About a year ago, a friend of mine recommended a book to me that really helped her with her anxiety. So I figured, what the hell, I’ll give it a read. I finally finished the damn thing last night. Due to the fact that it took me almost a year to finish, you can imagine how helpful I found it. Actually the only reason I finished it at all was because it was listed on my Goodreads “Currently Reading” shelf and I got sick of seeing it there. That’s why I finished it by skimming through the last couple of chapters.
Now I’m not saying that it was total crap from beginning to end. I’m sure it would actually be quite helpful for some people, like the friend that recommended it. However, this author’s entire program I did in therapy about a decade ago. I’ve been living/breathing/practicing his program for over ten years. And yet, I’m still depressed. I still have panic disorder – although knock on wood, that has abated quite a bit. As soon as I realized this, I decided that I would continue to read the book, as it could serve as a sort of refresher course for me. But the further into the book I got, the more he lost me.
His whole claim, is that if you do his program from start to finish and keep at it, your depression/anxiety will go away. That his program is the only thing keeping you from living symptom free. He even has little quizzes throughout the book that you can refer back to in order to gauge how you’re doing. Well guess what? I passed each of his quizzes with flying colors. I have eliminated by child-knee-jerk reactions (he has a name for these that I don’t remember) and replaced them with healthier, more positive reactions. I can find the silver-lining in almost any situation.
I haven’t been able to lose the sarcasm though. That’s here to stay. But, for the most part I agree that self-talk and re-framing your thought processes works wonders. Emotionally I am a totally different person than I was before I learned how to do this. So why don’t I like the book? Because I’ve done everything that he says to do, and I am still depressed. I understand the need to market and sell books – trust me, I understand that – but I have a huge problem with someone saying that X is a cure-all, and if it doesn’t work for you, then clearly you’re doing it wrong. I have a major problem with that. I have enough problems without someone telling me that my depression is still there because I’m not working hard enough.
WTF? Screw you, Mr. Psychologist guy. Maybe I am doing it right, and I still need assistance from pharmaceuticals. Maybe that’s a thing that exists. Wow, this blog took a turn. Clearly I am still more worked up over this then I thought. It just drives me nuts when somebody espouses that there is only one fix that will work. Whether that’s the ‘You have to be on drugs!’ camp, or it’s the ‘Only talk-therapy will help you!’ camp. None of us are the same, so our ‘fixes’ will likely vary and be a combination of things. Depression and anxiety are hard enough without someone implying that you aren’t diligent enough if it’s not working. So here’s my recommendation – the book has some very good tools, but his process is likely only one step in your therapy, not the whole cure.