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.
You can find my other reviews on the MH@H book review index or on Goodreads.
Managing the Depression Puzzle takes a holistic look at the different potential pieces that might fit into your unique depression puzzle.
24 thoughts on “Book Review: How to Tell Depression to Piss Off”
thanks so much for sharing
Sound like a fun book with a great deal of humor. Laughter is also a good medicine 🙂
Yes it is.
Thanks for the great review Ashley. I’ve seen this book around but haven’t read it. I like his comical take on depression and I’ve said similar in the past – that if depression was a person, I’d punch it in the face, so I think it’s something I could read — if I needed to lol 🙂
Depression definitely deserves a good punch in the face!
Haha, same. I’d give it a good face punch.
Lol, funny 😉 Caz x
You had me at “selfish, deplorable, attention-seeking, lying piece of smelly vomit.”
This is a beautifully written review.
Sounds like a good read though even hurting an imaginary bird is not something I could do lol 😆
Yeah, better to take on something more size-appropriate 😉
This sounds great! I love when authors infuse humor into serious subject matter in a way that works!
Yeah he did a good job of that.
This book sounds right up my street – I love it when they keep things quite informal and don’t go over the top with the jargon, and I especially love the use of humour too. Thank you for sharing this review, I wasn’t aware of this book until now so it’s gone straight on my wishlist 🙂
Yeah, it’s a fun one.
One for my list! I’m currently reading The Body keeps the score… written by a psychiatric doctor. It really helps me to understand some of my reactions/triggers. Love it when a book speaks to you and isn’t just a load of cobblers written by people who don’t know anything. 🤔 xx
The Body Keeps the Score has been on my to-read list for a while now, but I haven’t gotten to it yet.
A lot of people on a few ptsd groups I follow were talking about it. So thought I’d have a look, usually I get really triggered by things like that but it’s so good. 😌
Ok, I gotta add this one to my list! I love British humor and I could use a good laugh and commiseration about depression.
British humour is so much fun!
I’m going to look this up