cover image TALKING TO DEPRESSION: Simple Ways to Connect When Someone in Your Life Is Depressed

TALKING TO DEPRESSION: Simple Ways to Connect When Someone in Your Life Is Depressed

Claudia J. Strauss, . . New American Library, $13 (224pp) ISBN 978-0-451-20986-3

The author of Talking to Alzheimer's shares a simple, direct and effective approach for family and friends of those living and dealing with clinical depression. Strauss delves into specific scenarios with depressed loved ones, clearly explaining why certain responses and phrasing of comments are helpful while others are ineffective or seem like mere "stock phrases" to the person who is depressed. Strauss also explains that simply being there for the depressed person helps more than giving specific advice. "It isn't her job to listen to you; it's your job to listen to her. That's the best way to help her." Clinical psychologist Martha Manning, whose book Undercurrents offered a personal dimension to the illness, hits the exact note when she writes in the foreword that "dealing with depression is a collaboration." Strauss uses this approach throughout the book, explaining the unique ways in which the depressed mind works and, consequently, how others can better connect with that way of thinking through appropriate conversation, body language and practical support. When viewed individually, these suggestions may seem like ways to tiptoe around the depressed person, but altogether they are considerate and sensitive methods of communicating in any type of relationship. Strauss's insight applies to the day-to-day battles alongside the depression sufferer, but she also stresses how much can be learned from these strong individuals: "In physical battles, we celebrate the bravery of the soldier who falls. The bravery of the psychological warrior is no less." (Jan. 6)