Self-help books are such a huge industry that it’s hard to see them as anything but a money-making ploy. Partially because so many of them are bad. Really bad. To the point where buying self-help books always feels like taking a risk. Like there’s 90% chance I’m throwing my money away. Or higher.
But there are self-help books that are actually helpful. I’ve encountered one so far in my life, so I know it is technically possible. And since therapy is both expensive and extremely hard to get into (There’s nothing like being depressed, making the effort to call therapy offices, and being told time after time that the therapist isn’t accepting new patients.), I can understand why it’s such a big industry. So many people need help and don’t have anywhere else to turn.
While I’ve mostly given up on self-help books, lately I’ve found myself really tempted by one I keep seeing on Instagram. It’s a depression self-help book by The Depression Project.
I didn’t get pulled in by the book itself. Honestly, I’ve still yet to read the summary (or what I like to call the sales pitch for the book). What’s tempting me is their instagram: TheRealDepressionProject. It is truly the first messaging I’ve seen that really shows an understanding of what depression and anxiety are like.
Too much of the messaging on social media or anywhere that mentions depression is overly positive, sugary sayings that come across to me as empty platitudes. Especially when my depression is in full swing.
These… aren’t. They’re descriptions of what it feels like to have depression or anxiety. Or lists of symptoms. At heart, they’re explaining what these issues are like from the inside and in such a way that someone who’s never had depression or anxiety might understand. Or at least understand better – and know some of the responses to avoid.
As someone with both depression and anxiety, I’ve found myself really resonating with their posts. But that doesn’t mean that the book will be good. Buying it is still a risk or would be except for 1 thing: they offer a 60-day-money-back guarantee. That might just tip the balance.
I say “might” because there’s still a lot of built-up cynicism and depression-inspired doubt to get past before I buy anything. Taking a risk with self-help books gets harder and harder the more you’ve looked for a good one. Even if you didn’t buy most of them.
In truth, though, it’s the same with therapy, medication, and any other depression treatment. The more you’ve tried and failed, the more depression talks you out of trying again. But no matter how convincing depression can be (“You’d be throwing your money away!”), you can’t stop trying or depression wins for sure.