Madeleine Davies

Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

The Depression Cure: book review

In Books, Health on August 4, 2013 at 5:23 pm

Every other week I help run a book club for people suffering from depression (the emails from the Depression Alliance are headed up “DABOOKCLUB” which makes it all sound quite street). It’s a small group of people, strangers really, meeting up in a cafe to talk about the book and how things are going. Often when I mention I’m going, people look a bit horrified (“er, that sounds…depressing”). But, actually, I always leave feeling heartened. The people who go may be unable to love themselves, may be lost, tired, but without exception they are touchingly compassionate towards each other. Someone will venture to discuss why things are not so good at the moment – medication not making a difference, therapy a six week wait away, friends uncomprehending – and all eyes will be on them, intent, heads nodding encouragement. It’s sort of lovely.

Anyway, I thought I would write about the books that we’re reading. It takes a couple of months to get through each one (we tend to do a couple of chapters every fortnight) so I’ll write when we get to the end.

For the past two months, we’ve been reading The Depression Cure by Dr Steve Ilardi, subtitled The Six-Step Programme to Beat Depression Without Drugs.

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Manufacturing depression

In Health on April 2, 2011 at 3:29 pm

At the age of 30 Gary Greenberg found himself on the floor, watching dust specks float through sunbeams for hours, “racked by some unspecific pain”. Newly divorced, it did not occur to him at the time – 1987 – that he was suffering from what was later diagnosed as depression.

Manufacturing Depression is his account of his search through history for the origins of both his diagnosis and the cures recommended by doctors. But this is not a self-help book or even, primarily, an autobiography. Greenberg believes that the medical industry has acquired too much power over our lives – “the power to name our pain and then sell us the cure one pill at a time.” He writes to expose, seeking to illuminate a climate of opinion – that depression is a chronic disease that can be treated through medicine – that has become “as invisible to us as the sea is to fish”. What he uncovers is difficult to ignore.

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So lovely to see this

In Health on March 1, 2011 at 8:21 pm

Just over two years ago I left my job at Breakthrough Breast Cancer where I had been project manager for a campaign called The Service Pledge for Breast Cancer. I spent three years visiting breast cancer units across the UK, researching what patients thought about their experience and then working with the specialist nurses and other staff to try and improve it. I loved the job. The changes made were not always massive. I remember at one unit they installed a beautiful picture designed to look like a view of the countryside in the room where women underwent scans, just so that you didn’t have to stare at a blank wall during the process. Read the rest of this entry »

Keeping the faith in our precious NHS

In Health on February 26, 2011 at 4:08 pm

If the Health and Social Care Bill currently being scrutinised in Parliament is passed, it will mean some wholesale changes to the NHS. Nicholas Timmins, public policy editor at the FT, believes the NHS is set to become “much more like a regulated industry of competing healthcare providers”. Ed Miliband has described the reforms as “experiments in right-wing ideology”. But should the public be worried?

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