This book is a rambling mess with a controversial title. However, this has actually been the most helpful and psyche-changing book on battling depression for me, despite it being the lowest rated of the depression books I've read. I only gave it 2 stars because I felt it could have been better written and edited down (it does not need to be this long), BUT, I do think that the main point made by the author is very much helpful and relevant and important. She just did not present it very well.
Curtiss' premise is that by thinking about depression, we are actually prolonging it since we only focus inward and on ourselves. If we direct our thinking towards external matters, particularly focusing on what is right in front of us (eg. work that needs to be done), we will not be depressed because our attention is not on our own depression. Instead of thinking about how depressed we are and how awful and hopeless everything is, we should instead focus on the next thing that we need to get done (whether it is laundry, writing a report for work, going out to meet a friend, etc). This book is very much in the vein of Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy
in that both books recommend that the best way to battle depression is to get up and actually do something
, which takes your focus away from the depression itself. (Get It Done When You're Depressed
is another very good book for more practical advice.) She takes a very 'tough love' approach which undoubtedly will alienate many readers, so I do think readers will need to be cautious. This book is best read when you're not deep in the middle of a full-blown depressive episode because it can be triggering for the more sensitive.
Some good quotes:
There is only one reason we ever suffer with depression. In order to suffer with depression, we must think about ourselves and out pain. If we don't think about ourselves and our pain, there is no way to suffer. (page 428)
...in our ignorance, we are asking to be cured of ourselves, rather than doing the life's work we need to be doing in order to become ourselves. And it is only our problems and our pain that can accomplish this by forcing us to do that work. (page 420)
It is not a chemical imbalance in the brain that causes us to be waylaid for long periods of time by depression. It is our lack of knowing how to handle that chemical imbalance. We need the impulse of fear to incite us to any action. It is our most important defense mechanism. Without the impulse of fear, we would be unable to function normally. In order to care about anything we have to be able to fear. (page 407)