On Depression

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I hadn't planned this to be my first blog post of 2010 however Twitter kinda prompted this...

On Depression

I have a fascination with the mind and how it works. And I've dug fairly deeply on this from a research review perspective a few times. It's prompted by experience. A mentor and friend of mine in University has Manic Depression ( More commonly known now as bipolar disorder). I've know a few people with depression. And I've know a few people who've committed suicide.

There is nothing simple in a discussion of depression and won't attempt to simplify it by trying to discuss it. And not having had it I suspect that I'm as well qualified to describe it as I am to describe the experience of pregnancy - that is not at all.

I get some sense of what its like from people like Andrew Soloman who wrote "The Noonday Demon" and Kay Redfield Jamison who wrote "An Unquiet Mind" which details her experience with severe mania and depression, and "Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide".  And a book I keep returning too for very many reasons "Zen & The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" which illustrates the fragility and power of the Human Mind.

On the treatment side the best books I've read are "Doctoring the Mind" by Richard P Bentall and Ivor Brownes autobiography "Music and Madness". ( RTE have a program on their Website on Ivor Browne which covers much of the core of the book at http://www.rte.ie/tv/wouldyoubelieve/ivorbrowne.html )

These work for me because they don't suggest any simple answers. Because there are no simple answers.  There aren't even simple questions.

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Omaniblog Author Profile Page said:

Thank very much for writing this interesting piece. There must be very few people who don't have someone close to them who's experienced depression. And even known someone who's died of it. (By this I mean someone who's taken their own life while under the influence of depression.)

Great books. "Night falls fast" is the one I don't yet know. "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" is the best bedside book I know: I've been reading it for ages and haven't yet got to the end.

Richard Benthall is an important influence. His other book is great too.

You prod me into writing my own book review: the best 10 books ever written on depression. Must get on with that.

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