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Shoot the Damn Dog: A Memoir of Depression

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A successful magazine editor and prize-winning journalist, Sally Brampton launched Elle magazine in the UK in 1985. But behind the successful, glamorous career was a story that many of her friends and colleagues knew nothing about—her ongoing struggle with severe depression and alcoholism. Brampton's is a candid, tremendously honest telling of how she was finally able to " A successful magazine editor and prize-winning journalist, Sally Brampton launched Elle magazine in the UK in 1985. But behind the successful, glamorous career was a story that many of her friends and colleagues knew nothing about—her ongoing struggle with severe depression and alcoholism. Brampton's is a candid, tremendously honest telling of how she was finally able to "address the elephant in the room," and of a culture that sends the overriding message that people who suffer from depression are somehow responsible for their own illness. She offers readers a unique perspective of depression from the inside that is at times wrenching, but ultimately inspirational, as it charts her own coming back to life. Beyond her personal story, Brampton offers practical advice to all those affected by this illness. This book will resonate with any person whose life has been haunted by depression, at the same time offering help and understanding to those whose loved ones suffer from this debilitating condition.


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A successful magazine editor and prize-winning journalist, Sally Brampton launched Elle magazine in the UK in 1985. But behind the successful, glamorous career was a story that many of her friends and colleagues knew nothing about—her ongoing struggle with severe depression and alcoholism. Brampton's is a candid, tremendously honest telling of how she was finally able to " A successful magazine editor and prize-winning journalist, Sally Brampton launched Elle magazine in the UK in 1985. But behind the successful, glamorous career was a story that many of her friends and colleagues knew nothing about—her ongoing struggle with severe depression and alcoholism. Brampton's is a candid, tremendously honest telling of how she was finally able to "address the elephant in the room," and of a culture that sends the overriding message that people who suffer from depression are somehow responsible for their own illness. She offers readers a unique perspective of depression from the inside that is at times wrenching, but ultimately inspirational, as it charts her own coming back to life. Beyond her personal story, Brampton offers practical advice to all those affected by this illness. This book will resonate with any person whose life has been haunted by depression, at the same time offering help and understanding to those whose loved ones suffer from this debilitating condition.

30 review for Shoot the Damn Dog: A Memoir of Depression

  1. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    Deeply scary stuff. My wife has depression and until I read this book I could not understand the illness at all. Now, I'm not making excuses for my wife but since reading this book I have a much better handle on why my wife is the way she is, her mind-state generally, ler lack of motivation in almost all things... I'd recommend this book for anyone who has a husband, wife, partner or loved one with depression. I honestly think it will help you understand.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kirsten

    This is a biting, sarcastic, and incredibly honest portrayal of depression. Brampton refuses to pull any punches or give herself any slack. She describes how she was openly hostile toward treatment (with sometimes hilarious results -- as someone who's been tempted to derail Cognitive Behavioral Therapy out of sheer cussedness, I couldn't stop laughing about her stubbornness in group therapy), was frequently a dangerously noncompliant patient, and very nearly derailed everything by developing a m This is a biting, sarcastic, and incredibly honest portrayal of depression. Brampton refuses to pull any punches or give herself any slack. She describes how she was openly hostile toward treatment (with sometimes hilarious results -- as someone who's been tempted to derail Cognitive Behavioral Therapy out of sheer cussedness, I couldn't stop laughing about her stubbornness in group therapy), was frequently a dangerously noncompliant patient, and very nearly derailed everything by developing a massive drinking problem along with her depression. She also really gets at the physical feelings that accompany depression; the way that it feels as though not only one's mind, but one's body is rebelling. Other reviews have mentioned that the author behaved selfishly, foolishly, and was incredibly self-absorbed. Yes, yes, and yes. This is one of the reasons I loved this book. It really gets at the simultaneous self-loathing and self-centeredness that characterizes severe depression, and I applaud Sally Brampton for having the guts to portray herself as thoroughly unpleasant. The only real flaw in the writing is that this book could probably have stood a little more organization; Brampton occasionally jumps around in time, making it a little difficult to discern which hospitalization she's talking about, or how long many of her issues persisted. It's not nearly as bad in this regard as Teri Cheney's Manic, but it could still stand some tightening up. My only other issue is that she describes her depression as medication-resistant -- which definitely happens -- but doesn't really make a strong connection between the meds not working and the fact that she was drinking enormous amounts of alcohol at the same time. I have to wonder if, now that she is sober, she might have more success with antidepressants. On the other hand, she has found other effective ways of coping with and controlling her depression, so I can't really blame her for not wanting to get on the meds-go-round again. Oh, one last comment -- this is really random, but I loved that she pointed out that meditation, while very effective for doing mental housecleaning once one is in recovery, can actual be detrimental if one is in the throes of a deep depression. A great number of people have suggested meditation to me as a means to heal my depression, not realizing that someone who is deeply depressed is not particularly adept at clearing their mind and thinking calming thoughts, etc., and it may actually just offer an opportunity for uninterrupted destructive thinking.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Verna

    This book nails the experience of depression squarely on its head. Sally Brampton draws you into her world of darkness and pain and you find it hard to leave. To those of us who suffer from depression whether now or in the past, "Shoot the Damn Dog," puts words on it without a doubt. It is like you get inside Sally's brain and feel her emotions as your own. I never knew that depression could be so interesting and absorbing in its own right. She tries every avenue to cure her illness from the new This book nails the experience of depression squarely on its head. Sally Brampton draws you into her world of darkness and pain and you find it hard to leave. To those of us who suffer from depression whether now or in the past, "Shoot the Damn Dog," puts words on it without a doubt. It is like you get inside Sally's brain and feel her emotions as your own. I never knew that depression could be so interesting and absorbing in its own right. She tries every avenue to cure her illness from the newest antidepressants to talk therapy without much sucess. She even tries self-medicating herself with alcohol only to end up with an addiction that she has to kick. With no relief from her black moods she sucumbs to the lure of suicide, barely surviving her last attempt. Finally, after years of suffering and misery her depression seems to burn itself out. Brampton feels that connecting to her fellow human beings is the ultimate antidote to depression. It is also her goal to destigmatize depression as a mental illness in general. Excellent book.

  4. 4 out of 5

    David Pope

    I distinctly remember reading about Sally Brampton's tragic suicide in the paper and being so moved by it, that I felt compelled to buy the book. One of the main messages in "Shoot the damn dog" is to find and develop coping mechanisms for depression, as it is rare that depression simply "goes away". Ironically, reading this book was a great escape for me and certainly took me away from my own negative thinking. The more I relate to someone's story, the more I am hooked. There is so much honesty I distinctly remember reading about Sally Brampton's tragic suicide in the paper and being so moved by it, that I felt compelled to buy the book. One of the main messages in "Shoot the damn dog" is to find and develop coping mechanisms for depression, as it is rare that depression simply "goes away". Ironically, reading this book was a great escape for me and certainly took me away from my own negative thinking. The more I relate to someone's story, the more I am hooked. There is so much honesty from the author here and it takes alot to wear your heart on your sleeve like that. She was obviously in so much emotional and physical pain, yet had the courage to face it head on and share her struggles with the world. That took incredible guts and determination.Sally uses rich and colourful language: "Viburnum flinging out it's cloying pink and white scent", whilst at the same time conveying the harrowing effects of depression:"I wrap my arms around myself, to stop the pain,to stop the tears". She loved gardening and nature and with good reason. There are so many analogies and life lessons when it comes to gardening, particularly when you are digging up the weeds. Weeds in a garden are like the negative thoughts in one's head, or a combination of all the rubbish in your life and unless you get to the root and dig them up, they will always return. That's what therapy is all about I suppose, getting to the root of the problems. And like a garden, we need to look after ourselves on a daily basis, whether it's eating right, or socialising with friends, reading a good book, or exercising etc. A garden can be aesthetically beautiful, as long as you put the effort in to maintain it and similarly depression can be controlled as long as you use the coping strategies. Tragically, depression ultimately beat Sally, but she gave the dog a damn good fight.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kristen

    There is something to be said for a book’s ability to touch you. When I first read this memoir, I was in the middle of a depressive relapse around the New Year of 2015. At that stage, I was undiagnosed with MDD and struggling with yet another relapse into my condition, and – after recently finishing university and moving away from my friends of the past four years and back into a home where my parents had little to no idea of my troubles with my mental health – I was feeling alone. For many years There is something to be said for a book’s ability to touch you. When I first read this memoir, I was in the middle of a depressive relapse around the New Year of 2015. At that stage, I was undiagnosed with MDD and struggling with yet another relapse into my condition, and – after recently finishing university and moving away from my friends of the past four years and back into a home where my parents had little to no idea of my troubles with my mental health – I was feeling alone. For many years, I’d turned over the idea of me having clinical depression, alternating between believing that I might have a minor form of the illness and rejecting it completely out of hand. As such, I wasn’t getting the help I needed, and was further isolating myself from friends, family and those around me. This book, to be brief, made me feel less alone, and that what I was experiencing was in fact valid. That the term I used to describe my mental health not only applied to me, but could explain the changes in moods beyond what I had often called being lazy and too sensitive. For an illness like depression, where you feel as if you’re separated from the world by walls too high to climb, to read a memoir where you find your own experiences and emotions reflected back to you is like finding a friend and a tenuous connection to another person. As a book, and as a memoir, Shoot The Damn Dog is not always the most enjoyable read. At multiple times, I was brought close to tears, merely from just reading sentiments that I had thought and felt in the darkest periods of my life. At multiple times, I wanted to reach through the pages and shake Brampton and ask why she was doing things that would only make her condition worse - a thought I think often enough when I look back at my own episode of relapse. It delves into hard to stomach places, and there is no denying that Brampton’s experience with depression will differ greatly from other peoples. It is, simply, an individual experience of depression and the effects it has on one person, and between that and Brampton’s background, it is more than likely that some of the potential readers may not be able to connect with the story told. I did, because Brampton’s depression in many ways mirrored mine, and Brampton had an ability to articulate thoughts and new perspectives on depression that I could not. It remains one of the books I read when I am in a depressive state, and wish to be reminded that many of my symptoms are not simply moral flaws that I should condemn myself for, but signs of a deeprooted chemical imbalance in my brain. It is also one of the books I wish my family would read, if only to better understand the thoughts that might go about my mind when I relapse.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Nick Davies

    In terms of what this was - an extremely frank and honest memoir of one person's experiences of severe depression and subsequent alcoholism - this was excellent. Thought-provoking and compelling reading, Brampton writes with intelligence and wit, giving advice relating to her life and that if those she met. It's certainly a very powerful book which a great many people would benefit from reading, a lot of understanding to be gained from it. As a personal journey, it did at times make me aware tha In terms of what this was - an extremely frank and honest memoir of one person's experiences of severe depression and subsequent alcoholism - this was excellent. Thought-provoking and compelling reading, Brampton writes with intelligence and wit, giving advice relating to her life and that if those she met. It's certainly a very powerful book which a great many people would benefit from reading, a lot of understanding to be gained from it. As a personal journey, it did at times make me aware that this couldn't be the authority on ALL people's experiences of depression, and in addition I did find at times the book posed more questions to my scientific mind (why did that work? why do people's experiences differ? were X and Y really the causes, or is that just something therapy has encouraged you to blame?) but I was also mindful that what does it matter what the answers to these questions are if it helps people recover from depression and other disorders. Aspects relating to spirituality and twelve step programs didn't interest me as much as other parts, but that's no fault of the book, really. So yes, very interesting and sad that the author - several years after the book was published - ultimately lost her battle with depression.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Voysey

    Wow. This book was recommended to me on a Mental Health First Aid course and I could not recommend it more highly for literally everyone. Sally Brompton suffered from severe depression that was treatment resistant (ie no drugs - and she tried them all - made any difference, other than to make her worse). With her skills as a very successful writer, this is a brutally honest, captivating description of her journey through depression. With 1 in 4 UK adults suffering from some sort of depression in Wow. This book was recommended to me on a Mental Health First Aid course and I could not recommend it more highly for literally everyone. Sally Brompton suffered from severe depression that was treatment resistant (ie no drugs - and she tried them all - made any difference, other than to make her worse). With her skills as a very successful writer, this is a brutally honest, captivating description of her journey through depression. With 1 in 4 UK adults suffering from some sort of depression in any one year - and the amount of stigma still attached to the illness - I think it is so important that people read this book. It is educational (I have learned so much about how to spot signs of depression in friends and loved ones), inspiring (if Sally can get through this, including a number of suicide attempts, then there is hope for everyone) and has quite literally changed my life in the sense that I know feel much more empowered to help those close to me, including myself!, with any sort mental health issues. Read it. Now.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sandra

    ms bramptons experience of depression involves alot of cashmere and gardeners and booking herself in to hospital ... it didnt speak to me at all .

  9. 5 out of 5

    Rehan Abd Jamil

    Thank you Sally Brampton for this magnificent book!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    How odd that so many of the people reading/have read this are named Stephanie. I admit, it was the title that got me - and I was really thinking about the amazingly annoying Jack Russell that lives next door and barks her little head off 24/7 when she is left alone. But this refers to the black dog of depression (a term with which I was not familiar, despite my years of dealing with depression). I found the author annoying (not as much as a barking Jack Russell, but still...) but I loved what sh How odd that so many of the people reading/have read this are named Stephanie. I admit, it was the title that got me - and I was really thinking about the amazingly annoying Jack Russell that lives next door and barks her little head off 24/7 when she is left alone. But this refers to the black dog of depression (a term with which I was not familiar, despite my years of dealing with depression). I found the author annoying (not as much as a barking Jack Russell, but still...) but I loved what she said about being compelled to write this in order to do her part to try to lessen the stigma of depression. I still have some of my closest friends who don't know my situation in this regard (hmmm perhaps they aren't really such close friends?)and co-workers? I would NEVER discuss this with most of them, having experienced the possible result when I was in private industry, as opposed to feeding from the public trough where one is supposedly freer to be flawed. Anyhow, I did get some good stuff out of this book, and although much of it was painful to read, ir reminded me of going through est training back in the 70s: you get locked in that room with 249 other people and within an hour you are thinking "holy crap, at least I am better off that THAT person" - then you either turn into an esthole, or take what you want and leave the rest, or go kill yourself, which is what the author of this book wanted to do more than anything...or so she says but clearly that isn't the case, or the book never would have been written. Whatever, I am on no sleep and too much adrenalin from being at the beach in the rain.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Booksdingle

    intially I found this to be good but lost interest later on - was comforting to read about someone having depression who wasn't stereotypical....this author was a high flyer - so made me feel as if it is the kind of illness that can strike anyone down - but I don't think I gained any personal insight into depression from reading this book

  12. 5 out of 5

    Dawn

    I picked this book only for the title and the cover art. I needed a book with a curse word in the title for the book challenge. So I Googled and scrolled lists and this seemed interesting. Well 326 pages later, I am grateful that this book found me. Although somewhat frantically written, it is beautiful in it's honesty and delivery. This memoir of the author's battle with severe clinical depression was difficult to read at times. The author does an excellent job at intimately walking you through I picked this book only for the title and the cover art. I needed a book with a curse word in the title for the book challenge. So I Googled and scrolled lists and this seemed interesting. Well 326 pages later, I am grateful that this book found me. Although somewhat frantically written, it is beautiful in it's honesty and delivery. This memoir of the author's battle with severe clinical depression was difficult to read at times. The author does an excellent job at intimately walking you through her life as a depressive; how she was crippled with it physically and emotionally, how she was slowing dying from it and how she eventually learned to live with it and heal. The book is full of great take aways for living your best life. It was a good read overall. HERE'S THE BAD NEWS. I was so invested in the author while reading that I decided to Google her and see what other books she may have written. Turns out she had written more but also that she committed suicide in 2016 at the age of 60 by walking into the ocean. That unsettled me but also reinforced the idea in the book that her severe depression was indeed an illness that she had to work at and seek treatment to manage to stay alive. It is an interesting book, especially in the shadow of her suicide. #January'sbook #grumpylawyerbookchallenegefacebook

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jillian

    I was impatient with the first half of the book, finding the detail of her illness and decline somewhat repetitive. I wanted to understand why she was behaving in this way, rather than read about the symptoms. I concede, however, that the road to recovery would make less sense without the beginning of the story. Of most interest to me is her analysis of her treatments, of the trial and error process to a pathway to eventual recovery. Along the way there are many missteps and indictments of system I was impatient with the first half of the book, finding the detail of her illness and decline somewhat repetitive. I wanted to understand why she was behaving in this way, rather than read about the symptoms. I concede, however, that the road to recovery would make less sense without the beginning of the story. Of most interest to me is her analysis of her treatments, of the trial and error process to a pathway to eventual recovery. Along the way there are many missteps and indictments of systems, practices and individuals. I found Brampton’s analysis and take on how she found her way through the tunnel of treatment to the light of living gripping. I found her information about, and personal experience with, various approaches, therapies, treatments and theories interesting and enlightening. It helped my understanding. The book also includes an extensive annotated bibliography so that her experience can be the beginning of much greater investigation.

  14. 5 out of 5

    DubaiReader

    An excellent memoir. I was really impressed with this book. It was brutally honest about the desperate condition known as depression, yet it also gave hope for sufferers and practical tips to direct those who can see no way out. Written from first hand experience by a sufferer who does not respond to anti-depression medcation (30% of all depressives), and who reached the depths of despair that were hard to read about, let alone live through, it still managed an upbeat note towards the end. Sally B An excellent memoir. I was really impressed with this book. It was brutally honest about the desperate condition known as depression, yet it also gave hope for sufferers and practical tips to direct those who can see no way out. Written from first hand experience by a sufferer who does not respond to anti-depression medcation (30% of all depressives), and who reached the depths of despair that were hard to read about, let alone live through, it still managed an upbeat note towards the end. Sally Brampton was a driven, highly motivated woman. She was editor of two well known magazines, Elle and Red, and a journalist for many major newspapapers. Then her marriage collapsed and her ability to cope seemed to crumble. Soon after that she was sacked from Red and sank into major depression. This was not an inability to be cheerful and see the bright side of life, this was a total, devastating inability to function on any level - a highly literate woman found herself unable even to read. Only her young daughter, Molly, kept her alive, though she did make a couple of attempts at suicide. It took several years and a bout of alcoholism, before Sally managed to drag herself back into the land of the living. But the important fact is that she did. And having done so, she wrote this excellent memoir to help other sufferers see the light at the end of the tunnel. Not everything will work for everyone, but the author gained great benefit from group therapy, private therapy (with an empathetic therapist), yoga and meditation. My copy is littered with stick-it notes marking the parts I found inspiring and I am hoping that the depressive close to me can be persuaded to read this and benefit from it.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sam

    I do not read many memoirs, so it took some time for me to adjust to the style of Brampton's writing. My first impression was that this woman is completely self-absorbed. And then i came to two realizations. Firstly, oh yes, this is a memoir, a woman's story about herself; and second, oh yes, this is a memoir about depression, a condition that traps the writer in her own personal prison, unable to relate to or communicate meaningfully with others. At times, the writing can suffer from seemingly e I do not read many memoirs, so it took some time for me to adjust to the style of Brampton's writing. My first impression was that this woman is completely self-absorbed. And then i came to two realizations. Firstly, oh yes, this is a memoir, a woman's story about herself; and second, oh yes, this is a memoir about depression, a condition that traps the writer in her own personal prison, unable to relate to or communicate meaningfully with others. At times, the writing can suffer from seemingly endless repetition, though perhaps the author's intent is to pull the reader into experiencing the seemingly endless agony of her condition. The majority of this story is a downer, frankly, and a bit thin on solutions, lending the reader a glimpse of Brampton's seemingly hopeless condition. That is, until the end. Brampton ends her story on a high, if somewhat cautiously optimistic, note, as she shares some practices that have helped her maintain a life with depression in remission. The wisdom she has found is heartening, not only for depressives, but for anyone seeking happiness in this confusing thing we call life.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sue Young

    A book about depression that sometimes makes you chuckle out loud with recognition even while you ARE depressed has got to be worth recommending! Having suffered plenty of depression over the years, although not as debilitating as Sally's, this book was a good companion - a little recognition that we're not alone, that others suffer and struggle through life and manage to keep going, sometimes despite even worse attacks, and that laughter can often pierce the darkness, even if just for a moment. I A book about depression that sometimes makes you chuckle out loud with recognition even while you ARE depressed has got to be worth recommending! Having suffered plenty of depression over the years, although not as debilitating as Sally's, this book was a good companion - a little recognition that we're not alone, that others suffer and struggle through life and manage to keep going, sometimes despite even worse attacks, and that laughter can often pierce the darkness, even if just for a moment. I find Sally to be very sane and very brave, full of sensible tips that might help others, but never patronising, cajoling or judgmental. A woman who lets you be who you are and where you are, but never misses an opportunity to say, don't give up - it can get better. Her "agony" column in the Sunday Times is full of her compassionate wisdom too.

  17. 5 out of 5

    rosamund

    Reading Brampton's descriptions of depression were very healing for me because they were very similar to my own, and it was moving to read this and relate to it so much. Some descriptions of medical theory or therapy were overly long for me, but this is because I'm very familiar with the field. I think this would be a good book for friends or family of someone with depression to read, because it offers a lot of insight.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Brad

    This books jumps around from mental health topic to mental health topic and, similarly, anecdote to anecdote. The reader does not get a chronological story of depression in the author's life, but rather a survey of what parts of her life may relate to various mental health topics. (There are some exceptions later in the book, like chapter 16, 19, 22 and 23.) It does this in a way that is similar to Andrew Solomon's The Noonday Demon, a far more comprehensive and rewarding book. I would recommend This books jumps around from mental health topic to mental health topic and, similarly, anecdote to anecdote. The reader does not get a chronological story of depression in the author's life, but rather a survey of what parts of her life may relate to various mental health topics. (There are some exceptions later in the book, like chapter 16, 19, 22 and 23.) It does this in a way that is similar to Andrew Solomon's The Noonday Demon, a far more comprehensive and rewarding book. I would recommend reading that instead.

  19. 4 out of 5

    David Samuel

    Sally Brampton takes us from the really low to the hopes to the feeling-better and through her entire journey. It feels like I was her. And for a while I was, which is perhaps why I could relate to the story. This is a brave book which, thankfully, was completed. It is insightful and powerful and extremely well-written. Wise and helpful.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Very relatable. Obviously the author is quite privileged, but so am I. Reminded me of my years of depression. Reminds me to keep my mind healthy.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sophie Walker

    A work of pure generosity Reading this book in the knowledge Sally lost the fight gives the insight within its pages a sense of urgency. Keep digging out.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Angie

    This book was both great to read and extremely hard to read. It was honest, funny and sad. It is a story of despair. I started reading this book back in September and have only just finished it. I've had my own ups and downs over this time and this made it hard to read such an honest book about exactly what I'm going through (without the suicide attempts and alcoholism though, just to clear!). The feelings Sally Brampton describes were so familiar that I felt like I was reading exactly what was ha This book was both great to read and extremely hard to read. It was honest, funny and sad. It is a story of despair. I started reading this book back in September and have only just finished it. I've had my own ups and downs over this time and this made it hard to read such an honest book about exactly what I'm going through (without the suicide attempts and alcoholism though, just to clear!). The feelings Sally Brampton describes were so familiar that I felt like I was reading exactly what was happening in my head. The despair of not knowing when she would get better or even if she would ever get better. The despair at not knowing how to explain what you need form other people. The feelings of being completely alone and just wanting it to stop (again not in a suicidal sense, just simply stopping) struck such nerves in me I had to put it down until I felt ready to read it again - when I would be able to cope with it again. Despair was definitely the word that kept coming into my head, even though it's not really used in the books. Again like the other books on depression I've read this is a more extreme account than what I am going through. I would like to read one that is less extreme - no suicide attempts, no stays in rehab or hospitals - just depression. I enjoyed (feels the wrong word to say) reading the book. It was well written and extremely honest. The relationships with people I found interesting and the strain depression puts on those relationships showed me I'm not alone in struggling to relate to people. It shows that everyone has people who run away and give up on you like it's contagious. But they also have those people who stick around and are there even in the darkest of times. Also how difficult it is to function and tasks like the doing the washing up can be a day's achievement - reading someone else's account on how difficult it can be showed me it's nothing to be ashamed of. Some days you can only do what you can do and that is enough. I'd say this is a good book to give people who want to read about depression. It is also a good book to read if you have depression, but it is hard read and I would recommend reading one chapter at a time and taking breaks so it doesn't overwhelm - that's what I needed to do :)

  23. 5 out of 5

    Mariah

    Reading Sally Brampton's memoir illuminates how depression is at its core a disease of one's mind telling lies, as evidenced by Bramptom's lived experience of utter worthlessness in contrast to her having achieved success by so many outward objective measures. Tough to read knowing that despite the optimistic place Brampton was in at the conclusion of the book, she went on to lose her battle with depression.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Doreen Yun

    A very stubborn and one-sided view on the depression and mental-illnesses, although was loosened up to a certain amount towards the end where she speaks of her recovery. However, I felt it was one of the most in-depth, realistic yet haunting experiences of depression that I have come to read. As a clinically depressive myself, it was a struggle to read the book, considering how much detail she added of her frightening episodes. In the end, though, it really helped to know what she went through a A very stubborn and one-sided view on the depression and mental-illnesses, although was loosened up to a certain amount towards the end where she speaks of her recovery. However, I felt it was one of the most in-depth, realistic yet haunting experiences of depression that I have come to read. As a clinically depressive myself, it was a struggle to read the book, considering how much detail she added of her frightening episodes. In the end, though, it really helped to know what she went through and felt, in words that I myself had a hard time putting it. It reached out to me and I felt well-educated of the illness while being fully understood at the same time. It was also helpful to read of her recovery, which she put as much detail as her darkness. It opened my eyes, and got me thinking. This book really showed me what this darkness is and where to start in terms of treatment. There were some aspects where I must disagree in, but then again, one’s experience is in their perspective. Everyone will see it differently. It was still interesting for me to read another person’s perspective in this and I took notes only of what I knew I needed, and I suggest all of you to do the same. I strongly recommend this book for those with the same illness who want to make an effort in recovering. Just be prepared to feel low, considering that a huge portion of this book is heavy and dark, and remember to put down the book for awhile if you do feel unwell. Also recommended for anyone who’s loved ones have major depression.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Justin Taylor

    Brilliant book. Bought it on a whim when I couldn't find anything to read in a local bookshop. I then realised that the book was about depression. I found it fascinating to go into the mind of someone who struggles with severe depression. It has given me new eyes to see the disease and a deeper understanding of sufferers. Recommend it highly.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    This book is a combination of facts, findings and personal perspective. There is a clear divide between what is and what isn't opinion. Her writing particularly resonated with me, it was right up my alley. I often find myself too negative to relate to in literature, even with the likes of Goethe and Wilde out there, imagine that. But Sally Brampton was just as agitated as I often find myself and she has this beautiful talent for expressing her feelings. For someone who complains of a "throat mon This book is a combination of facts, findings and personal perspective. There is a clear divide between what is and what isn't opinion. Her writing particularly resonated with me, it was right up my alley. I often find myself too negative to relate to in literature, even with the likes of Goethe and Wilde out there, imagine that. But Sally Brampton was just as agitated as I often find myself and she has this beautiful talent for expressing her feelings. For someone who complains of a "throat monster", she's as eloquent as eloquent gets. Thank God for that. She voices my feelings in a way that I never could, she puts them into words with meaning, meaning I could never express. I could possess, but not express. It was educational, sad, poignant, fulfilling. I enjoyed many quotes from this book, be it hers or someone else's and the one I find most deserving a mention is this: "'The Buddhists tell us that in order to find yourself, you must lose your mind.' It is one of the most consoling things anybody has ever said to me." Ditto, Brampton.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Anthea

    Having diagnosed with depression myself, I find this book rather difficult to read. Not because it's bad but because it's too damn relate-able. The emotions, the feelings... at times I had to put it down because it gets too heavy. All depression cases are different and I felt that this book gave quite a bit of insight to the illness. That being said, I find that the book gets too technical sometimes. Especially when it comes to whether the illness is hereditary and all the antidepressants the au Having diagnosed with depression myself, I find this book rather difficult to read. Not because it's bad but because it's too damn relate-able. The emotions, the feelings... at times I had to put it down because it gets too heavy. All depression cases are different and I felt that this book gave quite a bit of insight to the illness. That being said, I find that the book gets too technical sometimes. Especially when it comes to whether the illness is hereditary and all the antidepressants the author was prescribed. I also felt that something was a bit off. Like there are some stuff that the author wasn't sharing. Or maybe it was just me. All in all it was an okay read. But I wouldn't read it the second time.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

    I would recommend this. Sally Brampton, a writer and the founding editor of Elle, describes her experience of severe depression in the early 2000s, and how she found her way back to normal life, although it's more about her illness than her recovery. I've never read anything by Brampton before, but I liked her style a lot. It's a very personal account, and she came across as honest and intelligent. The book was published ten years ago, in 2008, but I think that there are still not enough memoirs I would recommend this. Sally Brampton, a writer and the founding editor of Elle, describes her experience of severe depression in the early 2000s, and how she found her way back to normal life, although it's more about her illness than her recovery. I've never read anything by Brampton before, but I liked her style a lot. It's a very personal account, and she came across as honest and intelligent. The book was published ten years ago, in 2008, but I think that there are still not enough memoirs like this. Source of book: the public library. I actually flicked through this a couple of years back, and it's stayed in my mind ever since, so I'm glad that I've now read the whole thing.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    Sally Brampton is a successful writer and magazine editor in Britain who suffered from crippling depression for years. This book is a memoir of her struggle to deal with this depression. So far, so good. Or not so good, depending on how you feel about depression. The problem I had with the book is that Ms. Brampton spent most of her formative years living abroad since her father worked all over the world. When this successful writer and editor described herself as an "ex-patriot" rather than exp Sally Brampton is a successful writer and magazine editor in Britain who suffered from crippling depression for years. This book is a memoir of her struggle to deal with this depression. So far, so good. Or not so good, depending on how you feel about depression. The problem I had with the book is that Ms. Brampton spent most of her formative years living abroad since her father worked all over the world. When this successful writer and editor described herself as an "ex-patriot" rather than expatriate, however, I threw the book across the room.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sarah G

    Reading this as someone who has friends with depression, I found it interesting and well-written for the most part although it felt increasingly repetitive as the book went on. Maybe the constant repetition was the point though, an illustration of depression perhaps! While seeming to give a great deal of detail about herself, the more I read the more I realised that most of what she said was really quite vague. She left many unanswered questions and unsatisfactory holes in the narrative. The pat Reading this as someone who has friends with depression, I found it interesting and well-written for the most part although it felt increasingly repetitive as the book went on. Maybe the constant repetition was the point though, an illustration of depression perhaps! While seeming to give a great deal of detail about herself, the more I read the more I realised that most of what she said was really quite vague. She left many unanswered questions and unsatisfactory holes in the narrative. The pat ending felt tacked on to me, and jarred with the style and purpose of the memoir.

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