Self help books get a bad rap sometimes, I think. They’re seen as the province of walking, talking “Cathy” cartoons and hippie-dippie-fruit-loop types. That couldn’t be less true: there are many different types of self-help books for all kinds of problems. Some books are more spiritual while others are more practical, as in teaching you techniques of coping with depression and anxiety. Not only is a good self-help book cheaper than paying for therapy — even if it’s just a co-pay!— but you can circle sections, fold over pages, and come back to them whenever you read.
I scoured my own bookshelf and that of The Frisky staff to find the best self-help books we’ve ever read — ones that actually work!
This piece is part of The Frisky’s How To Deal Week, in which we’re tackling mental health issues.
You’ve noticed that your partner seems sad, irritable, or overly critical. Maybe he has expressed hopelessness or guilt. You have noticed a loss of interest in his usual activities, concentration trouble, or changes in his sleep pattern. All these could be signs that your man is struggling with some form of depression.
Depression isn’t only hard for him; mood disturbances also have a big impact on your relationship. But how do you bring up the subject? Many men have difficulty talking about their feelings in the first place. The prospect of having a mental healthdisorder is difficult to hear for anyone. Even gentle suggestions that the problem may lie within himself will likely not be appreciated.
As the saying goes, “People don’t care what you know until they know that you care.” So what can you do to help? Let me start by explaining what not to do.
1. Don’t say “Look on the bright side.” People with depression may have a long list of what is wrong with the world. You as a non-depressed person may not agree and will want to convince your partner otherwise. Read more …
Wow, I never thought I’d see the day: Special K is about to get a makeover! Remember the drug’s sleazy clubbing days in the ’90s? The highly-addictive drug, called ketamine, started off as a humble animal tranquilizer but worked its ways into the hottest night spots, sending users into an ecstasy that made time stand still — or, more accurately, into a “dissociative anesthesia” that could lead to a psychotic breakdown.
But here’s the latest twist in ketamine’s history: It could revolutionize the way depression is treated. I’m not talking your garden-variety blues. This is for real, serious, deep, clinical depression. How could something so toxic for club kids be so helpful for people who are ill? Read more...
What do you do when one of the things you used to like about yourself the most, looking back, becomes one of the things that you like about yourself the least?
From as young as I can remember, a rocket ship of ambition propelled me forward in all that I did. I didn’t — and still don’t — have a wide variety of interests, because writing was where I excelled. I threw everything into it. My parents, of course, fanned the flames of this. They loved having a daughter who made them proud.
And I loved getting some attention. My older brother Eliot*, his bipolar disorder and his drug and alcohol addictions, consumed most of my parents’ energy and nearly all of their attention. I wrote a poem when I was 13 or 14 that I can remember to this day because it still applies to my life sometimes. It was called “Measuring Cups” and it was about parents struggling to measure out love and attention equally amongst their children, but failing. When I was that young, the best way I could find attention, short of developing a heroin addiction myself, was to impress my parents with awards and articles and prizes and accolades. There was no confusion about this lifestyle, no hard choices to make. All I had to do was whatever made me look the best. Keep reading »
Philly, how you feeling? Everything okay? According to info from Google, you guys are the most depressed city in the country. At least based on your Googling habits. According to researchers, Philadelphians search for depression-related terms more than people from any other city. And that kind of makes sense, considering Pennsylvania is the most depressed state in the country, based on the same set of criteria. Also in the top five most depressed cities: Dallas, Texas; Chicago, Illinois, Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Seattle, Washington.
Now, before you feel too morose about your town making the list (compounding your no doubt already morose feelings), think of it this way — maybe it’s just that people in your city are more proactive about exploring their emotions, while those of us in other cities and towns are just shoving our emotions down and eating our feelings. Yes, that’s it. [PsychCentral]