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Subject: My Book List (alt.support.depression) - part 3 of 3

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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ MY BOOK LIST (part 3 of 3) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Author: Alice Miller (translated from German) Title: Drama of the gifted child. (Originally published as Prisoners of Childhood.) Publisher: Basic Books, 1981 ISBN: 0-0-465-01691-x Comments: This is a very thin book that is pretty thick with psychoanalytical terminology. And I am not fully sure what the term "gifted child" has to do with the book. But there were *lots* of really interesting tidbits for me in such a small book. My favorite is a description she writes of a patient who described their difficulty in developing an authentic sense of self in this way: "I lived in a glass house into which my mother could look at any time. In a glass house, however, you cannot conceal anything without giving yourself away, except by hiding it under the ground. And then you cannot see it yourself either." I don't usually quote from books in this list, but what the Hell, I am on a roll. Another quote I really liked was this: "One is free from depression when self-esteem is based on the authenticity of one's own feelings, and not on the possession of certain qualities." Author: Joyce Block, Ph.D. Title: Family Myths; Living our lives, betraying ourselves. Publisher: Simon and Schuster,1994 ISBN: 0-671-75909-4 Comments: On the whole, I really liked the premise of this book, and I found many interesting insights in it. However, at some point it just became a little too tedious for me. After a while it read as though if I said "white" then it was only because I am playing out a role/myth wherein I see myself as "The One Who Says White", or perhaps I play this role/myth because I am really actually "The One Who Wants To Say Black". At some point it seemed the author could see nothing but smoke and mirrors. Yet she spoke as tho she (supported by the many people whom she referenced) was the only one standing on firm ground, pointing all around her with great assurance at the smoke and mirrors. Author: Laurel Holliday Title: Children in the Holocaust and World War II Publisher: Washington Square Press, Pocket Books, Simon and Schuster, 1995 ISBN: 0-671-52055-5 Comments: The Diary of Ann Frank is the most well known diary from WWII. But it is *not* the only one. This book has excerpts from 22 other children ages 10 to 18 years old, who lived through or died in the war. The author/compiler asks why it is that we only know of Ann Frank's diary. She offers that perhaps it is too hard to deal with. One is enough. One example, held high, can keep us from further pain. This book is not easy to read. It is raw and wrenching. But it helped me to keep a perspective on my life. I did not go through, nor am I now going through, anything remotely as devastating as what these young people went through. Yet I was and am not fully happy with my life. I am not just a sniveling little whiner. These are not inconsistent feelings. I can feel sad for these people, and sad for myself, and hopeful for all of us. All at the same time. Author: Robert M. Pirsig Title: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance; An Inquiry Into Values Publisher: Bantam Books, 1974 ISBN: 0-553-13875-8 Comments: Someone on alt.support.depression recently said that this is a classic for any serious "overthinker". It is not an "easy" book to read. It gets pretty thick into the metaphysical/philosophical. But all that hard-to-read discourse is woven tightly with two other wonderful theme/metaphors that make it much more palatable. I first read this when it came out in 1974. I was a senior in High School. It had a profound effect on me. I recently re-read it after the sudden and unexpected death of my younger brother. I found his copy of the book, with portions underlined or highlighted, and all kinds of comments written in the margins. Very spooky. "The real cycle you're working on is a cycle called yourself. What is good. What is not good. Need we ask anyone to tell us these things?" Author: Scott Adams Title: The Dilbert Principle Publisher: HarperCollins, 1997 ISBN: 0-88730-787-6 Comments: First of all, this guy Scott Adams is really funny. Second, I feel somewhat a kindred spirit with Dilbert, since I am sort of a techno-dweeb-scientist myself. (Thank God I am not an engineer tho.) I have included this book in this list not only because it is funny and I needed this kind of humor, nor because like all of the other books here it says something about who I am. More to the point, I have included this book because at it's core, much of the humor derives from issues that I am dealing with. For instance, in the beginning, with much more humor that I posses, he explains how training as a hypnotist taught him that we make up our minds first, and rationalize it second. Later in the book he explains that people fear change because change adds yet a little bit more to the vast amount that we already do not know. And this only serves to further highlight the similarity between how much we know about life and how much our office furniture knows about life. Author: Dr. Patricia Love Title: The Emotional Incest Syndrome: What to Do When A Parent's Love Rules Your Life Publisher: Bantam Books, 1990 ISBN: 0-553-05768-5 Comments: This book hit me where I live right now. It is about a continuum of ways in which parents can promote children to adult status so that the children can help the adults emotional well being. To sum it up, someone on alt.support.depression said that at any given moment in time, a parent's love should be the kind of love that the *child* needs, not the kind of love that the parent needs to give. But of course, no parent, no person, can ever really know what another really needs at any given moment in time. Therein lie the seeds that make it hard to know what is me, and what is mommy. When a parent says simple things like "you don't like ice cream" often enough, the child learns to discount his own feelings in favor of his mothers. It is a subtle form of "emotional incest". Author: Calvin Trillin Title: Messages From My Father Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1996 ISBN: 0374208603 Comments: This book is a memoir of sorts. A son's tribute to what he learned from his father perhaps. It was about an adult son trying to understand and make new meanings out of the "messages" that his father was trying to send him while he was growing up. Not messages in the direct literal sense, but more along the lines of what did it mean, what message was sent or received, when my father did this or that, said this or that. Very easy to read. Not a how to book, a novel, or a philosophical treatise on some new theory of relationships. Just a boy and his dad. Author: Linda Gray Sexton Title: Searching for Mercy Street; My Journey Back to My Mother, Anne Sexton Publisher: Little, Brown, and Company, 1994 ISBN: 0-316-78207-6 Comments: Linda Sexton describes her life with (and without) her mother, the famous poet Anne Sexton, who committed suicide when Linda was 21 in 1974. I do not really care much for poetry, not even the depressive or confessional style of Anne Sexton. But this was a really good book for me, and it makes me want to check out Anne Sexton's poetry. Linda describes her life in wonderful and quite powerful prose. She faces head on the difficulty she has had finding a life of her own after growing up with a mother who's own needs overwhelmed her. In a way, her book still promotes her mother, and so she still, even tho long in the grave, puts her mother's needs to the fore. I would be very interested to hear how she feels now that this book, this stone, has passed. Author: Peter C. Whybrow, M.D. Title: A Mood Apart. Depression, Mania, and Other Afflictions of the Self Publisher: Basic Books, a division of HarperCollins, 1997 ISBN: 0-465-04725-4 Comments:. This book is about moods and human emotions. About their function and purpose in our lives. I found it to be really well written, very informative, and reasonably easy to read for the amount of information that it contains. I was particularly attracted to the idea that depression and mania are "afflictions of the self", and he does a good job of viewing these problems on a continuum scale. It was a good book intellectually and I am glad I read it. But in the end, it did not really speak to me emotionally. It is probably a VERY good book as an introduction to depression. Particularly if you are not very depressed, as it is thick reading at times. Author: Dr. Seuss (Theodor Geisl), Lou Fancher, Steve Johnson Title: My Many Colored Days Publisher: Knopf, 1996 Comments: A children's book which correlates moods with colors. Text by Dr. Seuss. When I searched the library catalog for the keyword "emotion", about 80% of the titles were children's books. This one sounded interesting so I checked it out. It is a nice book, but not really one I would feel comfortable reading to my 3 and 5 year olds. I guess it was a little too moody and descriptive for me. It was like "On black days I am angry", etcetera. A good book I think, but not for me. Author: Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen Title: Chicken soup for the soul Publisher: Health Communications Inc., 1993 ISBN: 1-55874-262-X Comments: There were some stories that I really liked, but on the whole I did not like this book. It smacked too much of a "motivational" book. Designed to make you "feel better, so you can be more productive". That sort of thing makes me want to puke. However, there were some really good stories. Funny tho, that there were also some stories that *I* thought were really sad even tho they were meant to be "uplifting". Even funnier was finding out that others felt that way too, but that we did not agree on which stories made us feel bad, and which made us feel good. Author: Ruthellen Josselson Title: The space between us: exploring the dimensions of human relationships Publisher: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1992 ISBN: 1-55542-410-4 Comments: This is a little on the academic side, written in part to psychotherapists and developmental psychologists. It took me a while to get into it, and to read past the references and the "this is so" presentation style. But I really liked it. The space between us is in large part what it is all about for me right now. Who am I, who are you, and how do we bridge this gap between us?? The focus is not just on "here is how we are", but more on "here is how we are in our relationships with others". About how our need to be held by others, to feel attached to others, to feel passion for others, to feel mutual resonance with others, are all life-long needs that find different forms of expression throughout our lives. Author: Kay Redfield Jamison Title: An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf, 1995 ISBN: 0-679-44374-6 Comments: Jamison, is a respected researcher in the field of manic depression, and suffers from the same illness. I liked the book a lot. I could particularly relate to it because I am an Assistant Professor doing research in a medical school. Although I am not bipolar, pain is pain, and her's comes through loud and clear. I was really only bothered by one thing. She, and particularly the press, seem to make a reasonably big deal about of her coming out of the closet by revealing her personal life. This makes it sound as though others have less to lose by doing the same. As if perhaps, a truck driver living in a trailer park, or a secretary working in a widget factory, have less to lose by writing such a personal story. In addition, while her insights from her professional life add some interest and depth, IMHO the value of this book lies in the personal nature of the story. I think I would have liked it better if she was just another one of "us", rather than being one of "them" and also one of "us". Still, I do not begrudge her this. It is, after all, part of her story. Her need to show both herself and others that she can do it (ie. be a successful professional). She may have me beat in that regard, and perhaps I am jealous of that. This is also a good book to read if you have been diagnosed with manic depression but are having trouble believing it. Author: Sheldon B. Kopp Title: An end to innocence: facing life without illusions Publisher: Macmillan, 1978: Bantam Books, 1983 ISBN: 0025664700: 0-553-23826-4 Comments: I liked this book. All about how difficult it is to face the fact (the author and I both believe it is a fact) that our external and internal worlds are full of random events. It's about how the attitude of "I will ultimately be rewarded for my goodness" is just as unlikely to be valid as the attitude of "the whole world is out to get me". In the authors and my opinion, both views endow the world with more order than is there, and both views endow ourselves with more significance to the world than is possible. It is the getting lost in these "pseudo-innocent" beliefs that we need, and that can also lead us astray. I believe the author writes the book to help himself through his own life, and also to help others. To the extent that his focus is on the latter, he sounds preachy, and is likely to be bathing himself in just the sort of "hopeful pretending and pseudo-innocence" that he is working so hard to lose. Author: Sheldon B. Kopp Title: All God's children are lost but only a few can play the piano: finding a life that is truly your own Publisher: Prentice Hall Press, 1991 ISBN: 0-13-026881-X Comments: A nice little book. The title comes from a story about a blind jazz piano player who has to listen to an evangelist insists that he is "lost without God". Finally the piano player responds; "all God's children are lost, but only a few can play the piano". Now if I only knew how to play the piano my life would be OK. Hahahahaha, what is *my* piano?? Author: Irvin D. Yalom Title: Love's executioner and other tales of psychotherapy Publisher: Basic Books, 1989 ISBN: 0465042805 Comments: The book is a compilation of 10 short stories of psychotherapy. An example, is the title story. An older woman comes to the author/therapist with an 8 year unrequited love obsession. The author realizes that the process of therapy and the process of being in love are mutually exclusive. Therapy finds darkness and endeavors to illuminate. Romantic love on the other hand is shrouded in mystery and crumbles upon inspection. He hates to be "love's executioner". I found a bit of myself in all of these stories, so I liked the book. Author: Carl A. Whitaker and William M. Bumberry Title: Dancing with the family : a symbolic-experiential approach Publisher: Brunner/Mazel, 1988 Comments: An example of a family in the process of family therapy. This is a different family than the one described in "The Family Crucible". The book has a somewhat unusual presentation style. In some parts actual conversations are on the left, and therapists comments on the right. In other parts the therapy dialog is extended with someone asking Carl Whitaker questions about what he said to the family. There is also a lot of Whitaker simply using this particular family to talk about his style of family therapy. I did not think that thus book was as good as "The Family Crucible", but if you liked that book, then this one will probably be interesting. Although I really like Whitaker's basic approach, I think he would be a little too cryptic and elusive for me in a real therapeutic environment. Author: Augustus Y. Napier, with Carl A. Whitaker Title: The family crucible Publisher: Harper & Row, 1978 Comments: An easy to read look at a family in the process of family therapy. Very good for me personally. Helps to understand how family members, as a system, can all unconciously conspire to maintain each other in roles that none of them actually want to play. For instance, why would ALL of the members of a family actually encourage a child to become depressed and to "act out", even while they ALL say they don't like the situation?? If you don't know the answer to this question, you might want to read this book. Similar in some ways to The Dance of Intimacy. Author: Harriet Goldhor Lerner, Ph.D. Title: The Dance of Anger (1985), The Dance of Intimacy (1989), and The Dance of Deception (1993) Publisher: Harper and Row for Anger and Intimacy. Harper Collins for Deception. Comments: These three books are all very similar and all VERY good. They hit me right were I live. They are a little bit heavy on the "feminist" sociological perspective, but I was able to read through what I personally did not need. All three books deal with how we can only change ourselves, and not others. But, as we change ourselves, we will meet with resistance from within and from without. Most of us cannot live alone without any contact with other people, but it is hard to dance with someone if either party (even yourself) keeps changing their steps. How do we own our own selves, dance with others, change our selves, and not lose our step or our partners in the process? These are not "how to" books. Author: Lauren Slater Title: Welcome to My Country Publisher: Random House, 1996 Comments: The author is a psychologist who was diagnosed and hospitalized with borderline personality disorder. From the time she was about 15 to 20 she was on the "inside", but she somehow managed to make her way to become an insightful therapist. The book has an almost lyrical cadence, as she deftly closes the gap between "us" and "them". This is a really good read. Author: Mark Vonnegut Title: The Eden Express Publisher: Bantam 1975 Comments: This is a presumably somewhat autobiographical novel by Mark Vonnegut, the son of writter Kurt Vonnegut. It is the story of his experience with "schizophrenia." He certainly sucked me down into a spiral of disoriented confusion. Apparently he has since been diagnosed with manic depression and recent versions of this book are said to include an addendum about this. Author: Tracy Thompson Title: The Beast: A Reckoning with Depression Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1995 ISBN: 0-399-14077-8 Comments: A Washington Post reporter writes of her personal struggle with depression. I liked it. It is not in strict journal style, but it is sort of a personal historical accounting, along the lines of Prozac Nation. A bit heavy on the boyfriend, but all in all a good read for me. Author: Daniel Goleman Title: Emotional Intelligence Publisher: Bantam Books, 1995 Comments: I liked the premise of this book, but I found it somehow off the mark in it's presentation. While it promoted the importance of "emotional intelligence", it seemed to present this concept in an intellectualized, all but emotional, format that somehow sort of got in my way. Still I did like the premise of the book. Author: Richard E. Cytowic Title: The Man Who Tasted Shapes, A Bizarre Medical Mystery Offers Revolutionary Insights into Emotions, Reasoning, and Conciousness Publisher: Putnam, 1993 Comments: The title is a little too much, but I liked this book. It is a neurological study of people with an unusual form of sensation called "synethesia", wherein a person senses an object in mixed modalities (eg. tasting in shapes). It is sort of in the spirit of neurological studies of "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat", but it is focused on only one type of odd neuology. I thought too much of the book was spent trying to localize the "anatomical place" for the synethesia, but I liked the concepts it brought up about emotions come first, and logic filters the emotions. Author: Peter D. Kramer, M.D. Title: Listening To Prozac Publisher: Viking, 1993 ISBN: 0-670-84183-8 Comments: A psychiatrist explores some of the many implications of antidepressants, and especially of Prozac's effects on personality. He also discusses some recent research on depression, as well as many other issues which seem linked to depression. As a pharmacologist and a student of possibilities, I liked this exploration a lot. Author: Martha Manning Title: Undercurrents: A Therapist's Reckoning with Her Own Depression Publisher: HarperSanFrancisco, 1994 ISBN: 006251184X (paperback, 1995) Comments: I thought this was a very good book. It is written in journal or diary style, by a psychotherapist. She ultimately underwent ECT and at the writing of it, felt it was worthwhile. A good personal story about the trials of depression. I talked with her at a National Depressive and Manic Depressive Association meeting in 1997. She was warm and witty and very articulate. I asked her if she still felt positively about ECT. She said that since the book was published she has had another series of ECT treatments, and she still feels they have saved her life. Author: Percy Knauth Title: A Season in Hell Publisher: Harper and Row, 1975 Comments: This book is kind of old and can be hard to come by. I found it in my local library. A reasonably easy to read personal story of depression. The sort of thing I like to read. Author: William Styron Title: Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness Publisher: Vintage, 1990 ISBN: 0-679-73639-5 Comments: This is a wonderful book, although it could be a little *too* well crafted. In comparison with Prozac Nation, this book lacks a certain raw edge to it. Note that the author is famous for many other books, some about suicide (eg. Sophie's Choice), but he did not recognize his own depression until much later. Author: Norman S. Elder Title: Holiday of Darkness: A Psychologist's Personal Journey Out of His Depression Publisher: Wiley, 1982 Comments: This is a bit old, and hard to come by. Yet another personal story of depression. Made somewhat more interesting by the fact that the sufferer is himself a psychologist, and so has that set of insights and perspectives that go with the profession. Author: Kathy Cronkite Title: On the Edge of Darkness: Conversations about Conquering Depression. Publisher: Doubleday, 1994 ISBN: 0-385-42194-X Comments: Written by Walter Cronkite's daughter. Features a variety of personal stories by herself and by "famous" people about their experiences with depression. I didn't think I would like this book because I could really care less about "celebrities", but in the end, as usual for me, I found common ground listening to the stories of others. Author: Elizabeth Wurtzel Title: Prozac Nation: Young and Depressed in America Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1994 ISBN: 0-395-68093-x Comments: A great book, easily readable. This is an important, and timely book, not just for twentynothings. If you find that people cannot understand your depression, maybe you should hand them this book to read. Ad notes: "An electrifying memoir about a young woman's 5-year battle with depression." One of the best "personal stories" I have read thus far. Pain is pain. I am as far from a 20 something suicidal young girl as one can get, but this book really "spoke to me". Pain is pain. Author: Judith Viorst Title: Necessary Losses Publisher: Simon and Schuster, 1986 Comments: Somewhat hard to read, somewhat heavy on the psychoanalytical side, but it seemed to fit for me. I may have to read this again at some point, as I don't think it is the kind of book that you can integrate after just one reading. Author: Dr. Vamik Volkan and Elizabeth Zintl Title: Life After Loss, The Lessons of Grief Publisher: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1993 Comments: This was a book more about grief then depression, but that fit for me. Author: Roberta Israeloff Title: In Confidence, Four Years of Therapy Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1990 Comments: A woman goes into therapy to become a better mother for her new son. She comes up with a whole lot more than she expected. Reasonably easy to read, and as a new father I could relate to most of it. Author: Carol Ferland Title: The Long Journey Home Publisher: Alfred Knopf, 1980 Comments: The diary style journal of a woman and her therapy. She deals a lot with transference, and her fixation on her therapist. But there is more here than just that in it as well. Author: Harry Middleton Title: The Bright Country, A fisherman's Return to Trout, Wild Water, and Himself Publisher: Simon and Schuster, 1993 Comments: A man is forced out of his job, but looks for and finds himself elsewhere. Fun to read, but a little on the fictional rather than autobiographical side. Author: Annie G. Rogers, Ph.D. Title: A Shining Affliction, A History of Harm and Healing in Psychotherapy Publisher: Vicking, 1995 Comments: I think I liked this, but I cannot remember what it was all about. Author: Thomas Maeder Title: Children of Psychiatrists and Other Psychotherapists Publisher: Harper and Row, 1989 Comments: This book is probably only of interest to psychiatrists/psychotherapists and their children. It is heavily weighted to what I think a typical New York City psychotherapist might be like. I only found one section of it that I thought fit with my father (a psychiatrist) and my family. Several years after my father's death I found this book in his study. Now what do you suppose THAT means? Author: Susanna Kaysen Title: Girl, Interrupted Publisher: Turtle Bay Books, Random House, 1993 Comments: Very good personal story. Short and easy to read. About the author's 2 year stay in a famous mental hospital as an 18 year old in the 60's. It is punctuated by actual documents from her medical files. The book is actually named after a painting called "Girl Interrupted at Her Music" by the Dutch painter Jan Vermeer [1632-1675]. The painting is located at The Frick Collection in New York City (http://www.frick.org/html/pntg44f.htm). A couple of years ago I happened to be in New York City and we went to see it. Author: Sheldon B. Kopp Title: If You Meet the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him! Publisher: Bantam Books, 1972 Comments: I liked this perspective on psychotherapy. The therapist as a fellow traveler, who must ultimately be left in the dust on the road, since only you can really walk your own path, and know and live your own life. Author: Barbara Lazear Ascher Title: Landscape Without Gravity, A Memoir of Grief Publisher: Penguin Books, 1993 Comments: A woman comes to terms with the grief she feels after the death of her brother from AIDS. There are probably a lot of similar books given the number of young men and women who have died of AIDS. I have not read any others. However, I did not find this too specific to AIDS, nor to brothers. I really like the title too. Author: Natalie Goldberg Title: Long Quiet Highway, Waking up in America Publisher: Bantam Books, 1993 Comments: A good read for me, because I like Zen, and I lived in Minneapolis and Denver. Not much here to do with depression per say, but rather just another personal story of getting from here to there. Author: Stephanie Ericson Title: Companion Through Darkness, Inner Dialogues on Grief Publisher: Harper Collins, 1993 Comments: Her husband dies suddenly before she gives birth to their first child. Very short chapters, each in two parts. One part sort of theoretically related to grief, the other more personal. Author: Roger Kamenetz Title: The Jew in the Lotus Publisher: Harper Collins, 1994 Comments: A small delegation of Jews bring a Torah to the Dali Lama who is living in northern India, in exile from Tibet. The Dali Lama is interested to know how a people/culture/religion can survive in exile as the Jews have for over 2000 years. Since the Jews are no longer in forced exile, this raises the question of how they will continue to survive now that they can "come home". Author: Viktor E. Frankl Title: Man's Search for Meaning, An Introduction to Logotherapy Publisher: Simon and Schuster, 1959 Comments: The first half of the book is autobiographical in nature, about the author's experience as a young therapist trying to find meaning for himself and others as they struggle to stay alive in Nazi concentration camps. The second half is thicker on theory. Logotherapy is "meaning based" therapy, and has a decided existential tone to it. Author: Hermann Hess Title: Siddhartha Publisher: New Directions, 1961 Comments: The quintessential book about searching. The story of a young man and his friend as they attempt to find meaning in their lives. I liked it when I was in High School, and I liked it again at 40. Author: Hermann Hess Title: Journey to the East Publisher: Bantam Books, 1961 Comments: Also a good book about searching. Perhaps a tale about how even the most unlikely of characters can be the fulcrum of one's life. Another book that I liked when I was in High School and liked again at 40. Author: Erich Fromm Title: The Art of Loving Publisher: Perennial Library, 1956 Comments: Hard to read, but lots of good-for-me insights. Author: Robin Maugham Title: The Servant Publisher: Harcourt Brace and Co., 1949 Comments: This is a very obscure, very short, and very odd little book. But it affected me in my teens when I read it, and it was still a good read recently. It is about a "perfect" servant who attends to the needs of his "masters" so well, that he actually has full control over them. The servant is the ultimate opiate, and the ultimate in manipulation by presumed passivity.