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on April 15, 1999
Finally, something helpful for that interminable time when you're in the middle of a six-month bout of severe depression. It helped me to minimise the fear of long-lasting depression and the thoughts that maybe it will never pass. Maybe it won't (though we all know depressions usually eventually lift, but it's impossible to believe this at the time), but at least this book says: "Hey, there are some good things about being depressed." And it tells you what these are, so you can appreciate this awful state of mind for a few moments. Much easier to digest when you're depressed than those useless and offensive "Think Bright And Happy Thoughts"-style of books.
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on April 29, 1999
I have found his book very helpful to me when I am awake in the middle of the night and focused on my depression. The exercises at the end of the brief, useful chapters are a calm voice leading me back to letting me relax again. The table of contents allows me to look for the topic that strikes the most immediate note for me. I love this book and recommend it heartily, whether you take medication for depression or not.
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on March 1, 2002
What makes this book so helpful is its tone. It pulls off the very difficult task of showing us how to face the pain of depression (and the emotions and thoughts that lie beneath it) while at the same time providing comfort and compassion for the suffering associated with depression. It is a book that can be read safely by those in the midst of depression. It will not add to the self imposed burdens and self-reproaches that come with depression. Rather, the reader is helped to see herself the way we would look at someone very dear to us who needs both unconditional love and limits, acceptance and encouragement. The book, written into two to three page chapters with meditation exercises at the end combines non-technical insight about depression with heartfelt advice about surviving and, if possible, benefitting spiritually from it. It is a book that helps us receive and re-discover self-acceptance, courage and gratitude.
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on January 12, 2000
This book came to my attention just when I really needed it.
Don't confuse this volume with the fuzzy-minded dreck filling the shelves of your local New Age bookstore. Martin's writing is simple and lucid, tempered by years of zazen under the guidance of an authentic master of the Soto school. He invites you to recognize your depression as an opportunity to grow, and as a teacher. The modest exercises offered at the end of most chapters cannot fail to help a sincere student.
Non-Buddhists will discover much of value here, but Zen students will find it especially rewarding. Many passages earned the approval of my day-glo hilighter. I will return to this little book of wisdom again and again.
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on March 21, 2001
Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy by D. Burns and Philip Martin's book are the most important books I have ever read to deal with profound depression. I have been hospitalized for depression and now live a healthy, happy, successful life with a challenging career, good friends, and liesure activities I love and enjoy.
Moving INTO your depression, instead of escaping from it, is the most important thing you can do to heal. You must practice Zen in order to build the habit of doing this. It is challenging. Pema Chodron's book "When Things Fall Apart" was a very comforting book, but did not offer the strong medicine necessary to deal with serious, profound depression. Philip Martin's does.
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on November 26, 2000
In late 1999 I experienced a 9 week period of extreme anxiety followed by profound depression. This book helped me hang on although I wanted to end my life. I felt that the author did not pull any punches. That is, he wrote about the experience of depression from the perspective known only by those who have been there. His words rang true, and although he did not candy coat the experience of depression he found a way of helping me understand that I could live through it, as he had. I greatly appreciate this book and recommend it to anyone going through depression or wanting a deeper understanding of the perspective of those who are.
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on March 9, 2000
This book doesn't deal with the psychiatry of the mind in traditional terms. Any person suffering from depression will immediately realize that the FEELINGS they have and have experienced in the past are not unique. The triggers might be unique, but the loneliness, the sense that time has slowed down, the sensation of being stuck in the thickest of mud, those feelings are not unique. This book helps a person understand how to use the experience in a positive way instead of becoming lost in the psychobabble that traditional psychiatrists use to explain why a person becomes depressed. Most people suffering depression want to find a way to feel better--immediately--not sink deeper into a state of melancholy while reading a medical thesis. The chapters are short and to the point and offer a person an opportunity to think about the triggers in their lives which have brought them to this same point again and again. Once a person knows what has made them sad and depressed, they can recognize it in the future and deal with the triggers as they happen and not later on when they feel the worst.
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on March 13, 2006
I found this little pearl a couple of years ago hidden on the shelves of a large bookshop, amidst a load of dross.

It's a beautiful book, simply and gently written, which assists you to reflect on aspects of your thinking and feeling that may be contributing to depression.

Each chapter is brief, with a page or so of discussion about a topic such as anger. loss, etc, and then a few paragraphs to read and reflect on .

i have found the book personally helpful, and have also been able to use some sections for mindfulness practice in a DBT skills group.

Two colleagues who have experienced significant depressive episodes have found it helpful, and recently I bought a new copy from Amazon for one colleague who had taken to carrying my copy with her to dip into periodically throughout her day.

Each section is brief enough that even if you are depressed and your concentration is impaired you could still complete a chapter. I would recommend it for a depressed person as it has a gentle, non judgemental flavour to it.

I hope you gain as much from it as I have done. Even though I have now had this book for some years I still enjoy reading it and reflecting on its contents, which is unusual in my experience of books about depression.
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on June 25, 2000
I found this to be a nice, graceful book, but something that is best suited for people who are feeling a bit "sad" rather than really depressed. For the Buddhist approach to dealing with difficulty and depression, Pema Chodron's "When Things Fall Apart" hits the mark with much more resonance.
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on December 1, 2012
I just purchased the book a few minutes ago and have not read it yet, i will read it of that there is no doubt.

But what i noticed after opening it is the Kindle version is not the book that is pictured. The (Plus) bits are not included, aparently only the paperback version has these. Loking at the table of contents for the paperback you will see there is a chapter at the very end about the "Authors further indites". This chapter is not present in the Kindle version. Also the cover of the Kindle version is different, obviously since it is not the current release of the book.

Very disapointed in Amazon for this false advertising.
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