How to Tell Depression to Piss Off: 40 Ways to Get Your Life is written by James Withey, who has experienced depression personally and as a mental health professional, and is the creator of The Recovery Letters project. He draws on both perspectives in laying out 40 different strategies that can be helpful in overcoming depression.
The author brings a light-hearted, humorous tone to the subject. There’s plenty of British slang, which I loved. There’s something about “Depression is a git. Truly it is.” that just doesn’t sound quite as satisfying in North American slang.
The casual, non-clinical language makes this book very accessible for people who aren’t interested in psychobabble or therapist-speak. While it’s not explicitly geared towards men, I think it would go over very well with male readers.
The book is broken into short chapters that don’t need to be read sequentially, which helps to make it depression-friendly. Some fun illustrations are scattered throughout.
The author emphasizes the importance of getting help to get through depression. The message that depression lies to you is a theme that comes up repeatedly throughout the book. The reader is reassured you’re not the only one dealing with this illness; “there are many other crazies out there.”
One of the strategies suggested in the book is imagining your depression as something external (e.g. a cuckoo bird), and then giving it a beating. “Take that you buggering stupid bird. You think you’re going to get in my head today? Well, you’re not.”
Another favourite of mine was the suggestion that you get angry at your depression “You are a selfish, deplorable, attention-seeking, lying piece of smelly vomit.”
The author addresses the issue of pill-shaming, and emphasizes the importance of good communication with your doctor so you’re well-informed. There’s quite a funny script of talking to his rather slow on the uptake doctor using a metaphor for sexual side effects of antidepressants. He also admits he got hooked on sleeping pills and the “withdrawals were like fighting a 75-foot dragon with a withering fairy duster.”
The book offers a good mix of suggestions, and the author effectively uses humour to convey the message. Overall, it’s a great read.
How to Tell Depression to Piss Off is available on Amazon (affiliate link).
I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.