Coming through depression by Dr Tony Bates is a book that will make so much sense to anyone experiencing depression or low mood, and potentially play a major role for a person in finding the strength to overcome depression and all the difficulties that it presents.
It will also make a lot of sense to someone who has a loved one who is going through a tough time right now by helping them to gain a greater understanding of what their loved one is going through, with a specific chapter dedicated to helping a person to understand how they can support and help a loved one experiencing depression.
The first part of the book focuses on providing a greater understanding of depression, a vital step towards overcoming depression.
It discusses the primary signs and symptoms of depression which can generally be categorised into symptoms associated with thinking and feeling, physical symptoms, and changes in behaviour.
It then looks at some of the possible causes of depression, providing an opportunity for the reader to reflect on what they believe might be a cause of their depression.
Steps towards recovery
Part two draws on many concepts from CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) to outline a pragmatic guide towards recovery from depression. It explores many helpful behavioural changes that have been proven to produce positive changes in mood that a person might consider implementing.
It then looks at the importance of addressing unhelpful thinking patterns. The feelings and emotions that we experience are directly linked to how we think. Challenging negative and unhelpful thinking patterns and finding more balanced and alternative ways to look at ourselves and the world can be a very important step towards feeling better about life and about ourselves.
Cultivating a stronger self-image is also an essential step in working through depression as “a positive self-image is the best protection we have against recurrent depression.” The significance of nurturing a positive self-image is discussed and explored.
Maintaining resilience through mindfulness and acceptance
The practice of mindfulness has been proven to reduce relapse into recurrent major depression by 50%. The final part of this book discusses the concept of mindfulness, and the many ways we can cultivate it in our lives.
Everyone will face varying degrees of challenges and difficulties on a day to day basis and throughout life. How we respond to such difficulties and how we care for ourselves during these times will greatly impact our emotional health and wellbeing, and the likelihood of relapsing into depression.
A central theme of the book is that depression does not reflect something that is broken within an individual that they must fix or eradicate from their makeup. Rather it is an experience that provides an opportunity for growth and to discover an inner strength that cannot be broken.
Acceptance of our vulnerabilities and discovering how we bring care to ourselves and our vulnerabilities is one of the greatest discoveries a person suffering with depression might make.
Compassion & empathy
The compassion and empathy that Dr Tony Bates conveys towards those suffering with depression and to those he has worked with is strongly felt throughout the entire book, and why I believe this book has resonated with so many people and supported them in their journey through depression.
Inspiration & hope
After reading this book I believe it would be difficult to come away without some hope or without feeling inspired by the wisdom and guidance that is captured. A beautiful line that the author uses is that “It is possible for any human being to ‘lose their way’, but it is equally possible for any human being to ‘find their way’”.
While depression is a complex condition that is unique and personal to each individual experiencing it, this book can be a valuable tool for each person seeking to understand and find their way through depression.