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Understanding self-deception, self-sabotage, and more

Growing from Depression: A Self-Help Guide

How depression can be good for you.

The electronic version of my recent self-help book on depressionGrowing from Depression, is currently free on Amazon.

Growing from Depression was 'highly commended' in the 2011 British Medical Association Book Awards. Meanwhile, the British Journal of Psychiatry called the book 'a comprehensive, sympathetic, and thought-provoking guide for those who want to explore their depression in more depth and who are motivated to make long-term changes in their ways of thinking and their lifestyle. 

The book gave rise to a TED talk, The Anatomy of Melancholy: Can Depression be Good for You? which you can see here.

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Growing from Depression is a counterintuitive, perhaps even provocative title for a self-help guide on depression, but I chose it for what I think are three very good reasons.

- First, I wanted to challenge perceptions of people with depression. Rather than being 'lazy' or 'losers', they are often among some of the most ambitious, truthful, and courageous of all people.

- Second, whereas getting ill is never a good thing, depression can present a precious opportunity to recognise and to address difficult life problems. This can lead not only to a better future, but also to a more refined perspective and deeper understanding of one's life and of life in general.

- Third, and perhaps most obviously, the journey out of depression is one of learning: learning about oneself, of course, but also learning about the many life skills that are covered in the book, skills such as defeating thinking errors, managing stress and anxiety, building confidence and self-esteem, building relationships, eating healthily, and getting a good night's sleep. These skills should not only help the depressed person to get better, but also to stay better and to enjoy a better quality of life than ever before. 

As I said, if you are depressed or know someone who is, you can download the book for free from Amazon until this Sunday. I hope you find or they find it helpful.

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Neel Burton, M.D., is a psychiatrist, philosopher, and writer who lives and teaches in Oxford, England.

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