Monday, September 10, 2012

from seriously depressed to feeling good

Over at  Gay Sacramento Mormon Guy is unhappy enough to have tried to end his life. I remember feeling about that a decade ago. Here's what I wrote to him. I hope it gives him some perspective. I hope it gives you some perspective...

When I was suicidal I found a helpful book. It was so helpful I wrote this review of it on Amazon. I hope it can help you, too.

This review is from: Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy (Mass Market Paperback)

I'd seen this book before. I'd browsed through it back in 1991 and didn't find anything profound, but I wasn't seriously depressed at the time either. In June 2001 it was a different story. I'd been feeling suicidal since April. I was away from home on business and considered ending it all in a Minneapolis hotel room, but didn't want my wife have the hassle of shipping my body 1,000 miles back home.
I forced myself to take a walk and saw "Feeling Good" in a nearby bookstore. "What the hell," I thought, "for less than $10 this is worth a try." Back in my hotel room I took the depression test and scored 64 - severe depression. I read much of the book that night, took the self-test again the next day and scored in the 40s. With a 20 point drop in less than 24 hours, I again had hope. I got home, got counseling, got medication.

Although I was still depressed, it was less severe and I wasn't as suicidal. In July of 2001 I bought "Ten Days to Self Esteem" and went from a depression score of 25 to 17 in ten days of doing the written exercises everyday. It took about 9 months but with exercise, meds, counseling, support from friends and family, and the perspective offered by the events of that September 11, I started getting scores showing very little depression, much less anxiety and better relationships. Burns' approach has been an important part of that process for me.

(The book is still in print and is probably also available in your public library. Heck, I'll mail you my beat up copy I like.)