

Understanding depression is probably the best way to help someone back to a better life. This is why a book like this is so important. In my view it should be handed out to parents and doctor’s surgeries and any other places where we need to improve our understanding of what depression is and what we can do to help people struggling with depression. Or why not include it in the first aid kit that we all keep somewhere, just in case life that a turn for the worst.

Strategic Book Publishing, 2017, paperback 
IBSN 1681815206 978-1681815206