Wed, Feb. 16th, 2005, 10:57 pm || Sheffield, Anne - How You Can Survive When They're Depressed

add to memories

(subtitle: Living and Coping with Depression Fallout)

I picked this book up for pretty obvious reasons, and because I thought it would be interesting looking at depression from the other side. It's basically the first bit of literature on depression that I've read, so I don't have much to compare it to.

Anne Sheffield suffered from what she calls depression fallout -- the fallout and often subsequent depression and emotional damage caused by living with someone who is depressed. In her case, it was her mother. She later went through a depressive episode or two of her own, and also joined a group of family members and loved ones of "depressives." I was a little weirded out by the term "depressives" and how casually Sheffield uses it ("your depressive" or "the depressive may do blah"). I personally don't like thinking of myself as a depressive. She is also extremely pro-medication, which I have yet to make my mind up about. She generally says that while talk therapy can be useful, medication is the most efficient way to get well.

Of course, I focus more on the depressed person's perspective. But Sheffield's accounts of several relationships with depressed people and the subsequent fallout really is incredibly... er... depressing. I felt like quite a monster by the time I was done with the book. I feel it probably has good advice for people who have to live with other depressed people, and it is good that there is something focusing on them. Sheffield comments more than once that the focus of books and doctors all tends to be on the depressed person instead of on those around them, which is probably true. So all in all, it probably has good advice, but it was still pretty painful reading it and thinking about all the nasty stuff I inflict on other people.