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Depressive Illness: The Curse of the Strong | [Tim Cantopher]

Depressive Illness: The Curse of the Strong

If you suffer from depression you are not alone – it affects 15.5 million in the US, and more than 3 million in the UK – and, you are much stronger than you think. This best-selling book, written by a leading consultant psychiatrist, explains that people with depression do battle with pressures and stresses that other people would run away from, until their bodies can take no more. In this book, depression is placed authoritatively as a physical illness, from which recovery is possible.
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Publisher's Summary

If you suffer from depression you are not alone – it affects 15.5 million in the US, and more than 3 million in the UK – and, you are much stronger than you think. This best-selling book, written by a leading consultant psychiatrist, explains that people with depression do battle with pressures and stresses that other people would run away from, until their bodies can take no more. In this book, depression is placed authoritatively as a physical illness, from which recovery is possible.

Dr Cantopher provides a comprehensive, accessible overview of depressive illness, guiding the reader through the nature of depression, its history, symptoms, causes and treatments, as well as myths along the way. Warm and supportive, this new edition, which also includes the latest on medications, stresses that sufferers should not blame themselves, but can take hope from the fact that there is meaning in their illness, and that getting better is a real option.

Generously supplied with illuminating anecdotes and insights, it has specific advice on how to read the book if you are currently unwell, as well as valuable information for carers, medical professionals, or anyone interested in this destructive illness which is set to become the second biggest health burden in the world after heart disease.

©2006 Sheldon Press (P)2010 Summersdale Publishers Ltd

What the Critics Say

"In the battle to beat depression, this book represents the definitive weapon." (Ruth Lavery, DEPEND)

"This book should be read by everybody but especially by those who are affected by depression, whether they be carer, medical professional or just someone interested in this destructive illness… It offers invaluable insight into depression and promotes a level of self-awareness, which if heeded could keep many of us a lot healthier." (Depression Alliance)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (43 )
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4.1 (25 )
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4.0 (25 )
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3 star
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2 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Ronald Albury Cincinnati, OH USA 11-25-11
    Ronald Albury Cincinnati, OH USA 11-25-11 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Just what I needed"

    This was the third book on depression I listened to. After the first two failures I didn't hold out much hope. I guess the third time is the charm.

    This book was exactly what I needed to come to grips with my depression and to plot my own way out. There are many different types of depression, and this book directly addressed the source of my problem.

    Depression is lonely and scary and feels like it will never end. It colors everything we say or do. But this book helped me gain insight into what had caused my depression, and how my very struggles against depression were making things worse. This book changed my attitude, and was the genesis of my recovery.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Troy 04-27-15
    Troy 04-27-15

    I grew up on Golden Age Radio, I love to learn about a great many things, and I enjoy a wide variety of genres. Me, bored? Never!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "You're Kidding, Right?"

    I'm really curious as to how much Dr. Tim Cantopher actually contributed to this book. I'm sure all of it is based on his research and practice, but as he's constantly addressed in the 3rd person through the whole of this book, it comes across as being authored by someone on his staff. It could be presented that way to help with the disconnect that comes from it being narrated by a woman who is clearly not Dr. Cantopher... perhaps?

    Speaking of the narrator, Lynsey Frost comes across clear and positive for the most part, but the way this book is presented, there are times when it crosses the line to sarcastic and glib, and I can no longer tell if that's the narrator or the way the material is written that causes that. She comes across as patronizing. Any classic Doctor Who fans? She sounds a bit like the 7th Doctor's companion Ace, both in voice and in tone. Again, I can't tell if it's because she's that way, or if it's Dr. Cantopher's own arrogance that's coming across in the written material. Sometimes it's actually funny, even when it's not supposed to be. Most of the time, you just want to smack her on principle, and she makes it feel like it'd be a public service to do so.

    Having said all this, this book is built on a foundation I've not heard addressed very often, the idea that the strong-willed and determined simply keep going until stress breaks their limbic system, causing the chemical imbalance that deals with clinical depression. This book specifically deals with this form of depression, though it states that people suffering from other forms can benefit somewhat from what's listed. Regardless, the diagnosis is that the illness is physical, not mental, and based on his descriptions and explanations, his reasoning is spot-on as near as I can tell from personal experience. That's the good news, and because it makes sense, I give it the extra star up to two from the one it would otherwise deserve.

    It's the treatment options that I question, and I'll try to detail some of the points here. Dr. Cantopher is part of Britain's NHS, and according to the sarcastic narrator, he's not afraid to fly in the face of what they recommend when it comes to making them look bad. He points out that psychotherapies are expensive and not really productive, and his first recommendation is that you'd treat it with drugs like you would a cold or flu, rebuking all major arguments that he's heard over the years. It really makes me wonder how many kickbacks he gets from those pharmaceutical companies. And then supposing you're convinced to take those drugs, this book makes it sound like the recovery phase is far, far worse than the original illness. The bottom line of it is "do as much of nothing as is humanly possible" while using your common sense to tell you when you've had enough.

    If it truly came down to common sense, people wouldn't be in this mess in the first place as common sense tells people suffering in this manner that they can't stop. You power a hundred amps through a 25 amp fuse, it will blow, regardless of the common sense of not powering that many amps through it in the first place. This analogy is used frequently enough to call into question the concepts of common sense and depression as being coexistent qualities.

    But wait! He addresses this very cycle of people taking the drugs, getting the recovery, and then going back to the normal cycle that started this in the first place because modern life simply won't stop, thus resulting in relapse. His solution? Take your personal happiness into your own hands! *head/desk* And you should do this by operating just below peak capacity and avoiding extremes by sticking to the middle path. Really?! I'm so glad this book has come to my rescue! I'd never have come to this conclusion on my own!

    It only gets worse from there. Having a panic attack? Don't panic. You won't die, even if you feel like you're about to. This book actually says it just like that. Don't panic during a panic attack. Your recovery from depression may actually hinge on doing pointless things as badly as you can. Meanwhile, you're supposed to realize that the productive things that led you to depression in the first place are, in fact, pointless. Please, somebody explain to me how this is not a psychological hamster wheel waiting to happen?

    Dr. Cantopher is not a psychotherapist, so of course he covers psychotherapy in the "rare" case that the drugs won't work. He also gives you tips and skills to help you sleep and combat stress that "won't work once you're diagnosed with depression," but can help before you get there. These include meditation and relaxation exercises, which have cumulative effects over time, giving up caffeinated drinks, doing physical exercise, and other such things that he outright says will only make depression worse. More examples include avoiding the following: late night TV, horror movies, thriller novels, and any work you brought home with you. Again, all of these suggestions only help if you follow his advice before you get depressed or after you recover.

    I don't know about you, but I certainly feel empowered to make meaningful choices now. *groan*

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Csilla GREENBELT, MD, United States 10-02-11
    Csilla GREENBELT, MD, United States 10-02-11 Member Since 2012
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    "Missing link"

    I found the book informative and entertaining. The advice it proposes, however, seems to be based on a presumption that has never been proven -- at least not in the book. Examples are: keep stress to a minimum, keep tasks short, etc, but there is no proof, in fact, that the chemical imbalance in depression is caused by stress, only that the two co-occur. I'll listen to a few chapters again and try to follow the logic closer.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    judith boca raton, FL, United States 08-17-11
    judith boca raton, FL, United States 08-17-11
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    "Excellent"

    A simple, understandable book. Just follow the directions, play it over and over again, absorb what Dr Cantopher is saying and you will feel vastly improved. I was surprised at how much this book helped me....and I was determined to get better, and I did!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scott Duclos, QC, Canada 02-01-11
    Scott Duclos, QC, Canada 02-01-11 Member Since 2010
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    "Good book, terrible narrator"

    Some good concepts and research, but the narrator is very annoying to listen to. Would be worth listening to if you can stand the voice.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Julia Newmarket, NH, United States 01-19-15
    Julia Newmarket, NH, United States 01-19-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Interesting and educational"

    I like the book overall because it describes what the victims of the illness can do to help themselves.
    The chapters describing all the different meds kind of bored me even though i agree with the need for them.
    Overall, excellent book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Adriana Briñoli 05-22-12 Member Since 2008
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    "Really helpful."
    Where does Depressive Illness rank among all the audiobooks you???ve listened to so far?

    It ranks very high among depressive illness-related books.


    What did you like best about this story?

    It is simple, concise and honest.


    What about Lynsey Frost???s performance did you like?

    I loved her voice and her accent.


    What did you learn from Depressive Illness that you would use in your daily life?

    I think I've got a good bunch of advice I'll use from now on.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Stair
    Northumberland, UK
    11/26/10
    Overall
    "Excellent book, narration questionable I feel"

    The content of this work is very strong, the information is solid and the author clearly knows his stuff. This is a very helpful book for anyone suffering with this disorder: for the book itself I would give five stars.

    This being said I find the delivery from this narrator irritating to the nth degree - overly dramatised and insincere to my ear - I have ordered a new paperback copy as I am not going to be able to listen through to the end without having a major relapse.

    I am sure that Lynsey Frost would be great with different material, but don't feel that she is playing to her strengths with this one - tries too hard and overly dramatic for such a publication. However this is just my opinion and others may well disagree. My fault I should have listened to a preview first!

    Overall: great content and if you like this narration then a good investment.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Mrs
    Walton on Thames, United Kingdom
    11/2/11
    Overall
    "Children's Story????"

    I have the book, it is a really interesting book, and I find it hard to find time to read it. Decided that the Audio version, would allow me to listen to it at times when I am doing practical stuff, but is not practical to read a book, such as whilst I am sewing, knitting, walking the dog, shopping, cleaning and driving to work.

    I just find Lynsey Frost too "Davina McCall". Why does anything science related now needs to be presented to the masses as if they are incapable of understanding unless it is introduced with the enthusiasm of a Crufts Agility Dog!!! I feel as she is reading a Noddy Story - I would be less distracted if she read slightly more slowly and with less glee. Not sure how long I will be able to listen to this.

    Shame - hard to find time to read and the audio version is frustrating.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Tab
    uk
    5/8/11
    Overall
    "Amazing Book, Appalling Narration"

    It says something about the valuable information
    covered in this book that I was willing to listen to
    it, despite the really terrible narration.

    WHAT WERE THEY THINKING WHEN THEY CHOSE THIS
    NARRATOR??!!!!

    I have actually contacted the publishers to request
    that they reissue the audiobook with a different
    narrator.

    The current one has an overly dramatic, almost
    sarcastic style, which makes her sound like she is
    doing some kind of standup comedy routine - but
    without the laughs. It sounds almost she is mocking
    the listener at points. Very very off putting.

    Nevertheless, the book is wonderful, a must-read for
    anyone whose life has been affected by clinical
    depression. I have read sooo many books on the
    subject, but this one stands out. I have always
    believed my ongoing struggle with depression meant
    that I was a fragile, weak, unresilient person,
    doomed to fail at life. This book has changed my
    perspective completely, and I think will mark a
    milestone in my long-term recovery and management.

    I can't recommend it highly enough. But I have also
    ordered it in paperback, and the minute it arrives,
    I will stop listening to the audiobook.....

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • SKW
    10/22/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great Content"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Yes - not however this audio version.

    The content of this book is most valuable to someone trying to find out exactly why they became so vulnerable. It may become part of the fabric that essentially ends your depressive illness too.

    It's feels good to be recognised.


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    I found the narrators voice and tone condescending at times. Not what is needed, particularly if you need this book. But then, that may be my general anxiety disorder kicking in!


    Any additional comments?

    I would much prefer this book to be read by the author. I have heard him on the radio a few times over the years, and found his passion for this subject infectious. Ultimately what brought me here was the manner with which he spoke.

    Personally, I wish I had invested in a hard-copy.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Caroline
    Cheshire
    6/17/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good book, difficult to like narration"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    A different narrator - her manner is somehow all wrong for this book, which I have read and enjoyed


    What did you like best about this story?

    The topic is well covered, common sense style, really helpful


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    Maybe she's just not my cup of tea. I found her arch and not in tune with the content


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    irritation!


    Any additional comments?

    Read the book instead, it's only a short one and it's very good

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Lynda
    United Kingdom
    3/9/11
    Overall
    "Really helpful"

    I found this book really helpful and it was written in a way that made me feel a lot better about my depression.

    I didnt have any issue with the narration and I actually quite liked the uptempo nature of her delivery.

    I really recommend this audio book, or the paper copy if you prefer. Either way its really helped me and is definitely worth a listen.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Cat
    10/15/12
    Overall
    "Patronising and unhelpful"

    The perky, patronising reader jars incredibly, especially on those who are reading this book seeking help. The book blames parents and tells depressives to feel guilty, your depression is all your fault. I would not recommend.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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