The Best Books To Manage Bloody Depression

The Books I Picked & Why

Depressive Illness: The Curse of the Strong

By Tim Cantopher

Depressive Illness: The Curse of the Strong

Why this book?

This book saved my life. And no, I’m not exaggerating. I read it at the peak of my depression when I’d lost all hope and my emotional pain was at its peak. I spent the whole time going ‘Yes! That’s me, that’s happening to me! Thank god someone understands’. 

It is short, so that you can actually finish it. This is SO important when your concentration has evaporated due to depression. It’s written by a psychiatrist who understands what your brain is doing but also, crucially, tells you what to do and emphasises how serious this illness is.


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Underneath the Lemon Tree: A Memoir of Depression and Recovery

By Mark Rice-Oxley

Underneath the Lemon Tree: A Memoir of Depression and Recovery

Why this book?

What I love about this book is the journey it takes you on, from despair to hope. At the start of the book, Mark is at the height of anguish with his depression. You read about what he did to start his recovery process; what worked and what didn’t, what he did wrong and what he got right. It gives you hope that you can make a similar journey and hope is the antidote to depression because it’s the main thing it takes from you, so it’s the main thing you need to find and cling on to; even the smallest amount of hope helps.


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I Had a Black Dog

By Matthew Johnstone

I Had a Black Dog

Why this book?

Sometimes pictures express depression better than words, and that’s the case in this beautiful, powerful and hopeful little book. Depression can be hard to describe, hard to find the words to tell other people how you feel. Matthew Johnstone uses Winston Churchill’s image of depression as a black dog and in 48 pages reveals what depression can do to you. 

This book is especially good to show to your loved ones when you’re finding it hard to express the pain of your depression.


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The Other Side of Silence: A Psychiatrist's Memoir of Depression

By Linda Gask

The Other Side of Silence: A Psychiatrist's Memoir of Depression

Why this book?

This book is a beautiful, inspiring weaving tale of a psychiatrist who has recurrent depression and has worked with people with depression. She doesn’t disguise how hard depression is, she doesn’t patronise, she explains depression from her personal point of view, explores what happened in her childhood, and explains a clinician’s point of view of depression. 

It’s embedded with bucket loads of empathy, compassion, and hope. You hear about the patients she’s helped and you come out feeling humbled and grateful for her telling her story. Very useful for professionals working in psychiatry and mental health but equally useful for those of us with this terrible illness.


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Skating To Antarctica

By Jenny Diski

Skating To Antarctica

Why this book?

This isn’t a traditional travel book and not a traditional memoir about depression, but a combination of both. Her journey to Antarctica becomes a metaphor for her mental health struggles throughout her life, starting from childhood. 

What I love about this book, and her writing in general, is the dark humour, her acerbic observations and true understanding of how paralysing and perilous depression can be. She understands how painful depression is, the depths it can take you to and seeing your own darkness reflected by someone else is both comforting and validating.


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