Authors: Angela Patmore
Tags: #Self-Help, #General
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To my parents
Congratulations on having the courage to choose this book.
Even if you were simply attracted by the title, this tells me that there is hope for you. You have the potential to benefit from the contents, because you haven’t yet gone belly-up on your condition, as so many in this nannying age have been lulled into doing. It also tells me that the ‘softly softly’ approach to depression, kind and sympathetic though it may appear, hasn’t cured you, and that you are looking for something different.
Well, you’ve come to the right place. This book is offered as a lifeline to people at the bottom of the bottomless pit of despair. It will explain the research and the thinking behind the ‘tough love’ approach, much of which may be new to you because it flies in the face of current trends, and it will culminate in a programme of ten challenges that will enable you to change your entire attitude to emotional health. Your self-empowerment will come from the knowledge of the first and the experience of the second.
When I was young, I suffered from suicidal despair, cried for days, sobbed in the street, lost all my self-respect, took an overdose, was dragged back to life and then floundered about for ages through research, training and academic degrees looking for a magic mindset that would make me happy and self-reliant.
I can tell you now that softly-softly therapies, however well intentioned, made me worse. ‘Stress management’ and avoidant strategies promising protection from serious problems made me helpless. Yet if someone had handed me this book when I was down, I could have been spared years of anguish. Let me save you the trouble I went through. If all else has failed, it’s worth a try.
DECLARATION OF EMOTIONAL INDEPENDENCE
There are many books that medicalise your mind. This will not be one of them. Human emotions are what make us tick. The negative ones may be unpleasant, but even these are not without purpose and they are part of our normal development. Cutting-edge science on the brain suggests they are also important to our creative life. Feelings should not be ‘pathologised’ – turned into a disease. You can learn to
your negative emotions by understanding and channelling them. But you do not need a lobotomy.
Books on mental health issues tend to mollycoddle the reader. Well, you won’t get any ‘tea and sympathy’ out of me. I am, to quote the
‘widely regarded as a heartless bitch’.
THE ‘STRESS’ OGRESS
My book on ‘stress’ caused a storm of controversy because it questioned the whole basis of current diagnosis and soothing treatment. Though it was shortlisted for the MIND Book of the Year Award, it did not offer to help manage anybody’s ‘stress’. What it recommended was removing the whole stress ideology from people’s heads like a rotting tooth, so that they could feel normal again, talk about their various feelings and experiences without recourse to a medical dictionary, and find new confidence and courage to face their problems head on.