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Out of the Nightmare: Recovery from Depression and Suicidal Pain 1st Edition

14 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1879204003
ISBN-10: 1879204002
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Editorial Reviews


The subtitle of this book is misleading: suicide, not depression, is the main topic here. Conroy, executive director of Suicide Prevention Resources in New York City, believes that the most effective way to treat and prevent suicide is to "decompose" it into simple matrix elements: shame, envy, self-pity, grandiosity, fear, stigma, and prejudice. By recovering from each of these maladies, he asserts, the would-be suicide can rejoin the world of the mentally healthy. If this sounds a bit onedimensional, it is. Though research increasingly points to a biochemical, genetically inherited culprit in severe depression and study after study indicates that pharmacological intervention plus therapy is the most effective form of treatment, Conroy insists dubiously - that recovery can be both simple and drug-free. The book's main flaw is that it never targets its audience. It promises to be useful to counselors, grieving survivors, and those in the early stages of recovery, but this is too broad an ambition. The writing is singularly dense and academic: it's doubtful that anyone in emotional turmoil will have the patience or objectivity necessary to wade through - much less make use of - the material on recovery. -- From Independent Publisher

About the Author

David L. Conroy, Ph.D., served as Executive Director of a New York City non-profit suicide prevention organization. He writes from the perspective of someone who suffered severe depression for ten years, and is now seventeen years into recovery from that condition.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 364 pages
  • Publisher: New Liberty Press; 1st edition (July 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1879204002
  • ISBN-13: 978-1879204003
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,401,099 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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86 of 88 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 11, 1998
Format: Paperback
"Out of the Nightmare" is primarily responsible for my recovery from twenty years of suicidal pain. I have read many books on suicide, but David Conroy is the ONLY author who obviously understands first-hand what it feels like to be suicidal. He states: "Suicide is not chosen; it happens when pain exceeds resources for coping with pain." That simple approach relieved me of the burden of guilt that most suicidal people feel about being suicidal, which exacerbates their pain. It helped me understand that by simply increasing my coping resources, and working on the individual sources of my pain, I could untangle the web of darkness that leads to suicidal feelings.
Dr. Conroy understands the thoughts and fears of suicidal people, and offers a clear, non-judgmental, morally neutral path to recovery.
Dr. Conroy also shows how many people - including therapists, counselors, and loved ones who intend to be helpful - often actually make a suicidal person's pain worse, and deter them from seeking help. He offers concrete suggestions from his vast experience for how to help a suicidal person, and empowers the suicidal with permission to resist the harm that is unwittingly inflicted on them.
I am alive today because of this book. Many therapists and counselors have "theories" about suicide that were formed in classrooms and laboratories. David Conroy's approach was formed in the real world, and it's a real-world, practical approach to true relief from the nightmare of suicidal pain.
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57 of 59 people found the following review helpful By JDB - Fort Worth, TX on April 18, 2000
Format: Paperback
Dr. David Conroy's Book "Out of the Nightmare - Recovery from Suicidal Pain" was the definitive source of "reason" for me, at a time when nothing made sense. The idea that people caught in suicidal pain could break out of their own hell to see some light by removing social stigma and aversion one piece at a time was as remarkable as it was refreshing. Now that I have this information, I can see through the accusations that the suicidal are manipulative, vengeful, aggressive people choosing between life and death like deciding which shoes to wear. That pain, be it physical or psychological, can be relieved through careful selection of coping resources. I agree that the book appears to attack mainstream psychology, and could be initially distressing to someone in suicidal pain, but the reader will quickly discover that the attacks are not about them but about the fears that drive society to such hostile aversion for those in pain. Once the reader realizes the absurdity of society's notion that "every human being has sufficient will power to tolerate any level of pain for any length of time" then the book takes on a new perspective. The author systematically addresses each pain, laying it bare and exposed for the myth that it is, and offers clear direction on how to remove their power of hopelessness and despair. It also provides excellent information about how to get the most from your psychologist meetings, and how to know when it's time to find better help. Suicide, for the majority of humanity, is not a solution with motives and goals that are ruthlessly pursued. Depression, driven by psychological pain, is not the cognitive thought process as so many "experts" try to model.Read more ›
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59 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Martha Ainsworth on December 14, 1999
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
We have a cultural mythology that oppresses the suicidal. The mythology adds to their pain, makes it harder for them to get help, and greatly contributes to suicide. Suicidal people suffer pain on more than one level: not only the emotional pain that makes them consider ending their lives, but pain that is unintentionally inflicted on them by well-meaning people who say terribly unhelpful things to them. "That's not enough to be suicidal about." "He only took 15 pills, he wasn't serious." "Anyone who tries to kill himself has got to be crazy." "I thought you were stronger than that." "You're just looking for attention." "Cheer up, it's a beautiful day." As if suicidal persons weren't feeling bad enough already, our thoughtless attitudes can cause them to feel guilt and shame, and keep them from getting help in time. Dr. Conroy blasts apart the myths of suicide, and looks at suicidal feelings from the inside, in a down to earth, non-judgmental way. This is a book that will save lives by washing away the stigma of suicide and opening the door to a real way out of the nightmare.
Conroy ruthlessly debunks suicide myths: that it is volitional, that it is morally wrong, that the suicidal are weak and selfish. He helps us understand the fears of the suicidal - and our own fears that drive the stigma of suicide.
The book is a pretty dense read. It requires patience because there are a lot of ideas packed into this book. If you are a suicidal person, read it in small bites; the ideas are so radical that they may send you reeling with relief. But you will know right away that the author understands, and doesn't blame you for what you are feeling. And you'll find out that there are people out there who really can help.
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