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How You Can Survive When They're Depressed: Living and Coping with Depression Fallout [Paperback]

Anne Sheffield , Mike Wallace , Donald F. Klein M.D.
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
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Book Description

May 18 1999
Each year more than 17 million Americans suffer from a depressive illness, yet few suffer in solitude. How You Can Survive When They're Depressed explores depression from the perspective of those who are closest to the sufferers of this prevalent disorder--spouses, parents, children, and lovers--and gives the successful coping strategies of many people who live with a clinical depressive or manic-depressive and often suffer in silence, believing their own problems have no claim to attention.

Depression fallout is the emotional toll on the depressive's family and close friends who are unaware of their own stressful reactions and needs. Sheffield outlines the five stages of depression fallout: confusion, self-doubt, demoralization, anger, and finally, the desire to escape. Many people will find relief in the knowledge that their self-blame, guilt, sadness, and resentment are a natural result of living with a depressed person.
Sheffield brings together many real-life examples from the pioneering support group she attends at Beth Israel Medical Center of how people with depression fallout have learned to cope. From setting boundaries to maintaining an outside social life, she gives practical tactics for handling the challenges and emotional stresses on a day-to-day basis.

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Product Description

From Amazon

"Depression fallout" is the emotional upheaval suffered by the friends and family members of someone who's depressed. Because at any given time, 17 million Americans are suffering from depression, there's a huge number of people suffering from this, says author Anne Sheffield, the daughter of a depressive. She compassionately recalls situations discussed in her support group at New York City's esteemed Beth Israel Hospital to illustrate how "co-sufferers" can successfully cope with their grief, confusion, guilt, and reduced self-esteem.

One of the most overlooked yet thoroughly damaged lots of depression fallout victims, she says, are the toddlers and children of depressed mothers. Children with behavioral problems at home and in school may be struggling for attention they don't get from a depressed parent. She writes, "Although a depressed parent of either sex creates problems for a child, the bulk of the research on parental depression and its effects on young children has zeroed in on the mother, because she is the center of a young child's existence: the primary nurturer, teacher, and emotional and social contact. Ideally, a mother is a good listener, communicator, and problem solver; authoritative without being authoritarian; warm and consistent; and tolerant and patient. Mothers in the grip of depression are often just the opposite: harsh, critical, impatient, irritable, and unaffectionate. And because one in every four women will suffer serious depression at some time in her life--more often than not, right in the middle of her prime childbearing years of twenty-five to thirty-five--the research findings are applicable to a very substantial number of children."

Without being flippant, Sheffield inserts bits of humor into the book. She describes what she calls "sticky-flypaper depressives" as those who blame themselves for everything and anything that has ever gone wrong, whether it be a relationship, or, as one psychiatrist recalled from one patient's session, "the bad Broadway season of 1947." She also gives a thorough analysis of the many causes of depression, illustrates the five stages of depression fallout, and considers the benefits and downfalls of psychotherapy and how a fallout victim may be affected by it. Sheffield offers reassuring advice on how fallout victims can defuse stress and rebuild their self-esteem and social lives, abundant resources and references for support groups and informational organizations, and an extensive list of medications commonly used for the treatment of mental disorders. No matter what the age or relationship of the fallout victim, How You Can Survive When They're Depressed will prove to be a much-needed dose of sympathy. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"Anne Sheffield has guided me to fresh recognitions of myself . . . I wish we'd had this book decades ago."        
--Rose Styron

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
AT ANY GIVEN MOMENT, APPROXIMATELY 17 million Americans are suffering from a depressive illness. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
By LMo
After living with a depressed partner for 3 years, I was at my wits' end about the lethargy, the crying, the emotional distancing. I bought about 10 books on living with a depressed loved one, and not only did I think that Anne Sheffield's book was the most helpful, but my partner also read it and he said that it was the most accurate description of what he saw me going through.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who has a depressed loved one in their lives.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Warning April 16 2000
By A Customer
I purchased this book for my husband to better understand my problem with depression. After reading these great reviews, I was very hopeful that the book would help him understand and be more compassionate. But quite the contrary happened. It created a monster, my husband became very uncaring, insensitive and hateful. Only concerned with his fallout problem, and no long caring ennough to love me through my depression. After reading the book, my husband concluded that he is at no fault for the problems in our marriage, and because Anne Sheffield says that he doesn't have to "put up" with my depression, and that he is to "walk away" when we are having a discussion whenever he feels like it, it leaves the depressed person even more depressed. Since he has read this book it has totally devestated our marriage, and he has told me he is leaving me and wants a divorce. Because, Anne implies that many marriages wont withstand depression, he doesn't want to even try anymore. She did a good job of describing the depressed person. However, what I didn't like was that it was all one sided. The responses from the "fallout" victims, were just that, only from the "fallout" victims. What caused the depressed person to react the way they did. One guy on his wedding night was shut out. Did he possibly do something that caused that reaction from his wife. Did he say something or do something inexcusable that made her say "don't touch me". These things we'll never know. Obviously this book has been very helpful for the fallouts, but what effect has it had on the depressed? On me, it feels like it has literally ruined my life.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Anne Sheffield is a lifesaver Feb. 11 2004
I've learnt so much about depression from this book. Coping strategies, what medications are available and how they work, and their side-effects, and most importantly that I'm not alone in this. This book has given me tremendous insight. In these pages, I discovered that my husband did not have unipolar depression, as we thought, but atypical depression, which is treated differently. It has given me hope, and inspired me to search for all the possible solutions. The book is also well-written and very easy to read, as opposed to many other books on the subject, some of which were so technical that it put me to sleep. Thank you, Anne Sheffield, for truly making a difference in my marriage.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Revised review:Anne's book is so special. Jan. 26 2004
I have been re-reading Anne's book:"How To Survive When They're Depressed",it is wonderful. I did not realize,belatedly till recently,that it is I that must change,not the depressives that I live with. Anne's book has given me renewed courage and faith and hope,along with inner strength in order to survive. It has been a long and hard journey for me. Anne deserves a vote of thanks,for trying to help those who suffer so much from depression fallout,that it can literally almost destroy the depression fallout victim.
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This book leaves alot to be desired!! There is little or nothing to help sons or brothers of depressed sisters and mothers!! It's draining living with depressed dysfunctional family members,and this book,while interesting,gives short shift to sons and brothers of depressed mothers and sisters!! I have both Anne's books,I've been on her former Web Site,called mentally ill,I'm not-I live with this,I suffer from diabetes,learning disabled,back pain, I guess the title is misleading-oh,they'll survive,me? Not sure. Anne needs to do more research.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great source of support and comfort July 8 2002
By Dawn
A couple years ago, my depressed boyfriend and I were having lots of trouble in our relationship. I was reading reviews for different books on the subject when I came across this one. I read a review by a woman who said this book helped her realize that her husband was still in there somewhere, hidden by the depression. I started crying right at my desk and I knew I had to get this book. This book helps you understand how your partner's depression affects you. I didn't realize how much damage it had done to my self-esteem to be around someone who suffered from depression. It just eats away at you and hurts you in ways that you wouldn't even think of. After reading this, it made sense why we were having so many problems and made our efforts to work on these problems much more fruitful. You have to know the ways their depression has affected you before you can start making it better. That relationship is over now but I am doing very well and I give credit to what I learned in this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars WOW! Sept. 23 2001
By A Customer
Anne lays out in strightforward terms a plan for how to stand your ground and get the peace of mind for yourself and help for your loved one. She helps you shift the blame from "him/her" to the IT (depression). This book no doubt saved my sanity as a spouse of a depressed person as well as my marriage and quite possibly the life of my spouse. Unbelievable quality and honesty in her writing. I was able to apply the teachings the day a read them. Thank you Anne!!
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Most recent customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Dissapointment
I bought this boyfreind for the man I will be marrying; to help him understand his role in my clinical depression. This book is AWFUL. Read more
Published on March 9 2003 by Aimee
1.0 out of 5 stars A depressed view of depression
The author has an obvious slant for using medication as a quick solution. Supporting the pharmaceutical industry for a life time and giving up sex is not what I call healing. Read more
Published on March 25 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars Best of its genre
As the mother of a depressed adult woman, I've read several books in an attempt to understand what SHE is dealing with, and how it is affecting the rest of the family. Read more
Published on July 11 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars How You Can Survive When They're Depressed : Living and Copi
I am presently going through a divorce from a depressive. Anne Sheffield's book has been a godsend for me. Read more
Published on June 26 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars Invaluable Comfort
There are a zillion books out there about depression, and I'd bet nearly all of them are being bought by people who are desperately trying to help someone they love. Read more
Published on Feb. 9 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars Best "Real Life" Description of Depressive Disorders
The American Psychiatric Association, in its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, offers the "official" list of symptoms of depression. Read more
Published on Jan. 1 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars A reader from Arkansas, USA
Great book with a clear insight on how depression not only effects the person who is depressed, but the people who love and care for them also. Read more
Published on May 16 2000
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