It’s difficult to imagine how it feels to be suffering from major depressive disorder; most people think it’s perhaps a magnified sort of sadness. Cynthia Lubow, M.S., MFT, described the condition as follows: “Major depression feels like intense pain that can’t be identified in any particular part of the body. The most (normally) pleasant and comforting touch can feel painful to the point of tears. People seem far away, on the other side of a glass bubble. No one seems to understand or care and people seem insincere. Depression is utterly isolating.”
Graeme Cowan is the author of “Back from the Brink: True Stories and Practical Help for Overcoming Depression and Bipolar Disorder.” Cowan is an advocate for mental health treatment and a survivor of depression. His book provides insight into modalities of depression treatment while providing interesting anecdotes regarding Cowan’s experiences with the condition.
In addition to an overview of depression and its treatments, the book includes interviews with people who successfully managed their illness. Cowan surveyed more than 4,000 individuals to establish efficient means of treating depression. Cowan interviewed a wide range of people including Representative Patrick Kennedy, son of the late Ted Kennedy, Trisha Goddard, a British TV talk-show host, Bob Boorstin, director of public policy at Google, Alastair Campbell, former chief advisor to Tony Blair and former professional athletes among others.
Those surveyed included people who have had tremendous battles with mental illness and speak frankly about psychosis and suicide attempts and how they achieved their current successful lives.
Cowan has personally survived four suicide attempts and five episodes of major depression. He said, “What I learned after five episodes of major depression is that taking action is essential to recovery.” The book emphasizes the importance of self-care, overcoming personal inertia and teaming up with clinicians.
Removing the stigma that still surrounds mental illness requires openly discussing the mental health condition without hiding the facts. Cowan’s book emphasizes the universality of depression to reduce the stigma behind the condition while communicating the breadth of ways people can overcome the condition. The more familiar a concept becomes the less there is to fear. When it comes to mental health disorders, what people don’t know it what hurts them.
For further information on mental health treatment for conditions like depression, please call the Florida Depression Helpline at any time. We can connect you to a treatment program that is best suited for your needs.