The down-to-earth practical advice. The willingness to admit that some people are just assholes, and we have to learThe things I loved about this book:
The down-to-earth practical advice. The willingness to admit that some people are just assholes, and we have to learn to live with them. The FANTASTIC chart about different therapy options.
Things I didn't like so well:
When I got this from the library, I thought it was more of a "philosophy of life" sort of self-help book. It's really not, though; the main over-arching idea is that you can't solve all the world's problems and neither can therapy, which is great. The book itself isn't really a good one to read from cover-to-cover, though, because it becomes a bit repetitive. If the general vibe of the book appeals, I'd recommend keeping it around as a reality check for life's little problems.
So, it's not a super engaging read. What really knocked a star off for me, though, was that there's some fairly not-awesome glibness that pops up occasionally. The sidebar on "dating a Borderline" rubbed me the wrong way because of the way it reduces a person with Borderline Personality Disorder to their illness, and because I felt it encouraged armchair diagnosis. All of the behaviors discussed could have just as easily slid nicely into the chapter on dealing with assholes, without stigmatizing a diagnosis that's already incredibly stigmatized. I also thought the commentary on what causes people to become abusive could have been skipped, for similar reasons.
Still, overall this was a nice antidote to self-help books that make it seem as though you are capable of solving all the problems, and if you can't, it must be your fault....more
This was a quick, engaging, and thought-provoking read. The early chapters, about how psychopathy is diagnosed and about the ways it appears in criminThis was a quick, engaging, and thought-provoking read. The early chapters, about how psychopathy is diagnosed and about the ways it appears in criminals and others are very interesting, but a bit old hat if you've read The Sociopath Next Door or similar. Where I thought it got really interesting is in Ronson's reflections on how he uses the "psychopath test" and in the ways such tools can be exploited or misapplied by journalists, armchair profilers, doctors, and others. At times I wished the book was a little less breezy, but it's more Ronson's style to bring up serious issues and make you go "hmmm," then follow it up with a joke or a pithy observation to keep the pages turning....more
This is a superb children's book that handles the concepts of PTSD and of service dogs exceptionally well. The language used is age-appropriate, but dThis is a superb children's book that handles the concepts of PTSD and of service dogs exceptionally well. The language used is age-appropriate, but doesn't talk down to kids at all; by using the perspective of Luis's service dog, the story describes the physical and psychological effects of war in a matter-of-fact and grounded way. The photos are beautiful and vibrant as well. There is just so much to love about this book. Definitely a worthy addition to any library or classroom collection....more
This is volume one of the awesome memoir of a young man growing up in France in the 1960s and 70s. David's older brother, Jean-Christophe, suffers froThis is volume one of the awesome memoir of a young man growing up in France in the 1960s and 70s. David's older brother, Jean-Christophe, suffers from intractable epilepsy, sometimes suffering multiple seizures per day. When all medical science can offer is doping Jean-Christophe into catatonia or risky surgery that could lead to blindness or worse, David's parents start to seek answers in alternative medicine and spiritualism.
The artwork and storytelling is truly impressive. David's complex black and white drawings range freely over the page, slotting into new configurations, and the story itself ranges widely in time as well.
I am really looking forward to reading the second half of this memoir....more
Psychiatric and Behavioral Disorders in Israel is not exactly a recreational read, but it will prove to beThis is a LibraryThing Early Reviewer book.
Psychiatric and Behavioral Disorders in Israel is not exactly a recreational read, but it will prove to be an excellent tool to those studying psychiatric disorders. Perhaps most helpful and interesting are the papers on anxiety disorders, PTSD, and mood disorders that tend to specifically be related to high-stress environments. Israel is the sort of place where it would be difficult to live without being exposed directly or indirectly to war and social turmoil, and thus it is in some ways a perfect laboratory for the study of the real life effects of the aformentioned disorders. This book offers an excellent survey of the existing literature relating to these disorders in Israel....more
I really enjoyed this book, which records one year of treating a woman addicted to Vicodin. It really isn't "Lucy's" story, however; it's really a medI really enjoyed this book, which records one year of treating a woman addicted to Vicodin. It really isn't "Lucy's" story, however; it's really a meditation from Stein on the nature of addiction and its treatment, and the role of the doctor in this situation.
Lucy's story really isn't all that special. Really, she is just an in, a focal point for Stein's musings. The book as a whole is fascinating reading, though, particularly for the window it gives into the though processes of one doctor. I love knowing things like what it's like for a male doctor to give a female patient a physical exam, or what it's like to give a physical exam, period. Small things, like trying to observe all one can in the first pass, lest one cause undue stress by focusing on one part of the body more closely ("he looked at that spot on my arm a second time -- there must be something wrong!"). Reading a patient's body language to learn what their boundaries are. Those are the things that were most interesting about this book. I would recommend it to those who enjoyed Atul Gawande's books; those who are interested in addiction and its treatment will find it interesting, but probably not as informative as they would have liked....more
An interesting book, but as it turns out, not precisely what I was looking for. It's much more philosophical and not so readily applicable to concreteAn interesting book, but as it turns out, not precisely what I was looking for. It's much more philosophical and not so readily applicable to concrete situations. Still, if you're interested in how Freudian psychology has evolved and how it relates to personal relationships, this is an interesting read....more
This is a biting, sarcastic, and incredibly honest portrayal of depression. Brampton refuses to pull any punches or give herself any slack. She descriThis is a biting, sarcastic, and incredibly honest portrayal of depression. Brampton refuses to pull any punches or give herself any slack. She describes how she was openly hostile toward treatment (with sometimes hilarious results -- as someone who's been tempted to derail Cognitive Behavioral Therapy out of sheer cussedness, I couldn't stop laughing about her stubbornness in group therapy), was frequently a dangerously noncompliant patient, and very nearly derailed everything by developing a massive drinking problem along with her depression. She also really gets at the physical feelings that accompany depression; the way that it feels as though not only one's mind, but one's body is rebelling.
Other reviews have mentioned that the author behaved selfishly, foolishly, and was incredibly self-absorbed. Yes, yes, and yes. This is one of the reasons I loved this book. It really gets at the simultaneous self-loathing and self-centeredness that characterizes severe depression, and I applaud Sally Brampton for having the guts to portray herself as thoroughly unpleasant.
The only real flaw in the writing is that this book could probably have stood a little more organization; Brampton occasionally jumps around in time, making it a little difficult to discern which hospitalization she's talking about, or how long many of her issues persisted. It's not nearly as bad in this regard as Teri Cheney's Manic, but it could still stand some tightening up.
My only other issue is that she describes her depression as medication-resistant -- which definitely happens -- but doesn't really make a strong connection between the meds not working and the fact that she was drinking enormous amounts of alcohol at the same time. I have to wonder if, now that she is sober, she might have more success with antidepressants. On the other hand, she has found other effective ways of coping with and controlling her depression, so I can't really blame her for not wanting to get on the meds-go-round again.
Oh, one last comment -- this is really random, but I loved that she pointed out that meditation, while very effective for doing mental housecleaning once one is in recovery, can actual be detrimental if one is in the throes of a deep depression. A great number of people have suggested meditation to me as a means to heal my depression, not realizing that someone who is deeply depressed is not particularly adept at clearing their mind and thinking calming thoughts, etc., and it may actually just offer an opportunity for uninterrupted destructive thinking....more
This was a bit heavy on psychoanalysis for my taste, although I've read that Miller eventually distanced herself from psychoanalysis (as opposed to psThis was a bit heavy on psychoanalysis for my taste, although I've read that Miller eventually distanced herself from psychoanalysis (as opposed to psychotherapy) as a viable method of treating mental illness. Miller seems to believe that most forms of mental illness result from childhood trauma, a view I'm not particularly comfortable with, as I believe most if not all mental illness has a biological component. Still, there are positives here, as well; Miller's exhortation to both parents and mental health providers to examine one's childhood in order to avoid projecting problems onto one's own children or patients is a point very well taken. Still, I am uncomfortable with the idea that if one has mental health problems, one must have suffered some kind of abuse (either emotional or physical), whether one consciously recalls it or not. I think it is helpful to reflect on the past and realize that the unspoken lessons we learn in childhood have long-lasting ramifications, but I also think that there is ample evidence that one does not have to have been damaged by one's parents in order to suffer from depression or anxiety. ...more
The more I think about this book, the more impressed I feel with how useful it is. So often, information about avoiding danger that is given to peopleThe more I think about this book, the more impressed I feel with how useful it is. So often, information about avoiding danger that is given to people, particularly women, is unhelpful, dangerous, sexist, and/or serves only to feed into paranoia.
De Becker, in contrast, draws a strong distinction between the culture of fear that we live in (where TV news and email forwards cultivate fear of dangers that are unlikely to occur), and fear as an instinctive tool one can use to protect oneself. He points out repeatedly that there is a difference between helpful fear and anxiety/worry, and that one must learn to quell the voices of paranoia that (for example) tell one that every individual walking down the street is a potential attacker, so that when one encounters someone who actually is a potential attacker, one can "hear" one's fear.
In addition to advising the reader to listen to his/her fear, de Becker also gives helpful tips regarding behaviors to watch for. Does someone refuse to accept "no" for an answer, after it's clearly stated? Do they seek to allay your discomfort by creating camraderie where there is none (using a lot of "we" statements)? Do they seem overly interested, or supply way too many details for someone you've just met?
De Becker doesn't just focus on encounters with strangers or near-strangers (such as dates one has just met). He also spends a great deal of time discussing domestic abuse and child abuse and the way fear functions in these relationships. There is also a great deal of information on workplace violence and ways it can be avoided, which should be required reading for any manager or hiring officer. The only time the book seemed somewhat irrelevant was in the later chapters, where de Becker discusses celebrity stalking and assasinations/assasination attempts. These chapters are interesting from a human behavior standpoint, but are less readily applicable.
Overall, I would recommend this to everyone, but particularly to women like me who sometimes have trouble balancing safety with the desire not to let anxiety rule their lives....more