How You Can Survive When They're Depressed: Living and Coping with Depression Fallout Paperback – May 18 1999
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"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 the Hardcover edition.
"Anne Sheffield has guided me to fresh recognitions of myself . . . I wish we'd had this book decades ago."
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Top Customer Reviews
People who love a depressed person spend an enormous amount of energy trying to bridge a chasm to bring help to their loved one. Meanwhile they suffer isolation, rejection, critisism, self-doubt, frustration, and terrible worry and stress. Worse, every book they read urges them to put all their needs aside, to lower their standards to rock bottom, to be continually more understanding of their loved-ones limitations. Often they're not even mentioned at all.
Anne Sheffield's book is a fantastic support and relief for these caregivers. She acknowleges the toll this illness takes on family members, and she offers them compassion and a sense of community. By respecting their frustration, she helps open the door to a more constructive sort of understanding of depressive illness and how it affects the family.
This book has helped me build a life with my depressed partner that is healthy for us both, a place where I can deal with this illness without giving up my happiness. It has helped me trust my instincts, set boundaries, campaign for change and keep my love alive even when I'm angry. Through me, it has helped my partner seek better medical help, treat the family better and feel more secure that we'll still be there tomorrow.
If your hunt for answers has left you feeling like you're out in the cold alone, this book is for you.
Anne Sheffield makes a significant contribution to the field of mental health when she spells out the "unofficial" list of symptoms: the "clinical" presentation of a depressive disorder is not necessarily the same as the "behind closed doors" presentation.
In his Foreword, TV journalist Mike Wallace (who is open about his own depression) acknowledges that "there is no way properly to describe the anguish that a depressive can put his family through." Anne Sheffield points out that the depressed person may be self-absorbed, quarrelsome, and critical at home "but charming in public."
While depression is often thought of as deep sadness, the author debunks the stereotype of people with depressive illness as "passive bundles of misery." There are some people with depression who do fit that description, but depression comes in varying degrees and with different combinations of symptoms (both official and "unofficial"). Many of us who have lived with a depressive have seen that a generalized negativity may be much more prominent than any sadness, and that the negativity is often targeted at us.
A must-read for anyone who knows a loved one has depression, for those who suspect a loved one might have it, and for doctors and other clinicians who would do well to learn how to recognize some of the more subtle forms of depression, which can be just as devastating as the "passive bundle of misery" form of the disorder.
Most recent customer reviews
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... Read morePublished on Feb. 11 2004 by L. KEMP
I have been re-reading Anne's book:"How To Survive When They're Depressed",it is wonderful. Read morePublished on Jan. 25 2004 by Marc Bernstein
After living with a depressed partner for 3 years, I was at my wits' end about the lethargy, the crying, the emotional distancing. Read morePublished on Jan. 21 2004 by LMo
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 morePublished on March 9 2003 by Aimee
This book leaves alot to be desired!! There is little or nothing to help sons or brothers of depressed sisters and mothers!! Read morePublished on Dec 15 2002 by Marc Bernstein
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 morePublished on March 25 2002
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. Read morePublished on Sept. 23 2001
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 morePublished on July 11 2001
I am presently going through a divorce from a depressive. Anne Sheffield's book has been a godsend for me. Read morePublished on June 26 2001
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